ABC.com improves its full-episode broadband player
ABC.com is upgrading its full-episode broadband player –only watchable in the U.S.-with new features like full-screen viewing, closed captioning and the ability to send and embed video.
The viewer also will have the option of choosing from standard or high definition. Users also can send links that can be posted elsewhere online, where they can launch cued to a particular scene mid-episode. Video on ABC.com also will be easier to sift through, with thumbnail images that offer a glimpse of the story line progression in each episode.
These new features, now in closed beta, are on the heels of Hulu.com’s successful launch with embeddable video. (By the way, Hulu has added new content partners: TV.com, TVGuide, BuddyTV.com, Flinxster.com, MyYearbook.com, Break.com and Zap2it.com).
ABC.com was the first full-episode player online when it launched in 2006, and as of April, it is the dominant one, with 8.9 million unique users.
ABC.com utilizes technology from Move Networks for its player.
Internet blog star Amanda Congdon is back
Popular videoblogger and former Rocketboom host Amanda Congdon is back, after a quick foray at ABC News. Now she is on SometimesDaily.com.
Amanda, 26, became an Internet sensation in 2006, when she introduced the concept of the video blog and got 200,000 viewers each day with its show Rocketboom. Then she joined ABC News to produce eccentric newscast but she clashed with the culture there and exited last fall.
“SometimesDaily.com is an interactive variety show that is embedded into my life,” she says. The show is produced by an independent production studio, Media Rights Capital. The goal is to build a fan base and advertiser interest around the videos, reinventing the vlog form as she pioneered it four years ago.
TV news still command a large audience
TV news isn’t dying, and it will remain an important source for years to come, even if more people ages 18-54 will get their news from the web and mobile platform in the next years.
A study conducted by market research firm Crawford, Johnson & Northcott concludes that Americans, including young people, are turning to TV in greater numbers than the web for elections news. The top three sources given by respondents ages 18-65 are broadcast networks news, cable TV news and local TV news.
“Rumors of the death of traditional television news have been greatly exaggerated. And it’s not just older people -- young adults are relying on television news, too,” said company president John Altenbern.
Netflix sells a device for instantly watching movies on TV sets
Netflix, who pioneered the DVD movie rentals by mail, is now offering its 8.2 million subscribers an option to watch movies on their television avoiding the post office.
Netflix has launched a $99 set-top box called Roku that allow customers to play 10,000 movies and TV episodes on their television instantly (most of them five years old), for no charge beyond their normal subscription fee.
This device is less than half of the cost of an $229 Apple TV, and jolts the emerging market for equipment that brings Internet video to TVs. Amazon.com offers similar product through TiVo video recorders. HP is planning to do so soon, too.