Amazon will try-out five new shows, focussing on kids this time

Amazon Instant Video

The last few years made it clear that content is also king for video. All the major players in the streaming / rental OTT space are working on either developing their own content and / or trying to get exclusives like Netflix did with Arrested Development.

However, series have grown much more expensive to produce. Amazon thinks to have found a method in reducing the risk of failure by testing new series. They produce a pilot of several different concepts and let the viewers decide what series will get a full season.

Amazon also understands the power of kids. So they developed five pilots focussed on youngsters: Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, Grid Smasher, Hard-Boiled Eggheads, The Jo B. & G. Raff Show and Wishenpoof!

All pilots will be available for the young critics on both Amazon Instant Video and the UK brand of Amazon LOVEfilm

Save the date: Season 4 of Arrested Development will air on May 26 on Netflix

Arrested Development

The brand new 15 (yes fifteen) new episodes of the successful TV-series will come to you at May 26 this year on Netflix. And just like House of Cards, the whole season will be made available at once. So all you binge watchers out there better make sure you have nothing else to do that Sunday.

Arrested Development is an Emmy Award-winning comedy from series creator/executive producer Mitchell Hurwitz and had already three very successful seasons.

Sci-fi drama Sense8 is the new exclusive Netflix production

Netflix

Netflix promised their customers around 10 exclusive production. As we all had the change to digest their most recent series House of Cards, it is time to announce the next production. It is called Sense8, it is a Sci-fi drama and Netflix gets help from Matrix creators Andy and Lana Wachowski and Babylon 5 creator Joe Straczynski producing it. Certainly looking forward to it!

The series will consist of 10 episodes and is set to air in 2014

Spotify Streaming Video, is this the future of television?

Spotify Streaming Video

Spotify is a great music service. After years of heavy fighting, finally a new way of music distribution that services customers without forgetting to pay the artist, is in place. It has become a new standard and attracts competitors like Rdio. and Deezer

Spotify also wants to be available on television. At the TV Connect exhibition in London, Pascal De Mul, global head of platform partnerships for Spotify said: “TV is a great interface for the music experience in the home. It’s the only interface with a huge screen that can have real visual impact, as well as just audio impact.

Having an app on a Smart TV already might make it easy to expand into streaming video. This is exactly what the company is planning to do according to sources that Business Insider talked to.

The question is, whether the same model that worked very good for music will work for video too. I think not. Video is an entirely different medium. Whereas many people listen to music whilst working or working out, watching video does not really allow simultaneous activities. Next to that, music lovers like to listen to older songs as much as they do like to listen to the most recent ones. And they can listen to certain songs over and over again. Video on the other hand, is usually only consumed once. Of course, some people will watch certain iconic shows for a second time, but in general after watching an episode, the viewer goes on to the next one and after seeing all episodes of a series, the viewer will look for another series. Never to return again. And yes there are many reruns of series to be seen, but I don’t think there are many people willing to pay for them.

One could argue that Spotify could help to discover new series based on what your friends are watching. But that is not the real problem with streaming video that needs to solved and there are already many video discovery apps available. In my opinion, the real problem is the availability of the latest episode at the same time on a global scale. As long as production companies sell their shows to just one channel first, hoping to sell it to many others in other countries later, these shows will be downloaded for free. People want to see the new episode of Game of Thrones as soon as it is aired. They will not wait a year for a local tv channel to buy the rights. They will not wait a day before it is available in iTunes. They want to watch it live. Regardless of their location, tv distributor or internet provider. TV-series are global brands with a global audience and fan base who, thanks to social platforms, wants to be served equally. That is the reason I think Netflix decided to produce their own series and release them all at once.

If Spotify can solve this problem, they might have a chance. But I am afraid that the production companies do not fail enough pain yet to work with them. So unfortunately, we still have to wait and download.

 

House of Cards will be streamed in 4K… eventually

House of Cards

Today the news came out that Netflix has filmed most of the House of Cards in 4K. This ultra HD format as it is also called, it seen as the successor of the current HD standard and will offer even better quality video. So instantly there were rumours of Netflix planning on streaming the series in 4k. Although this might sound like the obvious thing to do, one must not forget the fact the 4K television sets are very rare and even if one had such a TV, a very fast (maybe even glass fibre) internet connection is needed as well.

I guess Netflix will stream House of Cards eventually, but I think they might want to wait a little longer until people can actually watch it in 4K.

Unlimited movie streaming service Redbox Instant now in public beta

Redbox Instant

Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video challenger Redbox Instant, a joint-venture between Redbox and Verizon, today launched a private beta in the United States.

At Redbox Instant you can rent up to 4 films for one night from a library of over 4500 for a USD 8 monthly subscription.

Redbox Instant support iOS and Android mobile devices, Windows and Mac computers and is available through Microsoft Xbox and some Smart devices from Samsung.

Netflix adds Social Rows, showing what your Facebook friends liked and watched

Netflix Social Rows Facebook Integration

Netflix is finally adding social features to the viewing experience by allowing you to share what you have watched and your comments on Facebook. After checking the opt-in and linking your Netflix account to Facebook, you will find two new “Social Rows” on your Netflix homepage: “Friends’ Favorites” and “Watched by Your Friends.” “Friends’ Favorites” shows the content that your friends have rated with four or five stars, on the “Watched by Your Friends” row you will find the shows that recently have been watched by your friends. Pretty straight forward.

As said, the integration is finally here. The delay was (partly) caused by the Video Privacy Protection Act that had to be implemented in the correct way to allow Netflix and Facebook to share these insights.

See below for an introduction video

iPlayer coming to Windows Phone, no Netflix for BlackBerry

BBC iPlayer

The BBC today announced that the BBC iPlayer will be available on Windows Phone. More or less. Instead of having a native app, BBC will offer an iPlayer icon that can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store. After installing, it will appear as a live tile on your phone screen. With the tile, you can access the mobile website of iPlayer. Expect the availability around the summer.

Whereas Microsoft had this little success with adding a prominent app to its library, BlackBerry failed to get the attention from Netflix. They simply think the platform too small. So after LOVE Film and Sky Go, another video streaming app will be absent in the BlackBerry Store.

Of course, these things can change overnight. BlackBerry can decide to throw some money at it if they find it really important. Or, if the new BlackBerry proves succesful, Netflix can decide to build an app afterall. Especially if there will be a new BlackBerry tablet running the new OS soon. There was a rumour about that last week and I personally I think BlackBerry really needs one if they want to have even a chance to come back.

Pulp: First exclusive film on the Xbox live platform

Xbox live film Pulp

It might not seem that significant, but then again, it might be part of a much bigger picture. Microsoft just  released their first exclusive Xbox live film. It’s a British comedy called Pulp and you can buy it for 1120 Microsoft Points (USD 14.75) for the SD version or 1420 Microsoft Points (USD 17.75) for the HD one.

In view of the introduction of the much rumoured new Xbox 720 and of course the success of Netflix’s House of Cards and their USD 300 million budget for creating own content this might be interesting. First of all, I wrote that this is the first exclusive film for Xbox live. Now that is an assumption. It can be that this turns out to be a one-off. But I think there will be more. It would not surprise me that together with the launch of a new Xbox, Microsoft will bring a lot of content into the ecosystem. A lot of that will be recycled films and series, so to stand out they will have to bring more. This could mean more exclusive produced for Xbox live. And as the new Xbox will be an integral part of the Windows 8 family, this content will be available on your desktop, Surface and mobile phone too.

Enjoyed the Oscars? Time to vote for The Flixies!

The Flixies

With several tongue-in-cheek categories, Netflix launches their version of voting for your favorite streaming video. Instead of best actor or best script, one can vote for the best guilty pleasure, best commute shortener, best marathon TV show, best hangover cure, best bromance, best PMS Drama, and best tantrum tamer.

The voting is not restricted to members of the Academy, nor does one need to be a Netflix subscriber. So get over to The Flixies and cast your vote!

The results will be revealed at March 11, so see you here again around that time. Or before of course.