WARNER BROTHERS will announce 24 new web productions today, in formats ranging from games to episodic online TV. Projects include a neurotic minivan-driving mother who starts a talk show, a puppet show for adults, and a mockumentary about a digital production studio. About 6 additional projects are in development, including an online dating game. The company is funding the projects itself upfront, hoping that creating high-quality content for the web will lead to advertiser interest. Overall investment for the projects is under $3 million.
APPLE has considered bidding in the upcoming auction for wireless spectrum, according to Businessweek sources. The company is said to be leaning against bidding, due to the challenge of running a large nationwide network. However, a national Apple network would provide a host of advantages — including offering an iPhone without reliance on a telco, nationwide wireless delivery of digital content from the iTunes store, and the ability to offer other digital services. Apple has over $14 billion in cash. The spectrum required for a nationwide network is expected to cost $9 billion.
TIME WARNER will announce a new investment in ScanScout, which provides an AdSense-like service for inserting contextual ads into online video. ScanScout is currently serving 30 video ad campaigns on 15 sites, including Blip.TV and Next New Networks. Inserted ads are in text form, which telescope into overlaid video when clicked.
APPLE may have inadvertently revealed its plans for a pending iTunes video rental service. Over the weekend, a Mac developer attempted to report a problem to the iTunes store. Apple’s form for issuing complaints offered options to cancel a Rental Movie due to accidental purchase, incomplete download, and more. Several tech news outlets confirmed the existence of the options, before they were quickly removed by Apple.
MOTOROLA has seen a massive surge in its shipment of IPTV set-top boxes. The company entered the IP set-top business in early 2006, and took until six months ago to ship one million boxes. The company has now sold 2 million IPTV boxes, indicating a rapid rise in sales rate. Motorola is trying to convince telcos that its boxes, combined with Microsoft software, are the best way to capitalize on the growing IPTV market.
MAJOR MUSIC LABELS will soon launch the “ringle,” a new combination of the traditional “single” format and the cellphone ringtone. The content will be sold in stores, via a CD that contains 3 songs and one ringtone, for around $6. Sony BMG Music will release 50 ringles during October and November, and Universal Music Group plans to have around 20 ready for sale. Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, and Amazon have agreed to offer the new format.