Technology

Why The Cable Companies Have Reason To Fear Amazon

Read Write Web - Wed, 2014-04-23 21:02

The Platform is a regular column by mobile editor Dan Rowinski. Ubiquitous computing, ambient intelligence and pervasive networks are changing the way humans interact with everything.

HBO programming is among the most coveted in all of television. Its catalog includes some of the best produced and most critically acclaimed comedy and drama series ever created. Millions of people want to watch those shows. They just have to pay the piper first.

Until today, that piper was your cable or satellite provider, who will only provide you with HBO if you also sign up for a whole bunch of other channels as well. While HBO offers its own streaming service, HBO Go, you can't get it without a cable subscription.

In this world of cord cutters—people who forsake cable and use the Internet for their content needs—HBO’s reliance on the cable companies is problematic for its would-be viewers and even for the company itself. (Small wonder that HBO shows are the most pirated of all time.)

Today’s Quick Thought: Supreme Court, Aereo & Cloud Computing

If you haven’t been paying attention to the Aereo TV Supreme Court case, you probably should. Aereo, a service that repackages network TV broadcasts for consumers over the Intenret, has been sued by cable companies and TV networks over copyright violation. But the case has as much to do with the nature of cloud computing as it does the future of TV.

The legal issue turns on whether the network TV shows that Aereo records and stores in the cloud for its users should be considered a "public" performance or a private one. If public, then Aereo is presumably committing copyright infringement—exactly the outcome the TV networks and cable companies are looking for. But there's a deeper questions here: If the Aereo data stored in the cloud counts as a forbidden public performance of copyrighted material, then what about everything else stored in the cloud? That could be a huge can of worms for the Supremes to open.

To their credit, several justices asked during oral arguments this week how they could rule against Aereo without impacting cloud computing. Here’s hoping that the Supreme Court finds a way to allow a unique and innovative service like Aereo to remain in operation while protecting cloud storage as we currently use it.

Big Deal, So Not A Big Deal

HBO's big and famous back catalog—think James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano, Sarah Jessica Parker in Sex And The City, Ron Livingston in Band Of Brothers and Paul Giamatti as John Adams—is the reason Amazon's deal to bring older HBO programming to its Prime streaming service is a pretty big deal. For the first time, viewers will be able to stream HBO shows without paying for a cable subscription. (Viewers could, of course, already buy the DVDs or pay to download individual episodes from iTunes, Google Play or Amazon.) 

Granted, Amazon isn't getting the newest and hottest HBO shows. Much like the streaming deals that Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have historically cut with movie and television studios, the Amazon-HBO arrangement only covers series that have been around long enough to be released on DVD—though it doesn't even include all of those. So don't look for Game of Thrones or the newest episodes of Girls or Boardwalk Empire on Prime, although you will be able to find earlier seasons of the latter series there.

In that sense, you might conclude that the only novelty here is that HBO has finally stopped holding out and that Amazon beat out rivals like Netflix and Hulu, who would presumably have loved to make this deal. The deal will be good for HBO, which claims it will create new HBO cable subscribers, and for Amazon Prime members (who can now perhaps justify that $20 price hike).

But if you take a step back and look at what Amazon is doing, there is also something much larger going on here.

Over The Top And Onwards Until Dawn

Directionality is the key here. As in, Amazon is now moving in the direction of superseding cable companies.

Quote Of The Day: "No individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it." ~ George Washington Carver, American scientist, botanist and inventor.

Amazon is in a unique position relative to its online entertainment rivals. Apple and Google have streamable and downloadable movies and shows available for a price, but no subscription service for binge watching. Hulu and Netflix are subscription services with big catalogs, but they typically don't offer newer movies (and, in the case of Netflix, newer shows). Amazon, Netflix and Hulu are all developing original programming, unlike Apple and Google. Neither Netflix nor Hulu have their own hardware for streaming, instead relying on the likes of Google’s Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku and now the Amazon Fire TV.

Only Amazon has the full package:

  • Its Amazon Fire TV set-top box, which delivers both Prime and Amazon Instant Video rentals and purchases, as well as games.
  • More than 200,000 titles to rent, purchase or view via Prime.
  • The Prime subscription service, which cleverly offers streaming video as an add-on to what is, ostensibly, a free-shipping service for Amazon customers.
  • Cross-platform ubiquity with Amazon Instant Video available on devices such as the Xbox One and Roku.
  • Music download and streaming through its Amazon MP3 and Cloud Player services.
  • Its own Android app store for serving the Kindle Fire and Fire TV.

If only Amazon could become its own Internet provider, it might render the cable companies almost completely irrelevant.

Categories: Technology

A Pirate-Friendly Map of the Pieces of Ocean That No Country Owns

Gizmodo UK - Wed, 2014-04-23 21:00
Cool map alert: Donut Holes in International Waters is an interactive map that shows which countries have sovereignty over the high seas. It shows how we’ve diced up the waters with international law—and what all the left-over bits and pieces look like. For the most part, you know what the borders of different countries look [...]
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Apple’s Stock Surges In After-Hours Trading Following Earnings Beat, Promise To Return More Cash To Investors

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:59
 The market likes what Apple reported today, sending its share up more than 7% in after-hours trading. The company reported an earnings beat today, with $45.6 billion in revenue, $10.2 billion in net profit, or $11.62 in earnings per share. Analysts had expected Apple to report $10.18 in profit per share, and revenue of under $44 billion. Read More
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Apple’s Greater China Revenue Grew Sequentially In Q2 As iPhone Growth Impresses

Mobile Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:58
 Apple’s earnings are out, and the iPhone’s 17 percent growth was likely the most noteworthy number in its hardware results. That’s a big increase for a device that analysts expected to perform pretty much on par in terms of Q2 last year. One probable reason: growth in Greater China, where Apple saw 5 percent increase in revenue sequentially between Q1 and Q2, versus a pretty… Read More
Categories: Technology

Apple’s Greater China Revenue Grew Sequentially In Q2 As iPhone Growth Impresses

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:58
 Apple’s earnings are out, and the iPhone’s 17 percent growth was likely the most noteworthy number in its hardware results. That’s a big increase for a device that analysts expected to perform pretty much on par in terms of Q2 last year. One probable reason: growth in Greater China, where Apple saw 5 percent increase in revenue sequentially between Q1 and Q2, versus a pretty… Read More
Categories: Technology

Parchment Launches College Recommendation Engine So Applicants Can Hedge Their Bets

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:41
 Hello, high school juniors. Stressed about graduation next year? Nervous about getting into college? Well Matthew Pittinsky, co-founder of the online education giant Blackboard and current chief executive at Parchment, has some advice for you: Treat your college applications like you would a stock portfolio and hedge your bets. And you can even use a new tool from Parchment to do so. Read More
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Apple Announces 7 For 1 Stock Split, Boosts Its Dividend 8%, Adds $30B To Its Buyback Program

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:36
 As part of its earnings cycle today, Apple announced that it will increase its dividend 8 percent, add $30 billion to its share buyback program current to a total of $90 billion, and split its stock 7 for 1 in June. The company's dividend will also now rise yearly. Apple is incredibly cash-rich, and has been under pressure to utilize its vast financial resources to reward its investors.… Read More
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Apple Sold 44M iPhones, 16M iPads And 4M Macs In Q2 2014

Mobile Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:32
 Apple shared its quarterly earnings results today, and for fiscal Q2 2014, the company moved 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads and 4.1 million Macs. That compares to 51 million iPhones sold during the first fiscal quarter, along with 26 million iPads and 4.8 million Macs, but that was a holiday quarter, so a dip is to be expected. Last year during the same quarter, Apple sold 37.4 million… Read More
Categories: Technology

Apple Sold 44M iPhones, 16M iPads And 4M Macs In Q2 2014

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:32
 Apple shared its quarterly earnings results today, and for fiscal Q2 2014, the company moved 43.7 million iPhones, 16.3 million iPads and 4.1 million Macs. That compares to 51 million iPhones sold during the first fiscal quarter, along with 26 million iPads and 4.8 million Macs, but that was a holiday quarter, so a dip is to be expected. Last year during the same quarter, Apple sold 37.4 million… Read More
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Apple Beats In Q2 2014 With $45.6B Revenue, $10.2B Profit And $11.62 EPS

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:32
 Apple has just released its fiscal Q2 2014 earnings, reporting $45.6 billion in revenue, $10.2 billion in net profit representing $11.62 per share. Compared to the year-ago quarter, it corresponds to a growth of 4.6 percent in revenue, and 15.2 percent in EPS. According to Fortune, the consensus among analysts was for Apple to report earnings of $10.22 per share on $43.45 billion in revenue, with… Read More
Categories: Technology

Feel What it’s Like to Drown With This Terrifying Simulator

Gizmodo UK - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:30
Forget coffee. If you want something to give you a buzz, we guarantee that nothing will be quite as effective as the adrenaline rush you’ll get from swimming for your life in this online drowning simulator. This is not for the faint of heart. The stress-inducing site comes courtesy of Sortie En Mar, a French [...]
Categories: Technology

Facebook Passes 1B Mobile Users, 200M Messenger Users In Q1

Mobile Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:21
 Another mobile milestone for Facebook: the company reported in its Q1 earnings that it has now passed the 1 billion mark for monthly active users on phones and tablets. 1.01 billion to be exact. That is a sign of how mobile is approaching near-parity with desktop for Facebook: overall MAUs  across both desktop and mobile totalled 1.28 billion. Read More
Categories: Technology

Facebook Passes 1B Mobile Users, 200M Messenger Users In Q1

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:21
 Another mobile milestone for Facebook: the company reported in its Q1 earnings that it has now passed the 1 billion mark for monthly active users on phones and tablets. 1.01 billion to be exact. That is a sign of how mobile is approaching near-parity with desktop for Facebook: overall MAUs  across both desktop and mobile totalled 1.28 billion. Read More
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Zynga Founder Mark Pincus Steps Down From Chief Product Officer Role

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:16
 Along with the company's earnings release, Zynga announced that founder Marc Pincus would be stepping down from any operational duties and ceding his chief product officer title today. The company said that Pincus, who started the social gaming company in 2007, will remain Chairman of the Board. Read More
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Zynga Rallies 4% After Reporting Q1 Revenue Of $168M, EPS Of -$0.01

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:16
 This afternoon following the bell, Zynga reported its calendar first-quarter financial performance including revenue of $168 million, bookings (non-GAAP) of $161 million, and earnings per share of -$0.01 (non-GAAP). Analysts had expected the company to report top line of $164 million, and a single cent per-share loss. That revenue figure is a decline of 36 percent from the year-ago quarter. The… Read More
Categories: Technology

Facebook CFO David Ebersman Stepping Down Later This Year

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:08
 Facebook just announced that Chief Financial Officer David Ebersman will be stepping down, with David Wehner, the company's vice president of corporate finance and business planning, succeeding Ebersman on June 1. The announcement of Ebersman's departure came as part of Facebook's first quarter earnings report. In the earnings release, CEO Mark Zuckerberg described him as "a great partner in… Read More
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Facebook Beats In Q1 With $2.5B In Revenue, 59% Of Ad Revenue From Mobile, 1.28B Users

Mobile Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:04
 Facebook's is getting more and more mobile, now with 1.01 billion users on small screens. It's Q1 2014 earnings show it beat expectations, earning $2.5 billion in revenue with an $0.34 EPS. It now has 1.28 billion total monthly users, 802 million daily users, and 609 million daily mobile users. Facebook continued its march to become a mobile ad company with 59% of ad revenue coming from portable… Read More
Categories: Technology

Facebook Beats In Q1 With $2.5B In Revenue, 59% Of Ad Revenue From Mobile, 1.28B Users

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:04
 Facebook's is getting more and more mobile, now with 1.01 billion users on small screens. It's Q1 2014 earnings show it beat expectations, earning $2.5 billion in revenue with an $0.34 EPS. It now has 1.28 billion total monthly users, 802 million daily users, and 609 million daily mobile users. Facebook continued its march to become a mobile ad company with 59% of ad revenue coming from portable… Read More
Categories: Technology

The Utility Truck Can Exterminate a Pothole Every 120 Seconds

Gizmodo UK - Wed, 2014-04-23 20:00
Getting  work crews out to patch roads is sometimes more trouble than its worth. It snarls traffic for hours at a time, costs councils hundreds of thousands of pounds annually, and typically only fixes the problem for a short time. But this gravel-blasting utility truck aims to make the permanent patch process faster than firing [...]
Categories: Technology

Tweekaboo, The Family Photo Sharing App, Adds Book Printing

Tech Crunch - Wed, 2014-04-23 19:55
 Private family photo sharing network Tweekaboo has just launched the Tweekabook, an 8.5" x 8.5" book offering that lets parents produce and print baby books right from their iOS app. The books start at $29.95 for a 24-page book and the company ships anywhere in the world. Read More
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