Amazon has just announced a new content deal with NBCUniversal, bringing a host of new television series to the video streaming platform.
Some of those titles include Covert Affairs, Defiance, Grimm, Hannibal, and Suits. And what’s more, the company is pulling content from NBCUniversal’s children series such as Curious George and Land Before Time, which will be available with Kindle FreeTime Unlimited.
With platforms like Hulu and Netflix growing rapidly, and moreover making strides to offer the biggest libraries of content that include original programming, Amazon too has been working tirelessly to build out its offerings. According to the company, Amazon now offers more than 40,000 movies and TV episodes to Prime members, which can be watched across a wide variety of platforms including iOS, Kindles, Roku, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii (U).
In terms of availability, Covert Affairs and Grimm will both be available today, while Hannibal will not be ready until later this year, and Defiance will be out early next year. Amazon is also bringing SyFy series such as Alphas, Eureka and Warehouse 13 to the platform, along with Smash, featuring Debra Messing.
Here’s what Brad Beale, director of digital video content acquisition for Amazon, had to say:
We listen carefully to our customers to find out which TV shows and movies they find the most entertaining. Our expanded agreement with NBCUniversal gives Prime members access to even more exclusive content that they can stream instantly, at no additional cost. Compelling shows like Covert Affairs, Defiance, Grimm, Hannibal and Suits are big wins for our customers and we look forward to adding more titles soon.
Alongside expanding its library offerings, Amazon is also boosting its original programming efforts. Most recently, the company released eight comedy pilots and six children’s series pilots to get feedback from customers. After they make their decision, they’ll buy out the remaining episodes of the series which people seem to love.
View original post here: Amazon Taps NBCUniversal To Bring Covert Affairs, Grimm, Suits, And More To Prime Instant Video
The 2-minute long compilation doesn’t give too much away, but does give at least some hint as to what to expect – to cut to the chase, it’s a little racy and other-worldly.
Netflix has been focusing more and more on original, exclusive content of late. It launched its first original series, Lillyhammer, back in February 2012. Then earlier this year, House of Cards debuted too, to much critical acclaim. Netflix is also resurrecting Arrested Development this coming May.
Now, a year after it officially confirmed its plans, Netflix is on the cusp of launching its latest big-name original series, an adaptation of Brian McGreevy’s novel of the same name. It will constitute 13, 1-hour episodes which will launch simultaneously.
A big talking point prior to the imminent airing was this teaser which aired earlier this year, showing a quite stunning werewolf transformation.
Meanwhile, check out our interview with director and executive producer Eli Roth, alongside actors Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgard, as they discuss the new horror series.
Sorted, the UK startup that originally soft-launched as a reverse marketplace for local jobs akin to TaskRabbit in the U.S. (or a number of local “clones”, such as Sooqini, and TaskPandas), has relaunched today after rejigging its model.
Instead of users having to post what is essentially a classified ad for each job they want done, and then wait for a response, the new site turns the user-path on its head by having the task-doers (or “Sorters”, of which there are already 12,000 signed up) do the upfront work by creating a detailed and structured profile which forms the basis for matching the task-doers with those searching for a specific task to be carried out.
There are 9 categories of task: “Admin”, “Cleaning”, “Cooking”, “Delivery”, “DIY”, “Dog Walking”, “Driving”, “Gardening”, “Manual Labour”, and “Other”. The latter will work like the original model, enabling users to post bespoke tasks that they want carrying out, which are then seen by Sorters who have specified that they are willing to go off the beaten track, such as “dress up as a gorilla and terrify my friends”. Or presumably anything legal and safe.
The end result is a service that solves the original problem — finding local, casual labour — but with a very different user experience, and one that doesn’t have the customer re-invent the wheel every time they want to commission a task to be carried out.
“We basically realised that a reverse marketplace model won’t work in the UK,” says James Pursey. “The British public have so many trust issues and putting them in a scenario of having to be pitched by Sorters is counter intuitive. When somebody is looking for a supplier they typically ask their networks, and failing that they turn to Google, call up a supplier and see if they’re available. They don’t say ‘hey, why should I trust you’, and they definitely don’t send a message through a contact form, like creating a task, and wait for someone to get back to them.”
Instead, Pursey thinks a user interface more akin to Airbnb, which emphasises search and large profiles, will work better. “You land on a beautifully designed page with a search box in the middle asking you to detail your task. Sorted then applies your task needs as filters to its Sorter database and returns the best people for your needs.”
What you end up seeing is a detailed profile page for each result, which includes links to a Sorter’s presence on social networks, and a list of their rates and tasks. You then book and/or correspond with your chosen Sorter. And, as before, Sorted holds the payment until you confirm that the job is completed.
Dan Porter, who led Draw Something-maker OMGPOP into its $180 million acquisition by Zynga, is leaving the company just a year after the deal closed. His departure comes just on the eve of Draw Something 2′s launch, which is supposed to be the big follow-up to the original and is already live in Sweden.
“Developing and launching games is a team effort, and we’re proud of the great work the Zynga New York team has done with Draw Something 2,” said Zynga COO David Ko in a statement. “Our follow up to the original hit is even more social and engaging, and we’re excited to get it into the hands of our players globally. We thank Dan Porter for his efforts in making the Draw Something franchise a success and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
It’s another blow for Zynga’s buzziest and most expensive acquisition to date. Ko and Porter are pictured above smiling almost exactly one year ago, just after the acquisition closed. Basically, it sounds like it wasn’t a cultural fit on both sides and that the decision was mutual.
Porter has always been very candid — maybe too candid — for Zynga’s comfort. Just a few weeks ago, Porter had to issue a public apology for implying that Zynga copies games. This is a sensitive issue for Zynga as it tries to manage its reputation so it can attract creative talent in a very competitive market and third-party developers for its publishing program.
“I am sorry that my actions have reflected negatively and generated negative press for the company,” he said in a statement posted to Zynga’s company blog just under a month ago. “I’m also sorry if anyone on the game creation side felt that my comments were somehow a discredit to their work.”
Two sources told us Zynga CEO Mark Pincus demanded that he apologize or that he would be fired. Again, even though Porter did apologize, his departure seems to be a mutual decision. When Zynga acquired OMGPOP, it was for $180 million in cash and $30 million in retention.
Longtime Zynga general manager Sean Uberoi Kelly is stepping in for Porter. He’s the vice president of mobile, has been at the company for four years, and led the launch of CityVille, which grabbed 100 million players in less than 30 days when it came out.
Draw Something 2 is designed to be a lot stickier than the original. We’re hearing that players will get to hold onto their drawings and save and share them in something that resembles much more of a social network than a game.
We’ve reached out to Porter for comment.
Read the original post: OMGPOP Head Dan Porter Leaves Zynga A Year After $180M Acquisition, Former CityVille GM Steps In
Kytephone, the Y Combinator-backed startup making smartphones kid-friendly and safe, is now expanding its focus beyond the “little kids” crowd with the introduction of a new platform for teenagers and parents. Called “Kytetime,” the system is designed more for keeping track of a child’s location and their phone usage, rather than strictly locking down the phone or offering a simplified user interface.
The company first launched last summer to address the problems associated with smartphones being put into the hands of ever younger children, whether as their own device or on loan from their busy parent, caving into the kid’s request to play games. With the original Kytephone Android application, the software is able to take advantage of apps’ ability to deeply integrate with the Android platform, and presents a kid-friendly interface that also lets mom or dad control who the child can phone or receive calls from, which apps they can access, and more. It also taps into the phone’s GPS for a location-tracking feature.
Now Kytephone has repurposed that same technology for its teen-focused product, Kytetime, which is reminiscent of the “Net Nanny” applications which tracked kids’ Internet usage on desktops, and restricted access to inappropriate content.
Similarly, Kytetime, can also track how the teen is spending time on their phone, what websites they’re visiting, how much time the teen spends in each app, when apps are used, who the teen is talking to and texting with, and more.
However, because it’s the next step up from Kytephone’s “kiddie” interface, the system doesn’t actually block sites or apps entirely, though it does allow a parent to set up “time of day” controls for app. This prevents teens from using apps after a designated bed time or during school hours, for example.
So yes, no more Snapchatting in class, it seems.
“Kytetime is focused on awareness rather than control,” explains Ktyephone’s Anooj Shah. “Our goal was for the child and parent to be aware of how the child uses the phone and highlight opportunities where the kid can use the phone more responsibly,” he says. “We wanted Kytetime to facilitate a conversation between the parent and the child, rather than all out control.”
Unlike the original app, Kyteime doesn’t offer an app sandboxing functionality, nor does it present a child interface. Instead, the teens get full access to the Android interface, as they would normally.
However, parents still have the location-tracking feature available to them, and they have an online and mobile-friendly “Parent Dashboard,” where they can configure settings and track activity in real time. Parents can also receive email reports, summarizing their teen’s activities.
But like the Kytephone kids application, the new Kytetime app is also available as a free download from the Google Play app store. Access to the Kytetime Parent Dashboard and the email activity reports will only be available on a subscription basis. The fee is $40 per year, or $5 on a monthly basis. A two-week free trial is available upon sign-up, and it doesn’t require a credit card to try out.
To date, Kytephone has been installed by tens of thousands of users (Google Play shows installs between 10,000 and 50,000 but the company didn’t want to share exact numbers publicly). It has users in 60 countries worldwide. Kytetime, which now has over 1,000 installs of its own since launch a couple of days ago, is already gaining parents’ attention.
Though not everyone is happy, of course. Writes one user in his review: “I hate it !!!!!!!!! Say one who it is used on,” laments the teen.