Published in FierceCable, April 2, 2014

By Josh Wein

Technology vendors are heading to Las Vegas next week to show off new 4K equipment at the NAB show, but it’s not clear who will be buying. Cameras, workflow systems, displays and projectors will all be on display. And companies are hoping that the momentum behind 4K–more Hollywood productions are shooting in 4K, Netflix has promised to begin offering some 4K content this year, 4K TV sets are becoming more affordable, and everyone seems to be testing 4K gear in their labs–continues to build.

But demand for equipment is still in its infancy. Few if any consumers can view 4K at home today and major investment in 4K technology by distributors could still be years off. For now, Hollywood production and post-production shops and movie theaters are the main drivers of demand for 4K equipment.

“It’s in the marketplace,” said Dennis Wharton, executive vice president and chief spokesman of the National Association Broadcasters, which hosts the annual convention Las Vegas. “This is sort of the floor and it will start to become more widely adopted.”

Vendors see opportunity, particularly in online distribution of 4K video. “Pretty much anyone who wants to originate a 4K channel and there’s an audience for it, can,” said Paul Andrews, senior vice president of TelVue, which will be showing a TV-station-in-a-box product that plays 4K video. But there are limits: “I think it’s going to be boutique initially,” Andrews said.

Moreover, with NHK committed to shooting the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in 8K, there’s some concern that 4K is a transitional technology and investment in it could be limited, said Frank Hawkins, of Scalar Media Partners, a consultant to media companies.

JVC, Panasonic, Blackmagic Design, GoPro, and others will be exhibiting 4K equipment this year at NAB, Wharton said. And NHK will demonstrate an 8K broadcast on a TV channel at the NAB Labs Future Park using the latest codec.

Some of the demand for 4K gear has already been met. “Certain post-production facilities that are big enough and have the capital to invest in 4K displays and projectors and the infrastructure for storage, have probably been there for 12 months or so,” said Tom Lithgow, product specialist for Bluefish444, which will be showing several 4K demonstrations at the NAB event. As prices for gear come down, more segments of the industry will adopt it, he said. “We saw the same thing with HD,” Lithgow said. “For the first 2-3 years, people thought that was only for the high flyers. Then people started to realize they needed to create content for their industries as well, and it was implemented everywhere.”

One group that won’t be buying much 4K gear this year is U.S. TV stations. Broadcasters use the ATSC standard, which can’t support the encoding required for 4K broadcasts, said Mark Aitken, vice president of advanced technology for Sinclair Broadcast Group. “If you look at the bandwidth required, it’s not available over the air,” he said. Moreover, no pay-TV distributors are in a position to support it, he said. “It’s a slow process and it’s not going to be unlike the transition from analog to digital,” he said.

Published by Baseline 21, April 26, 2012

Earlier this week we wrote about how social media is everywhere and has been entrenched in sports for the past few years.  Never has this been more evident than with the NFL draft.  Not only does this topic lend itself perfectly to social media news outlets such as twitter and facebook but it is also a hot news item right now so naturally it will be at the forefront of social media.

Twitter

Twitter is the best engine to find out the latest and greatest in terms of breaking news.  With the draft happening, trades are going on all the time and those trades need to be relayed to the public and there is no better forum than twitter.  If you are following any one of these 5 people, John Clayton @ClaytonESPN, Todd McShay @McShay13, Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter, Mel Kiper Jr @MelKiperESPN, or Chris Mortensen @mortreport you will undoubtedly have every breaking news item, updated mock draft and projection possible for the draft.  Mel and McShay will be adjusting their big boards and updating us on who just got drafted, what the next team needs or who the no-name guy is and why the team selected him.  Mort, Clayton and Shefty will be handling the team’s perspective telling you who is shopping picks, who is looking to move and what positions a team covets.  I know that while watching the draft I will be more informed checking twitter than watching the broadcast.  By the time these guys get on the air they have most likely already tweeted about what they are going to say.

Players

Players are also going to be widely publicized on the social media outlets.  RG3 is already being talked about as the #2 pick and his presence on twitter will most likely add something to the draft that has been missed in the past, a voice from the waiting room.

Griffin, projected by most analysts to be the draft’s second pick, joined Twitter on April 3. In three weeks, @RGIII has amassed more than 132,000 followers. The 22-year-old quarterback said he wants to motivate fans through the social networking site.

“I’m not going to tell people, ‘Hey, I just opened up a bag of Doritos and ate them,’” he said in an interview in New York after being introduced as a spokesman for Subway Restaurants. “I know that I can influence a lot of people, so whenever I say something, it’s not scripted, it’s something that I’m feeling in that moment.”

Fans

Players and analysts tell only a small portion of the draft story as we the fans have the biggest story to tell.  We will be posting, tweeting and updating statuses about who we like, who we hate, how bad a player is, what a player was like in college or even his personal traits.  Sometimes I like to hear stories about these players beyond the cameras and how they act when they are just regular students like anyone else.

Jeff Berman, general manager for NFL Digital Media is quoted as saying, “You can’t force social.  There’s so much unknown in the world of digital, but what we know is the fans are trying to talk about their players, their teams and their passions. We’re just leveraging platforms to give them room for what they want to do.”

“Fans aren’t waiting for television analysts such as ESPN’s Mel Kiper to break down the picks before beginning conversation on social media”, said Frank Hawkins, a founder of New York-based consulting firm Scalar Media Partners LLC. Twitter mentions of the terms “NFL draft” and “#nfldraft” are up about 37 percent to 192,000 over the equivalent week last year, according to San Francisco-based Topsy Labs Inc.

“There’s money to be made in making it easy for people to communicate with one another and get more involved with the draft,” said Hawkins, former head of strategic planning for the NFL’s media group. “They’re a media company, and over the years they’ve gotten better and better at not leaving any stones unturned.”

To expand the draft’s audience away from TV the NFL’s digital arm has spent weeks preparing for the event. The goal is to create conversations, “just the way they happen around the water cooler.”

Substitutes’ snafus put NFL referees’ pension issue on goal line

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Published BY BLOOMBERG in Pensions & Investments, | SEPTEMBER 25, 2012 The National Football League on Tuesday was inundated with pleas to settle with the officials’ union, whose members had been locked out by the league since the start of the 2012 season over pension issues. The criticism against replacement officials accelerated Monday night after a disputed call […]

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NFL RedZone: Friend or Foe to Broadcast Networks?

July 25, 2014

Broadcast on KPCC 89.3 November 27, 2013, Ben Bergman It’s been estimated a typical NFL game lasts over three hours, yet contains a mere 11 minutes of action.  The NFL RedZone channel aims to solve that problem, by cherry picking the best 11 minutes from each game, to show every time a team scores. Based in Culver City, the NFL-owned and operated RedZone channel offers programming accessible […]

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It’s the National Frugal League

July 25, 2014

An ‘Uncapped’ Year Was Supposed to Make NFL Players Rich—But It May Make Them Poorer By REED ALBERGOTTI Published in the Wall Street Journal, March 24, 2010 Orlando, Fla. This was supposed to be the year the socialists who run the National Football League finally got a taste of the free market. Thanks to a […]

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Premier league appears to be a victim of its own success

July 23, 2014

      by Thomas E. Spock Sports Business Journal- Published July 30, 2012, Page 20 Robert Kraft got it right. Again. In London for Wimbledon in June, Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution, was quoted by CNN as saying that he would never invest in an English […]

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Can the NFL get to $25 billion?

January 31, 2013

How the league could reach lofty revenue goal By Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer Sports Business Journal – Published January 28, 2013, Page 1   Thirty-five months ago, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell set a heady goal for team owners: triple the league’s then nearly $8.5 billion of revenue during the next 18 years. It was an aggressive pitch, […]

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Could global Game Pass wind up stateside?

January 31, 2013

By Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer Sports Business Journal – Published January 28, 2013, Page 23   The NFL has long been knocked for its failure to export its brand overseas anywhere near to the height of the sport’s popularity back home. But while it is certainly open for debate whether international markets will deliver the revenue the […]

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Shield damage?

January 31, 2013

Refs, bounties have yet to hit NFL’s business, but image of gold-standard league, commish have been tarnished By Daniel Kaplan, Staff Writer Sports Business Journal – Published October 1, 2012, Page 1   In the mid-1980s, when lawsuits from Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis against the NFL dominated league headlines, then-NFL executive Jim Steeg remembers being worried […]

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Dick Ebersol Resigns

June 1, 2011

In a seismic event whose reverberations will long be felt throughout the sports and TV ecosystem, Dick Ebersol stepped down as Chairman, NBC Sports Group on May 19th. Roone Arledge’s protégé and spiritual successor, Dick has been an industry giant for decades. As the world has grown smaller, Dick has had a subtle but unmistakable […]

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