Amazon on Wednesday announced an expansion of its Amazon Studios division, which will soon develop original content. The retail giant is currently accepting proposals for comedy and children’s programming to be distributed through its Instant Video service, the company said on Wednesday. “Amazon Studios wants to discover great talent and produce programming that audiences will love,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. “In the course of developing movies, we’ve heard a lot of interest from content creators who want to develop original series in the comedy and children’s genres. We are excited to bring writers, animators and directors this new opportunity to develop original series.” If selected for a full-budget series, the creator will receive $55,000 and up to 5% of Amazon’s net receipts from toy and t-shirt licensing, along with other royalties and bonuses. Amazon’s press release follows below. More →
AT&T is preparing a service that will let mobile app developers pay for the mobile data used by their applications, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. AT&T’s network and technology head John Donovan compared the service to toll-free calling for the mobile-broadband world. “A feature that we’re hoping to have out sometime next year is the equivalent of 800 numbers that would say, if you take this app, this app will come without any network usage,” said Donovan. Customers are now more concerned than ever when it comes to monthly data allowances, and they might be more likely to purchase an app or a movie if the content provider covered the price of the data associated with using the app or streaming content. “It’d be like freight included,” Donovan noted. More →
Amazon on Wednesday announced that it has entered into a new agreement with Viacom to provide a larger selection of television content to its Kindle Fire and Amazon Prime customers. Under the deal, Amazon’s customers will have access to episodes of The Real World, Chapelle’s Show and the The Sarah Silverman Program from Comedy Central, as well as a number of hit shows from Nickelodeon. “This deal with Viacom brings Prime customers and Kindle Fire users thousands of comedies, kids’ shows, reality TV and much more from some of the best cable networks available,” Amazon’s director of video content acquisition Brad Beale said. “We now offer more than 15,000 movies and TV shows in Prime Instant Videos and are working hard to add even more great content.” Amazon’s full press release follows after the break. More →
The NPD Group’s latest Games Industry: Total Consumer Spend report suggests consumers spent an additional $1.74 billion on video game content during the second quarter. NPD classifies this additional category of content as anything that involves gaming outside of new physical video and PC game software. Examples include purchases for social network games, downloadable content, mobile games, digital downloads, subscriptions, game rentals and used game purchases. Consumers spent a total of $1.44 billion on physical games for consoles and PCs during the quarter and, in total, spent $4.5 billion on video game content, hardware and accessories. That figure is up 1% from the same quarter last year. “While the new physical retail channel still generates the majority of industry sales, our expanded research coverage allows us to assess the total consumer spend across the growing number of ways to acquire and experience gaming, including mobile apps and downloadable content,” NPD Group industry analyst Anita Frazier said. Read on for the full press release from NPD. More →
Amazon and Netflix both recently announced large content licensing deals. Over the weekend, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos said his company will provide Amazon Unbox customers with access to FOX content, bumping the Unbox library to more than 11,000 available movie and TV show titles. The new content includes 24, Arrested Development, Ally McBeal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files and The Wonder Years. Amazon is expected to announce a tablet during a press event on Wednesday and it is largely expected to offer access to all of Amazon’s services, including Unbox. Hit the break for more. More →
Amazon announced on Thursday that it has inked an agreement with NBCUniversal to provide its subscription customers with access to 1,000 Universal Pictures movies. The deal is in addition to the online retailer’s recent agreement with CBS to offer shows such as Star Trek and Cheers to its customers. The new content includes films such as Being John Malkovich, Jetsons, Flipper, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Billy Elliott. Amazon is largely expected to release at least one tablet in the coming months, which will provide its customers with near instant access to its Amazon Unbox, Amazon Mp3, Kindle, Cloud Music and Cloud Drive services. Comcast owns 51% of NBCUniversal while General Electric owns the remaining 49%. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Read on for the full press release. More →
Speaking during the D9 conference in California on Thursday, Adobe’s CEO, Shantanu Narayen said that his company’s feud with Apple, which was a result of Cupertino’s decision to omit support for Flash in its products, has come to an end. “Yes, the argument is over from our point of view,” Narayen said. “We are so excited about opportunities we have. We’re focused on that.” He added that Adobe welcomes, and is contributing to, the new HTML5 standard. Apple’s argument, which has been backed by many developers, is that HTML5 is more efficient than Flash — particularly when it comes to battery consumption — for presenting and viewing streaming video and other multimedia content. “At the end of the day, where Adobe makes its money is through our application tools, as well as our solutions, (and) being able to make that content and measure that content and manage that content,” Narayen told The Wall Street Journal. More →
Late last month, Amazon announced that customers subscribed to The New York Times via its eReader would qualify for a free digital subscription to the paper’s website. Not to be outdone, Barnes & Noble today announced that users subscribed to The Times via the NOOK Newsstand will also have full access to the publication’s web content, too. The famed paper made waves on March 17th when it announced that it was moving to a pay wall model for its website. Users are allowed to read twenty NYT articles each month before they bump into the new toll booth and are required to pay for access. While the publication noted that those subscribed to its traditional home delivery service would be given full-access to all online content, it was not made clear how those digesting the Times via eReaders would be affected. The full press release is after the break. More →
Via a brief blog post, software giant Adobe has announced a preview of its “Wallaby” Flash-to-HTML5 conversion tool. The company is describing Wallaby as “experimental technology,” but notes that it will facilitate the viewing of FLA files on iOS devices. “This [Wallaby] allows you to reuse and extend the reach of your content to devices that do not support the Flash runtimes,” writes Adobe. “Once these files are converted to HTML, you can edit them with an HTML editing tool, such as Adobe Dreamweaver, or by hand if desired.” Not all Flash features are supported by the conversion utility and Adobe does warn of a handful of documented, known issues. Hit the jump to see a video of the utility in action. More →
According to a report filed by Bloomberg, Apple is working with record labels to make music tracks purchased via its iTunes Music Store more accessible. The report, which cites multiple anonymous sources, claims that the digital store creator wants to provide music purchasers with the ability to re-download tracks they’ve bought an unlimited number of times. The functionality would provide users with a permanent backup of purchased audio tracks and make getting that content onto multiple devices even easier. Purportedly, Apple is in talks with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Group. The report did not, unfortunately, specify a timeline as to when the deal could be completed. More →
Taiwanese handset giant HTC has announced a “strategic investment” made in the digital media-delivery company Saffron Digital. “Saffron Digital has developed an incredible expertise in mobile multimedia delivery,” said Peter Chou, HTC’s CEO. “This ability to deliver optimized content in the future will be a key asset as content becomes more and more complex and localized. We are excited to be working with Saffron to increase our global service delivery capabilities and expertise.” The company, which already does business with HTC, LG, Paramount Digital Entertainment, Sony Ericsson, T-Mobile and Nokia in Europe along with Samsung in the U.S., will, in all likelihood, bring digital content delivery to HTC’s Sense smartphone experience. The press release notes that Saffron will “continue to provide its cutting edge media and content services to its third party partners.” Hit the jump to check out the full announcement.
The New York Post is reporting that DVD rental giant Netflix has been in talks with television studios as they try to acquire the rights to in-season TV episodes. The Post cites “a person familiar with the matter” and writes that Netflix is willing to offer content owners between $70,000 and $100,000 per episode for more current media. The in-season episodes would bolster Netflix’s somewhat dusty streaming content lineup. The report goes on to note that a current hiccup in the negotiations is between studios and broadcast networks. Studios are claiming to own the streaming rights to content produced for television networks while TV network executives are also laying claim to the same rights.
As of late, Netflix has turned its focus to streaming media services; recently the company announced the addition of a streaming-only monthly subscription plan in the U.S., something it has never offered before. Netflix declined to comment on the report when asked by the New York Post. More →
A recent post by Google seems to indicate that the company will require application content ratings on all present and future applications listed in the Android Market.
“Please use our application ratings to help users determine whether your application and its content is appropriate for them,” reads the post. “This includes all the content in your app, including user generated content and ads, and content that your app links to.”
Applications can be rated all, pre-teen, teen, or mature and Google notes that “hate speech” is not permitted in the Android Market; Google is also mandating that applications that use location not be categorized for all users. There are several other category pre-requisites. Hit the jump to have a look at all of them. More →