BEST OF THE WEB1/30/2012 12:01 AM Eastern
ESPN Shazam-ifies Winter X Games
BRISTOL, CONN. — Viewers of ESPN’s Winter X
Games Aspen 2012 were able to use Shazam
Entertainment’s app for smartphones or tablets to
access video highlights, photos, music and other
content during the telecasts.
The Winter X Games Aspen 201 aired Jan. 26-29
across ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN 3D and the WatchESPN
online portal. A portion of the promos for the Winter
X Games, which featured snowboarding and skiing
stunt competitions, were also Shazam-enabled. The
Shazam app identifi es content, such as a TV program
or song, using an audio-recognition algorithm.
“Shazam for TV will help us create a more connected
experience for fans by bringing the great music
and culture of the event, as well as photo galleries
and highlights, to our fans who can’t make it to Aspen,” ESPN senior vice president
of marketing Carol Kruse said.
In addition, viewers were able todownload ESPN’s Winter X Games app, which
also provides video highlights, instant results, personalized event schedules
and WatchESPN integration.
Shazam said the Winter X Games was the first live sports program to tie into
its audio-recognition app. Other programmers that have used Shazam include
NBCUniversal, and advertisers have Shazam-enabled their TV ads to provide access
to media and additional information.
London-based Shazam said its apps are used by more than 175 million people
in 200 countries, and that another 1.5 million new users sign up each week.
— Todd Spangler
Walden: FCC Reform Markup Planned for Feb. 7
WASHINGTON — A bill that would put a shot clock on
Federal Communications Commission decisions
and institute numerous other process reforms is
scheduled for a Feb. 7 markup in the Energy &
Commerce Committee, according to Communications
and Technology Subcommittee chairman Greg
Walden said week that he is looking for FCC reform,
in part, because he is beginning to feel the commission
is becoming more of a “tool of the White House”
than an independent agency.
Also look for his subcommittee to hold hearings
on LightSquared, concerning both the issues of GPS
receiver standards and how the broadband wireless network’s plans got held up
by the government.
Further down the line, Walden said, are plans for communications subcommittee
hearings on video — including Cable Act issues — audio and data; Walden talked
to reporters last Wednesday (Jan. 25) to outline the subcommittee’s priorities.
Walden added the caveat that the Feb. 7 date could change, but he wants to
move a bill forward “to bring more openness to the process at the FCC, to give the
public a portal into [the FCC’s headquarters].”
— John Eggerton
EU Decides on Data Protection Path Forward
WASHINGTON — The European Commission has proposed an overhaul of the
European Union’s data protection rules that could cost violators up to 2% of
annual global revenues.
The rules apply to personal data handled by companies abroad that are “active
in the EU market” or offer services in EU countries.
The rules will apply to both domestic and cross-border transfers of data, according
to the EC. Among the new requirements is a rule that companies that
do business in the EU market must notify a supervisory authority of “serious”
data breaches, if feasible, within 24 hours.
The U.S. Congress has been looking at how domestic policy should dovetail
with the EU privacy-protection regime, which some have criticized as balkanized
and inconsistently enforced.
The EC has a broad definition of personal data, which includes names, photos,
email addresses, financial records, social-network posts, medical information and
IP addresses. The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights says: “Everyone has the right
to personal data protection in all aspects of life: at home, at work, whilst shopping,
when receiving medical treatment, at a police station or on the Internet.”
The U.S. is currently contemplating how best to protect personal data online and
what should fall under that defi nition.
— John Eggerton
Comcast Names Lynch First Woman GM in Silicon Valley
PHILADELPHIA — Comcast promoted Amy Lynch to area
vice president and general manager for California’s
Southwest Bay Area, which extends from San Francisco
south to Monterey County.
Lynch will report to Marty Robinson, vice president
of technical operations for Comcast California, and
will oversee a team of about 600 employees. She
will be based in the San Francisco office.
Lynch replaces Ralph Martinez, who recently was
named regional vice president of Comcast’s Twin
Cities region in Minnesota.
Lynch most recently served as area vice president
for Comcast in Southern Colorado and previously
served in Comcast’s Mile High Region as the
general manager of Colorado Mountains as well as
area VP of Northern Colorado.
Motorola Mobility’s Cable Sales Fall 11% in Q4
NEW YORK — Motorola Mobility’s cable-focused Home unit posted sales of $897
million for the fourth quarter of 2011, down 11% from the year-earlier period, with
set-top shipments declining 3%.
The Home group had operating earnings of $57 million, compared with $54 million
in Q4 2010. While Motorola’s fourth-quarter set-top shipments were down, they
increased 6% for full-year 2011 versus 2010. For the full year 2011, the Home
segment’s net revenue was $3.5 billion, down 3% from $3.6 billion in 2010, and
operating earnings increased to $226 million from $152 million in 2010.
Overall, Motorola Mobility reported net revenue of $3.4 billion for the fourth quarter
of 2011, flat with the year-earlier period, with a net loss of $80 million versus
net income of $80 million in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Motorola Mobility’s Mobile Devices group increased revenue 5%, to $2.5 billion,
for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2011. The company shipped a total of 10.5
million mobile devices in the quarter, including 5.3 million smart phones and about
200,000 tablets. For the full year, it shipped 42.4 million mobile devices, including
18.7 million smart phones and 1 million tablets.
Motorola Mobility is in the process of a $12.5 billion takeover by Google, which
is looking primarily to pick up the company’s large portfolio of patents to defend
the Android operating system from rivals’ lawsuits. Motorola Mobility continues to
expect the transaction to close “in early 2012.”
Time Warner Inc. Leads $12M Round in Startup Bluefin
NEW YORK — Bluefin Labs, a social-TV analytics firm, has raised $12 million in
a series-B round led by Time Warner Inc.’s investment arm, with participation
from new investor SoftBank Capital and return investors Redpoint Ventures
and Lerer Ventures.
The startup analyzes social-media data about TV shows and commercials,
and sells the information to ad agencies, marketers and TV networks. Bluefin
Labs’ customers include CBS, Fox, Discovery Communications, MediaCom,
MTV Networks and Starcom MediaVest.
Bluefin Labs scans hundreds of satellite-delivered channels to identify the
content and ads, and has analyzed more than 346,000 individual TV telecasts
to date. It matches up that TV data with social-networking conversations.
— Todd Spangler
Pew: Web Protest Draws Under-30 Crowd
WASHINGTON — According to the latest Pew Research Center News Interest Index,
the Web “blackout” protest of antipiracy legislation — PIPA and SOPA — was
the most closely followed news story of the week of Jan. 16 among national
news consumers ages 18 to 29.
That was the protest — which was ultimately successful — against anti-piracy
legislation that Google, Yahoo! and other Web companies argue goes overboard.
In the run-up to and wake of that protest, numerous legislators withdrew their
support from the bills, which were tabled for the moment and likely for good.
According to the just-released report, 23% of those under 30 said they followed
news of the online piracy fight most closely, compared to just 7% of the general
population who said so, ranking it number four on the overall interest hit parade.
The national news media monitored by Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism
devoted about 5% of their coverage to the Web blackout story, about the
same amount they gave to economic news.
The top story among all those polled was the deadly cruise ship crash off the
Italian coast, with 26% saying they followed that most closely, followed by 23% following
presidential campaign coverage, and 10% glued to economic news. Only 1%
most closely followed the baby boomer fabric-tearing news of Kodak’s bankruptcy.
— John Eggerton