May 10th, 2013

NAB Remains King

NAB Las Vegas - Final

NAB retains its place as the premium industry trade event. Billed as the world's largest electronic media event, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show, which recently concluded its 2013 edition, was attended by 91,565 people, representing 155 countries, and 1,703 media reporters.  Of the total number represented, 24,461 were international attendees.  The NAB reports that the show, held this year in Las Vegas, had more than 1600 exhibitors.  There were many strong themes this year, but the strongest was certainly UHD and particularly 4K, which was seen almost everywhere. Other key themes were IT, Cloud, mega storage, Channel in a Box, ME-less switchers and company mergers, most notably that of Chyron and Hego.  



Martin Leads Snell NA

Martin Leads Snell NA

While maintaining his role as global managing director for the TV Everywhere division, Paul Martin has also been named as President of Snell North America.  


In his new position, Martin will head up the North American sales, marketing and service functions.

As the head of TV Everywhere, Martin leads product development, sales, delivery and support functions for second-screen solutions, channel-in-a-box, media asset management and play-out animation.  


Martin will continue as a member of the company's management board, where he's served since 2009.


Time Warner Logo

TWC 1stQ Disappoints

 A disappointing 1stQ for Time Warner Cable was a result of fewer than expected subscribers for high-speed data service.  




The second-largest US cable provider lost 119K residential video subscribers, and added only 143K high-speed data subscribers. Even with the loss, 1stQ earnings were up 5 percent from $382 million in the first quarter of 2012 to $401 million this year. 


Google Logo

Tech Lift

Due in part to Microsoft and Google's strong earnings, the stock market recovered some its losses in the week ending April 19. The week was on track to be Wall Street's worst in the previous five months. Microsoft Logo

Google's stock ended the week at $799.87, a 4.43 percent increase, and Microsoft climbed to $29.76, representing a 3.39 percent climb. Both companies beat earning expectations.  


One of the results of the good news is that Google was able to raise its prices for ads delivered to Smartphones and tablets. 


Al Neuharth

Media Icon Al Neuharth Dead at 89

Friday, April 19, the founder of USA Today, The Freedom Forum and Newseum died in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Al Neuharth began his newspaper career delivering the Minneapolis Tribune, later working for the Alpena Journal.  


After serving in the army during WWII, Neuharth edited the University of South Dakota (Vermillion) newspaper The Volante. Together with fellow alumnus Bill Porter, Neuharth found the weekly SoDak Sports, devoted to the South Dakota sports scene.


He continued at the Miami Herald, eventually serving as assistant managing editor and was sent to the Detroit Free Press in 1960. Deciding he had no future there, due to its control by the Knight Family, Neuharth moved to Rochester, NY to run Gannett's Democrat and Chronicle. He then took over Gannett Florida in 1966.


In Cocoa, Florida, Neuharth started Today, which became Florida Today, which was his inspiration for USA Today, which he founded in 1982. It is now the most widely read newspaper in the country.


During Neuharth's time at Gannett, he helped build it into the largest newspaper company in the US. "The First Amendment guarantees a free press. We in the media must make sure it is a fair press," said Neuharth. 



Avid's Evolution

New and upgraded audio production, professional editing, multi-platform content distribution, on-air graphics production and asset management systems were touted by Avid's new president and CEO, Louis Hernandez Jr., during the 2013 NAB at the beginning of April.  



New products include Avid Interplay Production 3.0 to speed file-based workflows, Avid Media Composer v7, Avid Pro Tools 11, Avid Motion Graphics 2.5, and Avid Fast Track Solo and Duo portable audio interfaces for composing and recording professional audio.  Also presented was the Avid AirSpeed 5000 2.5 video server, now with slow-motion playback for SD and HD.



Tablets/Mobile Up

Over the last 12 months, consumer electronics spending increased by 35% for individuals and 35% for households mostly driven by sales of tablet devices, Smartphones, e-readers and hotspots.




The figures, courtesy of the Consumer Electronics Association's senior research analyst Kevin Tillman, came with the additional news that the devices are expected to continue to bring high sales in 2013.  Not surprising was the result of the CEA study finding that 98 percent of households own a television, making it the most universally owner electronic device. 


A Braille Smartphone

A Braille Smartphone

Currently in development and expected to be released at the end of the year, is a Braille Smartphone, designed by Sumit Dagar, a 2011 Ted Fellow. Apps like Siri and SayText were found wanting by some visually impaired cellphone users, so Dagar developed a screen made up of a grid of pins, which form Braille shapes and characters as they move up and down. It's called Shape Memory Alloy technology.  




Dagar, a graduate of the National Institute of Design, describes it as "[the] world's first Braille Smartphone ... a companion more than a phone."  The prototype is being tested at the LV Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India. At approximately $185, the phone will cost less than a large majority of Smartphones currently on the market. 


Smaller Bundles?


Announcing that the company will no longer push its Triple Play packages as aggressively as in past years, Time Warner Cable is the first cable company to admit that its customers are moving away from the bundling of phone, TV and Internet services.


As more customers discontinue their use of landlines in favor of cellphones, the demand for the company's Triple Play bundle is decreasing.


Time Warner lost 35K phone subscribers in the 1stQ. COO Rob Marcus said that representatives will now be asking questions to find out which services customers use and then try to up sell premium offerings - faster Internet or premium TV packages. The Triple Play will continue to be offered to those customers who want it. 


Kristine Stewart

Kirstine Stewart of CBC Joins Twitter

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp's (CBC) English language service leader, Kirstine Stewart, is leaving to join Twitter effective immediately.

Stewart has been named managing director of Twitter Canada and will open Twitter's first offices in the country.


Twitter, which is based in San Francisco, has been courting the traditional media in its strategy for continued growth. The company is expected to hold a public stock sale within the next year or two. Twitter's 2013 revenue estimates by research firm eMarketer, are just below $600 million. Twitter makes money by selling advertising. 


Netflix Logo



In its 2ndQ reports, Netflix has announced that 14 percent of its revenues are coming from business outside the U.S.


With international membership numbers now at 7.1 million, Netflix's recent Nordic and UK/Ireland launches resulted in a large number of new subscribers.  During the same time period, Netflix gained 2.03 million subscribers in the United States.  Netflix hopes to narrow the focus of its appeal to users with its new "Profiles" feature, which separates the activity of each individual, offering more personalized results.


In Netflix news, the company responded to its customers' distaste for (and confusion with) Quickster - a separately streamed video service - by keeping all their services under one banner. The original move, coupled with recently increased prices, resulted in a torrent of angry e-mails to the company and a steep slide in stock prices, going as low as $53 a share from their recent high of $299. But it seems that Netflix has weathered the crisis, since they recently announced a gain of nearly three million new customers. 


George Jones

Legendary County Singer George Jones Dies at 81


With more than 150 country music hits in his career, including "She Thinks I Still Care," "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair" and "The Grand Tour," George Jones - a.k.a. "The Possum" and "No Show Jones," was the iconic country singer. 


His awards ranged from Most Promising New Country Vocalist in 1956 to being named as a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2008. Jones was presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.


Jones planned on retiring at the end of his 2013 tour, but was recently hospitalized with fever and irregular blood pressure. He died on April 26 at the age of 81. 



InfoCOMM in Orlando

InfoCOMM is your chance to see over 10,000 technology products from more than 925 companies is coming to Orlando, Florida.

InfoCOMM 2013 will take place at the Orange County Convention Center from June 8 through 14. Attendee registration is available at


Featured will be education and training from all the leading audio brands in demo rooms, the Unified Collaborative Conferencing Pavilion, the Digital Signage Pavilion, and the Lighting and Staging Pavilion.

In addition, those who use AV in their houses of worship will find a Technologies for Houses of Worship Pavilion.  InfoCOMM is expecting 35,000 professionals to attend including 4,500 attendees from 90 international countries. 



Sour APPLE? Borrowing Money Despite Huge Cash Reserves


 For the first time in many years, computer giant Apple's fiscal 2ndQ results have slipped, showing an 18% dip in profits. Disappointing sales of the iPhone may be to blame, as growth in that market segment was up only 3% to total $22.96 billion in the 2ndQ.


New products including an iWatch may take up some of the slack, but CEO Tim Cook maintained Apple's usual reticence, only saying that the teams are "... hard at work on some amazing new hardware, software and services ..."  Cook says that the company is "very confident" of their future products.  


In an unprecedented move, Apple has announced a loan of over $17 Billion dollars in the form of a bond offer. The purpose is to compensate investors, to offset discontent over the precipitous decline of shares values.  The move is unusual in that Apple is sitting on a nest egg of more than $145 Billion, much of it being held offshore.   


Apple vs. Samsung

While Apple struggles, Samsung seems to be soaring.

Apple LogoThe latter's net profit grew 42 percent while Apple's 1stQ showed its first decline in nearly a decade.


Samsung's profit was record-setting, fueled, according to the firm's vice president of mobile planning Hyun Joon Kim, by "an increase in Smartphone sales and decreased marketing expenses."


Samsung-LogoKim specifically named the Gala

xy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 as driving the sales.  Research firm Juniper Analytics estimated Samsung sold 68 million Smartphones during the first quarter, while Apple sold just upward of 37 million iPhones during the same time period.




At the beginning of this year, Andy Whitehead, President of SVSi, announced that its next generation of Networked Encoders and Decoders will support Ultra-HD resolutions of 4K up to 120-Hz and 8K up to 60-Hz.


Ultra High-Definition is also referred to as Super Hi-Vision, and at this year's Consumer Electronic Show, companies like Sony, Sharp and Samsun were showcasing their Ultra-HD innovations. In fact, Sony's 56-inch Ultra-HD OLED won the category of "Best in HDTVs" at the show, and the 2012 Olympics were broadcast live from several locations in the UK using NHK's NHK's 8K Ultra HDTV.


And in other Ultra-HD news, a group of Japanese consumer electronics companies, broadcasters and telecommunications companies have banded together to help spread the technology to Japan and the rest of the world. The consortium includes Toshiba, Panasonic and Sony. 




Already in decline for several years, the market for physical video in the United Kingdom seems doomed, especially when you take into account the closure of half the UK's largest video rental stores. Adding to the DVD/Blu-Ray demise is the rise of pay-TV video.


According to projections from IHS, 2013 will see the UK market for DVD/Blu-ray fall by 22 percent by the end of 2013, representing a loss of 202 million.


Major UK retailer Blockbuster will have closed half its stores by the end of 2013 as compared with 2012. Consequently, HIS says the online market will see its share increase from its 58.7% in 2012 to 75.3% by the end of 2013, with pay-TV taking a major portion of that. 




Just in time for ANGA COM's June 4 - 6, 2013 exhibition in Cologne, Germany comes the

official ANGA COM 2013 English language app, containing everything you need to know about the event.  



Included are all the 440 exhibitors, contact details, and booth numbers, plus a map of the two exhibit floors.  App users will be able to send their own tweets directly from the app, and the will have access to collected tweets about #ANGACOM.

A list of conference sessions will be available and attendees can receive an alert when a conference they've marked is about to start.   


The current app, ANGA COM 2013 is available free for download in the app store, and can be used on the iPhone and iPad. The Android version will be released shortly. 



Driving Customers (Away?)

Analytics company InsightsOne conducted a survey of adult Internet users this past March, and concluded that a fine-tuning of ad campaigns might be in order.

More than 90 percent of Internet users reported finding annoying ads somewhere during their online time.


Irrelevant pop-up ads annoyed 79 percent of respondents, and different types of spam were the next three highest in the scoring, while 6 out of every 10 users said they became annoyed at seeing ads for products/services they didn't need and didn't want.


Digital media market research firm eMarketer had previously reported that more than one-third of Internet users who said they were overwhelmed by online ad spam would leave the website, and another six out of 10 would unsubscribe from future e-mails. Some went so far as to say they would completely boycott the offending company. 


Aereo Logo

A Win for Aereo

At the end of March, Aereo, an Internet start-up backed by Barry Diller that streams broadcast stations with no compensation, won a federal appeals court verdict allowing it to continue its service.  Currently available only in New York City, Aereo plans to expand to another 22 cities in 2013.


Although broadcasters were disappointed, not to mention surprised, they feel they will eventually prevail in stopping the company, which pick up over-the-air signals with tiny antennas currently located in Brooklyn.


The service costs subscribers approximately $8.00 per month, for which they receive control of one antenna, turning a tablet, Smartphone or computer into a tiny TV set. Aereo does not pay retransmission fees to the TV stations.


News Corp, Walt Disney, CBS and Comcast, among others were denied a preliminary injunction in the summer of 2012, and the appeals court upheld that decision (2-1), saying the streaming to individual subscribers does not constitute a public performance.  


It's possible, according to some analysts, that other cable and satellite providers may follow Aereo's lead. Other analysts think that broadcasters may start a new congressional lobbying effort to get the law changed.  In the meantime, many of the plaintiffs plan to take Aereo to court for a full-scale trial. 

Editorial -- By Douglas I. Sheer  


4K is better than 3D

Despite the feelings that 4K (and related Ks) may represent another example of the type of hype that was generated for 3D, it's not.


Yes, there is a broad suggestion made by many that 4K is a panacea, and represents the "cavalry coming over the horizon." But despite that familiar litany, 4K does genuinely have success painted on it - one dimensionally - in a manner more credible than 3D ever did or could. 

4K may not represent the sort of global sea change that HD has of SD, but certainly more than 3D.  Nonetheless, where it applies - and that is no clearer than in Digital Cinematography - it really applies and adds tremendous value. 


Furthermore, 4K solves problems where 3D seemed to create them. While 3D required rigs, complex math, special devices and special training, 4K avoids those requirements and sharpens up original footage in a manner that enhances not only movies and episodic TV, but also will - as adopted - enhance virtually all types of programming from movies and programs to sports and even news. Even in security we can see how it can have potentially added value.  


Finally, 4K and its derivatives represent a nearly universal level of quality that has already achieved a near global embrace, devoid of the rancor and strife of HD and 3D in the past.


Douglas I. Sheer, Editorial Director
D.I.S. Consulting Corporation
Livingston Manor, NY 12758
Carol Montana, Editor/Analyst
Regina C. Sheer, Reporter/Analyst
Jill Padua, Graphics/Design Manager

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All materials copyright 2013 D.I.S. Consulting Corporation -- All Rights Reserved


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