DIGITAL MEDIA FROM THE INSIDE OUT: My focus is digital content -- production, distribution, collaboration, innovation, creativity. Some posts have appeared across the web (HuffPo, Tribeca's Future of Film, The Wrap, MIPblog, etc.). To receive these posts regularly via email, sign up for my newsletter here.

Entries in social-tv (3)


Curating the Week's Best in Film, TV, Video, Transmedia & Digital Business

Each week I offer my own (human) curation of links, posts, and articles that have informed me in the markets in which I actively consult -- film, television, video, transmedia, and digital business. You can scan the summary, click through, or go to my Twitter account (@nickdemartino), where the items below are among those "favorited" with a star. 


  • It will be interesting to watch the new TV venture from Mark Cuban, Ryan Seacrest, CAA and AEG, reported here in Variety (a gated community). 
  • Long Tail Video created a really excellent overview of HTML5 by cramming a ton of info into easy-to-digest charts and graphics. This is a model of clarity in presentation, especially  if you're into tech subjects.
  • Cable networks are emerging as the most innovative users of social TV apps, as noted in Mashable's rundown of efforts by FX and USA.
  • As part of Netflix's resurrection campaign the company noted that its streaming service is now available on more than 800 devices (!) and that mobile is taking over. 
  • Think Netflix is worried about Hulu and Amazon catching up? Nope, the threat is "TV Everywhere," according to this TNW post.
  • Maybe they should worry more about Apple TV, which GigaOm asserts is finally gaining marketplace traction. 
  • I loved this piece on the impact of VOD binge viewing on future TV business models, posted on WIRED. I'm a binger, aren't you?  
  • YouTube's Reach Begins to Eclipse Television, claims Read Write Web, based upon recent data.
  • As it shifts towards more professional content and a channel-based interface, YouTube reached out to its base of member-creators this week
  • John Seabrook's analysis of Robert Kyncl and YouTube: Will it Revolutionize Television? New Yorker 
  • Perhaps in reaction to YouTube's strategy, Vimeo this week released new features, including a new player and a streamlined look. 

  • One YouTuber who is jumping quite a shark is Dane Beodigheimer's ANNOYING ORANGE, which announced a deal with Cartoon Network this week. 
  • Video is powering a global classroom, according to this story from Mashable.


  • Check out this beautiful display of components that comprised the "multilayered transmedia campaign" in support of HBO's GAME OF THRONES by Steve Coulson who presented this week at the newly named STORYCODE meet up group at Lincoln Center. 
  • Finally, SXSW announced the finalists for its Interactive Awards with a list of links to products in each area, including activism, amusement, art, business, community, education, experimental, film/TV, music, motion graphics and so forth. So helpful if one wishes to actually check out the sites.


  • With the announcement of the Oscar nominations, we move into the home-stretch of the movie biz annual race. the web awash with analysis and predictions, like this one from the Reporter, offering "key factoids." 
  • At the other end of the biz --perhaps in honor of Sundance which is in session-- check this out: Jeffrey Winter, Sheri Candler, and Orly Ravid, three of the four authors of "Selling Your Film Without Selling Your Soul" offer another batch of DIY distribution success stories, posted on Ted Hope's blog.
  • Indeed, Sundance's Robert Redford opened the festival with a nod to alternate distribution. 
  • Cinedigm joint venture seeks to help indie filmmakers compete in the digital space. 


  • Apple's entry into the textbook market got lots of attention last week, including a nice post from the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard, "The Day the Bookshelf Shook." 
  • Though "the network effect" may be the holy grail for digital business, maybe not so much, according to this really smart post from the Business Insider. 
  • The impact of the epic struggle over SOPA has resulted in some interesting long-view posts, including Chris Dorr's analysis, which centers on the fundamental differences between the technological networks employed by the adversaries (Hollywood, Internet). 
  • The Hollywood Reporter dives into "what went wrong" for Hollywood in a nice piece of reporting by Kim Masters. 
  • One sign that a company is important is how much new it makes when it introduces change to its user base. Hence, Twitter made news with a shift in how it "withholds" certain tweets -- is it censorship? The twitterati are atwitter.
  • That will be nothing, however, compared to the online flutter that will attend to the long-awaited filing by Facebook of its long-awaited Initial Public Offering, rumored to be as early as next week.

Vote for SXSW

I've never managed to attend the annual SXSW conference, despite my strong admiration for the role built by the organizers of the multi-faceted event each spring in Austin. More than any other festival (at least in North America), SXSW gives equal weight to film, music and interactive.

This year Janet Piersen who runs the Film program pinged me to suggest that I should consider proposing a panel, and was very helpful in steering me through the rather arduous process of doing so, articulated in this FAQ.

You see, SXSW is interactive to its bones. While I'm sure certain conference sessions are programmed by staff, there's a healthy dose of user-generated content among the roster of activities. And it starts 9 months prior to the show itself.

Once the submission and speakers have been established (all online), there's a public voting process, which is NOW -- through September 2nd. Public voting and comments comprise a 30% share of the weighted consideration, but obviously a well-crowd-sourced panel does get the attention of the organizers. 

I submitted the following two panels, one in film and one in interactive. Please review, vote and comment, should you be so inclined: 

INTERACTIVE: Television in the Era of Social Engagement 

FILM: Can Next-Gen Studios Reinvent Content Models?


• The Difference Between Connected TV, Social TV and Expanded TV – and Why You Should Care

The tech world is rife with trend-mongering, much of which winds up as wishful thinking or downright wrong. The future of television technology is no exception (Remember web TV, Intercast, and interactive set-top boxes?). Prognostication is a mug's game.

And, so it is with great caution that I approach the latest trio of trends -- Connected TV, Social TV and Expanded TV. Whether or not these jargony trends hurl us into the future, they reflect the challenge that every content creator (and distributor) faces today: 

Consumers expect more from all of their screens. 

Herein I break down these three big trends, along with their odds for future success (which I may live to regret).


Connected TV

What is it? Your TV connects to the Internet.

Why you should care: It bypasses traditional distribution middlemen. Today there are some 30 million connected TV households in the US, a number that is expected to more than triple to 137 million in three years.

How it works: Connections can be made through devices (Blu-Ray players, game consoles, Roku) or directly to Internet-enabled flat-screens. There you'll find a marketplace of TV apps, (aka over-the-top, or OTT) because they come into the home over the tops of cable and satellite payrolls.  

The players: The consumer electronics companies (Samsung, Sony, LG, etc.) make the sets, many of the boxes, and the platforms where consumers find the OTT apps.  (Apple, Yahoo and Google, also provide OTT services, compared here. Each manufacturer offers libraries of both paid and free apps for all kinds of stuff, including music, education, games, sports, reference, photos, social networking. 

For video, Netflix is the OTT poster child, of course. Other VOD vendors include Vudu, YouTube, CinemaNow, Amazon, and Hulu, compared here. Expect other aggregators to follow. If Sundance can centralize deals with networks, why not build a branded OTT channel? If SnagFilms (owner of IndieWire) presents documentaries over the web, why not via OTT?

The odds: Today's OTT market offers new choices at a low price. But if iInternet access providers (like the cable companies) start charging by usage, and content providers start withhold content or charge more to the aggregators like Netflix, the model quickly falls apart. Both trends have led to some to doubt OTT's long-term success.

But I am intrigued whenever there’s a chance for outsiders (think: indies & their aggregators) to disrupt the status quo, especially since they have been squeezed out of cable's "500-channel universe" and the shrinking DVD market. Vendors like Accedo or Flingo can help build TV apps. 

Social TV 

What is it? A way to connect viewers, content, and friends, powered by mobile platforms and social networks. Not a new idea, but very powerful in the age of Facebook, Twitter and iPads.  

Why you should care: Connecting media consumption to social networks produces a tsunami of  data, which in turn powers personalized advertising, commerce and relationships, which creates new business models. Bye-bye mass, hello niche.

How it works: Viewers “check-in” to a show they’re watching via a mobile app. They can send their ratings and comments to friends, share on social networks, and otherwise fool around with badges, points, leaderboards, messaging, and other game-like features. 

The players: Suddenly, this is a crowded field. Apps like GetGlueMisoPhilo, and Tunerfish offer similar check-in and game-like features. IntoNow adds automatic content recognition (ACR), in which the audio signal of the show that is running triggers the app. Shazam does for that for music now, and will shortly add it for TV. Beyond TV turns your PC or Mac into a DVR. WatchPoints offers rewards for viewing. Zazum enables impulse purchases via its “SeeLoveBuy” app.

The odds: With so much VC-backed competition, it's clear that the category is hot, which may lead Facebook and Twitter to jump in. Earlier this year, Yahoo bought IntoNow just weeks after its launch . Over the long haul, hese apps must attract users, sponsors and deals with TV brands themselves, like this one with Project Runway

IntoNow’s Adam Cahan admits, “I don’t think anyone in this space has cracked what users are drawn to.” To hear more from Cahan and other leaders, check out this video  from the TV of Tomorrow show. 

Expanded TV

What is it?  Tablet and smartphone apps that give fans a deep dive into a specific show or network.

Why you should care: The audience is moving to mobile devices, especially hard-core fans.They will reward the shows that give them more content. 

How it works: Early mobile apps for networks and TV shows offered promotion, schedules, trivia, data, galleries, clips and the like. (My favorite: TCM) When networks began streaming full episodes on websites, and then tablets, the apps provided extra content alongside the streams. (Cable got into the act with its TV Everywhere initiative, which opened the cookie jar to subscribers.). Now individual series are offering bespoke apps for the true fan.The newest of these actually synch to the live broadcast.

The players: Basically everyone in the business, especially channels, shows (and movies) that have ardent fan bases. "Our brands are all racing to create a companion experience on mobile interactive devices,” said Marc Siry of NBC Universal at the Digital Content Monetization conference in June. 

Some good examples are apps for Fox’s Bones and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, one of the first to use Nielsen's MediaSync technology. See also, the HBO-commissioned content for Game of Thrones, available via its HBO-Go app. 

The odds: Mobile devices and app stores are revolutionizing the content marketplace, forever changing our definition of TV "networks" and "shows." (and movies, too), and bringing new opportunities to satisfy the seemingly insatiable demands of audiences for more, more more. Expanded TV allows creators to broaden their pallets and expand their relationship with audiences over time. 

Just TV

These three trends are enabled by technologies (Wifi, audio fingerprinting, tablets) and new business models (OTT, apps, social). As each finds its user base and category leader, it's very likely that the functions will simple become subsumed into the mainstream -- it will be "just TV". 

A London start-up called Zeebox suggest such a future when the TV set will be linked to a second screen and automatically connect your viewing to the broader web. As co-founder Ernesto Schmitt told Paid Content "We think (consumers) want TV on steroids - the ability to watch TV socially, an ability to transact, to get information, to interact. It’s the enhancement of TV. 

A version of this post also appeared in Tribeca's FUTURE OF FILM BLOG, here. I am grateful for input from Dana Harris, editor of IndieWire.

To access links on this topic, check out my OTT collection on Delicious