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Off the Fence signs Malaysia deal to create $20m slate NewsPippa Considine 30 May 2013 Off the Fence has signed

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    Off the Fence signs Malaysia deal to create $20m slate
    NewsPippa Considine 30 May 2013
    Off the Fence has signed a deal with Malaysia’s Ideate Media to jointly create factual content for a production slate worth over US$20m.

    Ideate Media is a joint venture between Astro Overseas and Khazanah Nasional, the investment holdings arm of the Government of Malaysia. The deal will see the production of a slate of twelve series over the next three years. Off the Fence Distribution will handle the international sales of all content co-produced as part of the venture.

    The partnership will function as a vehicle for local filmmakers to use to take their ideas and concepts to the global marketplace.

    As part of the deal, Off The Fence will also be collaborating with Ideate Media and government organisations to provide training to the production communities in Malaysia and the region via a programme of workshops and master classes. The training programme will cover a number of areas, from production and sales through to rights and business affairs.

    Ellen Windemuth, founder and owner, Off the Fence, says, “Malaysia has been making its mark on the global TV landscape in recent years and is fast becoming a key player. It has a rapidly-growing content industry and this deal will see us working closely with Ideate Media to create top-quality factual output with international appeal.

    "Off the Fence has had great success to-date in the Asian market, co-producing content and taking these productions to broadcasters worldwide, so it is a natural step for our continuing growth and development to look at forging even stronger strategic links with the region. The training programme will also allow us to share our knowledge and expertise with the burgeoning Malaysian production community.”

    Zainir Aminullah, ceo, Ideate Media adds, “Malaysia has emerged to become the new destination for international filmmakers, with recent headlines such as the government’s new cash rebate and the launch of the Pinewood Iskandar studios. Our strategic partnership with Off The Fence is well positioned to accelerate growth in the factual content space, having an international partner with global reach tapping into talented local and regional filmmakers, and using the rich and diverse subject matters that Asia can offer.”

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    First Direct's new platypus brought to life by MPC
    NewsPippa Considine30 May 2013
    First Direct's new brand campaign, targeting a younger audience, has introduced Barry, a cheeky CG platypus created by vfx studio MPC in collaboration with Outsider directors Dom and Nic and agency JWT.



    As with any MPC animated character development, extensive research was carried out into both animal behaviour and physical attributes - from anatomical, skeletal and muscle structure, through to surface texture.

    MPC’s vfx team, led by Anthony Bloor and Chrys Aldred, developed a 3D model using software tool ZBrush. After a few tweaks to his weight and height, the team got to work animating him in CG.

    "Creating a CG platypus with such a unique character was a fantastic challenge," says Bloor. "Barry is a cheeky individual with very distinct movements. We have worked on many CG characters in the past and making sure that all movements are photo-realistic is our absolute focus and commitment. Working with Dom and Nic is always the greatest pleasure as they have such a clear and strong vision for their films."

    Once the CG model was built, the team created a skeleton and muscle rigging system to create realistic movements.





    Animating the platypus required a certain creative vision as he behaves in ways never seen in real-life - sitting at a bar, rifling through records and riding on a motorized scooter. The team worked closely with Dom and Nic to help realise their vision. “Right from the outset it was important that we focused on his walk-cycle. It needed to be individual, to suit his character, but also realistic so the audience almost believe he is a real platypus,” explains lead animator Tim van Hussen. As the team were creating expressions within the limits of platypus’ features, the acting focus was on the body mechanics, head and hand movements.

    MPC’s in-house fur grooming system Furtility was utilised, which was originally developed for MPC’s film pipeline and has been used in films including Narnia and X-Men: First Class. After being applied, it was combed in different directions. This lengthy process allows the fur to curl and curve, creating complex patterns.


    Credits

    Agency: JWT London
    Executive Creative Director: Russell Ramsey
    Creative Director: Jason Berry
    Art Director: Kevin Masters
    Copy Writer: Miles Bingham
    Agency Producer: Sian Parker

    Director: Dom and Nic
    Production Company: Outsider
    Production Company Producer: John Madsen

    VFX: MPC
    VFX Producer: Ian Luxford
    Creative Director: Jake Mengers
    VFX Supervisor: Chrys Aldred
    CG Supervisor: Anthony Bloor
    Lead Animator: Tim van Hussen

    Grade: MPC
    Colourist: Jean-Clement Soret

    Editor: Struan Clay, Final Cut

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    HIE promises high-speed broadband for 75% of Shetlan


    Three-quarters of Shetland properties are set to gain access to high-speed connectivity.
    Next-generation high-speed broadband should be available to three-quarters of homes and businesses across Shetland within the next two-and-a-half years, Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has pledged.

    The organisation is overseeing a £146 million project that will see fibre optic broadband installed throughout the Highlands and Islands, bringing speeds of more than 25Mbps to 84 per cent of the region.

    Responding to fears that little of this investment would find its way to Shetland, HIE Chief Executive Alex Paterson insisted that at least 75 per cent of the islands would benefit from the programme, reports Shetland News.

    Exact details about the rollout will be known later this summer, Mr Paterson said.

    Noting that delivering this pledge would still leave 25 per cent of Shetland without high-speed internet access, the HIE boss stated that two avenues are available to address this - government initiative Community Broadband Scotland and an innovation fund established as part of the organisation's agreement with BT.

    "There are places across the region that are too far from the exchanges and the technologies don't exist yet to get to these places," he conceded. "But we know that technologies are being developed and we hope that these become available."

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    Norfolk plays down fears over broadband project delay

    The Better Broadband for Norfolk project is on schedule, according to the county council.
    Norfolk County Council has moved to allay fears about a possible delay to its super-fast broadband plans in the wake of a report from the Major Projects Authority (MPA).

    The body has published a report that casts doubt on whether the government will meet its broadband targets, with both the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) programme and the smaller Urban Broadband Fund placed on amber/red alert.

    However, the team involved in Norfolk's rollout stressed that the MPA's warning was based on the likelihood of all the individual contracts being completed to the original 2015 deadline, rather than being an indication that government funding for the projects is at risk, reports the Eastern Daily Press.

    Better Broadband for Norfolk Programme Director Karen O'Kane insisted that the scheme is still on track to be finished by the end of 2015, as promised.

    As Norfolk was the first county to sign off the BDUK framework, the upgrade programme will understandably be completed earlier than others that took longer to finalise, she noted.

    Ms O'Kane added: "All of these projects will still deliver what they would have delivered. It is just that some have started later, so they will finish later than 2015."

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    Niall Quinn's Q Sat showcases satellite broadband in Northumberland

    Visitors to the recent Northumberland County Show were given the chance to find out about Q Sat's satellite broadband service.
    Q Sat Broadband, the satellite broadband company owned by former Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland footballer Niall Quinn, has demonstrated its service at the Northumberland County Show.

    The company - one of three chosen by the county council to help it improve connectivity in rural communities - took its special demo van to the event on Monday (May 27th 2013), offering visitors to the event the opportunity to find out more about the sort of connectivity available in the area.

    Fitted with a satellite dish, Wi-Fi router and modem, the demo van is designed to deliver the same experience that Q Sat customers can expect to receive once they sign up, reports the Northumberland Gazette.

    Speaking to the newspaper, Quinn - who also acts as the company's chairman - said reach and reliability are the two "great advantages" offered by Q Sat's broadband service.

    "We already provide reliable broadband to residential and business customers right across the UK," he commented.

    "The Q Sat demo van helps demonstrate the quality, reliable broadband service we can deliver right now - experiencing is believing."

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    Oxon super-fast broadband rollout misses rural residents

    EE's 4G mobile broadband service has gone live in parts of Oxfordshire.
    Super-fast mobile broadband has launched in Oxfordshire, but only people in and around Oxford city centre will be able to take advantage of the service.

    EE has brought its 4G network to the area as part of a national programme that will see the technology reach up to 70 per cent of the UK population by the end of the year.

    However, coverage is currently limited to central Oxford and the area bordered by Kidlington, Cassington, Botley, Boars Hill, Littlemore, Cowley, Wheatley, Beckley and Islip, reports the Oxford Mail.

    Beyond these locations, 4G connectivity will not be available for another 18 months as EE waits to carry out the necessary mast upgrades.

    This delay has drawn criticism from Cotswolds Broadband, a campaign group that is raising funds to bring super-fast mobile broadband to the rural communities of West Oxfordshire.

    Hugo Pickering from the organisation explained that the cost of installing masts across the county means it is not commercially viable for companies like EE to launch the service in rural areas.

    He added: "4G is very much an urban solution, rather than a rural proposition. The fact that we haven't even got 3G in West Oxfordshire underlines the problem."

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    BT and Ciena partner for successful 800Gbps fibre optic trial

    Ciena and BT have claimed a world first after trialling 800Gbps speeds on the telecoms giant's fibre optic network.
    BT and networking specialist Ciena Communications have announced a series of pioneering trials of what they claim is the world's first 800Gbps fibre optic "super-channel".

    The successful pilot scheme, which took place in March, involved the transmission of data at 100Gbps, 200Gbps and 400Gbps speeds as well as the 800Gbps test, the latter of which equates to sending seven high-definition DVDs simultaneously in a single second.

    Even higher transmission speeds were achieved in laboratory conditions, but this milestone is particularly noteworthy because the results were recorded across a 410km deployed network link running between BT's Adastral Park Research and Development Centre in Ipswich and London's iconic BT Tower.

    According to BT and Ciena, the trials highlight the future-proof nature of the telecoms giant's core network.

    Neil McRae, Chief Network Architect at BT, said the company has always strived to be a pioneer in the field of networking.

    "We have constantly looked for new ways to future-proof our infrastructure and provide more bandwidth for the next generation of applications and services," he commented.

    Ciena's Senior Vice President of Global Products Francois Locoh-Donou added that BT's advanced network will allow it to "stay ahead of the competition and continue to offer customers cutting-edge services".

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    BT Sport could be streamed via Xbox One

    Talks are set to take place between Microsoft and BT that could see BT Sport streamed on the Xbox One console.
    BT is set to hold talks with Microsoft over the possibility of streaming the soon-to-launch BT Sport channels on the Xbox One.

    With BT Sport set to debut on August 1st 2013 and the next-generation console due to follow it onto the market before the end of the year, some experts have speculated about a possible tie-up between the two companies.

    This appears to have been confirmed by BT, with a spokesperson telling TechRadar that the telecoms giant "will be talking to Microsoft about Xbox One" with regards to the sports channels.

    Discussions between the two parties will not be taking place until after the launch of BT Sport, the spokesperson added.

    At the recent unveiling of the Xbox One, Microsoft announced a US deal with ESPN that will allow users to stream live sporting content via the console.

    Given that BT has acquired the rights to ESPN's UK programming, a link-up may represent a logical step - although this is no guarantee that a partnership will definitely happen.

    BT Sport will be the home of several high-profile sporting events and competitions, with the channels set to screen 38 live and exclusive Barclays Premier League football matches per season, plus up to 69 games from rugby union's Aviva Premiership.

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    Digiturk ‘on the block’
    by TBI reporter May 30, 2013
    Turkey’s Digitürk may be sold off in whole or in part following a Turkish state fund’s seizure of 12 companies owned by the pay TV operator’s majority owner, Çukurova Group, according to local reports.

    Sakir Ercan Gül, chairman of the Turkish Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF), told Bloomberg at the weekend that the TMSF would enter talks with Providence Equity Partners, which holds the 47% of Digitürk not owned by Çukurova, with a view to selling either Çukurova’s stake or organising a joint sale of the company.

    Digitürk’s rival Türk Telekom has denied reports that it is preparing to purchase the operator. The operator said it was not involved in any negotiations to buy Digitürk, although it “will continue to evaluate opportunities that can create value”.

    Separately, Digiturk has begun providing set-tops that include the the Anytime Anywhere technology from Motive Television that enables on-demand content to be delivered via the broadcast stream.

    Motive has estimated that at least 100,000 Digiturk subscribers will receive set-tops with its technology on board over the next two to three years.

    The Turkish deal gives Motive its second major client for the Anytime Anywhere technology, following its earlier deal with Italy’s Mediaset. It is is also the first time the technology has been used by a satellite TV broadcaster.

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    Netflix’s Arrested Development launch ‘beats’ House of Cards
    by Stewart Clarke May 30, 2013
    Internet traffic data for Netflix users suggests that 10% of Netflix viewers that started watching its new version of Arrested Development at launch had made it to the final, fifteenth, episode by May 27, a day after launch.

    Netflix does not release any viewing numbers for its content, but the analytics division of US technology company Procera measures Internet traffic across several US broadband networks, giving, in the absence of official data, the best indication of how series have performed.

    Procera is keen to note its data is just an early sample, however, the early numbers suggest that Arrested Development generated more traffic and viewing than another high-profile Netflix original, House of Cards.

    In a blog post the company’s vice president, global marketing, Cam Cullen analysed the traffic for Arrested Development a day after launch.

    “It seems as if the launch was a success by our metrics, especially when comparing to the subscriber counts to the House Of Cards,” Cullen noted. “We did see a noticeable increase in Netflix traffic this weekend (and even though it was a holiday weekend, the traffic we can attribute to Arrested Development made a difference).”

    It said that 2-7% of all Netflix traffic was attributable to Arrested Development across the first two days of its launch, with one network reporting a 8% jump in week-on-week Netflix traffic.

    Xbox and PS3s generated the most traffic for Arrested Development on fixed line networks ahead of Macs.

    On another network over a thirds of Netflix subs watched at least one episode of Arrested Development, three times the number that tuned to House of Cards.

    In his posting, Cullen concluded: “With 10% of subscribers completing the binge watch over the weekend, I would call that a numbers success, regardless of critical acclaim.”


 

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