Aereo Confidently Optimistic After First Days Hearing

The ABC vs Aereo Supeme court case that could have wide ranging implications for internet TV, has had it’s first day of arguments from the cloud based re-transmitting company against the traditional broadcaster. Both sides came out with compelling arguments.

Aereo-expansion-2014Talking to Aereo’s lawyer, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said,, “Your technological model is based solely on circumventing legal prohibitions that you don’t want to comply with.”

In their defense, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, said, “what disturbs me on the other side is, I don’t understand what a decision [against Aereo] should mean for other technologies,”

But in defiant mood, speaking outside the United States Supreme Court today, Aereo’s counsel, David Frederick said the following:-

“From our perspective, the issue in the case was whether consumers who have always had a right to have an antenna and a DVR in their home and make copies of local over-the-air broadcast television, if that right should be infringed at all simply by moving the antenna and DVR to the cloud.

“The court’s decision today will have significant consequences for cloud computing. We’re confident, cautiously optimistic, based on the way the hearing went today that the Court understood that a person watching over-the-air broadcast television in his or her home is engaging in a private performance and not a public performance that would implicate the Copyright Act.”

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Netflix Plan $1-2 Price Hike As Member Numbers Get Close To 50 Million

Netflix seemed too good to be true, all that instant streaming content for so little. But they have revealed that prices will be going up from the existing $8 per month by a, “one or two dollar increase”, for new members later this year.

Netflix-membersThe news comes as Netflix reported first quarter profits of $53m, they also added 2.25 million new members during the same period in the US (total 35.7 million), and added 1.75 million new international subscribers (total 12.7 million), making the global Netflix family 48 million users.

Currently Netflix charge members $7.99 per month although they have experimented with alternative price points. One of those added options was allowing subscribers to have four separate users running different streams simultaneously for an $11.99 monthly cost.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that the success of Netflix’s highly expensive original programming was partly behind its membership increase.

He said that the price increase would be for new members initially, and that existing subscribers will continue to pay the current price “for a generous time period”. He also said that increasing subscription fees would help the company, “acquire more content and deliver an even better streaming experience.”

The company believe that additional fees are justifiable because they are releasing top quality award winning content such as the Kevin Spacey drama House of Cards which has just seen it’s second season release. Although Netflix do not give viewer numbers, they have said that the show, “attracted a huge audience that would make any cable or broadcast network happy.”

Although the 50 million mark will be an astounding achievment, Hastings is not stopping there. Speaking in a letter to shareholders and quoting that HBO have 130 million subscribers. He said, “We are eager to close the gap.”

True Blood Release Trailer For Final Cut

While other shows have gained plenty more publicity during their pre-season trailer phase despite being likely to stick around a lot longer than the current year, HBO will be hoping that they can maintain a strong viewership and interest in one of their departing shows, as True Blood prepares for its final run-in with the launch of a first teaser trailer for the upcoming episodes.

true_blood_season_7_bloodThe 10-part seventh season of the supernatural drama, set to bring the total (and final) episode count up to 80, will premiere on 22 June airing each Sunday thereafter, putting the season finale date on-course for 24 August if previous scheduling methods are being followed.

The network have chosen two months and two days prior to the premiere date as the time-frame between their first releases of new content ‘teaser’ and ‘full’ format, with the footage below showcasing a compilation of action and drama scenes, led by telepathic lead character ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ (Anna Paquin).

HBO’s official True Blood YouTube page briefly summarizes: “The final season of True Blood premieres June 22 at 9PM on HBO. Use #TrueBloodForever to join the conversation.”

The teaser trailer in full can be viewed below:


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Aereo Plan To Change Future of TV With Decisive Court Case

Having long been established as the sharpest thorn in the side to TV networks when it comes to internet streaming their own live content, Aereo are set to take on the ‘big 4′ of American TV networks (amongst others) as they go to court tomorrow in a case which some are claiming could trigger a chain reaction for the industry as a whole whichever direction it is taken.

AereoHaving progressed all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington DC (USA), the case being heard as a ‘one-hour oral argument’ on Tuesday (22 April) will be one to determine whether or not Aereo (supported by Barry Diller’s InterActiveCorp) have been legally operating since their foundation in 2012, having been accused of illegally streaming network content to subscribers without paying commission or gaining permission otherwise from the channels being aired.

The nine justices present in the court tomorrow are set to do so in the spirit of their predecessors 30 years ago, who only slightly voted in favour (5-4) of the newest viewing technology of its time, the Betamax video recorder from Sony, a case later dubbed “The Magna Carta” for the technology industry. In January 1984, major networks lost their appeal to claim that the VCR machine constituted ‘contributory copyright infringement’, through the heinous act of users recording content from their TV sets for later viewing.

Of course, the three decades that have passed since that verdict resulted in the art of digital recording becoming mainstream and then normalised within the TV audiences, a development which Aereo will hope can work in their favour and inspire the courts to give them the platform for similar success, a potential challenge to the $3b industry of ‘retransmission fees’ that networks currently receive in the USA from satellite and cable TV providers.

But with claims from ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox (including parent companies Disney, Comcast, NBCUniversal, and 21st Century Fox) that the Aereo service is infringing on their copyrighted content, it will be a difficult task for the defendants given the legal backing these networks will bring, and if failed, could provoke a knock-on effect that hits the likes of Google and Microsoft with their cloud storage technology.

For Aereo’s developments specifically, though, the networks are firmly opposed to something just ‘created to skirt copyright law’, unlike the now-accepted Betamax outcome (described as ‘genuinely innovative’), although that case is not mentioned in the legal brief from the prosecution (compared with Aereo’s 12 mentions). Network representative lawyer Neal Katyal summarised: “There’s nothing innovative about the [Aereo] technology.”

However the case turns out, it appears as though all concerned will have business as normal for two months at least, with a final decision believed to have a deadline of the end of June. Will it be Aereo CEO Chet Kanojia emerging victorious at that point, or will the legal team for the major networks snuff out any chance their thumbnail-antenna streaming rivals have of making a Betamax-shaped mark on the market?

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Discovery Take Down Everest Jump Show Through Respect

In the wake of the recent avalanche in Mount Everest (Nepal) that caused the death of 16 Nepalese people primarily of the Sherpa community, Discovery Channel have announced their decision to drop a planned ‘television event’ they had focusing on the mountain.

everest_jump_live_bumperWhile plenty of events get postponed or cancelled on account of disaster occurring in their area or otherwise, Discovery would have been broadcasting content from the same mountain where the disaster occurred on Friday (18 April) with a key focus on it, as could be expected from a show titled Everest Jump Live.

The planned live event has now been cancelled, though, with the proposed airdate of 11 May deemed ‘too soon’ by network executives in the wake of the tragedy, believed to be the deadliest on record to have ever occurred on the 8,848m world’s tallest mountain, having also left three additional people ‘severely wounded’, ‘at least four’ as missing, and ‘many others’ injured. Five of the dead, however, were noted as working for Discovery Channel in preparation for the show, which gives a significant amount of weight towards the cable network’s decision.

The programme, set to have been hosted by Willie Geist (NBC Today) along with Chris Jacobs and Kyle Martino, was to provide background to the mission of climber Joby Ogwyn, who planned to attempt the first ever ‘wingsuit flight’ from the summit of the mountain, an event that would have occurred live in 224 countries and territories holding broadcast rights.

But seemingly sharing the views of the Nepalese government (who are considering cancelling access to all scheduled Mount Everest expeditions remaining in 2014), production network and lead broadcasters Discovery have made the call to stop production before it properly begins out of respect for the people harmed in the avalanche. They summarised in a public statement: “In light of the overwhelming tragedy at Mount Everest and respect for the families of the fallen, Discovery Channel will not be going forward with Everest Jump Live. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the whole Sherpa community.”

Whether the move is considered by wider audiences as a poignant gesture almost a month after the disaster, Everest Jump Live will no longer be produced, but will Discovery be able to make their next ‘event television’ programme just as high-concept as their previous idea sounded before unfortunate circumstances intervened?

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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.

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