Eight out of 10 users prefer iTunes In less than a week, iTunes will be 10 years old and, according to recent research, Apple still rules the digital music downloads roost. According to the latest information from The NPD Group, Apple had a 63% unit share of that market in Q4 last year. The closest follower, AmazonMP3, got 22%. Eight out of 10 digital music buyers downloaded their tracks and albums from Apple’s iTunes store in Q4 2012. And one in three still believe that owning music is important, even with various free streaming services.
Second screeners avoiding specialist apps Surprise statistics: PCs are the most common second screen device, and specialist apps like Viggle and zeebox are not appealing to the majority of TV viewers. According to The NPD Group, second-screening consumers are not widely using those applications designed by broadcasters for specific programs. NPD figures show that 88% US households own at least one device that can be used as a second screen, with 87% of US entertainment consumers reported to be second-screening while watching television. However, of TV viewers who use second-screen devices, only 47% have participated in second-screen activities.
UK retail giant Tesco has been named as the top retailer in the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)’s 2010 UK FTSE 350 report. The report, which recognizes major UK companies for their environmental work, ranks Tesco fourth overall. Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Executive Director at Tesco commented: “Tesco believes retail businesses can play a powerful role in tackling climate change and we have set ourselves ambitious goals to ensure we deliver.
“We are committed to be a zero carbon business by 2050, and to halving our carbon impact by 2020. We also want to work with our suppliers to green our supply chain and help our customers to switch to low-carbon lives. We are encouraged that the CDP has recognised our efforts, and pleased to be the highest ranked retailer this year.”
The top ranking comes from a high score in both the Carbon Performance Leadership Index (CPLI), which assesses strategy and action to reduce emissions and in the Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index (CDLI), which assesses the quality and completeness of reporting on carbon management.
The company is also the highest scoring retailer in the CDP’s Global 500 report on the 500 leading companies worldwide, which was published on 20 September.
Tesco’s recent climate change initiatives include opening the world’s first zero carbon supermarket in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, carbon labelling products in the UK and Korea to help customers understand the carbon impact of the products they buy, and building one of California’s largest roof-mounted solar installations at its Fresh & Easy distribution centre in Riverside.Continue reading »
Tech website Engadget has posted what it says is a picture of the “PlayStation Phone you’ve long been waiting for”. The site reported in August that the phone is headed for release possibly this year, probably next year, and is likely to run with Android 3.0 along with a custom Sony Marketplace for the purchase and download of games designed for the new platform.
According to Engadget the device they show “Is sporting a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 (a chip similar to the one found in the G2, but 200MHz faster), 512MB of RAM, 1GB of ROM, and the screen is in the range of 3.7 to 4.1 inches.” The model is still in prototyping mode, so “As such, the unit doesn’t have a custom skin (not even SE’s Timescape design seen on the Xperia devices), and is said to be rather buggy.”Continue reading »
Blu-Con 2010 will kick off with an exclusive conversation between James Cameron and Jon Landau, the filmmakers of the needs-no-introduction 3D movie Avatar. Cameron and Landau will discuss their personal journey in creating the world of Pandora, the challenges of filmmaking today, the freedom in working in 3D and how watching Avatar on Blu-ray is the only proper way to experience it in the home.
The third annual Blu-Con event, presented by Hollywood-based DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, will focus on the current and emerging technologies surrounding Blu-ray Disc on Tuesday, November 2 at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. This year marks the first time that Blu-Con goes global. The day’s sessions will be streamed to the DEG’s sister organizations: the DEG Europe in London and DEG Japan in Tokyo.
“James Cameron and Jon Landau redefined the theatrical movie experience, and are at the forefront of doing the same in the home with high definition Blu-ray,” said Mike Dunn, worldwide president, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and secretary, DEG. “Avatar recently became the most successful Blu-ray disc since the format’s inception, and with influential voices like Landau and Cameron supporting it, we will see continued growth in record numbers. Their expertise and insight will be a welcome addition to this year’s Blu-Con.”
The Blu-Con 2010 event is specifically designed to bring together a variety of creative, marketing and business experts from across the entertainment and electronics industries. The event is expected to attract more than 400 attendees, and will offer a programme that will underscore the vital role that Blu-ray plays in today’s home entertainment environment as a key driver in the industry.Continue reading »
The rapid growth in apps games continues to drive the mobile gaming industry, with the total mobile games market on track to reach nearly US$10 billion worldwide by 2014, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting. In 2010, the Apple App Store alone, excluding iPad, is forecast to generate around US$1.7 billion in games revenues globally, accounting for almost 30% of the total mobile gaming market.
In comparison, traditional mobile games – mainly downloaded from mobile network operator stores – account for 60%, with other apps stores, in particular the Android market, representing the remaining 10%. “There is no doubt that paid-for apps games are leading the gaming charge,” said Patrik Pfandler, lead mobile analyst at Futuresource, “and our forecasts show apps-based gaming will account for more than 95% of total mobile gaming revenues by 2014 – that’s despite the glut of free apps games out there.
“The growth of in-apps payments is a key ingredient in the commercial success of apps gaming. In the short term we’ll see the rise of the ‘freemium’ business model, where the game is downloaded for free, but incorporates micro-transactions and virtual currencies, encouraging users to unlock additional features, new levels and premium content. In the longer run, we’re going to see ad-funded apps games start to gain more traction as well.
“The accelerating uptake of smartphones has been the primary driver in apps growth, with high quality touchscreens, powerful programmable processors, improved graphics and cameras, increased storage, accelerometer and GPS all becoming standard and all making their contribution to an improved mobile gaming experience.”
Futuresource expects smartphone ownership to grow by 50% in 2010, achieving 270 million units worldwide, with the uptake being driven by the increased availability of devices, continued strong sales of iPhones and – more recently – a growing demand for Android-powered mobile handsets. And although the Android market currently lacks the variety of quality apps and games titles that can be found in the Apple App Store, Google’s mobile platform is rapidly gaining a share of the apps market, as more games developers and publishers begin to migrate across.Continue reading »
India-based conglomerate Spice Global has announced a 3D cellphone, for under $100, which does not require glasses for viewing. Kunal Ahooja, CEO and director of Spice Mobiles, was quoted as saying, “We have created this new device to fulfil the latest demands of smart mobile phone users. We expect that the View D will get popular amongst the youth, as they are always looking for smarter and newer ways of communication.”
The phone has, according to Spice Mobile, auto-stereoscopic display, “which facilitates users to view three-dimensional images, enabling objects to appear more real and physical. The dedicated 3D shortcut key on the phone key lets users to switch amid 2D and 3D mode instantly. Further, the phone supports parallel version of 3D image and video format for that perfect viewing.”
Other features of the phone include dual SIM capability, a 2.36-inch screen with 240 x 320 resolution, a 16GB expandable memory, remote wipe, 2 Megapixel camera, FM Radio, MP3 Player, and Stereo Bluetooth.
According to one reviewer, “This camera cell phone will attract the budget minded Indians [and] will surely give tough competition to other brands ruling the Indian market.”Continue reading »
More than 100 police officers in four countries have taken action against those involved in the manufacture, supply and sale of the Masterbox series of unlicensed CD and DVD box sets that generated millions of euro in illegal sales revenues. Jeremy Banks, director, anti-piracy at IFPI, welcomed the internationally co-ordinated police action, said: “This was a major cross-border anti-piracy action against an operation that we believe was causing very significant losses to the legitimate music industry.”
The Masterbox series, which first came under investigation in The Netherlands in 2006, contained unlicensed music, films and television programmes. Each box set included an MP3 disc featuring up to 60 albums, some of them pre-release titles. Music from artists such as Black Eyed Peas, Michael Jackson, Green Day and Robbie Williams was found in the Masterbox series, which ran to more than 50 editions. Copies of Masterbox had a street value of around €40 and were sold informally across the Netherlands. It is estimated that more than 450,000 copies of the various editions were sold, totalling more than €19 million in illegal sales.
Police searched eight business premises and five homes across Belgium, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Spain over the last few days. The action was supported by IFPI, who assisted the police in identifying and forensically testing evidence. “Police took action against a gang that had generated millions of euro in illegal revenues by infringing the rights of artists, songwriters and record producers,” said Banks.
Officers from the Dutch fiscal police (FIOD-ECD) arrested three individuals in the Netherlands who are suspected of selling copies of Masterbox. A further suspect was arrested and held for questioning in Belgium. The most recent editions of Masterbox have been produced in Bulgaria and police from the country’s Cyber Crime Unit raided manufacturing plants in Sofia and Plovdiv. Police in Poland, the Czech Republic and Italy had previously raided plants that had been used manufacture the box sets, but this was the first time international co-ordinated action was taken against the whole Masterbox supply chain.Continue reading »
Packaging specialist AGI has announced that Vincent Petersen will be joining the company as European sales and business development director for the film entertainment markets. Petersen, who joins from Paramount Home Entertainment UK, has also worked for MGM and Warner Home Video in the UK and Germany.
“I am very excited to be joining the experienced and respected team at AGI in these times of change,” Petersen said. “I believe that my intimate knowledge of the film industry will bring AGI’s expertise and capabilities and the entire home entertainment industry even closer together for whatever the creative or operational opportunities might be.”
Petersen will report into John Mullane, VP of European Sales & Global Business Development and will work with the film account teams, based out of London. Mullane said: “We are very happy to have Vincent join us at a very exciting time when we have just found new owners and are re-positioning AGI and its industry-leading services in design and digital, print and packaging, POS and plastics. His senior experiences across sales and marketing will be extremely relevant to sell our entire offering of services and products to the film markets.”
Tony Garnish, president of AGI, recently spoke to Digital2Disc about the new owners and the company strategy and the interview will be published in Issue 3 of the magazine, due out at the end of this week.Continue reading »
UK-based royalty collection organization Compact Media Group has announced the appointment of executive chairman Richard Green and a new investor, Lyceum Capital, which has invested £17 million to drive the growth and development of the business. “Intellectual property is the lifeblood for creators and this is especially pertinent for right holders in the film and TV industries,” said Green.
Green’s experience in the media sector spans 20 years, most recently as one of the key architects behind the formation of 2entertain in 2004 where he held the position of CEO until September 2009. He joins existing CEO John O’Sullivan, who said: “It is truly fitting that as we enter our 15th full year of trading that we do so with heightened aspirations and a strengthening of our team.
“In Lyceum we have found a dedicated and astute financial partner for us; and by securing Richard Green as our incoming executive chairman we are well placed to seize on further opportunities for our clients, old and new alike.”
Established in 1995, the London-based firm has offices in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Sydney and Paris and has successfully claimed and distributed over €125 million in royalties on behalf of its worldwide clients.
“Compact has consistently raised the bar in terms of collection and service for its clients and is greatly respected,” Green concluded. “I am especially looking forward to meshing the prowess of John O’Sullivan and his team with the complementary strategic and financial support from Lyceum Capital to create new opportunities for our clients throughout the world.”Continue reading »
Netflix recently announced its Q3 2010 financial results, noting that its core focus is now on streaming. It reported subscribers of over 16.9 million and revenue of $553.2 million. “Q3 represents our fourth consecutive quarter of more than one million net subscriber additions,” said Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and CEO.” This growth is clearly driven by the strength of our streaming offering. In fact, by every measure, we are now primarily a streaming company that also offers DVD-by-mail.”
Highlights also included the 52% year-over-year growth from 11,109,000 total subscribers at the end of the third quarter of 2009 and 13% sequential growth from 15,001,000 subscribers at the end of the second quarter of 2010.
The percentage of subscribers who watched instantly more than 15 minutes of a TV episode or movie in the third quarter of 2010 was 66% compared to 41% for the same period of 2009 and 61% for the second quarter of 2010. In Q4 a majority of Netflix subscribers will watch more content streamed from Netflix than delivered on DVD. With that transition in the business from mostly DVD to mostly streaming, this will, said the company, be the last quarter it reports this metric.
“At the same time, the introduction of our streaming offering in Canada in late September has provided us with very encouraging signs regarding the potential for the Netflix service internationally,” added Hastings.Continue reading »
UK-based eco-friendly CD and DVD packaging company wewow has announced the launch of an innovative, re-usable promotional calendar. The zero-waste ‘WowCalendar’ provides a sustainable alternative to the thousands of throw-away, promo calendars that will be distributed in the New Year, says the company.
The 100% recycled card calendar has been designed so that at the end of each month the user simply tears off the page and folds the pre-creased sheet into a branded CD/DVD card wallet, ideal for storing data or packaging a branded CD.
No part of the WowCalendar need end up in landfill as the small amount of leftover card can be recycled and, says wewow, the discreet metal screw that holds the calendar together can be reused. This allows for 12-month branding with a constant environmental message. The WowCalendar has been launched in time for the pre-Christmas rush for brandable gifts and the company is confident that the “utterly unique concept will generate a huge buzz in the market”.Continue reading »