Category Archives: Online TV/Music

Australia to Block Websites Hosting Live-Streamed Terror Attacks

Australia will establish a mechanism for internet providers to quickly and effectively block websites hosting terror attacks in the wake of the Christchurch shooting, according to an emailed statement.

The government is also creating a center to rapidly detect and shut down the sharing and live-streaming of the violent material as an attack takes place, according to the statement. They are recommendations from an industry and government body established after a man in March live-streamed the killing of more than 40 people in two Christchurch mosques.

Streaming Video Will Soon Look Like the Bad Old Days of TV

As media monoliths bundle their offerings, consumers will once again have to pay for a bunch of shows they don’t want.

By 2010, nine in 10 American homes were subscribed to a pay-television service. Many had also come to hate it.

Whether delivered by satellite, cable, fiber-optics, radio tower or DVR, “traditional” television had become overrun with klaxonic advertisements and series aimed at the widest possible audiences while meeting the narrowest of advertiser whims. Most television shows were still stuck on annoying schedules and delivered through dreadful channel guides and clunky cable boxes.

And it was expensive. The cost of the average cable package, stuffed with unwanted channels, had grown to $65 per month — and that was before hidden fees and unavoidable equipment charges.

So it was no surprise that audiences eventually flocked to streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, which offered a balm for pay-TV’s frustrations. According to Nielsen, the average American now watches nearly a quarter less traditional television than a decade ago, with those under 34 years old having halved their consumption.

But the streaming video era is already starting to resemble the old age of television that viewers were so excited to escape. Many of the problems TV watchers thought they had left behind are just being remixed under different brands and bundles.

The Great Race to Rule Streaming TV

In their rush to match Netflix, competitors like HBO, Hulu and Amazon are ordering a slew of content — ushering out the age of “prestige TV” and ushering in an age of anything goes.

When Nick Weidenfeld heard what happened at HBO last summer, he was thrilled. “Everyone I knew was texting that article around, saying, ‘What the [expletive]!’ ” Weidenfeld, an independent TV producer, recently recalled. A lot of people who work in Hollywood were spooked by the news, but not him: “I thought it was amazing.”

Weidenfeld was discussing the events of June 19, 2018, as reported in The Times: Around noon that day, Richard Plepler, then HBO’s chief executive officer, met with his new boss, John Stankey, at the network’s Manhattan headquarters. AT&T had recently completed its $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner — whose holdings included Warner Bros. and HBO — and chose Stankey to head up the resulting umbrella company, WarnerMedia. Plepler’s conversation with Stankey, framed as a company town hall, unfolded before some 150 HBO employees, who soon discovered that the new guy had big changes in mind.

Piracy in NZ ‘dying’ thanks to Netflix: study

Independent research commissioned by Vocus indicates “piracy is dying a natural death,” the company's consumer GM Taryn Hamilton says.

 The survey of 1000 adults, carried by Perceptive during December and weighted to census data, shows that people are willing to pay for content if it's offered at a fair price, Hamilton says.

Australian music industry, seeing post-Napster growth, goes after stream-rippers

In recent years the music industry has been feeling optimistic again, two decades after Napster cost it millions in lost revenue.

The strongest growth in 20 years occurred in 2018, a signal that the take-up by music fans of paid streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music was making digital piracy — the illegal downloading that made Napster notorious — less attractive.

But piracy has not disappeared. It has just changed form.

“Downloading used to be the big issue,” said Vanessa Hutley, the general manager of Music Rights Australia.

“But what we are finding is that these illegal stream-ripping sites are the growing trend.”

Locast, a Free App Streaming Network TV, Would Love to Get Sued

Want to watch the Super Bowl and other network TV for free? A start-up called Locast will let you, and (so far) the big broadcasters aren’t trying to stop it.

On the roof of a luxury building at the edge of Central Park, 585 feet above the concrete, a lawyer named David Goodfriend has attached a modest four-foot antenna that is a threat to the entire TV-industrial complex.

The device is there to soak up TV signals coursing through the air — content from NBC, ABC, Fox, PBS and CBS, including megahits like “This Is Us” and this Sunday’s broadcast of Super Bowl LIII. Once plucked from the ether, the content is piped through the internet and assembled into an app called Locast. It’s a streaming service, and it makes all of this network programming available to subscribers in ways that are more convenient than relying on a home antenna: It’s viewable on almost any device, at any time, in pristine quality that doesn’t cut in and out. It’s also completely free.

If this sounds familiar, you might be thinking of Aereo, the Barry Diller-backed start-up that in 2012 threatened to upend the media industry by capturing over-the-air TV signals and streaming the content to subscribers for a fee — while not paying broadcasters a dime. NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox banded together and sued, eventually convincing the Supreme Court that Aereo had violated copyright law. The clear implication for many: If you mess with the broadcasters, you’ll file for bankruptcy and cost your investors more than $100 million.

Netflix and chill no more – streaming is getting complicated

Streaming TV may never again be as simple, or as affordable, as it is now. Disney and WarnerMedia are each launching their own streaming services in 2019 in a challenge to Netflix’s dominance.

Netflix viewers will no longer be able to watch hit movies such as “Black Panther” or “Moana,” which will soon reside on Disney’s subscription service. WarnerMedia, a unit of AT&T, will also soon have its own service to showcase its library of blockbuster films and HBO series.

Families will have to decide between paying more each month or losing access to some of their favorite dramas, comedies, musicals and action flicks.

Turns Out, Willy-Nilly Blocking of URLs Doesn’t Stop Film Piracy

The most expensive film ever made in India is out around the globe, and its producers are very serious about shutting down piracy of the film. So serious that they were able to obtain a court order forcing local internet providers to block 12,564 domain names—many of which aren’t even registered. It appears this brute-force approach to piracy didn’t even work.

On November 28, a court ruled in favor of Lyca Productions, makers of over-the-top sci-fi flick 2.0, and ordered 37 companies to block a huge list of domain names at the ISP level—over 12,000 of them. TorrentFreak labeled it “one of the most aggressive site-blocking orders granted anywhere in the world.” What makes this case stand out is the fact that the production company is not only targeting known torrent hubs but also making guesses at other sites they could be operating or could potentially begin operating at some point in the future.

Is a ‘Netflix effect’ killing prestige films?

Netflix may be great for independent-minded filmmakers.

But it’s bad for a lot of the companies that produce independent films — and maybe the film business as a whole.

At least that’s the argument quietly being advanced by executives in parts of the movie industry — specifically the parts that produce and distribute the upscale independent movies that seize the public imagination this time of the year.

Music Industry Asks US Govt. to Reconsider Website Blocking

US companies have successfully lobbied and litigated extensively for pirate site blockades around the world. On their home turf, the issue was categorically avoided following the SOPA outrage several years ago. It now appears that this position is slowly beginning to change.

At the start of this decade, US lawmakers drafted several controversial bills to make it easier for copyright holders to enforce their rights online.

These proposals, including SOPA and PIPA, were met with fierce resistance from the public as well as major technology companies. They feared that the plans, which included pirate site-blocking measures, went too far.