Fresh from raising $ 90 million from investors in March, iFlix, a Netflix-like service for emerging markets, has announced its first slate of original content. The Malaysia-headquartered business claims five million registered users across 10 countries — it recently branched out into Africa and the Middle East — for its service which costs around $ 3 per month. Beyond cheaper… Read More
There’s a new Star Trek series coming next year, and it just got a whole lot easier to watch without resorting to torrent sites. Netflix has announced that it will be the exclusive […]
Core77’s editors spend time combing through the news so you don’t have to. Here’s a weekly roundup of our favorite stories from the World Wide Web.
Temporary Highs is an exhibition that brings together artists who are exploring how the structure of the internet enables reward-seeking behavior in a compulsive cycle of (over-)sharing and consumption. While the physical show opened this week in New York and will run through July 31, the works can also be viewed on temporaryhighs.net, an extension of the show online that rewards users for engaging with its content.
—Carly Ayres, columnist, In the Details
Today I’m reading woodworker Steve Branam’s 4-part blog series on how he designed and built the organization system for his workshop.
—Rain Noe, senior editor
If you’re into good infographics and love rap (and even more if you don’t like rap), this illuminating look at rhyme phrasing and patterning in rap lyrics might change your life. Jump on the Spotify playlist too. ‘Cause it’s Friday, and I don’t care if you got shit to do.
—Kat Bauman, contributing writer
The Netflix of Dreaming
A short film on Luciding, a tech startup in Kiev, Ukraine engineering a wearable that allows you to lucid dream whenever you wish. All Orwellian jokes aside, the report reveals a few strange truths regarding our evolving relationship with technology and certain sociological consequences of our particular time in history.
–Allison Fonder, community manager
On Mood & Architecture
I’ve been enjoying a series of interviews with architectural historian Beatriz Colomina, on the ways in which our everyday surroundings impact our emotions. Architecture and mood are “more than intertwined,” says Colomina, “they are inseparable…because our sense of safety is very much at the basis of architecture…every form of architecture has been the result of a fear, of a need for protection from some kind of danger whether it’s real or imagined.” The four parts explore fear & creativity, anxiety & awe, health & hedonism and entertainment & control.
—Alexandra Alexa, editorial assistant
For obvious reasons, Netflix is obsessed with the speed and quality of your internet connection. To help keep you up to date on how your connection is doing, it's launched Fast.com, a trademarked webpage that simply loads and runs a speed test, no us…
Engadget RSS Feed
Netflix missed out on Top Gear’s hosts but it has snagged the rights to stream the new version with Chris Evans. We just don’t know exactly when and where.
Netflix missed out on Top Gear’s hosts but it has snagged the rights to stream the new version with Chris Evans. We just don’t know exactly when and where.
Despite having recently introduced the likes of Hemlock Grove and House of Cards, Netflix isn’t staying put and is now boosting its original content with yet another production: Orange is the New Black. The new comedic drama series, created by Weeds‘ own Jenji Kohan, is set to start streaming to worldwide Netflix subscribers beginning July 11th. Similar to Netflix’s House of Cards, Orange is the New Black consists of thirteen episodes running at around 60 minutes — however, the main story here won’t be based on drama coming out of D.C., but rather a “world populated with unforgettable characters and no-holds-barred humor set against the backdrop of a women’s prison.” Be sure to peruse over the PR after the break, where you’ll find more deets about the plot as well as the full cast.
This week I’m writing from a special place: from the perspective of a Google Glass owner. Well, to be honest I’m not wearing them this exact moment — I’m actually at 30,000 feet, making the most of a Gogo connection, and when your phone is in airplane mode there’s not much point in wearing the headset. Unless, of course, you’re looking for a conversation starter. In that role, the headset performs impeccably even when turned completely off.
It’s been an interesting couple days wearing the headset around, days I’ll continue to chronicle on the site because I know many of you are eager to know what Glass is like. I know this because I’ve had dozens of strangers come up to me and ask, “What’s it like?” Suffice to say, Glass is very interesting and the potential is compelling, but right now the thing is somewhat frustrating in its limited functionality. That’ll change real soon as more developers get to grips with the Mirror API.
Haven’t been reading every Netflix quarterly report or listening to each earnings call for the last several years? No problem: you can quickly get caught up on the company’s strategy thanks to a “Long Term View” document posted to its investor relations site. Boiling down many of the things executives like Reed Hastings have been saying into a single PDF, it’s an easier to digest road map of where Netflix thinks this whole online video thing is going. Among other things, it sees the simplicity of its offering — no ads, no VOD, no-hassle cancellation, access on any screen at any time mobile or TV — as a main selling point. How to keep customers happy? Make sure that they think of Netflix as the better option for their entertainment time than other possible choices. Hit the source link to dig into it yourself or check below for a breakdown.
Source: Netflix (PDF)
Continue reading here:
Netflix reported positive first-quarter numbers, including revenues of $1.02 billion during the first three months of the year. The company also announced that it added 2 million domestic in the quarter, bringing the total number of subscribers to 29.2 million.
The results represent a positive response to Kevin Spacey-led political thriller House of Cards, which just happens to be the first major release in Netflix’s original programming slate this year. And they’re driving investors to jump on the stock in after-hours trading, driving shares up nearly 20 percent.
Netflix announced net additions of 2.03 million subscribers in the U.S. compared to 2.05 million in the fourth quarter — which historically is its strongest period of subscriber growth — and 1.74 million in last year’s first quarter. As a result, it said that it’s growing its subscriber base and revenues faster than its content spend in the streaming business. It reported that its domestic streaming contribution margin increased to 20.6 percent in the quarter, which was up 140 basis points from the previous quarter.
Analysts estimated that the company would report about $1 billion in revenue, as well as earnings of 18 cents a share. But the number everyone is looking at is Netflix’s subscriber number, which Wall Street forecast would be around 29 million streaming subscribers in the U.S.
Netflix is betting big on the release of exclusive shows like House of Cards as a way to differentiate its service from the syndicated content that it’s licensed from existing TV networks. It’s investing hundreds of millions of dollars in these series, and hoping that investment will be paid back with greater subscriber interest.
While Netflix had released its first original show, the Steve Van Zandt-led Norwegian mob comedy Lillyhammer last year, this quarter marks the introduction of House of Cards. That series debuted to strong reviews and a huge marketing push by Netflix, which was hoping to capitalize on the acting of Kevin Spacey, producer David Fincher, and the popularity of the original British miniseries of the same name.
So far, that strategy appears to be working, as House of Cards very quickly became Netflix’ most-watched program. More importantly, more subscribers than expected signed up for the service since the launch of the new series. In its analyst comments, Netflix noted:
“Some investors worried that the House of Cards fans would take advantage of our free trial, watch the show, and then cancel. However, there was very little free-trial gaming – less than 8,000 people did this – out of millions of free trials in the quarter.”
That’s a great response to House of Cards — but Netflix has even more exclusive content in its pipeline. Netflix just introduced Hemlock Grove, a 13-part horror series from Hostel director Eli Roth. Next month, there’s the return of offbeat comedy Arrested Development, which will be available only on Netflix. Later, Weeds creator Jenji Kohan’s new series Orange Is The New Black will also be released.
In addition to its domestic streaming numbers, Netflix reported 1 million new subscribers in its international business, growing that number to 7.1 million total. That compares to 1.8 million international subscribers added during the holiday quarter, and 1.2 million a year previous. While those numbers might seem low compared to previous quarters, Netflix said it benefitted from launches in new markets in earlier quarters. The company plans to continue its expansion overseas, with a new international market to be added in the second half of the year.
To no one’s surprise, Netflix DVD membership continued to decline, but just modestly. The total DVD subscriber base fell by about 250,000 users, to 8 million total. But contribution profit continued to hold strong at $113 million, despite higher usage in the quarter and a small USPS price increase.
Netflix reported that its first-quarter net income was $3 million, or 5 cents a share, but that included a $16 million loss on the extinguishment of debt related to refinancing of a loan from February. Without that, the company would have reported net income of $19 million, or 31 cents per share, well above guidance.
Going into the second quarter, Netflix is forecasting slower growth in streaming subscribers — most likely due to Q2 seasonality — to end the quarter with between 29.40 and 30.05 million subscribers. That will amount to about $665 million to $673 million in U.S. subscriber revenue and between $139 million and $149 million in contribution profit. All in all, it expects earnings between $14 million and $29 million during the second quarter, or 23 to 48 cents per share.
Read this article –
Netflix released its first-quarter earnings report today, and the company saw another period of strong growth, adding more than 3 million streaming members, bringing its total to 36 million. Domestically, Netflix saw 2 million new streaming members, which was relatively equal compared to last quarter and up from 1.74 million in Q1 last year.
Helping Netflix along in its rebound after the split of its business, which caused a big customer backlash, has been the company’s focus on original programming, beginning with its first “major” TV series, House of Cards. Netflix just recently launched its second original series, Hemlock Grove, and on May 25th will feature the much-anticipated debut of Arrested Development. However, the question has been whether or not Netflix’s new shows would significantly add to its member total — or whether people would sign up for a month to get the shows for free and then cancel.
In its letter to shareholders today, Netflix said that in spite of the fact that “some investors were worried that the House of Cards fans would take advantage of its free trial, watch the show and then cancel,” there was, in fact, very little “free-trial gaming” as the company calls it — fewer than 8,000 people signed up to watch it for free and then cancelled — out of what the company says were “millions of free trials in the quarter.”
Herein, Netflix is just talking about the free trial portion of its service, whereas the other question has been whether or not the new members the company has been able to attract through House of Cards would actually stick around. And it seems that, from its 2 million new members, it was actually able to retain those new customers.
“The launch of House of Cards provided a halo effect on our entire service and spoke to the quality of experience members can expect from Netflix,” the executives said in their letter to shareholders this afternoon. In fact, the good news for Netflix is that, so far, Hemlock Grove seems to be attracting the same amount of attention, if not more than House of Cards.
“Hemlock Grove was viewed by more members globally in its first weekend than was House of Cards and has been a particular hit among young adults,” the company said in its letter. However, on the other hand, that goodwill may be short-lived. According to reviews from Metacritic, people aren’t exactly loving Hemlock Grove — in fact most seem to think it’s awful. The AV Club goes so far as to give Hemlock an “F.” So there’s that.
That could change, after all. The show hasn’t been out very long. Netflix just made all 13 episodes available three days ago. At the same time, it wouldn’t be surprising if Netflix were to go through a little bit of a hangover after House of Cards — or to learn that it has dedicated more capital, advertising, etc. to its first big splash (House of Cards) and its much-anticipated comedy (Arrested Development) than Hemlock. However, that’s just speculation at this point and only time will tell.
Originally posted here:
Netflix has reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2013, and in that period it’s added over 3 million customers worldwide. Domestically it added 2.03 million customers alone, pushing its total number over 30 million (including trial users) in the US. That means it’s passed HBO in paying subscribers for the first time ever, while notching $2.69 million in net profits on $1.02 billion in revenue for the quarter. Internationally there were over a million new sign-ups and it’s planning to launch in a new European market during the second half of this year, which we should hear more about on its Q2 earnings call in July.
One change all users will notice is to its package of streaming plans, as CEO Reed Hastings mentioned an $11.99 per month option is incoming that will allow subscribers to stream as many four videos simultaneously, up from the current official limit of two. There’s some question over whether Netflix will begin to crack down harder on account sharing, but Hastings claims he expects less than one percent of users to opt for the new plan. The company is also continuing to test the personalized profiles we got a peek at during CES, and expects to roll them out “in the coming months.” Another major note is that as it expands its suite of original content, it’s shifting focus away from some of existing “bulk, nonexclusive” licensing deals and will let a major one from Viacom expire in May. Specifically referenced is content from Nickelodeon, MTV and BET, although it’s negotiating for access to particular shows. In the future, its preferred option will be exclusive deals with the studios that product the shows, like the one it announced earlier this year with Warner. Check after the break for a few more details, including updates on the progress of some of its original series.
Visit link –
Netflix has released an update to its iOS app, bringing a few subtle design tweaks in addition to a feature that wasn’t available in version 3.0. Along with a redesigned audio menu and subtitle selector, the refreshed app includes a button for switching episodes within a series while an episode is playing. This is an essential feature if you, like us, occasionally forget where you left off in sagas like The West Wing. Check it out via the source link.
Netflix’s original content assault continues today with the debut of Hemlock Grove, a “supernatural” series directed by Eli Roth. This series takes place in a small Pennsylvania town which has suddenly come down with a bad case of werewolf attacks. Previous releases Lilyhammer and House of Cards chased viewers interested in quirky foreign humor and political drama, respectively, so this series represents a bit of a shift. Later this year, the streaming service will debut Orange is the New Black from Weeds creator Jenji Kohan and the second season of Lilyhammer. Cards is also due for a second season, and sci-fi fans have Sense8 to look forward to in 2014.
We’ll see if its data-based approach to picking series has found another quality option in Hemlock Grove, however early reviews suggest that may not be the case for all viewers. Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall referred to it as a “streakbuster” between Cards and the upcoming season of Arrested Development, and a New York Times evaluation of the first few eps notes “it barely gets around to telling its story.” Of course, it may just be targeted to viewers with different priorities, who will appreciate its style more than they did, and the company’s algorithms are just waiting to dig those people out of the crowd. Whatever the case, with Netflix’s characteristic all-episodes-at-once release schedule you can power through all 13 episodes and find out for yourself right now.
Streaming set-top box manufacturer Roku has hired a new CFO today, bringing in an executive who had cut his teeth at Logitech and eBay. Erik Bardman, former SVP of Finance and CFO of Logitech International, is joining the company as it seeks to expand globally and also work out more deals with cable and satellite providers.
Bardman has been a part of Logitech since 2009, and plans to leave the peripheral hardware manufacturer at the end of this month. He’s also served as a board member for Trulia, a seat he’s planning to continue holding while at Roku. Prior to his Logitech days, Bardman spent six years at eBay, where he served as CFO for eBay Marketplaces. And before that, he was at GE, in a variety of roles.
The new CFO joins Roku as the seeking to expand not just its product line, but also its availability around the globe. Last summer, Roku raised $45 million in funding from a bunch of strategic investors, including News Corp, British Sky Broadcasting, and Dish. Since then, it’s been working to make a wider variety of cable and satellite TV content available through its streaming set-top boxes.
It’s also working to expand and improve its product line. Earlier this spring, the company introduced the Roku 3, a more powerful set-top box with an improved user interface and universal search capabilities. In addition, Roku is pushing its Streaming Stick as a way to make it easier for device manufacturers to quickly add streaming video capabilities to their TVs, without having to build the technology into the devices themselves.
The company has sold more than 5 million of its streaming devices to date, but it’s probably looking to increase that number. And it’ll probably do so as the big cable companies are trying to lower the cost of their own set-top box deployments. By providing a way for subscribers to stream video to the second or third room in a user’s home without having to introduce a new device into the home.
And, of course, there’s the opportunity to cash in on the number of users who are streaming TV, rather than just watching it through a cable subscription. This is the idea that Roku started with, after all, as a division within Netflix. But as companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime bring on more original programming to appeal to users who don’t pay for TV, streaming devices like Roku’s boxes and the Apple TV are becoming more widely adopted.
Full text of the release is below:
Erik Bardman to Join Roku as Chief Financial Officer
Trulia Board Member and Logitech Executive Brings Strong Expertise as Leading Streaming Media Platform Scales
Saratoga, Calif. – April 15, 2013 – Roku® Inc. today announced that Erik Bardman will join the company as Chief Financial Officer. Bardman was appointed Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer of Logitech International (NASDAQ: LOGI) in September 2009 and will depart the company this month. Bardman was elected to Trulia’s Board of Directors in June 2012 and will continue to hold that seat while at Roku.
“We look forward to having Erik Bardman join the Roku executive team,” said Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood. “Roku is a fast-growth company in a rapidly changing industry and Erik brings a wealth of relevant experience to our mission of leading the streaming era.”
“Roku is a dynamic company with outstanding products, a strong competitive position and compelling avenues for growth,” said Bardman. “I look forward to joining the business and helping it achieve significant scale in the years ahead.”
Prior to Logitech, Bardman spent six years at eBay and served as the Chief Financial Officer for eBay Marketplaces, the company’s largest portfolio of businesses. At eBay, Bardman led a large global team focused on financial strategy, acquisitions, resource allocation and performance analysis. Prior to joining eBay, he was with General Electric for 15 years in a variety of roles, focused on consumer financial services, international finance and mergers and acquisitions.
Music streaming service Spotify has finally come to Asia. Today, it announced that it would be launching in the cities of Singapore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. Its premium service, priced at $9.99 per month in the US, will also be a little cheaper in the region, with Malaysians getting the lowest price. Update: after turning on Asia, Spotify posted on its blog that it now has also turned on services in Mexico (it’s first market in Latin America); as well as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Iceland — bringing the total number of markets to 28.
In Singapore, the service is priced monthly at $7.99 (S$9.90), in Hong Kong it’s $6.18 (48 HKD) and in Malaysia it will be $4.90 (14.9 MYR). It’s practically the new Big Mac Index of music subscribers, going by Spotify’s head of new markets, Sriram Krishnan. He told us the prices are a “sweet spot” based on deep studies of each market.
Spotify does come for free, but it premium users will be able to use its mobile apps, and get functions like offline caching, where songs are stored in devices and can be played without an Internet connection. Premium users also listen at 320 kbps, while free accounts stream at 160 kbps.
In an interview, Krishnan said Spotify has 24 million “active” users (he couldn’t define what “active” means in Spotify terms), and 6 million of those are paying. In comparison, fellow US music streaming site, Pandora, said recently that it has a base of about 200 million users, of which 70 million log in each month.
Spotify’s arrival in Asia marks one of the first times a paid streaming service has come to the region. Others such as Netflix and Pandora are missing. Users outside of the US used to be able to access Pandora by registering with a US postal code, but the service had to comply with DMCA regulations, and finally closed its doors to non-US users in 2007 through IP filtering.
Krishnan would not give specifics on the deals made in Asia, but said that Spotify’s size makes it more of a force to reckon with during negotiations with industry execs. “We’ve been around for five years. In the past four years, we gave back $500 million to the music industry. This year, we will give back another $500 million. Having reached this scale, we’re now taken seriously,” he said.
Media providers have been nervous coming into Asia because of piracy concerns. He acknowledged that piracy continues to be an issue here, but said that a premium service’s ability to offer a more convenient way to get content without going through the hassle of BitTorrenting a file would trump piracy.
Of course BitTorrent is free, and you could theoretically capture a streamed track in all its 320 kbps glory, but he said that free accounts would address that sort of behavior, and the premium accounts are there for people more serious about their music.
“Now that we’re in town, people have a way to access free legal music. We’re confident that our presence will revitalize the industry,” he said.
Besides piracy issues, a potential expansion to new markets with the risk that few may sign up for a subscription can be costly for middlemen services like Spotify, amid rising content prices from rights owners. In February, Pandora indicated that it paid $65.7 million for its content in the third quarter last year, and that per-track royalty rates have shot up more than 25 percent over the past three years. It also said it expects rates to increase by another 16 percent by 2015.
Spotify has a Hong Kong office, where Krishnan is based, and it is currently hiring sales and consumer marketing execs in its brand new Singapore office.
View this article:
Due to Microsoft’s confirmation that support for its Silverlight plugin will end and the rise of plugin-free browsers, Netflix will eventually need to stream to PCs using something other than the tech it’s had in place since 2008.The company has already implemented one example of the technology for Samsung’s ARM Chromebooks, and plans to bring it to Chrome on PCs and Macs eventually. Right now, it’s waiting for several W3C initiatives it’s been working on called the HTML5 Premium Video extensions that handle things like video quality and DRM support to be fully implemented. Once the last one (Web Cryptography API) is available, it can ditch the custom API plugin it’s currently using and begin testing on PCs and Macs. Not mentioned, is any support for other platforms like Linux, although Netflix says it can’t wait until the features are “implemented in all browsers!”
Source: Netflix Tech Blog
Read article here:
It seems like Netflix is rarely out of the news these days. Only a few months ago, analysts were ringing a death knell for the video service, citing overly quick growth, increased competition, rising costs, and a host of other problems. On Tuesday, though, the company managed to fight its way to the top of the S&P 500, suggesting that, for the time being at least, Netflix isn’t going anywhere.
In fact, most Netflix stories these days are incredibly rosy, focusing on the company’s increased slate of original programming, its partnerships with some of Hollywood’s top talent, and its expansion into the cloud. The company’s battles with its subscribers — which threatened to tank the company a few years ago — even seem to have evaporated.
But is Netflix the best bet for watching movies and TV shows? To answer the question, we’ve decided to ask you — our readers — for your thoughts. What are your experiences with DVD rentals and streaming video? Do you have any great money saving stories to tell? What about horror stories? Do you use Netflix, or are you weighing the alternatives? We’d like to know.
Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below; alternately, you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or send me a tweet at @bruce1971.
Thanks for your thoughts!
Original article –