Stream-rolling the Competition.
Netflix showed little sign of the economic slowdown that’s been nailing other companies this corporate earnings season. But it attributed its fourth-quarter jump in revenue, profit and subscribers to a surprising factor: surging popularity of its online video streaming service. The movies-by-mail service said today it added 718,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter, far more than analysts had expected, bringing its subscriber base to nearly 9.4 million. Netflix expects the number to reach 10.6 million subscribers within the next three months, even as other parts of the entertainment business contract because of the recession. “It’s very clear that streaming is energizing our growth,” Netflix Chief Executive Reed Hastings said on a call today with analysts. Hastings said the company’s streaming business was propelled by connection with devices from LG Electronics, Samsung and Microsoft that offer Netflix’s “Watch Instantly” service. Subscribers can use the service to stream any of about 12,000 television shows and movies without waiting for the DVD to arrive by mail. The company “substantially” increased its investment in streaming video — and plans to do the same in 2009, he said. “We plan to spend as much money as we can with the studios, licensing as much content as we can — and we are already one of the studios’ largest Internet revenue sources,” Hastings said. “Our spending is limited only by what content is available at reasonable costs.”
The Conversion is On.
The digital TV deadline won’t be pushed back after all, at least not this week. The House of Representatives yesterday failed to pass a bill that would have delayed next month’s changeover from analog to digital TV signals until June, a measure the Senate passed earlier this week. That doesn’t mean the bill is toast. It did receive a majority of votes, 258-168, but it failed to hit the two-thirds number needed to pass a fast-tracked bill. Many believe it will be reintroduced next week and win passage. But for now, it means that the Feb. 17 transition date mandated under the Bush administration remains the deadline. President Barack Obama’s team made pushing back the date a priority, saying that too many households, especially low-income ones, are unprepared for the switch and that the government bungled the coupon program designed to ease the cost of digital converter boxes for consumers. A recent Nielsen study found that 6.5 million households are totally unprepared for the switch, and several million are on a waiting list to receive the federal coupons.
Change for Superbowl.
NBC News’ Matt Lauer will interview President Barack Obama in his first television interview from the White House. Part of the interview will air during NBC’s Super Bowl Pre-Game show on Sunday, Feb. 1, according to USA Today. The rest of the interview will be shown Feb. 2 on NBC News’ Today. Obama was interviewed by Fox last year during that network’s broadcast of the big game, writes TV Week. Other presidents, including George W. Bush, have made appearances during the Super Bowl. Press coverage of almost anything to do with now-President Obama has broken all sorts of records. The day he was elected, newspapers across the country sold out, went back to press and sold out again. Days later, his interview on 60 Minutes gave that show its biggest audience in 9 years. His inauguration was the second-most watched in history, and online, the number of viewers was staggering: CNN.com Live served more than 21.3 million live video streams globally from 6:00am to 3:30pm EST. That’s more than four times the previous record set on the day Obama was elected – which at the time also broke records.
Strangest Media opportunity of the Week: Flying High.
A billboard is a billboard is a billboard, and we see them every day all across America. But some billboards go beyond, entering the realm of true alternative media, such that people look, then look again, their eyes fixed on something that seems to defy logic, a visual sleight of hand. And as with much of the best of alternative media, it’s more about imagination than money. Case in point: a board on California’s interstate 405 headed north from Los Angeles toward Mammoth Mountain, a ski resort in Mammoth Lakes some five hours north of the city. From a distance it looks like your standard billboard, but as you get close you see it’s practically all white, except for a logo in the upper right corner that says simply “Mammoth” and underneath “Play Big” and a web address in the bottom left. Then, looking above, one sees a high-flying snowboarder doing tricks in midair. The snowboarder is suspended over the board, snowboard pointing down, knees bent, one arm in the air, as if he were about to land on the board, whose white face now becomes a snow-covered slope.
HEILBrice, located in Irvine, California, is a full-service marketing and communications agency. Professional services include advertising, branding, collateral development, consumer research, direct response, digital communications, Hispanic marketing, media planning/buying and public relations. Some of the company we keep includes Ketel One Vodka, Kroger (Ralphs/Food 4 Less), Boot Barn, OCRegister.com, Ceiva, The Penn Traffic Companies, The Los Angeles Clippers, The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Marie Callender’s Restaurants, LA Inc. The Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau.