That's a significant move. Would be interesting to know about the sales generated. First truly global VOD service !
(Reproduced from the Hollywood reporter)
Warner Bros. to Rent Movies Digitally on Facebook
12:55 AM 3/8/2011 by Gregg Kilday
The studio, which says it is the first to offer movies directly on the social media site, aims to roll out additional titles over the coming months.
Warner Bros. is turning to Facebook, where it hopes to find an electronic audience interested in digitally renting The Dark Knight.
Warners said Monday that it is the first Hollywood studio to offer movies directly on Facebook. Friends of Christopher Nolan's Knight, the second of his two Batman movies, can rent the film by going to its official Facebook page and clicking a "rent" icon to apply Facebook Credits. The cost per rental is 30 Facebook Credits, or $3.
Viewers will have 48 hours from the purchase to watch the movie, which can be viewed full screen and also paused and resumed within that period. While watching the movie, consumers will also have full Facebook functionality, including the ability to post comments, interact with friends and update their status.
"Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people," said Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. "Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts. It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world's largest social network."
While the Knight offering is described as a test, Warners also said that additional titles for both rental and purchase will be rolled out over the coming months.
Very interesting, especially the comments on the anticipated IPO. $7m loss ? That's not a lot of revenue with 145 million monthly users !
(reproduced from wsj.com)
Skype to Roll Out Ads
By SCOTT MORRISON
Internet telephony service Skype plans to start rolling out ads to consumer users this week in a bid to develop a new revenue stream ahead of the company's anticipated public offering.
Skype's IPO could be one of the biggest in the technology sector since Google Inc. raised $1.67 billion in 2004, but while hundreds of millions of people around the world use Skype, some investors remain concerned about its ability to profit from its huge user base.
The Luxembourg-based company had an average of 145 million monthly connected users at the end of 2010, but only 8.8 million monthly paying users, according to Skype's recently filed amended S-1. Last year, it generated $860 million of net revenues and had a net loss of about $7 million.
The new display ads, which will initially feature advertisers such as Groupon, Universal Pictures and Visa Inc., will appear at the top of the service's main page in its Windows client, the company said in a blog post.
Skype said the ads, which will initially appear in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, may include audio or video. Advertisers can add a 'click to call" button in the ad and users will be able to share ads to their Facebook or Twitter accounts.
Skype said the ads would not interrupt users with pop-up ads or banner ads in the middle their conversations. Users will be able to close ads. Skype said it may experiment with other formats as well.
Like other Internet services, Skype is luring advertisers with its ability to target users based on non-personally identifiable demographic data, such as a person's location, gender and age. The company warned that it may use this data for ad targeting, but noted that users may opt out of targeting.
Skype has said its strategy is to continue developing free products while adding new paid products and promoting its subscription service to consumer users and large enterprise customers. The company said in its S-1 that advertising, gaming and the sale of virtual goods represent a "meaningful opportunity" to increase revenue.
The company didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.
Skype filed pre-IPO documents in August and was expected to go public in the first half of this year. But people familiar with the situation have said Skype's hiring of a new chief executive in October and uncertainties in the IPO market and economy have slowed the offering process.
Not really consumer electronics (for now ...) but I though it was a really fascinating article for a new week in technology !
(Reproduced from the New York Times)
The Reinvention of Silk
By HENRY FOUNTAIN
Published: March 7, 2011
As some silk researchers see it, if spiders were gregarious vegetarians, the world might be a different place.
For spiders are nature’s master silk makers, and over millions of years of evolution have developed silks that could be useful to people — from sticky toothpastelike mush to strong and stretchy draglines.
“There’s not just one kind of material we’re talking about,” said Cheryl Hayashi, who studies the evolutionary genetics of spider silk at the University of California, Riverside. “You can look in nature, and there are a lot of solutions already made. You want a glue? There’s a silk that’s already a glue.”
For years there has been talk of the bright promise of spider silk: that it might one day be used to make cables that are stronger and lighter than those of steel, for example, or bulletproof vests that are more effective than those made of Kevlar.
I did post a few articles on AR last July. Awesome subject, and something new from a European perspective. AR is in my opinion the perfect business model for LBS. Great potential for the industry !!! Also check this company - they are a platform leader http://www.layar.com/
(Reproduced from the Wall Street Journal)
Even Better Than the Real Thing
Commercial opportunities for companies embracing augmented reality are vast, but not immediately obvious
By PAUL SKELDON
'It's the real world—only better." This is how Jay Wright, business-development director at technology company Qualcomm Inc., describes the latest buzz technology to grip the digital world.
So-called "augmented reality" is the overlaying of digital information onto the real world, and everyone from games designers to retailers to health-care companies to estate agents are gearing up to use it. While the potential for such technology to change the world is vast, the biggest challenge for its backers will be to convert this virtual revolution into rock-solid profits. Fortunately, there are countless ways this can be achieved, but not all are immediately obvious.
WSJ Europe Technology Editor Ben Rooney speaks to Jim Balsillie, co-CEO of Research in Motion, about RIM BlackBerry's current place in the smartphone market and what to expect from RIM in the future.
Augmented reality has shifted from its high-industrial beginnings at aerospace firm Boeing Co., where it was used to overlay schematics of complex wiring diagrams onto actual wiring via a headset, to being a tool that offers to bring together the real world and the Internet. Such a confluence of the actual and virtual worlds should already have offered a route to riches untold. But the commercial potential of this new technology is very far from being realized.
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