Netflix Canada Ordered By CRTC To Provide Confidential Data

Netflix‘s American domination of online streaming is at a level its counterpart north of the border attempts to match, and while for the most part it succeeds, there are sometimes obstacles to face on account of not being native and not being ‘traditional television’.

crtc_logoCanadian broadcasting regulator CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) claimed that Netflix must hand over their viewer data to them otherwise be hit with rulings subjecting them to abide by the rules of ‘traditional Canadian television‘.

Setting the instruction at a hearing in Gatineu, CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais announced the decision following two weeks of heated debate with Netflix representative Corie Wright over ‘the future of television’, requesting that Netflix provide statistics regarding the total number of Canadian subscribers, as well as how popular Canadian-made content is on the site, although Netflix have naturally been cautious after citing a lack of confidentiality guarantee from the body.

Blais said to Netflix of the request: “You operate under an exemption order that requires you to provide the information. Failure to provide the information puts at risk your exemption order. The commission is ordering you to provide the number of subscribers that you have currently in Canada by 5 p.m., Ottawa time, Monday [22 September].”

Likely to be hit with having to follow the Broadcasting Act should they not comply, there is plenty of incentive for Netflix to do so with broadcasting taxes amongst the issues they would face by becoming an official broadcaster (an ironic byproduct of the situation considering Netflix’s long-held desire to prove they can compete with traditional TV networks).

Wright, however, seemed to argue that while aiding CRTC in ‘any way they can’ is a goal of the hearing, Netflix were there on a voluntary basis (as well as ‘supporting Canadian content’ of their own accord) and do not consider themselves Canadian or a broadcaster subject to full CRTC governance. She stated: “We are not a licensed broadcaster. We are a foreign entity.”

Set to spark plenty of discussion anyway over whether or not an incoming content broadcaster such as Netflix should be bound by regulations of a local governing body, will the case be made more controversial this evening with no viewer data arriving on CRTC’s doorstep?

Sony Plan Internet TV Launch By End of Year

Further to announcements that a proposed Sony-based internet TV service is picking up speed in terms of rights arrangements, it has been revealed by an executive of the Japanese company that they plan to have the platform released to American viewers before the year 2015, and for non-Americans… probably within 2015.

sony_makebelieveLikely to me made as compatible with a range of official Sony hardware such as the PlayStation 4, PS Vita, Sony Bravia smart TV sets and Sony Xperia mobile devices, the potential for coverage is certainly there for Sony with their plans to move into the TV industry, so all they really need as a defining factor over their success should be content, which for the time being includes Viacom (who will bring a wide selection from their owned networks and studios including Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount, and Spike), and in the future could be joined by companies including Disney, Showtime, and Time Warner, according to rumors.

Andrew House, the CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, claimed in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that Sony remain in discussion with a variety of potential content partners to offer licensed programming on the upcoming service, and will roll it out by the end of 2014.

House stated: “A streaming-based approach needs to have a very wide funnel of devices, and that inherently means a broad and manufacturer-agnostic approach.”

Will the Sony TV brand manage to go ahead as planned by the end of the year with the strongest start possible?

FX Keep a Tyrant On-Air

FX has announced the renewal of drama series Tyrant this week, revealing that the series will be back for a second season.

tyrant_fxIt was confirmed that the show has been given a total of 13 new episodes under its renewal, with aims to premiere them at an unconfirmed point in 2015, according to network executive Nick Grad last Thursday (18 September).

Grad said of the show’s reception so far, and the decision to renew: “We’re so proud of Tyrant’s performance throughout its first season. Howard Gordon is one of the best and most successful producers in this business. His ability to combine intelligent, edge-of-your-seat storytelling with events from the current geopolitical climate is truly groundbreaking. We look forward to seeing how Tyrant grows in season two.”

From the producers of Homeland, Tyrant tells the story of “Barry Al-Fayeed” (Adam Rayner), who goes through his day-to-day life whilst dealing with his Middle Eastern descent that he has avoided for much of his life, but brought to the fore when his father dies and he must advise the new president of his birth country, his brother, into not making mistakes of the past. The show also features Jennifer Finnigan (Better With You) and Ashraf Barhom (The Kingdom).

Heading into a second season and reaching a total episode count of 23 by its end, does Tyrant have the foundations to become a dynasty on FX?

South Park Launches Season 18 At Trollingest Time

The NFL on Sunday. Your team is playing out a close 4th quarter with victory or defeat either side of a very fine line. A routine commercial break occurs… and you see the face of Eric Cartman making a mockery of your team’s name.

south_park_redskins_jokeFor fans of the Washington Redskins franchise, this is pretty much their experience watching on Fox yesterday afternoon (21 September), as complete with the misery of seeing their team fail to come back to win against divisional rivals Philadelphia Eagles, during the eventful final quarter they were the first to witness a preview clip for the new 18th season of animated comedy series South Park on Comedy Central.

The clip featured the character of Eric Cartman running a business of some sort, only to be interrupted by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder, Coach Jay Gruden, and star quarterback Robert Griffin III, confronting him over the name of the business… The Washington Redskins.

After Cartman notes he is free to use the name since the team’s trademark was revoked, the Redskins argue back in a lampshading manner that can be seen as a parallel to the arguments offended Native American groups have with the Redskins regarding the nature of the team’s 81-year-old name.

It has been reported that the advert at its time of premiere only aired in the TV market for Washington, and had a mixed reception from Redskins fans, with some offended fans on Twitter crying ‘not funny’ at the clip, while other fans did see the humour. To ease the pain for the ‘offended’ Redskins support, the NFL team of choice for the creators of South Park, Cartman, and many of the show’s other characters, the Denver Broncos, suffered an overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks in a Super Bowl rematch later that day.

To not ease the pain, they would watch the first episode of the new season of South Park, which airs on Wednesday (24 September) on Comedy Central, and is likely to carry an elaboration on the commercial clip, which can be seen below:

Netflix Coming To Linux OS

Netflix has historically always been missing from Linux open source operating systems which power a large number of PC’s as well as running on Android and Roku hardware. But now that has changed.

Linux-NetflixFor running in browsers Netflix has previously used the Microsoft Silverlight media player, and Microsoft do not support open-source operating systems. But as Netflix migrate to using the HTML5 player, then it opens up the streaming service to Linux systems including Ubuntu and Redhat.

The news comes via a post by Paul Adolph, Senior Software Engineer of Netflix who posted a message on the Ubuntu developers forum, telling members that, “Netflix will play with Chrome stable in 14.02 if NSS version 3.16.2 or greater is installed. If this version is generally installed across 14.02, Netflix would be able to make a change so users would no longer have to hack their User-Agent to play.”

He continued with the question, “What is the process of getting a new NSS version into the update stream? Or can somebody please provide me with the right contact?”

NSS means Network Security Services which is basically a security feature designed to protect things (like intellectual property rights of streaming content owners).

So with that in mind With the shift to the new HTML5 player, Netflix will hopefully get the official support on desktop versions of Linux. And although the streaming service already has apps that run on Roku, Android etc., the Linux compatibility will mean the service can run on some of the kick ass Linux powered home media centers available.

Danger Mouse Revival Confirm Pointless Cast

The planned CBBC revival of hit 80’s children’s cartoon Danger Mouse has taken further steps towards its comeback, after an announcement this week confirming the voice talents that will be on the show.

danger_mouse_bombThe espionage parody will see Alexander Armstrong, currently best-known for his role in presenting BBC quiz show Pointless (and brilliantly- named spin-off Pointless Celebrities), as the voice of the titular character, set to re-debut in 2015.

He will be joined on the series by comedian/actor Kevin Eldon portraying Danger Mouse’s assistant “Penfold”, whilst the villain “Professor Squawkencluck” has been gender-flipped (or rather, made the niece of the original character of the same name), to be played by Shauna MacDonald, and Morewenna Banks will complete the main cast by voicing a number of recurring and minor characters. Alongside Armstrong, another presenter of sorts will feature as narrator, with Dave Lamb, the cult voice behind Channel 4 reality cooking contest Come Dine With Me, taking his narration talents to the world of the tiny spy.

The roles of Armstrong and Lamb had previously both been filled by David Jason (Only Fools and Horses), with the main cast of the original also including Terry Scott and Edward Kelsey, fairly naturally being replaced after a 3-decade hiatus of the show.

Armstrong stated: “As a lifelong fan of Danger Mouse I was ecstatic just to know that the show was coming back. To be actually involved with the reboot and to be taking DM out to a whole new generation is about as close to a dream job as you could wish for.”

Eldon added: “I’m absolutely delighted to be the new voice of Danger Mouse’s trusty sidekick Penfold. It’s a role and not a mole, Penfold’s not a mole, he’s a hamster that I’m going to really enjoy. When I am recording the episodes, I’ll be making sure that at all times my eyebrows are at least three inches above my head.”

CBBC channel controller Cheryl Taylor summarised: “We’re all genuinely bowled over to have Kevin and Alexander on board as Penfold and the mighty DM himself. They are both funny and fabulously talented performers and… will ensure that the series’ considerable comedy credentials are bestowed on a new generation of fans.”