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Are We on the Verge of Television’s Third Golden Age?

alacarte304As TV critics often remind us, we’re living in a second Golden Age of television. It’s an exciting era in which writers and producers, now freed from the constraints of the major networks thanks to the proliferation of TV channels, online distribution options and independent production companies, are taking risks and serving up innovative content. Inspired by HBO’s wildly popular mobster series, The Sopranos, a new generation of producers began offering critically acclaimed fare like Breaking Bad and Mad Men. And now, series like Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards are making waves via subscription streaming services.

This revolution in content production has been largely driven and enabled by a sea change in how consumers access programming. The first wave came as the proliferation of TV channels available via cable/satellite/telco subscriptions. The second wave is the on-demand availability of content through streaming services like Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus and Netflix, powered by over-the-top devices like Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and gaming consoles like Xbox. Standalone niche networks that are available 24/7 in a channel format via apps and online – like the Tennis Channel and WWE Network – are also part of this wave.

The on-demand component is important to today’s consumers, especially Millennials and Generation Z, who have come to expect access to content on multiple devices whenever and wherever they want it. Cable networks have gotten the message.

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Mediabistro Course

Reel Reporting: Create Your Reel

Mediabistro Presents: ReelReporting Create Your ReelA good TV reporter won't go far without a standout Demo Reel! Starting November 13, MediabistroEDU and Reel Reporting offer a three-day series for students interested in hosting and news reporting. In this Los Angeles based course, students will learn from and work side-by-side TV agents and On-Air talent to better understand the hiring process and  shoot their best reel yet. Register now! 
 

The Young Turks Experiment With Exclusive Content for Members

In the wake of the Bill Maher and Ben Affleck debate on radical Islam on “Real Time With Bill Maher” a few weeks ago, The Young Turks streamed an interview between Cenk Uygur and Sam Harris last night, author of Project Reason and another at the desk during that “Real Time” discussion. It’s a talk show feedback loop: Uygur had Reza Aslan on the show, Aslan challenged Harris, Harris is invited.

More intriguing than the debate, though, is that the interview came about because fans pushed for it on social media. There are various “TYT Talk” and hashtags for the show’s weekday broadcast.TYT member benefits

The network  itself offered a live-stream of the interview exclusively for its paying members last night and Uygur and Harris were both welcoming questions from social media to guide the debate. The network streamed the interview as a way to expand upon current membership benefits and, according to a statement, “continue [to] push to build revenue and value off YouTube.”

The perks are more entertaining than most Kickstarter campaigns: for $10/month fans get the “Entire Main Show & Post Game Show ad free, podcast network shows,” but for a $100 or $1,000? Conference calls with the hosts or a one -on-one call with Cenk Uygur once a month. Talk about engagement. You can see the full interview with Harris below:

Netflix Is ‘Buffering’ All Day

battlefornetNo, your Netflix video won’t really be buffering all day, but they’re doing their best to make you think it is.

Visitors to the video streaming site, and others like Vimeo, Reddit, and Twitter are protesting the FCC’s net neutrality proposal with “Internet Slowdown” day. You won’t really have to wait for that episode of “Friday Night Lights” to load, but the spinning widget displayed on Netflix and other participating websites hits an emotional cord.

It’s hard to get people to pay attention to how and why we should defend net neutrality, but that buffering, spinny wheel is infuriating — even when it’s fake. Instead of technical jargon, the widget speaks plain English:

iinternet slowdown widget

You can take action and sign petitions here, but some are already calling the widget a wimpy move. If you really want the general population to care about protecting the fast lanes, we might have to actually slow the internet down to drive the point home. You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone, right?

 

How Giraffic’s AVA Technology ‘Rebuffs’ Re-Buffering Issues and Low Quality Streams

home-main-stripEven with a lightning-fast internet connection, you’ve likely experienced re-buffering – whether in the form of total stoppage or a transition from high to low quality – in the recent past. Sure, streaming technology is improving, but at the same time there are more households with smart TVs consuming content on Netflix and Hulu. Couple that with multiple devices in the same household connected to broadband, and the result is bandwidth issues.

In comes Giraffic, a Tel Aviv-based company that has pioneered “Adaptive Video Acceleration” (AVA), technology designed to eliminate re-buffering issues. Samsung will incorporate the technology in its 2014 smart TV and BlueRay player lineup. AVA accelerates content that is streamed or downloaded to the device’s native video player without any further integration or implementation required by the content provider. “Rather than relying on a single stream,” Giraffic CEO and Founder Yoel Zanger tells Lost Remote, “Giraffic’s AVA requests multiple data sessions from the content servers for smaller pieces of a video stream, then stitches them all back together for seamless playback.”

We spoke with Zanger about how AVA works, what viewers with AVA-equipped devices will notice, and why re-buffering and suboptimal resolution is a persistent problem.

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Streamy Awards Honor Internet’s Best, Pay Tribute to Joan Rivers

StreamysYouTube star Tyler Oakley took home the top streaming honors from fans last night at the 4th annual Streamy Awards, winning entertainer of the year.

“To the people at home, I don’t know what I would do without you…thank you for being part of my life,” Oakley said in his acceptance speech. The awards show also paid a special tribute to legendary comedian Joan Rivers, who died last week at 81.

Here are some of the top moments. The complete list of winners are the jump.

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Streaming NY Fashion Week

mbfw2015New York Fashion Week is in full swing until September 11th and like all things fashionable,  it’s also pretty exclusive. But the way #NYFW14 is trending on social media, it’s a shame it’s not broadcast on primetime television. It’s not exactly captivating television for the layman, but the audience is dedicated.

Luckily, they don’t have to be in New York or in Prabal Gurung to get a front row fix thanks to second screen options for streaming the shows.

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#LaborLive: Animal Planet Streaming Births For Holiday Weekend

laborOh, America, where we can turn a celebration of our workforce into an excuse to live-stream animals in labor. Get it?

Through Labor Day, Animal Planet is live-streaming animal births on the Animal Planet L!ve website. It’s called the (caution: you could be clicking into some graphic lamb-birth) Labor Live Cam‘ direct from the Nebraska State Fair — we’re talking cows, pigs, chickens, maybe even a goat or two. On the site, you can also catch edited highlights, videos of the little things taking their first steps, and interviews with the vets. There’s a little scorecard in the corner where they keep a tally of how many species have arrived since Aug. 22, when the #LaborLive cam started tracking the action. While you do get to watch births, a lot of time it’s just a cow milling about. Read more

Meredith and Net2TV Partner on ‘Better Home and Gardens’ Streaming TV

net2tvHome and gardening lovers: make some room on your second screen devices.

Meredith, the media conglomerate highlighting women, has partnered with Net2TV to launch a new streaming TV show spun off from the Better Homes and Gardens brand. The half-hour show, hosted by NBC First Look’s Jackie Tranchida, will offer content around cooking, decorating, home improvement, entertaining and gardening. It debuts August 27 with a Labor Day-themed episode.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Net2TV to bring our award-winning content to a new audience and in a new format,” Gayle Butler, Editor-in-Chief, Better Homes and Gardens said in a news release. “Better Homes and Gardens helps its audience live more colorful and creative lives, and our highly visual content translates beautifully into compelling television.”

“Better Homes and Gardens” will air bi-monthly on Net2TV’s Portico TV service, which is distributed across more than 30 million screens via smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Sharp and Phillips), Roku-connected TV’s, and on Toshiba tablets.

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John Oliver’s Income Inequality Barometer: Whether You’re Paying for Or Stealing HBO

OliverHBO’s John Oliver led “Last Week Tonight” last night with a look at America’s income inequality issue. And for Oliver, the main measuring stick for which side of the gap you’re on comes down to HBO.

“A good way to know which side of it you’re on is if you’re currently paying for HBO or stealing it, ” Oliver said. The joke drew laughs from the audience, but Oliver was actually hitting on a real issue for HBO.

As we reported earlier in the year, HBOGO crashed during the “True Detective” finale due to so many people—including folks borrowing their friends and family members’ passwords—watching at the same time.  HBO’s CEO isn’t all that concerned about people stealing passwords to watch, so it seems for the time being, HBO is available for subscribers, and as Oliver describes them, “stealers.”

WATCH:

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Will HBO’s Free Content Strategy Spark a New Wave?

HBOHBO wants you watching its programs even if they have to offer them for free— temporarily, that is.

A wide number of people feel no need to pay for a premium cable channel anymore, so the network is doing more than ever to lure them in, especially after premium channels have seen a decline in new subscribers while Netflix and other video streaming services are surging.

And if that wasn’t enough, HBO’s multi-million dollar juggernaut “Game of Thrones” is the most pirated show ever. HBO knows it has to get new subscribers in order to make up for the costs of production; being a “premium” channel is a luxury that simply won’t sustain them anymore.

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