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Ronseal Made Us Watch Paint Dry

Industry News

There was an unexpected highlight on TV on last Friday. Sadly, it wasn’t any of the actual programmes, but a new advert for Ronseal.

The advertisement consisted entirely of three minutes of a man painting a fence. Yes, that’s right. A man was filmed painting a fence with Ronseal. For three whole minutes.

The three-minute film, created by BJL, shows a man using Ronseal to paint a fence in silence, pausing only to drink a cup of tea and observe his handiwork.

Genius marketing perhaps, but certainly annoying as hell.

The ad was created by Karl Stones and Richard Pearson at BJL, who said:

Gogglebox viewers are the ultimate TV critics and we were determined to produce a film which would stand out and give them as much to talk about as the rest of the programme.

“Channel 4 have been incredible partners to work with. Their ‘born risky’ ethos was perfect for this ad break.”

It has also been supported by 4Creative, the broadcaster’s in-house creative agency, who recreated Channel 4’s idents as part of a co-brand ten-second intro to the broadcast.

James Smith, Ronseal’s marketing director, said:

“We continue to be straight and open about the fact that for many people DIY isn’t always the most exciting task. We don’t glamorise DIY.

“We know our products won’t change your life but they will help get a difficult task done quickly and easily. Never is that message more important than on a Friday night before a Bank Holiday weekend.”

There’s also an extended cut for anyone wanting to waste a further 10 minutes of their life.

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Netflix to add data saving feature to Apps

Industry News

Netflix makes constant changes to its movie and TV streaming platform. Some of those are small, and some are major; most don’t make a huge difference to the way you watch videos though.

One major floor of the popular streaming service is that it uses gargantuan amounts of data, especially if you’re streaming in high definition.

Yes, that’s great when you’re connected to a WiFi network with the capabilities, but what about when you’re on a data plan?

Sadly, we’re not all blessed with unlimited data plans, so Netflix is going to be incorporating a data saver option that doesn’t go all-out on video quality, in order to save your precious mobile data. This will be in the form of an opt-in option in its mobile apps for iOS and Android.

It is understood that Apple devices will get the feature first, but it’ll roll out completely soon after. Unfortunately, the company isn’t specifying just how much data you’ll save, but it will be based on Netflix’s own algorithms that they can adjust in the future rather than a specific bitrate or resolution cap, which the company thinks might be confusing for users.

One last thing to note is that this feature will also be separate to the existing per-profile playback quality settings, which are global across the web and smart TV and mobile devices.

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Could a new joint BBC and ITV streaming service be on the cards?

Industry News

The BBC has reportedly held talks with ITV over the launch of a new Netflix-style streaming service.

The talks, which are understood to also involve NBC Universal, the owner of the producer of shows including Downton Abbey, centre on the potential to develop a subscription TV service.

The service is likely to mostly focus on providing older, archive TV content, not the first-run of shows, although it is understood there would be a certain amount of original commissions.

While Britons pay £145.50 per year for free access to BBC content, the corporation has noted that streaming services such as Netflix have successfully extended the shelf life of a number of series.

Unlike BBC iPlayer and ITV player, which remove content after 30 days, this new service would retain programmes for a much longer period of time.

In contrast, Netflix has more than 75 million subscribers globally. Since launching in the UK in 2012, it has attracted more than 5 million users paying £5.99 a month.

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Morgan Freeman to Guide The Way

Industry News

We can’t all be blessed with a deep, smooth, majestic voice like actor Morgan Freeman, but now you can, at least, have him give you driving directions.

Just fire up the Waze mapping app (which is owned by Google these days) and fiddle around with the settings, then you’ll be off to the supermarket with Freeman’s gentle guidance.

Sadly, this isn’t a permanent option. The 78-year-old actor’s voice in the Waze app is a promotional gimmick for Freeman’s upcoming film London Has Fallen, the sequel to 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen. In the movie, Freeman plays US Vice President Trumbull. Yes, this is more or less an ad, but at least, it’s a clever one.

If for some reason you haven’t already, you can download Waze here, and switch to Freeman by going to the Settings in the app, then Sound > Voice Language > Morgan Freeman. Enjoy!

In the past, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Stephen Colbert have also lent their voices for this app.

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Netflix cracks down on Proxies

Industry News

Netflix might be cool with you sharing your password, due to complex licensing issues with content providers and now it’s spreading its reach around the world, the streaming service is cracking down on proxy users.

Netflix Vice President of Content Delivery Architecture David Fullagar explained in a blog post that the company will frown upon any users spoofing a fake US IP address through proxies and “unblockers.” Essentially telling users to be patient, Netflix is in the process of working out the content licenses to make all of the same movies and TV series available in 190 countries.

“Over time, we anticipate being able to do so,” Fullagar said. “For now, given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory.”

“In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location,” he added.

Don’t think this isn’t just a polite request, either. In the coming weeks, the service will also begin penalizing those using proxies and unblockers. When this goes into effect, Netflix subscribers outside of the US will only be able to access content normally available to the country in which they reside.

So get in your last few days of your sweet, sweet US Netflix access if you’re a proxy user. It won’t be here for much longer.

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YouTube ditches its Webcam Capture

Industry News

The webcam capture feature will not be available on YouTube after January 16, 2015, the feature which lets users record videos with webcams directly to YouTube.

When you use Webcam Capture now, you’ll see a little warning near the top of the screen about the feature’s upcoming disappearance.

YouTube’s Webcam Capture first showed up way back in 2006, a short time after Google acquired YouTube. It uses Adobe Flash, and it’s accessible through YouTube’s upload page. Sadly, though, these days the feature is just not popular.

Previously, if you had a webcam built in or connected to your computer, you could record a video on YouTube and upload it directly to the site. This feature will be turned off because it is rarely used and is built on technology that is no longer supported.

You can, however, use software on your computer to record and save a webcam video, and then upload the video to YouTube. Popular software includes Photo Booth for Mac OS X and Camera for Windows 8+. If you have another OS, you may need to look up how to record videos using your webcam by referencing your device manual or searching online.

If you have an iOS or Android phone, you can record videos with your camera and upload them with the YouTube app.

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ITV ditches ITV Player for The ITV Hub

Industry News

ITV Player is dead and is to be replaced by the ITV Hub. The streaming player is updated with a new name, look, and feel.

The ITV Hub will replace ITV Player and and will launch later this year across mobile, PC and connected TV. Live streaming of ITV’s TV channels, which now accounts for over 30% of usage on PC and mobile, will be at the heart of the new service, offering audiences a more compelling TV-like experience across all devices.

In addition, the service will extend its digital reach to become available for the first time on Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, and the new Freeview Play service. The desktop PC service is completely new and will see a merger between ITV’s on demand pages and show websites.

ITV can also reveal that, in time with the launch on ITV2, new episodes of Seth MacFarlane’s Family Guy and American Dad will be available on The ITV Hub – the first time a PSB channel has offered the hit shows in its VOD service.

The new, dynamic branding and colour palette is based on the dot above the ‘I’ on each of the ITV channel logos – ITV, ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, CITV and ITVBe – reinforcing the message that the on demand experience is a natural extension of our linear TV channels. The dots are able to interact, change size and morph into other shapes.

Paul Kanareck, ITV’s Director of Online, said: “With over 11 million registered users and 726 million long form requests last year alone, our VOD service has come of age, with live TV right at the core of our proposition. Our product and content offering has improved dramatically and we look forward to sharing further detail of our ambitious developments at The ITV Gala in November.”

Rufus Radcliffe, ITV’s Group Marketing Director, said: “We have created an exciting new brand identity for The ITV Hub which will present all of ITV’s family of channels and services front and centre with a distinct, digital look and feel building off the success of ITV’s rebrand. We are looking forward to fully unveiling it later this autumn.”

The ITV Hub was designed by ITV’s in-house agency, ITV Creative, with Creative Director Jon Yeo.

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Apple TV is now available for preorder

Industry News

It has been a long time coming, but the long-rumored Apple TV is a thing you can finally plunk down your money for.

The new device, which is the first to feature an App Store for third-party applications and games, as well as a new touched-based remote, and Siri integration, is available in two different storage capacities. The 32 GB Apple TV is £129 while the larger 64 GB version is £169. The first orders will begin shipping later this week, beginning on 30th October 2015.

Whilst home deliveries are due to begin this week, retail availability of the Apple TV has not yet been announced. Apple’s online store simply states that in-store pickup of the new Apple TV will be available soon.

You can still buy the older Apple TV, too, which is priced at £59 after a recent price drop, and is particularly appealing to iPad and iPhone users thanks to its AirPlay feature, which allows you to stream content from your iOS device directly to the Apple TV to watch on your television.

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DisneyLife for all things Disney

Industry News

There’s another big player joining the online streaming service game, and it’s one the kids might be quite excited about. Designed for tablets and mobile, DisneyLife will give you access to its biggest collections of films.

The movie-making giant is launching its DisneyLife service in the UK in November, with the monthly fee of £9.99. Subscribers will have access to Disney and Disney-Pixar movies, as well as TV shows, albums, and books. Short term offline downloads will also be available via the new mobile service. However, films from its Star Wars and Marvel franchises will be absent at launch.

The new service will take on the form of an app that works on iOS and Android devices, with each person able to create a personal profile to suit them, using iconic Disney characters to do so. Disney says up to six users per account will be able to theme their profile based on the likes of Frozen’s Elsa, Woody from Toy Story and Mickey Mouse.

The announcement comes in the wake of YouTube announcing YouTube Red, their subscription model in the US at the end of this month that will enable subscribers to view content ad-free. Apple has entered the streaming market with Apple Music this year too while the likes of Spotify has added new features, and movie and TV streaming services Netflix and Amazon Prime have both continued to grow, whilst branching into original programming.

Disney CEO Robert Iger said of the new service: “Families are accessing entertainment in completely new ways, but their love for Disney and our unique characters and stories remains the same. DisneyLife is a great example of our strategy to utilize technology to connect with consumers in more direct and compelling ways, something that only Disney can do.”

The service will also come complete with parental controls; with parents able to set time limits on how long their children watch during the week and at the weekend.

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YouTube Red takes on Netflix

Industry News

YouTube has taken off the velvety red wraps off its subscription-video service, dubbed YouTube Red, no it’s nothing to do with other video services with Tube and Red in the name, it’s actually a freemium service without any ads.

The service will be available on Android, desktop, and mobile Web for $9.99 per month, however, iOS users will have to fork out over $12.99. This means that YouTube Red $9.99 monthly price plan matches the current subscription price of Netflix’s standard two-stream HD plan. Members will have unlimited access to videos and the ability to download them for offline viewing.

With today’s launch, the company says that it hopes to eventually start providing members with more original series and films — putting YouTube more directly in competition with Netflix. YouTube’s originals are set to debut next year which will be overseen by global head of original programming Susanne Daniels who was previously at MTV. Some of the titles are as follows:

  • Scare PewDiePie: In this reality-adventure series from the creator and executive producers of The Walking Dead at Skybound Entertainment and Maker Studios, experience thrills, chills and laughter asPewDiePie encounters terrifying situations inspired by his favorite video games.
  • Sing It!: From Fine Brothers Entertainment and Mandeville Films comes SING IT!, a scripted comedy that lovingly satirizes the reality singing competitions that have become a centerpiece of pop culture.
  • Lazer Team: In this feature-length action-comedy from Rooster Teeth and Fullscreen Films, four small-town losers stumble upon an alien ship carrying a mysterious cargo, leading to a battle to save Earth from an all-powerful enemy.
  • A Trip to Unicorn Island: From the team at Astronauts Wanted, this feature-length movie gives fans an extraordinary look inside the life and journey of Lilly Singh as she embarks on a challenging 26-city global tour where she has to remember to practice what she preaches: happiness is the only thing worth fighting for.
  • Untitled Joey Graceffa project: In this all-new reality adventure series, Joey Graceffa brings together an ensemble of top YouTubers for a murder mystery they’ll never forget. They’ll form alliances to survive, but little do they know that most won’t make it out alive.
  • 360 Project from MatPat of Game Theory: YouTube educator and pop culture expert MatPat fromThe Game Theorists invites the audience to come along for the ride in an innovative new series and 360 VR experience. In each episode, Matt explores the real-life science behind popular video games by throwing gamers into the high-stakes scenarios they play through every day, from water jetpacks to haunted pizzerias.
  • Single by 30: In this romantic drama series from Wong Fu Productions and New Form Digital, two high school best friends make a promise to get married if they’re still single at 30. A decade later, with 30 quickly approaching, their attempt at upholding their vow unfolds in unexpected ways. Starring Harry Shum, Jr. and Kina Grannis.
  • Untitled CollegeHumor project: Written by and starring the cast of CollegeHumor, along with special guests, this new anthology series will take a dark and comedic look at the absurdity of Internet culture.
  • Fight of the Living Dead: In an unprecedented social experiment reality show from Alpine Labs, Fight of the Living Dead takes popular YouTube talent and traps them in a frighteningly realistic zombie apocalypse. They must use their instincts and gaming skills to survive as they battle the elements for the ultimate prize of survival.
  • I Am Tobuscus: From the mind of Toby Turner, this scripted comedy explores the world of a self-involved YouTube creator pursuing bigger stardom. The show features original music and satirizes the hilarious details of being an eccentric, new-age celebrity.

YouTube will also launch a new YouTube Music app that is expected to be available in the near future. It’ll be a music-specific app just like YouTube Gaming and YouTube Kids.

YouTube Red will officially launch on 28 October 2015 in the United States. Members can try the service free for one month. The company says it plans to expand to other markets in 2016.

The question for many in the industry, even among YouTube’s most loyal partners, is whether YouTube Red will get any significant traction among users who have been trained for 10-plus years to expect free video on YouTube, although thankfully Google has stated that the free, ad-supported version of YouTube we all know and love isn’t going anywhere.