Tom Wheeler gave as good as he’s gotten today when he addressed a potentially hostile audience of TV and radio station owners at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. “Trust me. I get the skepticism,” he told the group which has been irked by his efforts to block local station cooperative agreements, among other things. “Here’s the former head of the cable AND the wireless industry at the NAB Show telling you he’s your friend….There is no more ridiculous metaphor.” But he assured the audience that now “I have the American people as my client.” And they would be best served if broadcasters think differently about their medium.
“We are at an inflection point where broadcast licensees can move from being the disrupted, to being the disruptor,” much like Netflix, the FCC chairman says. Instead of just hitting up pay TV providers for retransmission fees, local stations can create vibrant local news and entertainment online services. “It can be the basis for a fixed and mobile-delivered cable-like service. You possess the two most important components of a successful digital strategy: compelling content – specifically, the most important content: local content – and the means to promote it. …For all the wonderful things the Internet has done, one place that it has yet to deliver on its promise is local content.” Net neutrality would ensure that these services are carried online. But “your window of opportunity won’t stay open forever,” he says, nothing that others including Yahoo and Verizon are preparing deals to offer competitive content. Read More »
National Association of Broadcasters CEO Gordon Smith offered a healthy plate of red meat to his constituents today as he urged officials to ensure that TV and radio have the same kinds of regulatory protections often provided for broadband and other media. “On one hand, government can treat us as if we are dinosaurs and does what it can to encourage TV stations to go out of business,” he told broadcasters at the kickoff of the annual NAB Show in Las Vegas. “On the other hand, the FCC says we are so important and powerful that two TV stations can’t share advertising in the same market, while it’s OK for multiple cable, satellite and telecommunications operators to do so. Which is it? Too powerful or irrelevant? It can’t be both.” He says it’s only fair to develop coordinated policies to give the industry as much support as the government offers for cable and wireless providers. ”Why doesn’t the FCC have a National Broadcast Plan?” he says.“Why is there no focus to foster innovation and investment in broadcasting to ensure our business continues to be a world leader alongside our broadband industries? Where is the FCC’s gusto and determination to embrace broadcasting’s values and public service responsibilities?” Read More »
The three companies made the joint announcement today at NAB. They’ll work together to integrate the Dolby 3D format into Cameron-Pace Group’s 3D video content production workflow and develop a premium glasses-free in-home 3D experience using Dolby 3D. Cameron-Pace’s 3D content will be showcased at Dolby’s booth at the conference, which runs through Thursday. “James Cameron and Vince Pace’s artistic and technological vision make CPG a great partner in our quest to make glasses-free 3D successful for creative professionals, broadcast networks, consumer electronics manufacturers, and ultimately for consumers”, said Dolby’s Roland Vlaicu in a statement.
BREAKING…This would be a nuclear option for News Corp, which owns 27 TV stations and serves dozens of affiliates. But the company COO’s threat to take Fox off the public airwaves — made today at the NAB annual confab in Las Vegas — suggests how deeply concerned broadcast moguls are about the possibility that they might lose their legal battle against Aereo, and how much that could undermine their ability to extract retransmission consent fees from cable and satellite providers. Aereo uses tiny antennas to capture broadcasters’ over-the-air signals which it then streams to local subscribers. It does so without TV stations’ permission, and without paying them a dime. Broadcasters say that violates their copyrights. But last week a U.S. Appeals Court rejected the industry’s plea to shutter Aereo during the trial over that claim. What’s more, it seemed to favor Aereo’s counterargument that it simply rents antennas, enabling customers to watch transmissions already available to them for free.
If Aereo prevails — and cable and satellite companies decide that they, too, can retransmit broadcast signals for free — then Carey says “We have no choice but to develop business solutions that ensure we continue to remain in the driver’s seat of our own destiny. One option could be converting the Fox broadcast network to a pay channel, which we would do in collaboration with both our content partners and affiliates.” News Corp-owned stations collected about $308M in retransmission consent fees last year, SNL Kagan estimates. That’s up 20% vs 2011 and accounted for about 19% of their total revenues. Read More »
NAB chief Gordon Smith told station owners today that they must redouble their efforts to persuade tech companies to build TV and radio receivers into smartphones and other mobile devices. Internet streaming services “will never have what we have — the ability to deliver our high quality content reliably,” Smith said in his keynote speech at the NAB confab in Las Vegas. But he adds that broadcasters who want to beam signals directly to mobile devices ”must continue to rise up to meet consumer’s desire for more live, local TV content.” He added that stations should “seriously consider the challenges and opportunities of moving to a new standard” that would enable them to “compete in a mobile world, and find new revenue streams.” Hurricane Sandy helped to make a case for adding radio to mobile devices. “Up and down the Eastern seaboard, we heard stories of cell networks and broadband connections being down for days, even weeks. But radio was always on.” Even so, Smith says that radio stations “can’t take their place in the [automobile] dashboard for granted. We must continue to innovate and provide the content listeners want on many different platforms.”
Producer Jon Landau revealed today at the 2013 NAB Technology Summit on Cinema that Jim Cameron “will do performance capture in water” on the sequels to his 2009 Fox megahit. “We want to take advantage of the technologies brilliant people are putting out to make the next two movies even more emotionally engaging and visually tantalizing, and to really wrap up the story arc of our two main characters”, Landau said in his keynote chat today. The filmmakers are currently exploring technologies to allow for underwater capture of actors’ performances “because we can simulate it visually but can’t simulate it experientially for them”.
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James Cameron will be addressing the 2012 NAB Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The session is titled, appropriately enough, “The Secrets of Making 3D Profitable”, on April 16th from 10:30 to 11:45 AM conducted by Cameron and Vincent Pace for their company Cameron | Pace Group (CPG). The decription of the session follows: Read More »