The Simpsons Experiment With Different Format On Simpsons World App

Since FXX acquired the rights to show syndicated episodes of The Simpsons last year, it seems as though they have been taking the animated comedy show from Fox extremely seriously with regards to giving it airtime and support, with the marathon of all episodes to date in the summer perhaps expected at some point in their tenure.

the_simpsons_world_app_fxA couple of months on, though, they have gone one better, with the launch today of The Simpsons World app by FX Networks. The app (only available to TV subscribers) will provide every single episode from the show’s past (currently 556) in one place (with new episodes uploaded a day after original Fox airing), already a big ask for America’s longest-running scripted show, but is added to with a number of news, behind-the-scenes, bonus content, sharing, recommended playlists, and interactive features.

The service is described by FX as an “…immersive, interactive digital and online experience … for both casual and super fans.”

Available both through website and the FXNOW app (on applicable smartphones, tablet computers, and streaming products), the service is to offer alongside the episodes a variety of clips and trivia to accompany the viewing, with features including news/social media hub Everything Simpsons, Did You Know, and The Simpsons Heartbeat (a ranking of all episodes by viewcount), alongside smart search functions for both full episode scripts and to search episodes and clips by character or guest star.

It was also claimed that they are not finished with creating new features, as a number are set to be rolled out over the next few months. For the completionist of content side, perhaps semi-related content such as all promos, inserts, cross-overs, movies, commercials, images, and Tracey Ullman shorts should also be targeted for inclusion.

The Simpsons‘ executive producer Al Jean said of the new offering: “Hello Simpsons World, goodbye free time! Seriously.”

On a technical level, FX Networks’ chief operating officer Chuck Saftler said of the new service: “We recognize that The Simpsons was found linearly on television for the last 25-plus years in syndication, where any episode could be served up in a given night. If you just flipped on the TV, anywhere across the country, you’d find an episode, and that was a great, easy experience. But we wanted to look at the new paradigms that we’re seeing in this SVOD space, this non-linear space, where people can create playlists and create the [experience] they want. We’ll make it easy for you. We’ll curate for you; you can curate for you; you can curate for us. It can be lean-forward; it can be lean-back.”

FX Networks’ ‘head of marketing & on-air promotions’ Stephanie Gibbons summarised: “The Simpsons is one of the greatest shows ever made and our goal was to create a site that pays homage to this classic iconic brand while delivering a rich, personal experience. Fans will be able to seamlessly move in and out of the deepest digital archive of any TV series online ever – wherever they are and however they want – and dive deeper into this colorful world through many additional features built into this site.”

Following their structure of episode implementation, you will be able to watch this most recent headline-making footage from the show, with a closing scene of the “Treehouse of Horror XXV” episode showcasing the characters in various styles that will appeal to fans who also enjoy other animated comedies and cartoons.

For those with a checklist, featured there was The Simpsons in Tracey Ullman form, claymation, anime, Adventure Time, South Park, Archer, The Simpsons in ‘Sylvian Chomet couch gag’ style, The Simpsons in Lego form, The Simpsons in the fantasy animal form of a previous Treehouse of Horror installment, and the movie franchise Despicable Me.

Ryan Murphy Brings Scream Queens To Fox

One of the most disturbing realities in the current show business market is that the same person created Glee and American Horror Story, and adding one to his portfolio, Ryan Murphy has had his newest horror anthology series, Scream Queens, commissioned by Glee broadcasters Fox.

ryan_murphyWhilst his previous show on the network was a musical comedy-drama around high-school students singing in a ‘glee club’, Murphy, alongside Glee co-creators Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, will take a sinister turn when they moved on to this project, with the 15-part series set to focus on a college that becomes the site of a series of murders.

It is claimed that production on the series, which is to consist of hour-long episodes, will begin in early 2015, presumably for a release later that year.

Speaking of the first season order, Murphy stated of his newest anthology: “I knew I wanted to work with Brad and Ian again on something comedic, and we are having a blast writing Scream Queens. We hope to create a whole new genre – comedy-horror – and the idea is for every season to revolve around two female leads. We’ve already begun a nationwide search for those women, as well as ten other supporting roles, and we’re very grateful to Dana and Gary for their enthusiastic support.”

This time taking his scary stories to Fox‘s main network rather than cable channel FX (where American Horror Story was recently renewed for a fifth season (alongside a commissioning for spin-off American Crime Story), following the successful network record-breaking 10 million viewers for the fourth season American Horror Story: Freak Show premiere episode), will Scream Queens be a show that a ‘from the creators of Glee‘ tag helps or hinders?

Adobe Discover Streaming Up 388%

It is a well-known fact that online streaming is on the rise, for the most part at the expense of traditional live TV viewing, and Adobe are the latest company to have put a number on that trend.

adobe_pulseSpecifically, that number is a massive 388%, the percentage that online media streaming has increased year-on-year since 2013. The latest edition of Adobe’s ‘Video Benchmark Report‘, released yesterday, claims that more and more people are converting from traditional cable TV providers to an online source for their content.

This was found after reviewing data collected from over 1,300 media/entertainment outlets by utilizing Adobe Marketing Cloud and Adobe Primetime, along with data of 165 billion ‘online video starts’ in the year period, and ‘1.53 billion TV Everywhere authentications’, covering 250 leading pay-TV service providers which themselves cover 99% of America’s pay-TV market.

It was also discovered that networks had enjoyed a 146% rise in ‘unique monthly viewers’ on browsers and TV apps, and that the trends which began with live sports event streaming has evolved into movie watching (with an average viewer seeing 4 1/2 films per month, up from an average of 2 last month). Broadcasters also noted that there were 81% more TV episodes watched monthly across all means.

Another key note was that smartphones, for the first time ever, overtake tablet computers as the leading means in which to watch content on a mobile devices, though games consoles and other over-the-top platforms grew the most in usage with a 127% rise.

The report notes of this: “While online TV consumption remains fragmented across platforms, gaming consoles and over-the-top (OTT) devices gained the largest percentage of market share and Android apps surpassed desktop browsers as access points for watching TV online.”

Jeremy Helfand, Adobe’s ‘vice-president of primetime’, summarized of the industry as a whole: “Consumers’ content consumption habits are changing rapidly. Viewers expect seamless, more personalized viewing experiences across an ever-increasing number of devices, and broadcasters, media companies and advertisers must transform their digital strategies to optimize the viewing experience.”

Spotify To Introduce Family Payment Plan

For fans of music streaming that are put off by the idea of paying video-streaming prices for their service, market leaders Spotify are attempting to remedy the situation at least a little, after announcing that their new payment plan will follow the mould of Netflix-style multi-users… although not quite as cheap.

spotify_blackAs opposed to putting multiple user accounts onto a single subscription, Spotify have introduced the same limit (of five family members in one deal) but under the idea that the five family members will receive discounts on joining a combined collective subscription after the first has paid full price.

The ‘Spotify Family’ plan will first see a single person pay a standard premium fee of $10 with each additional person thereafter paying under a 50% discount, with the unlimited streaming for multiple people paid under one bill, with an example given of the discount being that a family of four can pay $25 ($10 + 3 sets of $5), as opposed to the previous $10 (4 sets of full-price $10) they would have had to pay before for the commercial-free unlimited music streaming database option.

The 50% offer will also correlate to other territories, being placed onto the £10/month UK price and AU$12 Australian fee, amongst others, with those and further global rollouts to occur over the next few weeks.

Spotify’s ‘chief content officer’ Ken Parks summarised: “This is one of the most asked for features from our audience. With today’s announcement we’re making it easier than ever for the whole family to experience Spotify Premium on their phones, at home and on the go.”

Aiming to convert some of their 75% of 40 million+ users that aren’t paid subscribers by providing a better deal for the additional features, Spotify are gradually developing their presence across 56 markets with the addition of more platforms and new initiatives. So whilst it is noted Rdio are amongst those already offering ‘family plans’ for music streaming fans, will Spotify’s high-profile introduction help cement it as the new expected norm for such a service? There are related reports that Apple’s iTunes Radio service are already looking into fitting their approach to the family focus…

Netflix And Rogers/Shomi Share Original Thriller Series Between Them

Perhaps putting to rest some of the rumors that they don’t care about Canada or its local content output, American streaming giants Netflix have revealed a deal that will see them combine with Shomi, the new service that is supposed to be its biggest competitor in the local market.

rogers_canadaFollowing through on statements made in a Canadian inquiry that claimed they were committed to Canadian content, Netflix have revealed they will be part of production on, and naturally one of the broadcasters of, new original ‘survivalist thriller’ series Between.

The show will not be a Netflix exclusive, though, with the deal cut for three parties, two of which have much closer ties. Whilst Netflix will be able to premiere the series of 6 hour-long installments on its release date, the same privilege also extends to Rogers Broadcasting’s ‘City’ stations and of particular note, their co-owned Canadian subscription video on-demand service Shomi.

Though in both familiar and unfamiliar territory, Netflix will not have complete premiere rights in the main territory in question, with the local market taken by Rogers and shomi for Canadians, and Netflix ‘limited’ to having an official premiere-day premiere in all their other markets including the USA and the UK. For Canada, they will have to wait until one year after Rogers and shomi’s initial premiere of Between, the date of which is unconfirmed at present.

Content-wise, Between is a creation of writer/director Michael McGowan (Saint Ralph, One Week, Score: A Hockey Musical) and will star Jennette McCurdy (iCarly) in a town which has been hit by a ‘mysterious disease’ that has caused the death of everybody that isn’t 21 or younger. Production on the thriller format comes from Don Carmody Television and Mulmur Feed in association with Elevation Pictures, the latter handling worldwide distribution aside from Netflix-covered territories.

Netflix’s ‘vice-president of global independent content’ Erik Barmack said of the show: “Teaming up with Rogers on ‘Between’ is a tremendous opportunity to work with a creative partner in Canada to bring our global viewers top-notch content.”

Rogers’ ‘director of original programming’ Nataline Rodrigues added: “Showcasing Michael McGowan’s cinematic vision on the small screen, this compelling new series, in partnership with Netflix and Shomi, delivers on our promise to offer viewers world-class entertainment.”

Set to begin filming next Monday with principal photography in which Jon Cassar (24, The Kennedys) will take the director’s helm for the opening two episodes, will the use of established names both on and off set be able to take Between to critical acclaim? They just need to be careful that they don’t anger the Canadians with any poor quality work, else they may end up being set adrift:

Apple Announce Above-Expectation Profits

In an unusual contrast to Netflix and Google, who have both been running along with little major issues to discuss, the most recent financial quarter has had Apple announcing that they have performed better than their own expectations in the technology market, in spite of problems that were far more publicised and joke-worthy.

apple-logo-fontPutting a figure on the headline is Apple’s profit of $8.5b for the Q3 2014 period, surpassing their own expectations for the stretch. Naturally, it is the high-profile release of the iPhone 6 and iOS8 operating systems that have contributed the most to this 13% earnings rise from the same point last year, surpassing analyst expectations in spite of the bad publicity they were receiving from poor consumer takeup of the software, and reports that the hardware was not only ‘flexible’ against its will, but also able to pull hairs out of someone making a phone call. Also potentially explosive, but that one was beyond Apple’s control.

CEO Tim Cook said of the positives to take away from the month for his company, which can probably be clearly seen in their bank accounts: “Our fiscal 2014 was one for the record books, including the biggest iPhone launch ever with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. With amazing innovations in our new iPhones, iPads and Macs, as well as iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, we are heading into the holidays with Apple’s strongest product lineup ever. We are also incredibly excited about Apple Watch and other great products and services in the pipeline for 2015.”

The posting date of Monday 20 October was one which saw Apple record an official ‘overall revenue’ of $42.1b, and beating the estimations of analysts at $40b. Apple’s chief financial officer Luca Maestri said of this display: “Our strong business performance drove EPS growth of 20% and a record $13.3 billion in cash flow from operations in the September quarter. We continued to execute aggressively against our capital return programme, spending over $20 billion in the quarter and bringing cumulative returns to $94 billion.”

With Apple’s Apple Pay mobile payment system now claimed to be fully repaired and ready to go, and the Apple Watch smartwatch product also edging closer to a late market entry, will Apple be able to use their own previous financial performances as momentum going forward with these products, or will some of the less positive headlines generated over the last quarter catch up with them in the last of the year?