Tag Archives: Streaming

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.

2016 Olympics Rating are Down? Don’t Blame Streaming!

The 2016 Olympic opening ceremonies had just started, and I thought briefly about events I wanted to see.  I’m not a huge fan of the Olympics mostly because of the time commitment.  However, if I happen to be in front of the TV when the events are on, depending upon the event, I’m happy to watch, and can get drawn in easily.

As the Olympics unfolded, I caught a few minutes of an event here and there, just by happening to be in front of a TV.  Searching for any particular event never crossed my mind, even with the ease and power behind several powerful search engines like Bing and Google. The widgets built into search engine’s results showing Olympic standings in line with other search results was a great time saver.

However, why oh why didn’t the broadcasting network NBC create a calendar of Olympic 2016  events that can easily be imported into either Google Calendar, or Microsoft Outlook?  Even Star Trek fans are able to add a calendar to their Google Calendar for Star Dates.

Olympic ratings are hurting?  Any one of these organizations could have created a shared calendar for all or a subset of Olympic  events. Maybe you just want a calendar that shows all the aquatic events?

Olympic Team Sponsors from soda to fast food, why oh why did you paint your consumer goods with pictures of Javelin throwers and Swimmers, but didn’t put a QR code on the side of your containers that directs consumers to your sponsored team’s calendar schedule “importable” into Google Calendar, or Microsoft Outlook?

If sponsors, or the broadcasting network, NBC, would have created these shareable calendars, you now would had entered the personal calendars of the consumer.  A calendar entry pop-up may not only display what current competition is being fought, the body of the event may also contain [URL] links to stream the event live.  The body of the event may also contain links to each team player’s stats, and other interesting facts relating to the event.

Also, if a Team Sponsor is the one creating the custom calendar for the Olympic Events, like USA Swimming’s sponsor Marriott , the streaming live video events may now be controlled by the Sponsor, yes, all advertising during the streaming session would be controlled by the the Sponsor.  All Marriott!  The links in the team sponsor calendar entries may not only have their own streaming links to the live events, but include any feature rich, relevant related content.

There is the small matter of broadcast licensing Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS)  and broadcaster exclusivity, but hey, everything is negotiable.  Not sure traditional broadcasting rules should apply in a world of video streaming.

All the millions sponsors spend, for an IT Project that could cost a fraction of their advertising budget, and add significant ROI, it boggles the mind why every sponsor isn’t out there doing this or something similar right now.  The tech is relatively inexpensive, and readily available, so why not now?  If you know of any implementations, please drop me a note.

One noted exception, the “Google app” [for the iPhone] leverages alerts for all types of things such as a warning on traffic conditions for your ride home to … the start of the Women’s beam Gymnastics Olympic event.   Select the alert, and opens up a ‘micro’ portal with people competing in the event, a detailed list of athlete profiles, including picture, country of origin, and metals won.  There is also a tab showing the event future schedule.

So Much Streaming Music, Just Not in One Place

In the old days, you never knew which CDs the record store would have in stock.  That limitation of physical media was supposed to be solved by digital. Back in the 1990s, technology evangelists and music fans alike began to talk about a “celestial jukebox” — a utopian ideal in which every song ever recorded would be available at a click.  In reality, even a celestial jukebox has gaps. Or more precisely, numerous jukeboxes have come along – iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube – and each service has had gaps in its repertoire. And those gaps have been growing bigger and more complicated as artists have wielded more power in withholding their music from one outlet or another.

Source: So Much Streaming Music, Just Not in One Place – The New York Times

Additional Editorial:

Published music libraries are numerous, and have scattered artist coverage for one reason or another.  Music repositories may overlap, or lack completeness of coverage.

As expressed in “As a Data Deluge Grows, Companies Rethink Storage“, creating a system similar to the Internet Domain Name System for “Information Asset Libraries” would help in numerous ways.  Front end UIs may query these “Information Asset (object) libraries” to understand the availability of content across the Internet.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical decentralized naming system for computers, services, or any resource connected to the Internet or a private network.

Another opportunity would be to leverage the existing DNS platform for managing these “Information Asset Repositories”

In a relatively cost restrained implementation, a DNS type effort can be taken up by the music industry.  From artists to distribution channels, existing music repositories can be leveraged, and within months, a music aficionado may go to any participating platform, and search for an artist, title, album, or any other indexed meta data, and results across ‘Information Asset Repositories’ would be displayed to the user with a jump link to the registered information asset in the library.

Small independent artists need just populate a spreadsheet with rows that contain a row for each asset, and all the ‘advertised’ meta data.  Their Information Asset library may be a single flat file, i.e. XML, that conforms to a basic record/row structure.  The independent artist places this file on their web site, e.g. in their root folder, and informs their ISP of the address record type, and it’s location.  A new DNS record specification may need to be created, e.g. MX record.

Streaming Companies Provide the Power of their Platform to Any Content Provider

Streaming companies enable any digital entertainment producer to use branded, customized “copy” of the streaming platform to reach their audience, and potentially growth, exposure into new markets.

  • 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 buildcopy 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.

 

Abundant Content: Selecting Your Movie / TV Show is Burdensome

Although content is still ‘King’, the side effect of Streaming Services aggressively rolling out content makes the connection between the ‘ideal’ content and consumer burdensome to initiate.

Streaming Services create a ‘funnel’ to get ‘ideal’ content to the consumer through the use of custom carousels and search.

5 minutes max, I stroll around the Streamers’ carousels for random movies or TV shows that catch my interest.  If I don’t find anything worthy to commit my time, I bounce to another streaming service, and repeat the process.

The problem is compounded when you add broadcast Content Channels: ABC, CBS, Comedy Central, HBO, SyFy,  USA, etc, in addition to Streamers like Amazon Instant and Netflix.

The cost of making a decision of which Movie/TV episode to watch comes down to a basic Microeconomic theory.

In order for the consumer to make an accurate assessment of Opportunity Cost, one has to consider ~ALL available options.

Therefore, the cost of making a decision is inefficient, and most importantly inaccurate due to the amount of Video On Demand, (VOD) repositories available to the consumer.

Opportunities to Curtail Consumer Search Time:

  • On demand chat with a Genre Aficionado, video or text chat, 24/7, an employee of the Streaming Service, or central service contracted to the Service.
  • More robust search that has the capacity to drill down on metadata.  E.g. Filter: N stars rating; Sort: ‘added’ date,
  • Add Closed Captioning  to Search metadata
  • Add object and facial recognition index of objects to Search; Open and Play media at time code. E.g. Nike Sneakers
  • ‘Mad Libs’ style secondary search; fill in fields such as leading actor or actress, director of photography, etc.
  • Inbox – recommendations ‘people’ have sent you, manual and automated messages.  Queue up Search results to notify you once per week.  User may send a message with a link to a movie.
  • Cross Video On Demand (VOD) libraries Searching.  Industry Standards derived and implemented.

Entertainment Portals, and Opportunities for Target State

This posting is an assessment of the current state of entertainment portals, and opportunities for future, target states.  This post may be updated as additional portals are evaluated, and system capabilities are added. System capabilities listed maybe mutually exclusive.

Entertainment Portal Analysis in PDF Format

ENT Portal Delivery Model - Slide 1
ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 1
ENT Portal Delivery Model - Slide 2
ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 2
ENT Portal Delivery Model - Slide 3
ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 3
ENT Portal Delivery Model - Slide 4
ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 4
ENT Portal Delivery Model - Slide 5
ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 5
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ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 6
ENT Portal Delivery Model - Slide 7
ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 7
`ENT Portal Delivery Model - Slide 8
ENT Portal Delivery Model – Slide 8

Key to Success for Content Providers Offering Stand-Alone Web Subscription Services

CBS to Offer Stand-Alone Web Subscription Service – NYTimes.com.

The distribution channel must provide unique content through their channel or they run the risk of being a commodity rights owner that is only providing archived content.

Amazon brought it home for me when they hosted a single pilot produced by a partner production group. If the test markets had strong viewer ratings, more episodes can be ordered.

This will turn the dial from just an archive distribution rights platform ‘business model’, eventually a commodity, to a creative media value added service. This shifts the focus to creative content along the brand focus.

  • CBS produces or sponsors a pilot episode. CBS then advertises, short on air promos, web ads for the target demographic methods, etc. CBS gauges the popularity of the show. If market demand is strong, the provider can order more episodes.
  • Content providers can also provide unique content from their existing proprietary, content. ‘Web subscription only’ series episodes, available through their web subscription service.

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Netflix Brings in Unique Content through Brand Alignment Deals

It has been announced that Netflix will utilize several Marvel Comics / Universe content to broadly expand their unique streaming offering.  However, we will now look to see the new user interface to provide additional guidance for future potential content of it’s viewers.  A new Netflix user interface will guide your selection based upon ‘friend’ or ‘family profiles’ suggestions.  If this information is then aggregated by Netflix for Business Intelligence Analysis, we will see what content brands are requested most, by demographic categories, and then targeting these brands for acquisition of unique content deals.

Business Intelligence about our user’s content stream selections, in the aggregate, will drive future deals for unique content.

Google Chromecast Review – Watch CNET’s Video Review

Google Chromecast Review – Watch CNET’s Video Review.

Video Streaming from major distributors for 35 USD?  Wow!  Too bad not all TVs are equipped with USB, but close enough that all new TVs seem to have them.  My cable box has USB input, so I wonder.  Nah, probably won’t work.  Please Motorola?  Google owns Motorola and so, although enabled by the media channel distribution network, USB could be an easy sell to turn on, the cable box hardware manufacturer to the media channel distributor, e.g.  cable company. Oh, yeah, FYI – my cable box is made by Motorola.

Predicted Trends for the Coming Year 2013

Here are some possible new trends to take hold in the marketplace in the new year. Best wishes on a good year.

Business

1. The companies that enable advertising users to send text messages, and the option to cover the receivers charges, e.g. the following is a free text message from [your co.].  Recent NY Times article covering some aspect, Is Paying to Message Strangers a New Texting Business?

Consumer

2. The year of the new visual paradigm for smart devices, such as new shaped input devices like Google Project Glass, Glasses, or Microsoft’s competitive approach.

3. New shaped mobile phones, phones that bend, like the announced Nokia phone, or apparel phones, maybe even a Star Trek like comm link phone worn on the wrist or lapel. The bendable phones may fall flat, but I can see arm band phones, if they can be miniaturized, and flat enough to be non obtrusive to the clothing, may become quite popular, from a fashion trend, and eventually spanning to law and military use. If they are fitted with a ‘pull out’ bendable screen, pulling out the screen for video communications, and once pulled out and locked, they become rigid, and then snap right back in like a tape measure, might be very hot.  Of course, this may be an alternate to the Google type Glasses.

Business

4. Recall in the late 80s and 90s when biofeedback glasses with LEDs and music were the in thing to calm one’s self, as well as mood audio books are also a current theme for a specific market segment.  We’ve all also bear witness to these Planetarium, Pink Floyd shows of laser lights and music.  These concepts may transform themselves into the trend mainstream with 3D screens, music channels that coincide with 3D fractal images, and other cosmic displays of lights for parties or easy listening.  We may also see this approach the Google Glass mediums, as well as partial transformations of knock off Google Glasses, with this effect for the traveler and their commutes to their destinations.

Clubs, Codes, and Kids

5. A fashion trend I see coming about with teens and older, are do it yourself tattoos that use a paper that you can print and stick seamlessly on your skin, a combination of transparent paper, and an adhesive.  A program runs on any computer, and there will be all different types of programs that use their own PR type codes, or other coded Engrams, that would allow teens to encode messages on their tattoos, and the encrypted message can be read using a smartphone app and a camera. Post with your friends the decryption codes on a blog that you need to log in, and there is a new fashionable way to share secrets with your friends, or a club.  We’ve all seen kids with lick and stick tattoos.  The inhibitor to getting a real tattoo is parent permission, but these new stick on tattoos are just as cool, and you can change the codes of the tattoos.  If you have gifted programmers, they can programs that encode messages in a wide variety of images.  This may become main stream to main street.  Also, if you want to pledge a fraternity or sorority, you might get their encoded tattoos. I can see this easily morphing as an amusement park ticket entrance annual pass, where people don’t want to carry wallets, as an example, and can make them water resistant (days) for water park passes.

A note of caution: any idea can morph into something with a dark purpose,  but technology can be used for societies’ betterment or decrement. As we have wittnessed, ideas eventually surface and are implemented regardless of inhibitors. It’s not that ideas that are damaging, it’s what we choose to do with the idea.

Input Alternatives for the Gaming

6. Remember in Stargate, the T.V. show, where the Ancients would sit in a chair and touch this funky, jell like pad, on the chair console?  It was like the chair was reading the neural impulses from the hand to bring up maps, and your hand had the ability to be the Near Field Communications (NFC) device.  Anyway, look it up.  I don’t think that technology will be available with a large set of functions. Basic applications and devices are already in the field as a novelty gifts with minimal set of applications, e.g. move a ball with your mind.  However, it is possible the gaming industry can take this minimal set of inputs and transform them into a gaming console pad with little additional research, so the person which is playing has a more rapid input response, and therefore, it’s almost as if the game is one step ahead of your visual acuity processing the commands already sent to your hand. The gamer would see an obstruction on the screen and want to jump over it. A neurological impulse would be sent from the brain to react, that response today can be read by these type of novelty items we see in catalogs. What I am promoting is pushing these out and allow the public access to this more integrated experience, in a controlled, regulated way to the mainstream.

Hybrid Netbook and Laptop, Chromebook or other?

7. I was hoping the Cromebooks were a hybrid between a Netbook and a Laptop.  I have had very little experience with Cromebooks, and they may be like the following:  The user has a small local footprint of the latest operating system, as of the last time they logged onto the Virtual Machine OS Farm, that covers basic off-line operations, such as word processing, and a relatively small storage capacity, which may be a small to mid sized solid state drive, so when they are offline they have the capacity to work, e.g. a person goes out of range, or starts up where there is no WiFi. Once they are back in range of WiFi, the files and OS syncs up seamlessly to the user’s machine and the VM OS farm.

Advertisements, Entertainment, Hardware Partners, Netbooks, and 3D

8. Coming into the mainstream, 3D personal streaming entertainment to video distribution networks, using 3D Web Cameras like Minoru, which claim to be the World’s first 3D webcam. Aggressively using 3D as a medium by potentially partnering with hardware vendors on a few basic netbooks and enable integrateion of this 3D technology.  This Minoru 3D web camera is only 89 USD, and if someone initially commits to an advertising budget of 200 USD for an initial spend, for example, why not send them a totally integrated Netbook with this or a similar type of camera.  Netbooks base price are very inexpensive.

Advertising, Partnering, Video Editors, and Streaming

9. I did a post about this one, but I cannot believe no one grabbed at it and ran with it.  A business paradigm could be to take a program such as VLC from Video LAN Organization, create a plug in to a video editor, and a robust player, and modify or create a new video streaming platform with an interactive video. This technology will allow users to use this to apply new educational methods, or be used to advertise products.

Create a video editing plugin allowing a video editor to ‘rope around, and identify an object’ in one frame, and the plug in will recognize the movement of the object and mark and follow the object for 30 seconds x 60 FPS (Frames Per Second), and the user inserts a popup bubble containing a clickable link, and some Ad text. In playback mode, when a viewer hovers over the object in the video at a particular time index code, the popup ad will appear, is clickable and will launch an application and pass information, such as a browser and a URL.

This should be extremely easy to rollout and implement.  At this point, it would take a small team, and financial backing, based on all the cloud computing and storage available, they should be able to establish a video streaming platform and integrate a streaming player that uses their modified streaming plugin that accepts the new encoding that is slightly modified from industry standards. This new platform would allow this team to compete with local, national, and global advertisers, and get local, national, and international brands to advertise with them using this new attractive medium.

If the platform is created, the amateur videographer can make their video as per usual, partner with some of the branded companies’ objects in the video, e.g. clothing, highlight a few advertising partner objects during editing, insert the ad popup bubble with Ad text and the link, and then upload the video to the new or modified platform that is able to playback these new videos with the slightly different encoding.  The Video Player I used as an example is from a non-profit organization, composed of volunteers, developing and promoting free, open-source multimedia solutions.

This post may be added to over the next few days.

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