Home Entertainment Spending Up 2% – The new Digital Entertainment Group report for the first half of 2013 shows overall consumer spending on home entertainment up 2%, and Blu-ray disc sales up 15% over mid-year 2012. There was a remarkable jump in electronic sell-thru (EST) revenue during the fist half of the year. The increases in Blu-ray and EST sales offset the declines in DVD sales to leave the total flat vs. a year ago. UltraViolet has grown to 13 million accounts, with over 10,000 film and TV titles now available to watch on an array of devices. The latest additions to this digital viewing experience have been Australia and New Zealand. There are now more than 61 million Blu-ray-compatible devices in U.S. homes.
U.S. Consumer Confidence Dips from Five-Year High – Private research group The Conference Board says that Americans’ confidence in the economy fell slightly in July, yet stayed close to a 5½-year high. Consumers were shown to be more optimistic about the current job market. About 70% of U.S. economic activity is due to consumer spending. One economist said in general consumers are more confident than a year ago due to the comeback in housing.
Convenience Killed Piracy in Norway – Norwegians originally file-shared like crazy, using Napster and other sites. In 2008, for example, they downloaded 1.1 billion songs—that’s 232 tracks for each and every Norwegian. But as the download thing ran its course and paid alternatives became possible, some of the same Norwegians were paying three times the cost of a proper full stereo download for a ten-second mono ringtone from the same hit song. The will to pay magically appeared, due to convenience. Now 1.7 million Norwegians use Spotify or another streaming service—that’s one-third of the population. Since 2008 illegal music downloads have dropped from 1.2 billion to 210 million, and pirated movie downloads have fallen from 125 million to 65 million annually. It is felt that convenience in the end will marginalize piracy to the point of insignificance.
Top Entertainers Urge Congress to Force Radio Stations to Pay Royalties – The musicFIRST Coalition—including Herbie Hancock, Dionne Warwick, Sheryl Crow and other musicians—appeared at a Capitol Hill news conference to push legislation to require AM and FM radio stations to pay performer’s royalties in addition to the songwriter’s royalties they currently pay. The NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) opposes the measure, saying such a fee would put thousands of radio jobs at risk, and that stations promote music and the sales of concert tickets. Herbie Hancock retorted: “Just as radio promotes music, music promotes radio.”
Evolution of Online Video to Multiscreen Online Video – Cisco says the Cloud is the key to exploiting the multiscreen video market. There is a strong consumer demand and a push from content owners, content aggregators, service providers, broadcasters and consumer electronic manufacturers toward multiscreen delivery and related services. Cisco has a white paper directed at telecommunications service providers explaining how a Cloud-based approach to multiscreen video service delivery can simplify the current confusing situation of multiple solutions and multiple architectures.