Fortnightly Round-Up 24th March - 6th April

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From Kim Dotcom's move into New Zealand politics to Amazon's Fire TV, here's a quick look at what's caught our attention in the Ostmodern office over the past couple of weeks.

Hot News: Amazon to launch 'Fire TV'

Last week Amazon announced that it will launch its own set top box ‘Fire TV’ which will start shipping immediately.

Amazon Fire TV

Meanwhile, Amazon has denied rumours that it is planning to launch ad-funded media streaming service, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Sky Launching 'Buy & Keep' Digital/Physical Movie Service

Sky are launching a 'Buy & Keep' movie service as part of the Sky Store. As well as giving Customers the opportunity to buy digital copies of movies, they will also receive a DVD copy of the film through the post.

Meanwhile, VOD Professional report that ITV have announced that they intend to close their rental service at the end of July, as they continue to explore different monetisation models. The broadcaster will be launching its first Pay channel, ITV Encore, later this year.

Across the Narrow Sea...

Game of Thrones returns to our screens this week, and is set to dominate all cultural reference points until the middle of June. Research from Panasonic suggests that the show is also one of the most anti-social, with fans more likely to go into deep and detailed discussions than any other show, report VOD Professional.

On the subject of 'Thrones', it will be interesting to see if the decision to air season 4 in the UK at the same time as in the US will have an impact on the numbers of illegal downloads of the most pirated show in history.

Pay TV providers continue to flex their muscles in response to OTT growth.

Aereo will be defending its cloud-based DVR streaming service in the US Supreme Court this month. Aereo argues that the service which allows customers to record broadcast TV online is not breaking any laws.

Meanwhile, Comcast are now charging Netflix a toll on bandwidth in order to provide a better streaming service to its customers. While Netflix agreed to pay the fee for better streaming, their chief exec Reed Hastings did argue the case for greater net neutrality.

Online video increasingly important in the USA

Research by Parks Associates suggests that over 50% of U.S. broadband households now use OTT video services, either subscription or transactional. The research also claims that 37% of 18-24 year old consumers say online video is their most important video source.

The Rest In Brief

The Pew Research Group have published 15 theses about the digital future as part of their reflections on the web at 25, based on the thoughts and opinions of thousands of industry experts.

Spotify has revamped itself with its biggest ever redesign, report The Verge.

Nielsen report growing numbers of people engaging in social TV in Australia.

BuzzDial provides a novel way for viewers to share their reactions to live TV shows as they happen. Its potential as a research tool will be particularly interesting to explore.

Microsoft and Ooyala have partnered up to develop IP video services using Microsoft Azure and Ooyala’s distribution, analytics and monetisation technology.

Frank Guo outlines his vision for how to effectively use eye-tracking in UX design.

Isotoma’s UX Director Francois Jordaan explains what is wrong with the ubiquitous hamburger menu.

Art book publisher Taschen reveals its All Time 100 Favourite Movies, an interactive ebook containing trailers, soundtracks and galleries.

Mark Zuckerburg has taken to the skies in order to bring the Internet, and by extension Facebook, to the furthest corners of the globe.

And Finally

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has launched his own political party in New Zealand.

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