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Online video service Netflix surpassed 50 million members during the second quarter, with the number including free trial memberships. Netflix's adoption of original programming has greatly helped the company - despite an arm and a leg cost - as it draws in new viewers.
Around 75 percent of Netflix subscribers reside in the United States, but company officials hope to promote wider international adoption. Netflix is already available in 40 different countries, and will expand in Europe this September, reaching Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria.
"There is growing demand, for control and for the consumer to be able to click and watch what they want, and so that is why we are stepping up on the international expansion," said Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, during a recent conference call. "We really see that this is an enormous moment in history as on-demand Internet services are coming to the fore around the world."
South Korean singer Psy's popular "Gangnam Style" music video became the first video to reach 2 billion views, as it instantly went viral after being posted online in July 2012. "Gangnam Style" has held the most viewed YouTube video for quite some time, also becoming the first video to eclipse the 1 billion-view mark.
Psy's "Gentleman" music video holds the record for most video views in a single day, picking up 38 million in less than 24 hours.
"2 billion views... they are very honorable and very burdensome numbers," Psy said in a statement. "With appreciation, I will come back soon with more joyful contents!"
Several Amgen Tour of California riders are testing the new Shimano CM-1000 sports camera, mounted to bike handlebars and a rear-facing mount located under their bike saddle. The UCI governing body is allowing between six and 10 riders to use the cameras during each stage of the race, with video footage used during NBC Sports nightly coverage of the top cycling stage-race in the United States.
The Shimano CM-1000 is WI-Fi and ANT+ compatible, so teams would be able to access the video stream live during a race. Meanwhile, the device isn't available to end-users just yet, and should be available in early August with a $300 MSRP.
Riders would be keen to use the cameras on flat stages, though some riders said they do not want added weight for any mountain stages. The Tour of California, which started yesterday with a sprint finish won by Team Omega Pharma-Quick Step's Mark Cavendish, is an important testing opportunity for Shimano and the pro peloton.
New Netflix subscribers will have to pay an extra dollar or two for the online video site's streaming services, according to company officials. Current subscribers will have a "generous time period" where prices will remain $7.99 per month, a price that was initially rolled out in 2010.
"These changes will enable us to acquire more content and deliver an even better streaming experience," Netflix said in a shareholder quarterly letter. In addition, CEO Reed Hastings said increased prices is necessary to add more original programming, additional movies and TV series, though it seems unlikely many Netflix subscribers will resist the price hike.
The company added 4 million new customers during Q1, and surpassed $1 billion in quarterly revenue. Netflix now has 36 million subscribers in the U.S., with more than 48 million users worldwide.
Amazon is expected to launch a free, ad-supported video service focused on television episodes and music videos, and could launch in the next few months. Both original content and licensed material might find its way to the service, with Amazon executives reaching out to potential partners.
Amazon continues to expand efforts to dominate, with media invited to an event next week in which the Amazon set-top box could be announced. Although Amazon remains the most dominant e-tailer, the company wants to compete with YouTube in Netflix, especially as more users stream content in the living room.
In addition to providing content, Amazon will also be able to use the service to test its budding advertising capabilities.
Amazon currently only offers TV, movies, music and video content to its Prime members, which now costs $99 per year, though this offers a new twist.
Around 200 people now have the unique ability to flag up to 20 videos at once for review by YouTube violations, including the UK Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit.
A report last week revealed the UK police unit had been granted "super flagger" ability, which allows for up to 20 videos to be reported at a single time, which was a pilot program launched in 2012.
The company said most of the participants are those responsible for spending a large amount of time flagging videos that violate YouTube's ToC. Less than 10 are reportedly government agencies or advocacy groups, such as anti-hate groups, according to media reports.
There is obvious concern of the British governments flagging videos it doesn't agree with, which is why Google chose to disclose more details of the program.
Online video site Dailymotion has set its sights on the U.S. video market, and wants to steal YouTube market share by launching original content to woo viewers.
In the first mini-series, Super chef Mario Batali will host fives episodes in which he speaks with musicians he is a personal fan of. Each episode will be 22 minutes in length and is a major gamble on Dailymotion's part, though was the brainchild of analytics that indicate many viewers enjoy music and cooking videos.
"It's our particular goal to package and distribute our own original IP that captivates and engages our existing community of over 127M global viewers season after season," said Roland Hamilton, Dailymotion US Managing Director, in a press statement. "We believe having original and exclusive content is a great way to differentiate so we're looking for interesting projects - passion projects from extraordinary people that deserved to get made, much like Mario's 'Feedback Kitchen'."
Yamaha Corporation has unveiled the BD-S677 Blu-ray 3D player able to stream video, music, games and other content from Apple iOS or Google Android smartphones and tablets.
The Wi-Fi-enabled Blu-ray player adds a unique spin on a changing home entertainment market, where most new generation Blu-ray players include Blu-ray and streaming support - but to stream content from mobile devices should be a feature more widely adopted in the future.
"The BD-S677 is a very flexible Blu-ray player that strives to eliminate the line between home and mobile entertainment by providing users the ability to share and enjoy their portable device content on televisions within their homes," said Bob Goedken, Yamaha Corporation of America GM of AV products, in a press statement. "Its ease-of-use will provide our customers quick navigation to a wider array of their favorite videos, pictures and music."
Newly selected Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will carefully push the company towards cloud computing and mobile technologies, while other less successful efforts will be shut down. There is growing sentiment that Microsoft should leave behind its "Scroogled" campaign notorious for trying to make fun at Google's expense.
The Microsoft online store features Scoogled-branded t-shirts, hats, mugs, hoodies, and other products - though it's doubtful these items have been flying out of the warehouse.
Instead of giving Microsoft the edge with Scroogled, in which ads available in print and online, along with broadcasted TV commercials, consumers have largely thought the ads are silly and show desperation. However, Microsoft obviously believes its campaign has been a success, with some advertising industry experts also agreeing that the ads have been effective.
Nadella, only the third CEO in Microsoft history, obviously has more pressing concerns - but don't be surprised if it takes a while for a new Scroogled ad campaign, if ever again.
For viewers looking to watch the Super Bowl and don't have access to a TV, or stuck at work and want to sneak a glimpse of the game, U.S. viewers can watch the game on the FOX Sports website. Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be contested by the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, starts just a few minutes from now at the Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The game is available online for free at the FOX website.
Providing an online stream is a great decision by FOX Sports, as the broadcaster will still be able to cash in on viewers - the stream requires bandwidth and infrastructure - but with 30-second TV spots that cost near $4 million, everyone seemingly wins here.