iView And iPlayer Passed The Puck For New Series With Netflix-Style Premiere

After dressing up as the opposite gender and over two decades younger in order to fulfill his single character-based spin-off series Ja’mie: Private School Girl, 39-year-old Australian comedian Chris Lilley won’t be going in drag to revive another of his most popular creations from sketch show Summer Heights High – but will increase the age gap in a series more groundbreaking than most other clues would suggest.

jonah_from_tongaWhile popular characters or concepts of TV shows are often brought back into something of their own, Lilley’s new single-season comedy series Jonah From Tonga is doing the same, but with a twist that could help pave the way for other shows to gain momentum in online broadcasting.

The series, formally announced at the end of Ja’mie’s run, will continue Lilley’s collaboration with partner networks ABC, BBC, and HBO, though the former two will most notably not be screening first on their traditional channels (ABC1 in Australia and BBC3 in the UK), but instead through the networks’ respective online catch-up platforms.

The ABC iView and BBC iPlayer will both participate in a trial of the 6-episode series (in which lead character ‘Jonah Takalua’, having been expelled from Summer Heights High, is sent to a new school in order to ‘get his life back on track’), where all episodes are introduced at the same time in a similar manner to Netflix’s original programming.

However, even more uniquely than Netflix, the opportunity to ‘binge view’ will be in a specific window of time only, closing after 48 hours of its launch on Friday 2 May. For those that don’t have 3 of those hours free to go through the whole series, the TV debut of Jonah in its more traditional ‘linear’ weekly schedule will occur on 7 & 8 May for Australia and the UK (with details on HBO’s American premiere unconfirmed), where iView and iPlayer will start providing more normalised catch-up options from that point.

Laura Waters, a representative of production company Princess Pictures, noted: “Jonah from Tonga is a thrilling series, coming out in the most thrilling era of television. Chris and I will always put the fan’s experience first. We’re so excited that people can choose their own way of getting involved with Jonah.”

BBC iPlayer’s head of TV content Victoria Jaye added: “This is BBC iPlayer’s first collaboration with an international broadcaster to create an online TV event. For 48 hours only, iPlayer audiences will be given access to all episodes of Chris Lilley’s new comedy series Jonah from Tonga. We’re excited to see how this digital event sets light to social media activity from fans both here and on the other side of the world.”

Arul Baskaran, ABC’s head of online and multiplatform, summarised: “We’re firm believers in innovation and improving how technology can deliver outstanding Australian content to audiences no matter where they’re watching, and we’re thrilled to now offer binge viewing of a highly anticipated show from one of Australia’s most respected comedic talents.”

A teaser trailer for Jonah From Tonga can be seen below, as can another controversial occasion in which Chris Lilley portrayed a non-Australian.

How Samsung Siezed Initiative Following Steve Jobs Death

The rivalry in the smartphone industry between Apple and Samsung is well-documented, but any followers looking to dig even deeper into this battle for market supremacy would most likely bring up this point in any future arguments if they are supporting Apple.

steve_jobs_digital_tributeIt appears as though the ongoing court proceedings from Apple towards Samsung (in which the former are demanding $2b from the latter for five cases of alleged ‘patent infringement’, while Samsung are seeking $6.9m from Apple over two patents) have had to start scraping when it comes to ‘evidence’ being displayed, with Samsung earlier this month showing a leaked e-mail from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs relaying planned future products and planning their future ‘holy war’ with Android operating system owners Google.

In response to that move, an email from within Samsung has been presented at the case, with one sent from Samsung Telecommunications America’s head of national sales Michael Pennington likely to offend anyone who worships Apple and the legacy of the late Steve Jobs.

Pennington’s email, obtained by CNET, displayed his intent to capitalise on Steve Jobs’ death in 2011, more specifically ‘pushing’ their own efforts a little more in the ‘best opportunity to attack iPhone’, as well as bemoaning the amount of overly positive press Apple and iPhone received in the wake of Jobs’ passing.

In part of a chain email sent on 7 October 2011 (2 days after the death of Steve Jobs), Pennington wrote: “Unfortunately, Steve Job’s [sic] passing has led to a huge wave of press coverage of Apple’s and iPhone’s ‘superiority,’ all created by the ‘passionate, tireless, perfectionist…’. The point here is that there is an unintended benefit for Apple, since the external messages by 3rd parties are all highlighting and/or supporting the consumer perception that Apple products are superior, since Jobs’ [sic] was such a visionary and perfectionist. What consumer wouldn’t feel great about purchasing a device developed by such a person.

“Sorry to continue to push this issue, but I have seen this far too long and I know this is our best opportunity to attack iPhone. If there is no consensus on the approach I initially proposed, I will stop pushing, but I would like to better understand our strategy so I can align with that.”

While the message seems more like a case of business opportunism and stating perceptions and facts than any cynical outburst on a rival company’s misfortune, it is fairly likely that Apple will hold up certain phrases as examples of exactly why Samsung would have stolen their rounded rectangle ideas…

Cord Cutter Numbers Rise 44% In Last 3 Years Says Report

The dramatic effect of cheap online streaming from services like Netflix and Hulu are having an increasing knock-on effect encouraging users to cut the cord and leave expensive pay TV services say a new report.

cut-the-cord-streaming-servicesThe news comes from a report by Experian Marketing Services which indicates that high speed broadband connected viewers cancelling cable or satellite services has grown by 44% during the last 3 years.

The big factor in converting users to abandoning cable seems to be getting the content onto a big screen TV, which is getting easier by the day with products such as Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire.

Speaking to Business Insider, Experian Marketing Services senior marketing manager, John Fetto said, “It really appears that the tipping point is whether they’re actually streaming content to their televisions. Having access to on-demand video when they want it without sacrificing screen size seems to be the real thing that makes a difference for them.”

The biggest demographic that will leave traditional Pay TV (or never even subscribe in the first place) is millennials who need to watch the pennies in the modern world and see cable cutting as the ideal solution. “Young millennials who are just getting started may never pay for cable,” said Fetto.

The report states the obvious in that most of the 44% of cord cutters also have a streaming subscription to Netflix oraccess to Hulu streaming. But not everyone is interested in stopping cable, both sports fans and families with young kids are still resisting.

Read our Guide To Cutting The Cord

And Cable companies are not resting on their laurels as the cable cutters leave in droves, they are offering a number of online and a la carte offerings so that subscribers can pay a lower amount for just what they want.

Console Wars Sales Update Gives PS4 2 Million Edge

Global media hype in the technology industry in the build-up to, month of, and periods following November 2013 were focused squarely on the release of the biggest next-generation games consoles, and while interest has naturally cooled off a little after such high-profile releases, there is still headlines to be made from how the companies involved (Sony and Microsoft) are performing, with the Japanese challenger living up to their favourites tag and leading the way when it comes to number of units sold worldwide.

ps4_and_xboxoneThe statistics brought to public attention by the NPD Group suggest that the PlayStation 4 from Sony is ahead of Microsoft’s Xbox One by a total of over two million units after around five months of activity, following their respective 15/22 November launch dates in the USA.

In rounded numbers, the score appears to be 7,000,000-5,000,000 in PlayStation’s favour, with Xbox suffering the fall-out of their controversial build-up campaign.

Speaking of their current success, Sony Computer Entertainment President Andrew House stated as part of an official press release on the matter: The response from the global gaming community for PS4 has been overwhelming and we are truly humbled that gamers are selecting PS4 as their next generation console of choice. The PS4 journey has just begun, and although we are still facing difficulties keeping up with the strong demand worldwide, we remain steadfast in our commitment to meet the needs of our customers, and surpassing the wildest expectations of gamers by delivering new user experiences that inspire and engage. We look forward to unveiling many of these experiences to our fans in the coming months.”

Xbox executive Yusuf Mehdi, meanwhile, stressed the positives of his company’s product performance, summarising: “The new generation is off to a strong start, with global Xbox One sales outpacing Xbox 360 by more than 60% at the same point in time, a true testament to your love of console gaming.”

The bad news for Xbox, though, in spite of having the best selling game across all platforms in March (Respawn Entertainment’s first-person shooter Titanfall), they were again outsold by the PS4 during the month-long period, and with no immediate signs of that trend reversing, have Microsoft learned any lessons for the next time they try develop and market a games console?

YouTube Host An Immersive 3,500 Hours Of British Pathe

A brand almost synonymous with black-and-white film reel at least directly either side of the English Channel, the brand known as British Pathe are likely to have provided some sort of archived footage you have seen at some point in your life, but if anyone out there has not yet been reached indirectly, they can now know exactly where to find their content if they have access to YouTube.

british_pathe_1896-1976And by making their content able to ‘find’ in one place, British Pathe mean all of it, after uploading their entire video archive onto the Google-owned video sharing website earlier this week.

In spite of the content on offer covering over 3,500 hours worth of content (146 days, if you wanted to watch the entire collection with no breaks) across over 85,000 video clips, the release on Sunday (13 April) was made to little fanfare other than their own press release, with major news outlets only picking up on the story (or 85,000 of them) near the tail-end of the week.

The collection of footage spans from 1896-1976 and covers almost all genres of everyday life, and is regarded by many as the best film archive for the period in the world for both quantity and quality, particularly for coverage of the two World Wars. While such clips were generally made for either news programmes, documentaries, or cinematic pre-film specials, the archive of British Pathe (self-owned since 2009 after going through a number of owners in its long history), has focused on preservation through more sustainable digital means since 2002, a culmination of the project seemingly in place now with backups of the film reels now contained within an official YouTube channel with content fully prepared to make viewers learn, laugh, and cry.

The YouTube effort comes with support from German company Mediakraft, who are noted in the press release as planning to create English and foreign-language content from the past footage, presumably doing it mainly by modern voice-overs to themed compilations.

British Pathe’s general manager Alastair White said of the release, which has been rolled out in ‘high resolution’ for the best possible footage: “Our hope is that everyone, everywhere who has a computer will see these films and enjoy them. This archive is a treasure trove unrivalled in historical and cultural significance that should never be forgotten. Uploading the films to YouTube seemed like the best way to make sure of that. Whether you’re looking for coverage of the Royal Family, the Titanic, the destruction of the Hindenburg, or quirky stories about British pastimes, it’ll be there on our channel. You can lose yourself for hours.”

Whatever it is you are looking for, said treasure trove can be found from the link provided, whilst sample footage can be found below to get you started, a nice way to lose a day/week/year if you like…

But all this nostalgia is not without forgetting that British Pathe had some rivals who could keep up in terms of quality back in their dominant era:

Date Confirmed For Oscars Ceremony In 2015

The finer details such as who is presenting are not yet confirmed, and most of the films that will be up for contention might not be out of the production stages yet, but the 87th Academy Awards has an official date it can now count down to, after host network ABC, like its viewers, found out exactly when they will be beginning the ceremonies next year.

oscarstrophiesThe biggest and most high-profile annual evening in the film industry is next time set to occur on Sunday 22 February beginning at 7pm ET/4pm PT, broadcasting (and streaming) live from the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Centre in Los Angeles (USA), the building that has been home to the event since its 74th edition in 2002.

While no official arrangements have yet been made for the personnel behind and in front of the camera, organisers will be hoping for people that can provide a repeat of the success and publicity enjoyed by Ellen DeGeneres and her producers last month, although not necessarily having to involve pizzas and selfies.

The official press release from the Oscars.org website addressing the matter, alongside full ‘key date’ details for any movie fans looking beyond the big day, can be read below:



Academy Announces Key Dates For The Oscars®

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the ABC Television Network today announced the dates for the 87th Oscars. The Academy Awards® presentation will air live on ABC on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015.

Key dates for the Awards season are:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Governors Awards

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Official Screen Credits and music submissions due

Monday, December 29, 2014

Nominations voting begins 8 a.m. PT

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Nominations voting ends 5 p.m. PT

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Oscar nominations announced

Monday, February 2, 2015

Oscar Nominees Luncheon

Friday, February 6, 2015

Final voting begins 8 a.m. PT

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Scientific and Technical Awards

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Final voting ends 5 p.m. PT

Oscar Sunday, February 22, 2015

87th Academy Awards begins 7 p.m. ET/ 4 p.m. PT

The Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.