Electronics Show Is All About the Links

Jan 13, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Last week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas served as a veritable breeding ground for new alliances between cable operators, consumer electronics makers, content providers and new-media services, who promised fresh collaborations to bring the Internet and TV closer together.
The latest set of deals follow a steady stream of partnerships between media companies and technology firms struck over the two years since Apple’s groundbreaking deal with Disney broke the dam on new-media experimentation.
Convergence has become a key topic at recent CES shows. The gathering has been refashioned from geeky, gadget-centric event to one that draws broadcast and cable networks, leading Internet destinations and the advertisers and marketers who underwrite these projects with their sponsorships. Executives from NBC Universal, CBS, Sony Pictures Television, Turner Broadcasting and ad agencies Universal McCann, Starcom, OMD, Mediaedge:cia and others attended this year’s show.
True convergence is still a long ways off, but experts say rampant experimentation is necessary before winners and losers are anointed in the new-media world order.
“You never know what’s going to hit,” Lori H. Schwartz, senior VP and director of emerging media for the Interpublic emerging media labs, said during an interview at the show. “I have been surprised and heartbroken. Think about YouTube. That surprised everyone, how much that took off. Convergence is happening. Hulu and Vuze and Veoh and Joost and Babelgum—I think they are all more significant than we pay attention to. That’s where people are starting to watch content now.”
That’s why content providers are kicking the tires on a broad range of new-media services, such as broadband portals, gaming consoles, portable DVD-DVRs, and download-to-own online video services.
Here are some of the key deals announced last week:
– Disney-ABC will offer TV shows on the Xbox later this month in a deal that calls for the company to provide TV content from ABC, ABC News, ABC Family, Disney Channel and Toon Disney to the Xbox video-on-demand service. That service lets Xbox users watch content on their TV using the gaming console as a sort of set-top box. ABC will provide more than 500 hours of programming, including ABC prime-time series “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ugly Betty” and “Desperate Housewives.” New episodes appear on the Xbox the day after they air on television, a similar window to iTunes and ABC.com.
– Comcast has partnered with consumer electronics firms including Panasonic, Samsung, LG and Motorola to sell TVs and other devices as part of the operator’s tru2way initiative. That’s the name for Comcast’s new open technology platform that will allow any developer to create interactive features for cable and let consumers access cable content on a range of consumer electronics devices, such as hi-def TVs from Panasonic, without the need for a cable set-top box.
“When a consumer buys a device built with tru2way, they can plug it in and it will support all two-way cable services, and that means no more cable set-top boxes,” said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts during his keynote speech at the show.
Comcast and Panasonic also are introducing a device called AnyPlay. About the size of a mini-laptop, it works as a portable digital video recorder. Consumers can take the portable device with them and watch TV and DVR content in any room in the house, on an airplane, or in the car. The device will be available early next year.
– Sony inked a partnership with CBS to bring CBS shows to Bravia-enabled TVs. Bravia is Sony’s project to port Internet video to the TV set. CBS will provide prime-time shows, news and sports to Sony later this month to Bravia-enabled hi-def sets.
– MTV Networks forged a pact to offer its shows on DailyMotion, GoFish, iMeem, MeeVee and Veoh Networks. Viacom-owned MTV Networks will supply content from Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon and VH-1 to those sites. Viacom already distributes shows online to AOL and Joost. Viacom is currently suing Google-owned YouTube for $1 billion alleging copyright infringement.
– Matsushita Electric Industrial partnered with Google’s YouTube to carry the video site on TV sets. Under the deal, YouTube will be optimized for viewing on a TV screen. Matsushita will start selling the TVs this spring.
Consumer habits are hard to predict and most new services will fail, so companies are wise to hedge their bets. That’s why content providers need to strike so many deals. “You want to grab the real estate early and partner with them early, so the ones who win you are a good partner with,” said Ryan O’Hara, president of TV Guide Network and TV Guide Broadband, during an interview at the show.
TV Guide Channel took a booth at the show for the first time. In the last year, TV Guide Channel has partnered with several Web video portals, including YouTube, Veoh Networks, Hulu, AOL Video and Comcast.net. “We don’t expend all our energies on every Tom, Dick and Jane, but if it’s a credible company, we do deals because we want to distribute content in as many places as possible,” he said.
The broadband infrastructure is finally in place to support new video consumption habits, Ms. Schwartz said. “We have the ability to compress video and stream it across a broadband network,” she said.
Ms. Schwartz said a top contender to win the convergence battle is the Microsoft Xbox. Many college students download first-run movies and videos through the Xbox already. As they graduate and set up apartments, that habit of watching content on the game console will be ingrained and they’ll be less likely to sign up for cable or satellite service.
“Everyone is underplaying broadband tremendously. Media directors will tell me I’m crazy, but I don’t think it will be about cable or satellite and getting the box in the house. People under 30 just use their PC,” Ms. Schwartz said.


  1. Interesting writing! Any opinions that you might be willing to divulge in order to justify your last section a small bit further? cheers

  2. How are you, i I found your website on google and read alot of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the awesome job. Looking forward to reading more from you in the future. You know, I must say, I really enjoy this blog and the insight from everyone who participates. I find it to be refreshing and very informative. I wish there were more blogs like it. Anyway, I felt it was about time I posted, I?ve spent most of my time here just lurking and reading, but today for some reason I just felt compelled to say this.

  3. really nice, thanks!

  4. Nice!! Great Ifo. Great People. Great Blog. Thank you for all the great sharing that is being done here.

  5. Neat blog layout! Very easy on the eyes.. i like the colors you picked out

  6. This is good info! Where else can if ind out more?? Who runs this joint too? Keep up the good work 🙂

  7. I love the expression. Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others. Keep it up 🙂

  8. You make blogging look like a walk in the park! I’ve been trying to blog daily but I just cant find writing material.. you’re an inspiration to me and i’m sure many others!

  9. I would like to start my own blog one day. This was a really nice blog that you made here. Keep up the success 😛

  10. We are happy to invite you to submit all your posts to the directory.

  11. We are delighted to invite you to submit all your sites to the internet directory.

  12. Great blog!! You should start many more. I love all the info provided. I will stay tuned 🙂

  13. This is the best blog I’ve ever seen in my life! I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to share your this with everyone.

  14. Dude! Find something to help with spamming in the comments, please! A lot of those responses are fake :/ .

  15. I love the expression. Everyone needs to express there own opinion and feel free to hear others. Keep it up 🙂

  16. Interesting thoughts here. I appreciate you taking the time to share them with us all. It’s people like you that make my day 🙂

  17. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.. 🙂

  18. I love the way you write and also the theme on your blog. Did you code this yourself or was it done by a professional? I’m very very impressed.

  19. Love the blog here. Nice colors. I am definitely staying tuned to this one. Hope to see more.

  20. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply back as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know wheere u got this from. thanks

Your Comment

Email (will not be published)