NFL Offer Super Bowl Half-Time Slot… For A Fee

It is a well-known fact that the Super Bowl is a pretty big deal every year in the USA (and to a lesser extent, other countries out of curiosity of the show put on). It is also known that for many fans not as into american football as more regular viewers, their contribution to the 9-figure viewing total (to be enjoyed early next year by NBC) is more out of interest in the commercials aired and/or the half-time show than the big game itself.

university_of_phoenix_stadium_in_americaOne thing that would be unusual to think could actually happen, though, is for the two more ‘alternative’ Super Bowl viewing reasons to combine, as the NFL reportedly begin their annual search for an act to play their championship game… with the added requirement that it is they who contribute a fee for the right to do so.

Although theoretically it may make sense with the (most likely) musical artist getting plenty of exposure out of it, morally by the NFL it would feel like the worst they should do is just have the act play for free in a mutually-beneficial agreement (as they had been doing before, but with league-covered multi-million production & travel expenses), but at the same time this is the NFL looking for the best possible scenario for their brand…

…But at the same time as that their suggestion is one that could risk putting that Super Bowl brand at risk, potentially scaring off potential big-name participants for what was originally devised as a ratings-saving approach to the halftime performance… so they may need to keep “Up with People” on emergency speed-dial for a while here…

In the current plans by the NFL, though, the act to succeed Bruno Mars (who appears to have got off lucky a year early) and have a huge headlining act at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (USA) on 1 February 2015 will reportedly be Katy Perry, Coldplay, or Rihanna, or potentially a combination of that list, although none have been as welcoming to the idea after hearing of the new requirement.

While the latter two have played a major sporting event together before at the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games, that would be widely considered a much more deserving recipient of non-payment (as they reportedly did so with Jay-Z), but the NFL will have other ideas for their extravaganza. The Wall Street Journal suggest that the league have made a request for a one-off fee to play the Super Bowl XLIX, or alternatively, to “…contribute a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour income to the league”.

They will surely manage to find someone that wants to fit these terms eventually, but as the 32 franchises of the league continue their pre-season campaigns ahead of competing to be the 2 teams involved on the psuedo-holiday, will the league actually find it a tougher challenge to put on the sideshow than the teams playing to be the main attraction? At least in the past two decades the NFL, for its faults in the matter, have managed to bring out headlining acts that are (for the most part) less campy than what was used in different eras, although you can let it slide considering the era and a lack of HD-generation set-ups that today’s acts enjoy:

At least they won’t be taking any ideas from their first-ever attempt, the NFL can safely assume that the average modern Super Bowl viewer does not want to see or hear a traditional brass band:

YouTube Trailer Messes Pixar Movie Up The Bay

Pixar, a property of Disney, are a company known not only for their industry-leading CGI animation for films, but also the quality of their titles, with it being widely agreed that not one of their (at present) 14 feature releases can be considered a ‘bad film’, almost all of them in the realm of ‘excellent’.

up_bay_titleOne of the titles considered to be in the higher tiers of Pixar’s resume is 2009 release Up, an emotional family film following an old man’s quest to fulfil the shared dream he had with his deceased wife. Never before had a film about a house flying by balloon power to South America been so well received, particularly the opening scenes which are regarded as one of the biggest emotional rollercoasters in the history of cinema.

But what if Up was not under the direction of Pete Docter with a team of careful and considerate Pixar producers in support, and under the realm of, say… Transformers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles‘ Michael Bay? YouTube user MrStratman7 has the viral answer, and it rhymes with “BOOM!”…

Also, the opening scenes somehow become even more tragic:

The Great iPhone Heist

While Google, Microsoft, Samsung, and other rivals would probably be glad of Apple being knocked down a peg or few from their business status, they would probably want to do so through fair means and hard work, but can take a small grin at the recent stories coming from within the company.

iphone_5c_colors_spreadIt has been reported that seven American Apple employees from an Apple Store somewhere in Florida have been arrested regarding links to a iPhone-based scam.

The belief by prosecutors is that these seven are responsible for assisting criminals in stealing over $500,000 worth of iPhone-shaped merchandise, and taking a cut from said thieves for doing so.

The method used to do this was allegedly utilising a contact from a Best Buy in order to supply them with ‘legitimate serial codes’, under the reasoning that ‘registered serial numbers’ of devices declared stolen are unable to be processed through Apple’s in-store systems, enabling devices to be taken from Apple Stores without being trackable.

The accused employees are believed to have been paid $45-75 bonuses by Apple for each stolen iPhone that was replaced in-store, The Register reports, but Apple soon contacted police after performing an audit that uncovered unusually high levels of iPhone replacement cases being handled by certain staff members, with six workers arrested and a seventh turning themselves in, though the main thieves are yet to be caught with no leads.

While the amount of money lost through the crime is not going to be a big deal for a company making billions each year like Apple, how big a hit will the series of events have on their reputation?

First-Ever Roku TVs Prepared For Launch

With their set-top box and streaming stick options not considered enough to encompass the market as a whole, the Roku brand looks set to expand to the ready-made TV set arena, with manufacturers TCL and Hisense getting ready to release the first-ever Roku TVs for the TV streaming industry.

tcl_rokutvPreviously only offering semi-attempts with ‘Roku Ready TV’ bundles of a partner TV set and a packed Roku Streaming Stick, the new efforts released later this year will be the first-ever  times in which an HDTV set will have Roku already preloaded and built-in, utilising the exclusive Roku OS, as seen in all Roku media hubs, and enabling supported Android and iOS apps as well as smartphone/tablet computer support.

Within Roku’s streaming service, TVRoku will offer over 1,500 unique ‘content channels’, a number added to by the day covering many different niches, along with well-known and more general apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Go, and Amazon Instant Video, amongst others, carrying integrated search that allows a user to chech a title’s availability throughout all services and channels on the product.

The sets from TCL (4 models under the FS4610R series: the 720p 32FS4610R ($229), and the 1080p-screen 40FS4610R ($329), 48FS4610R ($499), and 55FS4610R ($649)) and Hisense (to have 4 models from “40-55 inch size” at currently-unspecified prices) are each naturally offering their own remotes, with Roku-specified controls (such as dedicated app buttons for Amazon, Netflix, Rdio, and Vudu) joining dual-functions for both the HDTV in question and for Roku commands, but lacking in signature ‘headphone jacks’ of certain Roku set-top box results. Everything else, however, seems to be a step forward on the technological integration side for Roku, so will they be able to make their first fully-supported internet TV sets a successful venture.

Madden NFL 15 Launches Big New Season With YouTube Hit

Most commercials of a new game, while featuring plenty of explosiveness, don’t show too much outside of gameplay footage, as their product is essentially the thing being sold. Because they have the budget and the brand power, though, the NFL, EA Sports, Xbox, and celebrity guests have combined to make a memorable music video promoting the latest installment of the behemoth Madden NFL game franchise, Madden NFL 15 (first released on 26 August for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, & PS3).

madden_season_15Rest assured there is very little actual gameplay featured in over 3-and-a-half minutes of ‘trailer’, almost as though they know it hardly ever changes (or that casual players don’t care about updated ‘gameplay physics’ and ‘realistic statistics’), so instead choose to focus on the players of the game, who have to be intensely prepared for the battles ahead and ‘man up’ to play a simulation of a sport where safety of heavily-armored players and league rules are leading considerations.

Those players of the enjoyable game, though, happen to be actors Kevin Hart (Ride Along) and Dave Franco (21/22 Jump Street), with guest appearances from a stray Canadian internet chef and the game’s trash-talking cover athlete Richard Sherman, who leads a boastful rap interlude with his blah blah blahbiddy blah – men.

It should be disclaimed that while most players of the game won’t enjoy a poolside cinematic projection, a huge crowd of onlookers, or a rising mascot on the violin, they probably won’t play through in the presence of a burning house either… you hope.

The sequel to the abnormally-named Madden NFL 25 (EA Sports have around 10 years to figure out what to do about a name when that point in the sequence comes round), Madden NFL 15 promises to be bigger, better, clearer, and more developed than ever before… at least that’s what you hope they’re trying to imply.

Internet TV Subscriber Numbers Surpass Cable

After plenty of strong growth over the past few years, it appears as though it has finally happened – internet streaming has overtaken cable TV in subscriber numbers.

cutting_the_cable_cordResearch from the Leichtman Research Group found that the number of American streaming service subscribers was now greater than that of cable TV subscribers in the nation, the results first occurring in the measurements for the second quarter of the current year.

In total, it was found that at the end of Q2 2014, there were 49.915 million American broadband subscriptions, 50,000 more than the 49.910 million for cable TV.

It is noted that this growth can be attributed to the 17 biggest telecommunications companies in the country – collectively claiming a 93% market share nationwide, took on 385,000 high-speed internet packages across that second quarter.

Leichtman Research Group president & principal analyst Bruce Leichtman said of the statistics: “With the addition of more than 30 million broadband subscribers over the past decade, cable providers have clearly expanded well beyond their roots in cable TV service. As of the end of Q2 2014, the top cable providers now have more broadband subscribers than cable TV subscribers.”

The market leader in this study was noted as being cable TV specialists Comcast, who hold around 2/5ths of the total with 21.27 million broadband subscribers adding around half of America’s new clients with 203,000 added subscriptions across the quarter.

While the others are certainly heading in the same direction, as well as the industry as a whole, the main questions now would be by how much these statistics will grow…