June 4th, 2013

Sony Being Urged to Cut Divisions


A major American investor, Third Point CEO Daniel Loeb, who owns 6.5% of Sony shares, has begun to press Sony executives to consider divesting some divisions including those in electronics, in an effort, he claims, to make the company more profitable. Those divisions would represent about 20% of the company's holdings.  Loeb pressed his case, face-to-face in japan where he met with Sony leaders and Japanese politicians.

A U.S. hedge fund has proposed that Sony Corp. sell up to 20 per cent of its entertainment business and use the money to strengthen its ailing electronics unit.  


The plan drew a quick rejection from the Japanese consumer conglomerate. "As president and CEO Kazuo Hirai has said repeatedly, the entertainment businesses are important contributors to Sony's growth and are not for sale,"  Sony's electronics business has been down, particularly its TV division, which has lost money for nine straight years. Sony fell behind in flat panel TVs, and has found it difficult to compete against Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea in TVs as well as cheaper makers. But, following four straight years of red ink, Sony reported a profit of 43 billion yen ($434 million) in the fiscal year that ended in March, helped by the recent decline of the Japanese yen. Sony has not been alone. Many of the major Japanese manufacturers have experienced similar difficulties in the past decade, due in part to the rise of Korean electronics companies and more recently competition from China. 





Turness to Head NBC News


NBC has named Deborah Turness, the former editor of ITV News in Britain, as its president. More than just NBC's first female president, Turness will become the first-ever president of any US network news department.

Comcast-owned NBC is facing more than low news ratings. The Today Show is lagging behind its competitors, which has a deleterious effect on the rest of NBC's news programs, and all other programming as well.

NBC is hoping that Turness, whose 25-year ITV reputation as a fighter against BBC, will sweeten the ratings in the USA. 



SES-6 satellite

Up, Up and Away


The SES-6 satellite, planned for a June 3 launch, will replace satellite NSS-806 and increase HDTV in Latin America. SES-6 will cover a wider area and assist in the broadcast of Latin America channels on other continents.


Part of the Eurostar project, SES-6 has a 15-year life span and was built in France by Astrium. Launch will take place from Kazakhstan and the SES-6 will be in the same orbit as the satellite it's replacing. Coverage area is Latin America, Europe, Atlantic Ocean and North America. 



Got YouTube?

you Tube Logo

The independent producer and distributor, Entertainment Studios, has announced the launch of eight new pay channels on YouTube. ES already owns eight 24-hour HD cable TV networks.


Available to 10 countries including the US, the new YouTube channels are subscription VOD for $1.99/channel. Or customers can get the entire range of ES channels on SmartTV.com for $9.99/month.


ES' channels include MyDestination.TV (travel), Cars.TV, Comedy.TV, ES.TV (entertainment news, variety shows, etc.), Recipe.TV, Pets.TV and a channel which offers a conglomeration of "best of" programming from the other channels - Smart.TV.com.



Cigna Logo

Health up Close and Personal Online


Health insurer Cigna is working with MDLIVE to offer its eligible United Kingdom customers 24/7 video/telephone consultations. The consults will be available with board certified pediatric, family practice and internal medicine physicians.


 MD LIVEMDLIVE is the UK's largest telehealth network. Its software allows capture and transfer of information to the patient's primary doctor.


  Offering an average response time of 11 minutes, Cigna's health plan customers can choose an appointment time or request an on demand consult.


Initial testing of the program will take place in January 2014 with interested self-insured employers. 




Millennial Media LOGO

Japan Gains a Millennial


Millennial Media has officially launched operations in Japan. The independent mobile advertising and data platform company has named John Greiner as managing director of the Japan operation headquartered in Tokyo.


Greiner, who was the president of MonkeyPaw Games has over 18 years of experience in Japan's market. He will seek to build relationships with developers and publishers while working with agencies and premium brands.


The new office brings the companies international offices to six: Jakarta, Paris, Tokyo, Hamburg, London and Singapore.



Pay-per-view in Spain Down 800K Customers


Spain's Telecom Market Commission has issued a report noting that the country's pay-per-view platforms lost more than 800,000 subscriptions in 2012.


The year has 1.6 million payments for television content compared to 2.4 million in 2011. And that was down from 3.4 million in 2009 and nearly 7 million in 2008.


Reasoning seems to be sport content migration to other platforms which offer other packages. Football broadcasting rights are mostly owned by Mediapro and Canal+, which show other programs through their own pay platforms, the result being that most of the current pay-per-view business lies in movies.


In 2008 there were 3 million football match purchases. 2012 saw that number drop to 3,000, while 1.47 million movies were purchased. 24 percent of Spain's homes subscribe to a pay-TV platform including satellite, IPTV and cable. And eight of 10 people interviewed for the report said the free-to-air channels was enough. 


ebay logo

EBay, Amazon Tops for US Mobile Shopping



 In the US, mobile commerce apps have enjoyed a steady download business. And a majority of smartphone owners use them on a regular basis.


Arbitron Mobile's recent study said that 55.9 percent of US smartphone users took advantage of the apps in March 2013. Consumers spent an average 91.0 minutes on 30.8 sessions during the month.


An interesting fact is that more iPhone users than Android users use mobile commerce. Not surprisingly, though, the two most popular shopping apps are eBay and Amazon.com.


In addition, 10.9 percent of US Smartphone owners also utilized the Groupon "deal-of-the-day" app and 8.3 percent used Apple Inc.'s Passbook mobile wallet app. 


European residents are even more likely to use mCommerce apps. In March 2013, 66.8% of UK smartphone owners used mCommerce apps and 57.6 percent in Germany.



   Amazon Logo



ABC iView a Hit Down Under


One of the top 10 most downloaded apps in Australia and New Zealand is the ABC iview, the video on demand service run by the Australia Broadcasting Corporation. ABC iview is also the number one entertainment app, beating out SMH for iPad, Kindle, Foxtel Go and YouTube.


Recently awarded Best Application for a Mobile by AIMIA, iview does its streams over iPhone and iPad, now via 3G and Wi-Fi.


Enjoying nearly 2.5 million downloads since its December 2010 launch, ABC iview has more than 550,000 unique viewers each month, and set a record of 15.4 million monthly program plays across all platforms. 



Bankruptcy for Bulgaria's BG?


Bulgaria's Satellite BG is no longer accepting new accounts and is facing bankruptcy as its total number of subscribers drops to 1/10 of the 50,000 from a few years ago.

Bulgaria's Satellite BG


The former ITV Partner was renamed Total TV and then, finally Satellite BG, with each name change having different owners including Mid Europa Partners (MEP) in 2009.

MEP's big plans to invest 45 million Euros never came to pass, and the company was sold to Ljubomir Pavlov and Rumen Atarski, the brains behind the TV7 station. Following that, based on an agreement with Mobilitel, customers in 11 Bulgarian cities enjoyed the service before the agreement folded.


Satellite BG's main creditor is UniCredit Bulbank, which believes that not even a sale will pay off all the debts. 


ABC Stream

ABC Stream


Philadelphia and New York's ABC affiliates have launched an iPhone and iPad app to allow on-the-go programming for viewers of satellite and cable services.  


There is anticipation that the Walt Disney-owned company will soon be available in six other cities. 




Vorstermans Exits Telenet


On July 31, the COO of Telenet, Jan Vorstermans will depart the company after more than 10 years with the company. Vorstermans joined Telenet in 20013 in the technology engineering and network ops department, becoming the COO in October 2010. Seeking to further his desire for a new challenge, he has started his own company to assist young start-ups.  


At Telenet, the COO's responsibilities will be handled by Veenod Kurup, who will head up the Information Technology department, and a new CTO, which Telenet is looking to fill. 




TV Wears the Crown


Sometime in 2014, US smartphone video viewers will probably hit 87 million or a quarter of the nation's total population. As a consequence, ad revenues for mobile video are set to quadruple from 2013's $518 million to close to $2.1 billion in 2016.

A published report from eMarketer explains that growth rates for mobile video ads will surpass any other media segment. However, eMarketer cautions against putting all the eggs in mobile video's basket, since TV is still the king of all advertising in the US. Many brand marketers feel mobile video is a reinforcement of their TV ads, not a replacement. 




ONO!!!! O Yes! 

ONODuring the first quarter of 2013, Spain's cable operator ONO lost 19,000 clients, while gaining over 150,000 for TiVo, its intelligent TV system. ONO has 

managed to retrain over 800,000 subscriptions, which the company believes is keeping it strong in spite of the high subscription losses. ONO blames the economic climate, high payments for football carry and a recent tax hike for the loss of customers.


Net income for the quarter was 398 million Euros, mostly due to the new TiVo clients, which ONO feels is the only way to attract new customers.


Looking to increase revenue, ONO is growing its triple-play focus by extending its Telefonica telecom network agreement for two-and-a-half years. 

Once More ... into the Breach, Bloomberg Accused of Invading Customer Privacy 


In yet another report of privacy violations, Bloomberg News confirmed that its customers' privacy expectations have been violated. The company reportedly has regularly engaged in snooping on its subscribers' habits, a blatant violation of privacy and policy. As a consequence, hundreds of Bloomberg's reporters had direct knowledge of their subscribers' investing information.  

Bye, Bye Liberty


French travel channel Liberty TV will sign off its broadcasting on the Astra satellite and all French IPTV platforms of Alice, Bouygues Telecom, Free and Orange.


Liberty TV's focus of destination videos and holidays is also broadcast on its website and, for the moment, its future is unknown. The TV termination is being undertaken in a cost-saving effort. 


Look, Ma - No Hands 


Ever heard of touch-free cooking? CTC Media has a new touch-free motion-activated cooking app for its Russian market.

 CTC Media

Supported on iOS and Android devices, the app was developed by Screenz. A unique gesture system allows users to use the app without touching the screen. 


Currently the app has over 400 recipes in several different categories, including many from stars and chefs of the CTC's offspring, the Domashny TV Network, which targets the female 25-60 demographic. 

Google's Global Impact 

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Ten finalists of the Global Impact Challenge were announced on May 23. Four awards of 500,000 will be granted to reward 

Five judges include Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Group and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who is credited with creating the World Wide Web in 1989.
British Charities who use technology for social good. Among the finalists are initiatives including micro-donations, early-age tech training, anti-poaching camera traps, and infrastructure improvement in countries where war has destroyed roads and bridges.

Public voting ends on May 31, with the winners announced on June 3. 

NBC/Universal Goes To Turkey  


NBC/Universal has partnered with Turkey's SinemaTV to offer feature film and TV titles

 on Turkish TV for the first time ever.


Subscribers to SinemaTV and the on-demand Sinema Now will also have the option of watching on their smartphones, tablets and computers. 

NHK Available to Virgin Media Customers


Virgin Media XL TV customers will now be able to watch NHK World TV. The Japanese based English-language NHK broadcasts news, current affairs and entertainment 24 hours a day. It is Japan's only public broadcaster and runs four TV and three radio channels in Japan.


NHK World is Japan's only public broadcaster operating four television and three radio channels in Japan. 

Endgame for ESPN America/Classic 


 Sports broadcasting giant ESPN will end broadcasting the ESPN American channel in Europe and the Mid-East and the ESPNESPN Classic channels in Europe, the Mid-East and Africa.


End dates in this scenario will be different for each country based on distribution agreements, but expected shut-off dates are June 30th in the Mid-East and July 30th  virtually everywhere else.


Content syndication sales will continue as well as sports coverage and program sales to other broadcasters. The ESPN Player streaming service will continue to carry NCAA sports and X Games.

Sale of Newspapers to Koch Brother Stirs Opposition 


Koch Brothers An effort by two conservative billionaire brothers, David and Charles Koch, to purchase the Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune as well as related newspapers has created a row among both the trade unions, public employee unions, and has incited Liberal groups throughout the U. S.


The Koch brothers have been major contributors to conservative causes and responsible for supporting many conservative candidates for public office, and vehemently apposing public unions and public union pension funds. 

The newspaper acquisitions, if they were to go through -- and this is an early stage of the negotiations -- would give the brothers an enviable control of major newspapers and a hedge on public opinion in key markets. 

Merrill Brockway, 90, PBS Dance Producer  


Merill Brockway, a dance and live-event producer for the PBS series Merill Brockway "Dance in America," has died at age 90. Brockway's programming introduced such notable dancers and choreographers as Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, George Ballanchine, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp and Merce Cunningham to American audiences starting in 1976.  


From 1967, he also is credited with organizing the CBS Cultural Channel and returned there later in his career. He served in the U. S. Army in World War Two, as a driver for a chaplain.  


TV Ratings Fall and Profits Lag at Networks


 Prime time ratings for all four major U.S. networks have sagged, dropping more steeply than ever before. Advertisers are moving more dollars to cable. New technologies are also making it increasingly easy for viewers to skip viewing ads altogether. To boot, government regulators are talking of taking back parts of the spectrum assigned to broadcast. Some broadcasters have threatened to go off-air themselves and seek alternatives such as Internet broadcasting. 

Jimmy Savile, BBC Host Inquiry


Famous BBC presenter, Jimmy Savile, has been the center of a child sex scandal for Jimmy Savile, over a year. Now the Leeds, North Yorkshire Police are denying that they in any way covered up the misdeeds of Savile.  



Sixty-eight of the complaints allegedly occurred there in Leeds. 


Mobile Phones to Outnumber People By 2014


A United Nations agency report says that by next year, there will be more mobile phone subscriptions than people in the world. The International Telecoms Union predicts that cell phone subscriptions for early 2014 will pass seven billion. The report says that more than one-third of the global population is online.

Countries in the former Soviet Union - now known as The Commonwealth of Independent States - are believed to have the highest cell phone penetration. In that region there are 1.7 subscriptions for every person. As could be expected Africa has the lowest penetration with 63 subscriptions per 100 people.

Brahima Sanou, director of the ITU Development Bureau says the mobile revolution is "m-powering" people in developing countries. 

Another Golden Age for UK TV?


Samsung-Logo Rather than being threatened or eradicated by the Internet, television seems to be thriving in the digital era. Samsung has reported that information from its Smart TV Futures research shows TV is a "unifying force in a fragmented society."

British TV consumers are watching 16 percent more TV than they did in 2012, with almost two-thirds reporting that their family traditions involve watching TV, and one-tenth use time-shifting.

Samsung also found that 55 percent of TV users are connected to the Internet through their TV, which has led to a prediction that, over the next decade, Smart TVs will use data to "learn" what viewers want to watch, actually creating content menus based on past viewing. 


Samsung's 5G


Samsung's 5G How fast can you download a movie? With Samsung Electronics' 5th generation wireless technology (5G), it is possible to successfully download a movie in one second.


Samsung does not expect the technology to be ready for the public before 2020. But when it is, Samsung expects it will permit users to "transmit massive data files including high quality digital movies practically without limitation." Samsung is based in South Korea, which already boasts about 20 million 4G users. 


Lumia Sales Grow in India


Nokia phones Nokia phones are gaining ground in India for its Windows-based Lumia smartphones. The Finnish handset maker attributes the growth to a rising wealth factor.


In the rest of the world the smartphone market is dominated by Apple and Samsung, and Nokia has seen its net sales nearly halved in the first quarter of 2013. 

Radio is "Still the One"


Radio A new research study commissioned by Clear Channel Media+ Entertainment has found the 92 percent of Americans tune in to AM/FM radio on a regular basis. Specifically, the Millennials and Generation Z say that radio is "trustworthy," "human," and "relatable."

Conducted by Latitude Research and OpenMind Strategy, the report also found that 80 percent of respondents relied on radio to discover new artists and songs, 78 percent can access radio anywhere and 71 percent said radio is part of their daily routine.


In what may be seen as a boost for radio advertising sales, 82 percent of survey takers said the first thing they do when they get in their car is turn on the radio. The study also concluded that radio advertising is viewed more positively than ads on TV, Internet and mobile applications. 

Unbundling Cable & Satellite TV


Back at the beginning of May, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) decided that consumers should have more of a choice over their pay-TV services. He introduced legislation that would force those companies to sell "a la carte" programming rather than bundles or tiers of services.


The new law, known as the "Television Consumer Freedom Act of 2013," would forbid pay-TV services from making customers buy programming they don't watch just to gain access to content they do want.  


Dish and Cable executives say bundling lowers prices since programming rates would increase if fewer people had specific stations in their homes. McCain doesn't agree, and he said, ""Whether you watch ESPN or not - and admittedly I do all the time - all cable subscribers are forced to absorb this cost. Today we are putting up a stop sign. The video industry, principally cable companies and satellite companies and the programmers that sell channels, like NBC and Disney-ABC, continue to give consumers two options when buying TV programming: First, to purchase a package of channels whether you watch them all or not; or, second, not purchase any cable programming at all."  


Consumer groups say bundling also stifles new programmers since they don't have the status of News Corp or Disney. The National Cable & Telecommunications Association opposes the proposed law.


Sen. McCain's bill would also eliminate the sports blackout rule for any stadium funded with taxpayer dollars. The rule stipulates that a local TV station may not show an NFL game going on in its market if the event is not sold out. 



Editorial - by Douglas I. Sheer


Victims in the War on Broadcasting dougs


There is no doubt that the TV broadcast market has seen its share of damaging forays by third parties -- broadened and fueled by the originally well-meant U.S. Telecommunications Act in the 1990s -- and that deregulation onslaught has continued to escalate. Early in the battle, it was cable TV that stood to gain most from a diminution of the influence of over-the-air TV and that competition continued unabated. Then came the Internet and the specter of delivery of programs, movies and sports that goes around TV and cable. And, most recently the whole idea of delivery to mobile phones of programming that was formerly intended solely for commercially sponsored free TV, such as news and weather and episodic programs. Broadcasting and broadcasters have been under technological siege.


As these competitive pressures have increased and the cost of remaining technologically up to date has made over-the-air TV less profitable it has caused some stations and even networks to contemplate a total pull-out from traditional terrestrial transmission for distribution.  Meanwhile, as TV broadcasting suffered, home viewers were asked to pay increasingly confiscatory amounts in monthly fees, with typical bills easily exceeding $100.00 USD, and often considerably higher.  


It is pretty easy to see who is to benefit, but who is suffering or being victimized by the change? Certainly, the TV broadcasters are being hurt. They are losing share and that is causing them to lose further ad dollars, in a downward spiral that has affected both their business model and ability to survive or prosper but also their ability to purchase equipment and employ adequate staffs.  But, there is a viewing public impact as well. Viewers who formerly could expect to get their TV programs either free or considerably underwritten by commercials have now found themselves vulnerable to seemingly confiscatory fees and package rates that bundle their programs, often including many services they don't want and can barely afford.


Now, the U. S. Congress is considering enacting a bill that would essentially unbundle the cable offerings and make them a more "a la carte" proposition where customers can design their own channel selections as they please. Advocated by U. S. Senator, and former presidential candidate, John McCain of Arizona, a new bill would allow just that. After all, the thinking goes, why should culture seekers have to support expensive sports channels? Or, the reverse for that matter?


I applaud Senator McCain in this initiative and would support such an unbundling in the hope that it would provide customers with greater choice and lower monthly bills, while at the same time leveling the playing field between terrestrial and cable and Internet-enabled mobile.


But, it is the OTT (Over The Top) viewing phenomenon where both TV and Cable get by-passed that may ultimately represent the biggest challenge to the traditional competitors, as more and more viewers are choosing to side-step TV screens altogether and view "TV" programs, entertainment, news or weather on their smart phones, laptops or tablets. One motivation is to avoid fees, but an almost equal one is to bring greater control and convenience, in short, choice. The "second screen" may be becoming the first.  


D.I.S. Consulting - Moving to Woodstock 

Woodstock pic 3


After decades in New York City locations and more than five years in Sullivan County, NY, nearly two hours north and west, D.I.S. has moved its operational center to the historic town of Woodstock in neighboring Ulster County, NY, about an hour East and less distant from the City - about 90 minutes by car or coach. 

Woodstock pic 4 The staff remains fundamentally the same, but several new people are being added in Woodstock. 


The town has been an art colony, theater, dance and film hub, writer's watering hole and, though not the actual site of the famous Woodstock rock concert (that happened 40 years ago in Sullivan County's Village of Bethel), very musical.  


Woodstock is crawling with creative spirits. It's an exciting place to live and an equally wonderful place to work.  





New Contact information

The phone, e-mail and website remain the same, but the mailing address has been changed. See the Staff Box below for details.







Douglas I. Sheer, CEO & Chief Analyst & Editorial Director
D.I.S. Consulting Corporation
Box 477
Woodstock, NY 12498-1101

Carol Montana,EditoriaAnalyst
Regina C. Sheer, Reporter/Analyst
Jill Padua, Graphics/Design Manager

Submissions to: dougsheer@gmail.com

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


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