Monday, September 26, 2011
Gavin O'Malley, September 26, 2011, 11:52 AM
Netflix Secures DreamWorks DealThe New York Times

It's Shrek to the rescue! Breaking up a string of bad news and disappointing forecasts, Netflix has scored a major distribution deal with DreamWorks Animation.

"The Netflix accord, which analysts estimate is worth $30 million per picture to DreamWorks over an unspecified period of years, is billed by the companies as the first time a major Hollywood supplier has chosen Web streaming over pay television," The New York Times reports.

Specifically, "What this means is that rather than providing its films to HBO or a similar premium pay TV channel, DreamWorks has opted to show its movies on Netflix," writes PCMag.com.

"DreamWorks Animation is betting big on the future of the Web's popularity for consuming premium video content," is how ReadWriteWeb sees the deal. "Netflix has just announced a coup," gushes ConsumerReports.org. Or not, CNet suggests. While desperate to generate some positive news, it suspects that that the details of the Netflix deal "make it clear the partnership doesn't warrant the Times' goose-pimply reaction."

Adding to the appearance of spin, as CNet notes, the deal isn't slated to kick off until 2013, at which point DreamWorks plans to offer up its feature film lineup to Netflix subscribers. Later on, select titles will be added to Netflix's Watch Instantly library, including Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar 2, Chicken Run, and Antz.

Still, Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg tells NYT that the deal is "game-changing," and, as Reuters notes, "represented a bet that viewers would soon no longer make distinctions between content streamed on the Internet or through cable."

Read the whole story...
  • Gavin O'Malley, September 26, 2011, 11:52 AM
  • Will all due respect to socially-overwhelmed consumers, Cult of Mac's Mike Elgan says Apple needs its own social network. Sure, many consumers think Google+ already pushes the envelope of social saturation, but Elgan insists that Apple can't keep its edge without a social strategy of its own. Why? With the debut of its vast content-sharing strategy, "Facebook is now more directly threatening to Apple's business model than Microsoft, Google and Sony combined," according to Elgan.

    "In a single week, Facebook has become not just a competitor to Apple, but the Mother of All Apple Competitors." While not a forgone conclusion, "If social discovery of media is the future, then Apple needs to be there," Elgan adds. And, if anyone can beat Facebook at its own game, it's Apple, Elgan insists.
    Read the whole story...
  • To scale its operations, trendy blogging platform Tumblr has secured a fresh $85 million in funding, led by Greylock Partners and Insight Venture Partners, along with participation from Chernin Group, Richard Branson, Spark Capital, Union Square Ventures and Sequoia Capital. The new money "allows us to continue to scale our business and give real focus to the further development of Tumblr," founder David Karp said in a statement.

    "Karp said that Tumblr's growth has exploded in the past year," The New York Times' Bits blog notes. "It's attracted popular musicians such as Lady Gaga and traffic leapt to 13 billion page views per month from 2 billion page views per month." Since 2007, meanwile, Tumblr has facilitated the creation of some 30 million blogs, which now generate more than 40 million posts each day, Bits reports.
    ,br> "Tumblr has come far since we began our journey," Karp added. "From the early users signing up to easily share all of the things they cared about, to the global community today where creators have an incredible opportunity to reach an audience of hundreds of millions, it's been a remarkable four years." Read the whole story...
  • How's this for a marketing pitch? Facebook -- in an effort to lure small businesses and their devoted patrons -- reportedly plans to give away $10 million in free advertising. "The initiative is being launched in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Federation of Independent Business, a small-business group," The Wall Street Journal reports.

    "It is intended to educate small businesses on how to promote themselves on the social-networking site, like buying display ads targeted to specific markets, but also through cost-free measures to engage more with customers." The program is expected to kick off next month, and will be spearheaded by a cross-country "road show" in participation with state and local chambers of commerce, as well as regional NFIB offices.

    Google -- arguably Facebook's chief rival as the Web's official gatekeeper -- has aggressively sought to the favor of small businesses through Google Maps integrations, and various other efforts. In January, Facebook is slated to start giving away $50 per business in free advertising credits to as many as 200,000 small businesses. Read the whole story...
  • In other big streaming deals, Amazon this weekend announced a partnership with Fox Broadcasting Company. Per a blog post by CEO Jeff Bezos, Amazon said Prime subscribers will now have unlimited access to thousands more hours of movies and TV shows, TechCrunch reports. "These are huge titles, too: "The X-Files," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "24," "Arrested Development," and "The Wonder Years," it notes.

    "Yep, you can now stream the adventurers of Kevin Arnold through Amazon's Prime Instant Video." As Bezos boasted, "We now have deals with CBS, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner Bros, and adding Fox will bring the total to more than 11,000 movies and TV shows available for unlimited instant streaming." Amazon debuted its Prime Instant Video service early last year.

    Going head to head with Netflix, Prime offers all-you-can-consumer unlimited streaming for $79.99 a year, which works out to $6.64 a month verse Netflix's $7.99, TechCrunch points out. "However, besides the access to unlimited streaming, the $79.99 a year charge nets buyers free 2-day shipping and $3.99 one day shipping," it adds. "With strong platform support, and now 11k titles from Fox, Amazon Prime Instant Video is looking rather tasty." Read the whole story...