Category Archives: Movies

Unlikely Bedfellows as Net Neutrality Sunsets

Coupling Content Distribution (i.e. ISPs) with Content Producers

Verizon FiOS offers Netflix as another channel in their already expansive lineup of content. Is this a deal of convenience for the consumer, keeping consumers going through one medium, or is it something more?  Amazon Video iOS application offers HBO, STARZ, and others as long as Amazon Prime customers have a subscription to the Content Producers. Convenience or more?  The Netflix Content and Distribution via Set-top box (STB) channel should be mimicked by Google YouTube and Amazon Video despite their competing hardware offerings.  Consumers should be empowered to decide how they want to consume Amazon Video; e.g. through their Set-top box (STB).  However,  there may be more than just a convenience benefit.

Amazon Video iOS
Amazon Video iOS
Netflix on FiOS
Netflix on FiOS

As Net Neutrality fades into the sunset of congressional debates and lobbyists, the new FCC ruling indicates the prevailing winds of change.  We question how content providers, large and small, navigate the path to survival/sustainability.  Some business models from content distribution invoke Bandwidth Throttling, which may inhibit the consumers of some content, either by content types (e.g. Video formats) or content providers (e.g. Verizon FiOS providing priority bandwidth to Netflix).

Content Creators / Producers, without a deal with ISPs for “priority bandwidth” may find their customers flock to ‘larger content creators’ who may be able to get better deals for content throughput.

Akamai and Amazon CloudFront – Content Delivery Networks (CDNs)

Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) may find themselves on the better end of this deal, almost as a side-effect to the FCC decision of nixing Net Neutrality.

Amazon CloudFront a global content delivery network (CDN) service that securely delivers data, videos, applications, and APIs to viewers with low latency and high transfer speeds. CloudFront, like Akamai, may significantly benefit from the decision by the FCC to repeal Net Neutrality.

Akamai’s industry-leading scale and resiliency mean delivering critical content with consistency, quality, and security across every device, every time.  Great web and mobile experiences are key to engaging users, yet difficult to achieve. To drive engagement and online revenue, it’s critical to optimize performance for consumer audiences and employees alike to meet or exceed their expectations for consistent, fast, secure experiences.

Integrating into Content/Internet Service Provider’s Bundle of Channels

By elevating Content Producers into the ISP (distribution channel) Set-top box (STB), does this ‘packaging’ go beyond bundling of content for convenience?  For example, when Netflix uses Verizon FiOS’ CDN for content delivery to their clients, will the consumer benefit from this bundled partnership beyond convenience (i.e. performance)?  When Netflix is invoked by a Verizon FiOS customer from their laptop (direct from Netflix), is there a performance improvement if Netflix is invoked from the Verizon FiOS Set-top Box (STB) instead?  Would these two separate use cases for invoking Netflix movies utilize two alternate Content delivery network (CDN) paths, one more optimized than the other?

As of this post update (12/26), there has been no comment from Verizon.

Amazon X-Ray Studios for Indie Movie Producers

I remember building a companion app for the Windows desktop that pulled music data from iTunes and Gracenote.   Gracenote boasts:

“Gracenote technology is at the heart of every great entertainment experience, and is supported by the largest source of music metadata on the planet..”

Gracenote, in conjunction with the iTunes API / data allowed me to personalize the user experience beyond what iTunes provided out of the box.   X-Ray IMDb on Amazon Video also enriches the experience of watching movies and television hosted on Amazon Video .

While watching a movie using Amazon Video, you can tap the screen, and get details about the specific scene, shown in the foreground as the media continues to play.

“Go behind the scenes of your favorite movies and TV shows with X-Ray, powered by IMDb.  Get instant access to cast photos, bios, and filmographies, soundtrack info, and trivia.  “

IMDb is an Amazon company, which in his infinite foresight, in 1998, Jeff Bezos, founder, owner and CEO of Amazon.com, struck a deal to buy IMDb outright for approximately $55 million and attach it to Amazon as a subsidiary, private company.

The Internet Movie Database (abbreviated IMDb) is an online database of information related to films, television programs and video games, including cast, production crew, fictional characters, biographies, plot summaries, trivia and reviews, operated by IMDb.com, Inc., a subsidiary of Amazon. As of June 2017, IMDb has approximately 4.4 million titles (including episodes), 8 million personalities in its database,[2] as well as 75 million registered users.


In Amazon’s infinite wisdom again, they are looking to stretch both X-Ray and the IMDb property to budding film artists looking to cultivate and mature their following.

Approach to Adoption of X-Ray IMDb  / Amazon Video

Amazon must empower artists and their representatives to update IMDb.  IMDBPro seems to enable just such capabilities such as:

Showcase yourself on IMDb & Amazon

Manage your photos and the credits you are Known For on IMDbPro, IMDb, and Amazon Video”
  1. How then is new media content, such as Actor’s photos, and Filmography [approved] and updated by IMDb.
  2. Furthermore, what is the selection process to get indie content [approved] and posted to Amazon video.  Is there a curation process whereby not every indie artist is hosted, e.g. creative selection process is driven by Amazon Video business.
  3. To expand the use of X-Ray powered by IMDb, what are the  options for alternate Media Players and Streamers?  e.g. is YouTube a possibility, hosting and streaming content embedded with X-Ray capabilities?  Does Amazon X-Ray enabled capabilities require the Amazon Video player?
X-Ray Current Support: Amazon Hosted and Streaming

X-Ray is available on the Amazon Video app in the US, UK, Germany, and Austria for thousands of titles on compatible devices including Amazon Fire Tablets and TV/Stick, iOS and Android mobile devices, and the web.    To access X-Ray, tap the screen or click on the Fire TV remote while the video is playing.”

Amazon X-Ray Studios, Video Editing/Integration Desktop Application

Indie producers may leverage X-Ray Studios to integrate IMDb overlay content to enhance their audience’s experience.   Timecodes are leveraged to sync up X-Ray content with the video content.

“In video production and filmmakingSMPTE timecode is used extensively for synchronization, and for logging and identifying material in recorded media. During filmmaking or video production shoot, the camera assistant will typically log the start and end timecodes of shots, and the data generated will be sent on to the editorial department for use in referencing those shots.”

All metadata regarding an Indie Video may be integrated into the video source / target file, and transcoding may be required to output the Amazon required media standard.

Amazon has slightly complicated the situation by creating an Amazon Web Service (AWS) called X-Ray which has completely no relation to the X-Ray service powered by IMDb.

Amazon could not be reached for comment.

Streaming Companies Provide their Platform to Content Creators

Streaming Platforms / Content Creators

Streaming companies enable content creators to use their well known, branded platforms to grow content author followings.  The reciprocal nature of the relationship creates an even broader customer base for streaming content platforms.

  • Direct competition with Google’s YouTube.
  • Microsoft to stretch SharePoint’s abilities re: video streaming, Video on Demand, and Broadcast Live, as well as it’s user licensing model, it could be another tool for entrepreneurs to offer any content creator a “Digital Entertainment Portal”.

Any content provider of digital media entertainment:

  • Broadcast Television Channels – e.g. CBS, NBC, SyFy
  • Independent digital media producers, e.g. currently using channels to reach a large audience, e.g. YouTube

The streaming company can create a portal wizard to build copy a streaming portal template.  The digital media producer uses web app widgets, similar to Microsoft SharePoint sites, to customize their portal to their digital media video/assets.  The Streaming “Portal” provider, as part of their service, handles the monetary transactions for customer subscriptions, or other business models supported.  In addition, the bandwidth load from streaming would be handled by the Streaming “Portal Provider”, a major benefit, leveraging the companies’ Content Delivery Network (CDN).

Anyone could apply for a partnership with the streaming company, and once approved, may use the tools provided by the streaming partner to spawn a new platform site around the customer/producer’s content.

This new revenue stream of streaming companies platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon Instant, may be vastly multiplied using a “Partner Portal” model.

Update 2/5/18

It seems that this path of content providers leveraging existing Portal Streaming companies has already begun:

  • Verizon FiOS embedding Netflix as a “Channel”
  • Amazon Prime (Prime Video) embedding CBS ALL ACCESS, HBO, STARZ, Showtime, Cinemax, etc. branded as “Amazon Channels”
    • Amazon has the capability to leverage their Amazon CloudFront (Highly secure global content delivery network (CDN))

At this juncture, no content on the “Indie” level being embedded in the Portal Streaming companies.  Looks like Google YouTube still monopolizes this space.

Since the original post date, CBS ALL ACCESS has been released, showing content providers, in addition to their own distribution channels direct to clients, will offer their content through 3rd party streaming portals as well…for now.  Maybe just for convenience because these streaming portals require subscriptions to the content provider in order to be served up.

Another post projecting the renaissance of streaming and content creation.

This post was from Dec 2014, but still very relevant today.

Media Companies (and Execs) in the Driver’s Seat for a Prosperous New Year