MediaFile

Sun Valley: Sling Media co-founder has questions about Google TV

(Updates to reflect correct name of Slingbox product)

Google is a few months away from releasing Google TV, its new service that blends television with Internet capabilities.

But at the Allen & Co conference in Sun Valley, where the masters of media, entertainment and technology congregate every July to schmooze and talk shop, one attendee with experience mixing TV with the Web noted the challenges facing Google as it tries to conquer the living room.

The “entertainment experience is not just about having a search box and some great algorithms. We all want that and we all enjoy that part of the experience” but it’s only one part of the experience, said Blake Krikorian.

As the co-founder of Sling Media, Krikorian developed the Slingbox — which allows consumers to stream their television programming to their PCs. In 2007, EchoStar acquired Sling Media for about $380 million.

Krikorian said that getting the content and programming right — the traditional DNA of Hollywood and New York media companies — will be the key for a tech company like Google to succeed in the living room.

Wither traditional media?

AMAZON-KINDLE/Pity paper and ink. Over the next five years magazine and newspapers’ advertising and consumer spending (read: subscriptions)  growth rate is expected to decline, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. The firm released its annual Media and Entertainment Outlook for 2010-2014 and that is one of the more striking, if not predictable, data points in the forecast.

In fact, magazines and newspapers fork in the opposite direction of other traditional media like radio.  PWC predicts that television,and radio, along with the Internet, video games and out-of-home are all expected to pocket advertising and subscriber dollars  with  growth rates increasing over the 2010-2014 period.

Another category  that has taken a beating but is expected to rebound? Books! PwC estimates the consumer and educational book publishing industry will advance 2.5% in the five year period to $35 billion.

from Summit Notebook:

Intel, HP: TVs should get smarter

Intel, Sony and Google are expected to unveil on Thursday a "smart TV": an Internet-ready, super content machine that -- if the hype is to be believed -- will let viewers watch Celebrity Apprentice, tweet, and respond to emails at the same time. On Wednesday, Intel's sales and marketing chief -- while keeping his cards close to the vest -- couldn't resist a little plug for the general concept of Internet TVs.

"The smart TV category is going to take off.  It just makes all the sense in the world," Thomas Kilroy told the Reuters Global Technology Summit. "Why would you want to compromise when you've got a nice big screen, you're watching TV and you want to access information and keep that program on instead of bringing in another device. "

"It's our belief that there's going to be a fundmental shift that happens every 30 to 40 years or more...and it's about to happen with televisions," he added. "I actually remember the black and white days. I remember in my house when we went from black and white to color and my gosh, what an experience."

Happy Monday, Sumner Redstone

It was a very pleasant start to the week for Sumner Redstone’s Viacom, owner of  BET, MTV, Nickelodeon and the Paramount movie studio. A flattering Barron’s story, analyst upgrades… What more can a media company want these days?

Start with Barron’s. The financial weekly writes, “After a long dry spell, investors are doing a double take when it comes to the entertainment company controlled by its executive chairman and founder, the savvy and tenacious media mogul Sumner Redstone.” Why? That’s simple. The stock is cheap.

Indeed, that’s the theme of two analyst reports that landed today — one from Miller Tabak and the other from Bernstein — both of which increased their Viacom’s price target to $39 a share. That’s about 16 percent above the current price. Not shabby for a stock that’s already up about 81 percent in the past year.

Post Super Bowl: Ads, ads and more ads

It’s tempting, as a media reporter, to become incredibly cynical as the Super Bowl rolls around each February. Endless pitches, endless studies, endless clips sent by public relations departments in the days leading up the the game.

Here’s the thing though: Advertisers aren’t dummies. The $3 million they shell out for Super Bowl ads often pays off. Just think of all the stories that ran before the game in your local newspaper or on your local TV newscast (or here at Reuters.com). Or consider the party you attended yesterday — most people probably stayed in front of the TV set during timeouts. Hear much talk about Super Bowl ads today around the water cooler? Thought so.

A ton of polls are out today rating the best and worst Super Bowl commercials. Snickers and Doritos seem to be faring well.  Focus on the Family? Ahhh, that ad didn’t seem to knock anybody’s socks off. Then again, it didn’t have to. Do a Google News search and look at how much was written about the group’s advertisement long before it aired. That’s good marketing.

from Summit Notebook:

EPIX CEO: Kids are media omnivores, industry must adapt

Remember when the "good" TV in the house only received 7 or 8 channels?

Most young people today cannot, and in many ways they could not care less. Even more, they probably think that it is just as odd that we "old folks" don't understand their ability juggle multiple devices and inputs. Therein lies a critical challenge for broadcasters using old media models to reach younger audiences, Mark Greenberg, president of cable channel EPIX said speaking at the Reuters Global Media Summit.

Hey, even Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group,  had to force her college-bound kid to take an actual TV to school.

Greenberg's EPIX offers a "screening room" service that allows subscribers to order a movie on EPIX's web site and share it with friends who are watching at the same time in other locations. In the meantime you can chat with each other about the film -- that's "chat", like, commenting about the star's clothing by typing "I want to buy those shoes" into a little box, not "chat" as in "dude, pass the nachos."

from Summit Notebook:

ABC TV chief to daughter: You *will* watch television

When I went to college in 1991, I begged my parents to buy me a small television for my dorm room (They wouldn't let me work during my first year of college, so I had no money). How things have changed in 18 years!

I learned how much they changed at the first day of the Reuters Global Media Summit. Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, was talking to us about how quickly the Internet and mobile technology are changing the way that we look at news and entertainment. That led to her divertimento into campus life:

You come to realize very quickly that all these platforms are very different. Sometimes they're being used or accessed by different demographics.

Microsoft shows off Windows 7 touch-screen features

Microsoft highlighted new multi-touch features on the range of new PCs as it launched Windows 7 in New York on Thursday.

Here’s a clip of a photo managing program, which allows you to sort through snaps and manipulate them manually, and a shot of the new Kindle application from Amazon, which lets people read a book onscreen, if that’s what they want to do.

The Windows 7 launch event was quieter than previous versions, focusing on slick new hardware and consumer-oriented features such as watching TV on the PC, creating home networks, making videos and playing music.

Welcome to Turkey, Bloomberg ‘efendim’

It always makes me happy when one of the companies on my beat reminds me that I study Turkish for at least one practical reason. In this case, it’s our rival wire service Bloomberg, which will start broadcasting news in Turkey through local partner Ciner Media. Pronounced, more or less, “Jiner Media,” the company also publishes magazines in Turkey that include Marie Claire, Newsweek Turkey, OK! and GEO.The service will be called BloombergHT for “Haber Turk,” which translates to, “Turkish News.” The service will be a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week Turkish language financial news and business channel that will broadcast on cable and satellite in Turkey and “Turkish Republics.” I have to find out what that means, but I’m guessing it means parts of Central Asia where Turkic languages are spoken.The launch will come later this year, Bloomberg said in a statement on Tuesday. It also said that Bloomberg will retain editorial control over the channel’s business content and will provide Ciner Media with access to the Bloomberg news service and that a website will follow.This news comes months after Bloomberg held a rare round of layoffs and laid out plans to shut down some of its non-English-language TV operations around the world. Bloomberg, as we and others have reported, has been working to broaden its worldwide reach. The company, I have heard from people familiar with its thinking and also from employees, wants to raise its profile outside its hardcore financial industry subscribers and is trying to offer more news to a bigger audience to do it. Pursuing BusinessWeek is one way to do it. Another would be forging more deals like the one in Turkey — let someone else handle the distribution, and you just focus on the news. We might see more of these deals soon.UPDATE: While I’ve been obsessing over whether I’ll get to play Peter Ustinov’s part in a remake of Topkapi, Business Insider noticed some substantial changes on Bloomberg TV’s presentation for the rest of the world. In the world of financial journalism, less really is more, apparently.PS: Efendi = “lord” or “master” or a general “sir” might even do these days. “Efendim” = “My lord,” etc. and is a common form of address. For example, you might call me “Robert efendim.” Someone please correct me if I’m wrong.(Reuters Photo: Istanbul)

NBC, News Corp practice Olympic hedging

Big media executives are developing a new Olympic sport — hedging. Two of the best contenders are NBC-Universal Chief Executive Jeff Zucker and News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch.

Attendees at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York City asked both executives on Tuesday if they were interested in bidding for rights to broadcast the 2014 Winter Olympics and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Both answered the question in ways that sound different until you realize that they actually sound… the same.

Murdoch said “We haven’t thought about it” and concluded with “I wouldn’t think so.” Zucker said, “We’ll have to see what happens. We’re not going to make any decision that doesn’t make business sense. …. The Olympics are an important part of the company and something we’d would like to be involved with if it makes business sense.”