Tech News December 2010

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1. Macy’s ‘Flash Opera’ has Web singing ‘Hallelujah!’

A flash-mob-style performance of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" at Macy's on Market Street has become a bit of a national phenomenon.  A video of the event, staged on Oct. 30 by the Opera Company of Philadelphia, has more than 5 million views on YouTube, rising as high as the fourth-most-viewed. Facebook users have recommended it more than 130,000 times, according to the OCP. National TV shows - including CNN and ABC World News - took notice as well.  And another three-quarters of a million have watched the surprise songfest, which utilized the famous Wanamaker Organ and about 650 area singers, on Philly.com.   Actually, it wasn't the Opera Company's first brush with Internet greatness. Its first pop-in performance was a "Flash Brindisi" in April at Reading Terminal Market.  Video of that also generated more than 3 million views on YouTube.  (Source: Philadelphia Inquirer)

2. L.A. Phil to transmit performances to HD-equipped movie theaters

The Los Angeles Philharmonic hopes to boost its "national brand" recognition  by transmitting live performances of three of its concerts next year to more than 450 high-definition-equipped movie theaters throughout the United States and Canada. The Philharmonic will partner under an exclusive one-year contract with Denver-based NCM Fathom, the entertainment division of National CineMedia, and Cineplex Entertainment, which distribute scores of concerts, sporting contests and other entertainment events to movie theaters and other venues.  Among their offerings is "Met Live in HD," the Metropolitan Opera of New York's season of big-screen simulcasts, which have drawn more than 2.4 million people since 2006. Orchestra officials hope that charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel will draw audiences for three concerts but acknowledge there's more of a challenge than in broadcasting operas, as the Met does. (Source: Los Angeles Times)

3. Orchestras on Big Screens: Chase Scene Needed?

The announcement of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s decision to join other orchestras – including the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Philharmonic and The Philadelphia Orchestra – in the distribution of HD audio-visual broadcasts of their concerts prompted an article in the New York Times, analyzing the impact of this rising trend on the live performances.  The article also discusses the challenges of attracting viewer interest in orchestral performances, relative to the visual spectacles offered by opera and ballet performances.  (Source: New York Times)
 
4. Bolshoi Ballet to beam into world cinemas

The old world meets the tech world in a new collaboration that will beam four performances of Russia's Bolshoi Ballet to 300 cinemas around the world.  In a partnership with French movie theatre giant Gaumont-Pathé, high-definition cameras will capture the performances for audiences in 12 countries, including Canada, the U.S., Italy, Poland, Spain, the Czech Republic, Germany and France.  (Source: CBC News)

5. InstantEncore Announces Complete Mobile Apps, API & Bundle Pricing

InstantEncore has announced the availability of a package of Mobile Applications – for Android, Blackberry, iPhone and all Smartphones – which provide Application Programming Interface (API) custom integration of an organization’s events, music, video and more on its own website.  The content can be entered once and is automatically updated to the website, Smartphone Apps, Facebook and Twitter instantly.  (Source: InstantEncore)

6. International Classical Artists launch audio and audio-visual label ‘ICA CLASSICS’

With the release of 10 DVDs and 8 CDs in January 2011, International Classical Artists, formerly Van Walsum Management, will become the first artist management agency to launch its own audio and audio-visual label featuring both archive material as well as the agency’s own artists. The CDs and DVDs on the ICA Classics label – presenting material recorded between 1954 and 2009 – will be distributed worldwide via Naxos. There are plans to release a total of around 34 DVDs and 24 CDs per year.  (Source: International Classical Artists)

7. Facebook Offers New Messaging Tool

Facebook has introduced a new unified messaging system that allows people to communicate with one another on the Web and on mobile phones, regardless of whether they are using e-mail, text messages or online chat services.  The new service, Facebook Messages, is a bold move by Facebook to expand from a social network into a full-fledged communications system. Americans already spend more time on Facebook than on any other Web site, and more than 500 million people around the world have signed up for it.  Analysts say that if Facebook Messages proves successful, it could greatly increase the time users spend on the site, making Facebook even more dominant.  Some analysts say, however, that the company will face a number of challenges, like managing spam, getting users to change ingrained habits and persuading some to entrust their confidential e-mail to a company whose privacy practices have often drawn scrutiny.  (Source: New York Times)

8. Amazon to boost publishers' Kindle Store revenue

Amazon.com will give newspaper and magazine publishers a greater share of the revenue it collects for periodicals sold through its Kindle Store, the company said today. Beginning December 1, Amazon said, publishers will be able to earn 70 percent of the retail price for each newspaper or magazine sold--a substantial increase over the 30 percent publishers reportedly previously received. To qualify for the greater piece of the pie, publishers must make their periodicals available for reading on all Kindle devices and applications in all geographies for which the publisher has rights. (Source: CNET News)
 
9. Will Netflix Destroy the Internet?

According to Sandvine, a network management company that studies Internet traffic patterns, 10 percent of Canadian Internet users visited Netflix.com in the week after the service launched. And they weren't just visiting—they were signing up and watching a lot of movies at the $7.99 per month (Canadian) subscription rate. Netflix videos quickly came to dominate broadband lines across Canada, with Netflix subscribers' bandwidth usage doubling that of YouTube users.  It's not just Canada. According to Sandvine, Netflix accounts for 20 percent of downstream Internet traffic during peak home Internet usage hours in North America. That's an amazing share—it beats that of YouTube, iTunes, Hulu, and, perhaps most tellingly, the peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol BitTorrent, which accounts for a mere 8 percent of bandwidth during peak hours.  If penetration rates continue at this pace, American broadband capacity might not be able to keep up with everyone who wants to stream movies.   (Source: Slate)