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“It’s not TV. It’s Netflix.”

Rotisserie Chicken: An Original From NetflixWill 2014 be a turning point in the “battle for screen time?” 

Amazon Studios announced its new slate of series orders from their unique, popular vote-driven pilot process last week — and while Netflix and Hulu took a more casual approach to unveiling their latest batch of original content, the user reviews for April Fools release “Rotisserie Chicken” so far are decidedly mixed: “[Two stars] A sophomoric effort. Poor use of thyme. Poorly conceived denouement, with a narrative arc which goes nowhere. Could use more garlic.” But in what’s become tech-giant tradition, this blend of creative marketing and disruptive instinct belies the level of investment in the multi-billion dollar war being waged over one of the 21st century’s most competitive commodities: consumer attention in a fragmented media landscape.

Just three years ago, all the major streaming competitors in what Hulu’s head of content Andy Forssell calls “the battle for screen time” were on the ropes (or in the case of Amazon, hadn’t even entered the ring yet). Netflix’s shift to streaming seemed terminally botched by its “Qwikster” debacle, Hulu was up for sale (and struggling to fetch anywhere near its asking price), and while YouTube was seeing impressive traffic for its original content, monetizing those views was proving difficult as marketers became disillusioned with the value of Pre-Roll ads.

Flash forward to 2014 — Netflix is nominated for 14 Emmys (winning 3) and tops 31 million subscribers (HBO, by comparison, has 29 million), Hulu‘s parent companies (Fox and Disney) have taken down the “For Sale” sign and doubled-down with a $750M investment in the streaming service’s future, and Amazon Prime has been growing so rapidly that new sign-ups had to be capped during peak periods of December 2013 to avoid exceeding their operational capacity. Perhaps more tellingly, YouTube and other online outlets are crashing the Upfronts – a week of presentations by broadcast TV executives to all the major advertising clients — using the industry’s own Nielsen data against it with an aggressive pitch that more 18-34 year olds (49% of the total demo) can be reached through advertising on their online platforms than on the most popular FX (45%), TBS (44%), Comedy Central (41%) or AMC (40%) broadcast packages.

Numbers like these engender a great deal of confidence in the future of streaming, and the larger trends in consumer behavior are unmistakable: streaming is here to stay, and content is still king regardless of platform. For decades, studios and broadcast networks have spent billions on preserving artificial restrictions on consumers — from appointment television to 90-day holdbacks from theatrical release on VOD/DVD/Digital sales — so seeing billions invested on tearing down these barriers and maximizing consumer choices is thrilling, regardless of the outcome.

BalconyTV Brings The World to The Orchard

BalconyTVI have been asked to write a post for The Daily Rind in light of the news that BalconyTV has joined forces with The Orchard.

But as I say this, I can already hear some of you asking “What? Who? Why? Where?”

So with that, here’s a CliffsNotes guide to the story of BalconyTV. Hopefully I can keep it even more concise than CliffsNotes. A small pamphlet, perhaps.

Without further ado…

BalconyTV was started in June 2006 by myself and two friends in our Dublin apartment. It was an idea that came from a hangover. Stepping out onto my apartment balcony to get some fresh air, I suddenly realized what a great view we had of Dublin city. Pointing this out to my friends, I suggested that we really should take more advantage of this amazing appendage to our apartment. And with that the idea of BalconyTV was born.

Our initial thought was to film a very simple daily show from our apartment balcony and post it online. It was to be short and sweet and take a minimum amount of work. One day we would film some local wildlife, and another day we might film the changing weather. I thought it might be a kind of artsy view into everyday Dublin.

Then we had the idea to invite some local bands up to play songs. The format would be simple: one camera, one song, and preferably one take. I would hold the camera, plug in a microphone, and my flatmates would be presenters. The less thinking involved the better. It was all about keeping it real. (Or not thinking too much basically.)

The simplicity of this caught on, and before you know it we began getting contacted by bands from all over that wanted a slot on BalconyTV. To them it was fun and colorful, and let’s face it… we were giving artists that classic Beatles rooftop moment that they all wanted.

Most of the artists we filmed were relatively low profile local artists. Unlike some other web shows, we felt that if an artist was OK, we would give them the chance to perform. This M.O. is what made it possible for us to film some major talent before they were famous, like The Script, Mumford and Sons, Una Healy to name a few. What followed was some nice press coverage and award recognition, and we realized our simple and fun concept clearly had more to it. Quantifying that “more” was the tricky part.

It got most interesting when we began getting requests from viewers around the world who felt that BalconyTV was such a great way of showcasing local talent that they wanted to do the same thing in their city. So with that, and still with no grand plan, we launched BalconyTV in Hamburg, London and Poznan (Poland). Suddenly, BalconyTV was being presented and produced by new voices and personalities, and we were dipping into sounds and cultures that we otherwise would never have heard.

With the production of this now internationally formatted web series, the question began to be asked….

“But wait, how do you make any money out of this?”

Ugh. I do hate that question. Our gut answer? “We do it for the love of it. We do it for the Rock n’Roll. We do it for fun.” As it turned out, that was only half baloney. The fact is, BalconyTV had always been fun to produce and when managed well, does not have to be too time consuming. But finding a viable business model for BalconyTV was inevitable, and with online video evolving constantly, it was hard to understand what BalconyTV meant in this changing landscape.

That’s where The Orchard comes in. Teaming up means the future is bright for BalconyTV. We are optimistic that it will allow us to continue building the incredible network  of producers we already have, while putting a few more building blocks in place that will give that crazy initial idea increased sustenance.

Today, BalconyTV is produced in 50 locations around the world. Just last week, we launched BalconyTV in Budapest. We even produce BalconyTV in Crimea (currently in the cockpit of world events). We have produced over 10,000 shows that have been viewed over 50,000,000 times. And the artists. Well there have been too many great ones to list them all, but to recommend just ten more, try KimbraEdward SharpeJessie JTommy Cash (Johnny’s bro), KodalineLittle Green CarsMatt CorbyEd Sheeran, Victor Wooten and Sara Pi. Seriously, that list showcases the level of talent we work with daily.

If this is all new to you… we hope you like it.

Welcome Opus Docs, The Orchard’s New Documentary Channel

opusdocsPublic defenders fighting for the rights of poor people on trial in the Deep South of America; a professional strongman who can bend a penny with two fingers; a teacher of autistic young men in Newark, New Jersey; what do these characters have in common? Well not much, other than that their stories are riveting, and their lives the subjects of finely crafted and unforgettable documentary films. These documentary films — Gideon’s Army, Strongman and Best Kept Secret, are just three of the award-winning non-fiction films that are part of Opus Docs, a new owned and operated channel launched by the Orchard.

The YouTube channel will serve as the core of the channel, hosting trailers and extra content from the films that will link out to other platforms where the films can be watched (like iTunes and Amazon) and most importantly, the Opus Docs’ Hulu channel. With a slate of films that have been curated from the most prestigious film festivals around the globe — Sundance, Berlin, South by Southwest, Telluride, IFF Rotterdam, L.A. Film Festival, IDFA in Amsterdam, even Moscow and Minsk! — Opus Docs showcases the artistry and vision of both emerging and veteran nonfiction filmmakers, who filter stories that are important, quirky, humorous, enlightening and inspiring through their beautiful and unique lenses.

Recently released and upcoming docs including Rebecca Richman-Cohen’s Emmy-nominated immersion into the trial of alleged Sierra Leone war criminal Issa Sesay, War Don Don; Stefano Sardo’s rapturous look into the history of a global food movement, Slow Food Story; and Jared Goodman’s Captive Beauty, a look into a beauty pageant inside a Medellin, Columbia womens’ prison (Executive Produced by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger), will be available on the Hulu Opus Docs’ channel four to six months after their initial releases on download-to-own and paid rental platforms including iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon Instant Video.

The Orchard’s Film team is thrilled to be adding Opus Docs to its collection of curated and branded channels and expanding the audience for these remarkable — and entertaining — stories. Read the full press release on our website.

Explore YouTube’s New Copyright Claims Troubleshooter

YouTube_CopyrightHave you recently received a notification from YouTube regarding a copyright claim but are unsure of what it means? Well, have no fear, YouTube user! YouTube’s launched a new Copyright Claims Troubleshooter in their Help Center, making it easier than ever to pinpoint specific copyright issues related to your YouTube videos. The troubleshooter takes you step by step through multiple scenarios, such as receiving a notification that your video was removed, and outlines the actions you can take to resolve the issue.

Start by looking up the status of your video in the Copyright Notices section of your channel’s account, then choose the option that best applies to your video. The Troubleshooter provides seven common options to choose from, including “Removed (copyright strike)” or “Video blocked worldwide.” You’ll then learn what this notification means and what steps you need to take, if any. For example, if you’ve received a notification that your video “Matched third-party content,” it could mean that you’ve uploaded a video featuring music that is owned by another copyright owner. Your video is still viewable, but the copyright owner may be running ads or tracking viewership statistics. You have the option to replace the music,  dispute the claim, or allow the copyright owner to claim the video.

Next time you receive a copyright notification on your video, keep in mind that YouTube’s Help Center has a ton of helpful information! Better yet, play around with the troubleshooter now to educate yourself and prepare for future uploads.yt copyright troubleshooter

The Ins and Outs of the 2014 Winter X Games

Winter X 20114The 2014 Winter X Games returned to Aspen, CO this past weekend for its 12th year at Buttermilk Mountain, where the festival finished up in a spectacular fashion. Fresh faces found themselves gracing the podium with many of the top athletes either opting out of X Games to keep their bodies healthy for the upcoming Olympics in Sochi Russia, or having injuries hinder their performance and keep them from making the finals.

Notable absences were Shaun White and Tom Wallisch. White, who was set to go for his 7th straight Gold medal in Men’s Snowboard Half-Pipe, opted to pull out of X Games to better prepare himself for the Winter Olympics where he hopes to earn a 3rd straight Gold medal, even withdrawing from the inaugural Slopestyle competition to focus his energy. Wallisch, who came off a stellar 2013 season dominating competition and starring in The Wallisch Project, struggled in competition and failed to make it to the finals due to a torn ACL while training in October.

The festival kicked off on Thursday with an emotional night of competition in the Snowmobile Freestyle Final, an event where last year, Braaap! 13 athlete Caleb Moore lost his life in a tragic accident during competition. There to lift spirits was Caleb’s little brother and fellow Braaap! 13 athlete Colten Moore, who used his older brother’s passing as an inspiration and truly elevated his performance to earn himself a Gold medal.

Mark McMorris, who is under the media microscope with the upcoming release of a documentary about him titled Making Your Mark: The Snowboard Life of Mark McMorris, is known for throwing down progressive tricks with a smooth style. McMorris came to Aspen looking to three-peat in the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle event. But when you go big and push the limits, sometimes the limits push back. This was the case for McMorris who managed to put down an impressive run that earned him second place, but on his third and final run, he fractured a rib and it cost him the Gold. Never one to get discouraged, McMorris is heading to Russia to heal up and prep for the Slopstyle competition where he will be representing Canada, despite his injury.

Henrik Harlaut showed up to the course on Saturday with his patented calm and fluid style, ready to defend his Gold medal in the GoPro Ski Big Air Final. Harlaut plowed through the field and threw down a nosebutter dub 12, a trick he learned only days prior to competition. Look for Harlaut to bring his A-game to Sochi this year where he will also be representing Canada in the hopes of bringing home a Gold medal. In addition to dominating the competitive ski scene, Harlaut found time to come out with some bangers for Inspired Media’s Let it Flow: The B&E Movie.

In addition to all the action that goes down on the mountain, you’ll also find a killer music scene in Aspen during Winter X. The concerts went down live at Wagner Park and featured Phoenix with Matt and Kim on Saturday night, and Tiesto with Axwell on Sunday night. Both performances were absolutely going off and had tons of energy, which really escalated the fan experience at the Games.

All in all, the X Games were a total success and we look forward to seeing our athletes compete at the Sochi The Olympics!

About The Orchard

The Orchard is a pioneering music, video and film distribution company and top-ranked Multi Channel Network operating in more than 25 global markets. Founded in 1997, we empower businesses and creators in the entertainment industry.

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