Digital Hollywood took over the Ritz at Marina del Rey for its Spring 2011 conference, a nice change of scenery for the hundreds of studio execs, advertising and entertainment execs, online video creatives, technologists, SAG members and agents in attendance. (Members of the Dallas Mavericks, who could be spotted in and around the pool area, apparently enjoyed their stay as well).
Between absorbing the latest trends as discussed by multiple panels we managed to interview a few executives from top online media companies.
In the video below, Ooyala’s Vice President of Biz Dev, Chris Wong, explains the importance of streaming video solutions providers, why most companies require DRM (digital rights management) to control copyright, and ponders the meteoric rise of Netflix and the potential impact of its competitors.
Lala’s humble beginning in 2006 was based on a businessmodel involving the actual physical swapping of CDs through the mail. Or as they not-so-humbly declared at launch, “The Largest Record Store on Earth.” The site would be full of album covers and users would check “have” or “want” and then arrange to send and receive via Lala’s Netflix-like shipping envelopes, for $1 each.
As the tide turned decidedly away from CDs and toward digital music purchases, along with pressure and legal action from artists and labels, Lala launched 2.0 by 2008. The new Lala was a music “community” from which you could play, share, and discover music. Essentially taking the ultimate music store and putting it in the cloud with licenses for unlimited listens of songs and album at a fraction of what iTunes and Amazon charged – about 10 cents.
Lala.com’s valuation jumped to over $100 million by the end of 2009, aided by a $20 million investment by Warner Music Group. Warner dumped both Lala and iMeem in May 2009 citing losses of $33 million. Lala was acquired for an alleged $80-85 million by Apple in December 2009 (or as low as $17 million and even $3 million if you ask some).
Today Lala is integral to the music industry and serves up one of Billboard’s few weekly charts based on Web-plays and purchases.
On May 31th the service will be put down and customers who’ve enjoyed the fast rise and faster fall of the service are not too happy about it and now have until June 14th to apply for iTunes credits.