BLOCKBUSTER has decided to back the Blu-ray high-def standard over the HD DVD standard for its retail locations. A trial run of both formats in 250 stores found that 70% of rentals were Blu-ray. As a result, Blockbuster has decided to stock only Blu-ray titles in 1,450 stores. HD DVD discs will be available online and in stores that participated in the trial.
BRIGHTCOVE has signed a deal to become the online platform for the Fox Entertainment Group. FX, SPEED, and Fox Broadcasting Company will be the first properties to launch Brightcove-backed content.
MICROSOFT has overhauled its IPTV software platofrm. "Microsoft TV IPTV Edition" will now be called "Mediaroom." It will allow service providers to create their own applications and allow users to view media stored on PC's within their home network. A new picture-in-picture capability has also been added. Microsoft's IPTV software is currently used by 10 service providers worldwide, including AT&T.
TV NETWORKS are seeing increased prices for ad time during the upfront. ABC has seen increases as high as 8%, FOX as high as 7%, and NBC as high as 5%. The increases may be due to higher prices in the scatter market for '06 and '07.
NIELSEN may integrate online audience measurement with its TV rating system. The plan would make online measurement mandatory in TV ratings households. It faces a major hurdle, however: during a test run, a large number of respondents refused to consent to online measurement due to privacy concerns.