The UpStream

FOX vs The Simpsons Standoff

posted Saturday Oct 8, 2011 by Scott Ertz

FOX vs The Simpsons Standoff

It's been a pretty rough week for FOX and The Simpsons. The show hasn't been doing as well as it used to and FOX needs to cut costs in production. The easiest place to cut costs is in salaries, and no one gets paid quite like the primary voice actors. Needless to say, FOX started discussions with the voice talent to see about cutting salaries. The only requirement the voice actors had was that they get some of the massive licensing fee profit in exchange.

It all seems pretty reasonable, especially considering the alternative of terminating the show and no one getting any money anymore. FOX did finally reach a deal with the cast, including a possible 30% salary cut (which still leaves them with an average of $300,000 per episode) and zero back-end profit sharing.

What it does mean, however, is that The Simpsons will be returning for their 24th and 25th seasons, making them the longest running comedy in US television history. That is an impressive feat by any measure, but for it to be an animated series is even more impressive. It takes a lot more effort to produce an animated series than it does live action, and to stick with it for 25 seasons and manage to keep it entertaining, relevant and funny, my hat is off to you, which is something that doesn't happen often.

I look forward to the FOX jokes that will come out of this over the next 2.5 years. What about you guys? Are you happy to see the series continue, or do you think it was over a long time ago? Let us know in the comments!

Xbox LIVE Announces Its Video Lineup

posted Saturday Oct 8, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Xbox LIVE Announces Its Video Lineup

Ever since this year's E3, we have been looking forward to seeing exactly what Xbox LIVE had planned for video. We've known a Dashboard update was coming, but what we were missing was the list of content providers coming to the platform.

This week, Major Nelson announced the lineup and it is pretty amazing. Major Nelson said,

We have nearly 40 world class TV and entertainment providers coming to Xbox LIVE... that will begin rolling out to consoles in more than 20 countries this holiday.

Want to see the full list, both current and future? Hit the break.

Sprint's 4G Technological Evolution

posted Saturday Oct 8, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Sprint's 4G Technological Evolution

Sprint this week hosted their Network Vision Strategy Update and they made announcements about where their network is headed. While the announcements were major, none were really surprising. The biggest thing to come out of the conference was that Sprint will be ending their partnership with Clearwire, the owners and operators of Clear 4G mobile broadband which also powers Sprint's 4G WiMax network, in favor of a transition to Long Term Evolution, or LTE.

LTE is the technology that powers Verizon's 4G network and AT&T's upcoming 4G network and would be a major shift for Sprint. Up until now, Sprint was committed to remaining a fully CDMA network and, therefore, partnered with Clearwire to help build and deploy a WiMax (4G CDMA) network. The positive of all CDMA networks is that every time speed is increased, voice capacity is increased. GSM follows the other way, the faster the speed, the less call capacity. The benefit of GSM is that it is the world's most prominent technology, meaning that phones can travel worldwide.

How does Sprint plan to carry out the transition, and what does Clearwire think about the news? Hit the break to find out.

Google Takes on TeamViewer With New Chrome Extension

posted Saturday Oct 8, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Google Takes on TeamViewer With New Chrome Extension

Google has tried to make a go at their Chrome Web Store, an Android-style marketplace for extensions for their Chrome browser and Chrome OS computers. So far, nothing of any true value has graced the store through my screen; that is until this week.

I was surprised to find that Google's Chromium team, the same people who built the OS and the browser, had made a remote-desktop extension for the browser. Now, anyone who works on multiple computers can tell you what a hassle it can be. It's why I reviewed Mouse Without Borders, a project from the Microsoft Garage that allows you to transition your mouse across locally-networked computers. The problem still exists when you are not next to the computer, however. Companies have tried to produce a usable platform, such as TeamViewer or Windows Live Mesh, both of which we have used here in the office for the past few years. Google's attempt, however, is a little different.

To find out what exactly they have done, hit the break.

YouTube Wants More Advertisers to Favorite Them

posted Thursday Oct 6, 2011 by Jon Wurm

YouTube Wants More Advertisers to Favorite Them

Last year, Google became dissatisfied with losing money on YouTube which they purchased back in 2006 for $1.6 billion. In 2010, YouTube was the third most visited site in the world and raked in $544 million in revenue, making it almost profitable and this year revenues are projected to be around $1 billion according to Citigroup Inc. The thought of YouTube becoming profitable is as bizarre as Google taking the initiative to position YouTube in the world of cable and set-top box providers. They are, however, attempting to organize quite a line up of partnerships and shelling out $100 million in cash to make this all come together sometime next year.

The first we heard of YouTube's initiative was in April of this year, when they announced the re-positioning of YouTube, centered around 2 things: original content creation and a channel-based user experience. YouTube has solicited a variety of Hollywood content creators and offered cash advances for them to create several hours of content per channel per month.

People like pro skater Tony Hawk have been in talks with YouTube and are very close to reaching a deal if they haven't already. Verso Entertainment and Cash Warren might be bringing some mainstream sports coverage to the table as well. Partnerships with FremantleMedia Ltd, who is responsible for The X Factor, and Electus, which produced Mob Wives, are also in the mix bringing a wide variety of content. A YouTube spokesperson didn't offer anything concrete as far as who selected partners are but they are still actively talking to lots of content creators.

We don't comment on rumor or speculation, but we're always talking to content creators and curators of all kinds about building audiences on YouTube.

Will these changes in YouTube position YouTube for success in the future? Hit the break to find out.

Paypal Takes on Google Wallet and Says NFC is Not for Commerce

posted Thursday Oct 6, 2011 by Jon Wurm

Paypal Takes on Google Wallet and Says NFC is Not for Commerce

Google managed to cause controversy well before they imbued the Nexus S 4G Android phone for Sprint with NFC (near-field communications) technology in hopes of getting in early on the mobile payment market. Last May Paypal brought up a lawsuit against Google and Paypal ex-senior executives Osama Bedier and Stephanie Tilenius for breach of contract and employee poaching. Bedier left Paypal to head up Google Wallet and this lawsuit comes as no surprise.

From October 2010 forward, Google and Paypal have entertained the use of NFC to transition the masses to digital wallets but they have decided to take different approaches. Google has adopted NFC as the method of choice, for now, and there has been a lot of discussion between major payment processing companies like Square, Visa and Mastercard about the widespread adoption of NFC technology. The general consensus at Mobile Future Forward this year was that NFC wouldn't see its day for another 3-5 years but Google is pushing forward and has entered into discussions with Visa, Discover and American Express about integrating their services.

The director of communications at Paypal, Anuj Nayar, recently offered insight into their take on NFC and how they intended to approach mobile payments.

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