Apple Signs a Deal With A24 to Produce Indie Feature Films

Apple inked a multi-year partnership with studio A24 to make independent features, the first time that it expanded its ambitions to make content beyond TV programming. Last year, Apple announced it had committed $1 billion to create scripted shows, moving into a field dominated by Amazon and Netflix. Prior to the deal, Apple had only signed deals for two films, the documentary “The Elephant Queen” and family-friendly animated film “Wolfwalkers.” A24 is known for its Oscar-winning feature “Moonlight.” Continue reading Apple Signs a Deal With A24 to Produce Indie Feature Films

Netflix Reports Solid Global Growth, Spends Big on Content

Netflix reported stronger growth in international markets than expected, which is key to its ability to keep pace with increasing content production costs. In Q3, it added 6.96 million subscribers worldwide, beating its forecast of five million in July and 5.18 million predicted by analysts contacted by FactSet. The company expects to spend as much as $8 billion on shows and movies this year, with analysts forecasting that Netflix will actually spend as much as $4 billion more on content to be released in the future, for a total of $12 billion. Continue reading Netflix Reports Solid Global Growth, Spends Big on Content

Walmart Signs MGM Deal, Invests in Interactive Storytelling

Walmart is partnering with MGM, which will create short-form original series for release in 2019, to help boost content on its ad-supported streaming service Vudu. The company also invested a reported $250 million in a joint venture with New York startup Eko, which produces so-called interactive stories in which viewers control the plots of commercials and TV episodes. This investment is believed to be the largest ever made in this particular storytelling niche that has interested creatives for years but never caught on. Continue reading Walmart Signs MGM Deal, Invests in Interactive Storytelling

MoviePass Sells $128M in Tickets for Oscar-Nominated Films

Startup MoviePass, which charges subscribers $10 per month for the option to watch one film per day in a participating theater, said it has passed 2 million subscribers. The company also reported that it was responsible for $128.7 million of the domestic box office for this year’s Oscar nominated films. MoviePass chief executive Mitch Lowe has described the math behind the company’s claim. He also has an explanation for how the company will survive its biggest economic challenge: that it loses money on any customers who sees at least two movies a month. Continue reading MoviePass Sells $128M in Tickets for Oscar-Nominated Films

CES: Kudelski CEO Brings Content, Data & Security Together

“In a world where everything is digital, the two assets to protect are content and analytics,” said André Kudelski, chairman and CEO of the Kudelski Group, the parent company of NAGRA, during the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES in Las Vegas. In a headliner conversation with Variety New York digital editor Todd Spangler, Kudelski focused on data, security, storage, content delivery and innovation as he addressed fundamental shifts affecting today’s media and entertainment industry. Continue reading CES: Kudelski CEO Brings Content, Data & Security Together

Internet Firms Now Describe Themselves as Content Leaders

Google and other members of tech trade groups have gone up against the entertainment industry’s chief lobbying organizations in recent years, but now the tech firms are describing themselves in a new light. “We are the new faces of the American content industry, winning Emmys and Oscars, providing distribution for streaming-only Grammy winners, while creating services that address the challenge of piracy by allowing consumers to legally access content globally,” states a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, which details concerns regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement. Continue reading Internet Firms Now Describe Themselves as Content Leaders

‘Cars 3’ Released in Experiential 4DX Format, Boosting Trend

“Cars 3” became the first Pixar film to be distributed in the 4DX motion-based “immersive” film format from CJ 4DPlex, one of several formats that give the moviegoer a physical experience, as seats shake, tilt and pivot and the theater emits scents, sprays of water, fog and strobe-lighting, all relevant to what’s on the screen. These experiential formats have focused mainly on superhero and action movies, although 4DX films were released for “Despicable Me” in 2010, as well as “The Jungle Book” and “Kung Fu Panda 3.” Continue reading ‘Cars 3’ Released in Experiential 4DX Format, Boosting Trend

Twitter Live-Streaming eSports Competitions, Related Content

Twitter has added eSports to its growing list of live-streaming pursuits. The social-networking company plans to broadcast more than 1,500 hours of gaming competitions this year. Twitter is working with eSports organizer ESL (originally Electronic Sports League) and game festival organizer DreamHack, both owned by Sweden-based Modern Times Group. The live streams include coverage of globally popular games such as “StarCraft” and “League of Legends,” in addition to sponsored highlight packages and traditional advertising. Twitter is also broadcasting an exclusive weekly highlight program. Continue reading Twitter Live-Streaming eSports Competitions, Related Content

Amazon Is Open to Streaming Content Through Cable STBs

Amazon, which recently won its first Oscars for “Manchester by the Sea” and “The Salesman,” is taking on pay-TV providers and game developers as it expands beyond e-commerce into various media initiatives. Now, the company suggests it would be open to discussing deals that would enable it to stream content through the set-top boxes of cable operators, similar to Netflix’s approach. “Amazon is definitely open to those partnerships,” explained Amazon Video managing director Alex Green at Cable Congress 2017 in Brussels. Continue reading Amazon Is Open to Streaming Content Through Cable STBs

Amazon Is First Internet Company with Best Picture Oscar Nom

About a year after debuting its original movies division, Amazon became the first Internet company to garner an Academy Award nomination for best picture, with “Manchester by the Sea.” In addition to best picture, “Manchester by the Sea” earned five other nominations for writer and director Kenneth Lonergan, lead actor Casey Affleck, supporting actress Michelle Williams and supporting actor Lucas Hedges. Amazon also holds U.S. distribution rights to foreign language nominee “The Salesman,” from Iran. Continue reading Amazon Is First Internet Company with Best Picture Oscar Nom

Netflix, Theater Owners Continue Clash Over Release Window

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings accused theater owners of “strangling the movie business,” reiterating his claim that movie studios will increase revenues if they release movies in theaters and on services like Netflix at the same time. He also believes the studios would reap efficiencies in marketing. Movie studios, which make most of their money via theatrical distribution, have been intransigent with regard to collapsing the release window. The U.S. box office last year reached a record-breaking $11.1 billion. Continue reading Netflix, Theater Owners Continue Clash Over Release Window

Twitter Plans to Live-Stream Political Conventions This Month

Twitter announced that it is partnering with CBS News to live-stream the upcoming Democratic and Republican National Conventions. In the company’s latest step toward ramping up its live news and entertainment broadcasting, Twitter will make convention videos available on its desktop and mobile apps via a live feed from the CBSN digital streaming news service. The social platform will also provide a stream of related tweets for real-time commentary. Live events, including the Academy Awards and Grammys, have been popular for online conversations across Twitter. Continue reading Twitter Plans to Live-Stream Political Conventions This Month

Experimental Google Feature Allows Direct Content Publishing

In January, Google began testing a new feature allowing media companies, marketers, politicians and others to publish content directly to Google. The content, which can be up to 14,400 characters, contain links and up to 10 images or videos, appears instantly in search results and can be shared via Facebook, Twitter or email. Among those using the feature are Fox News, with political debate content; People.com, with content related to the Oscars; and HBO, which has used it to promote the third season of “Silicon Valley.” Continue reading Experimental Google Feature Allows Direct Content Publishing

Oscars Backstage: ABC to Live-Stream Video from 20 Cameras

ABC is partnering with AOL, Comcast and Yahoo for Sunday’s “Oscars Backstage” live-streamed red carpet and behind-the-scenes webcast. Pay TV subscribers in eight markets — Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco — can access the live stream on ABC.com and the WATCH ABC app. ABC has streaming access agreements with AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Google Fiber, Midcontinent, Cablevision and Verizon FiOS. Continue reading Oscars Backstage: ABC to Live-Stream Video from 20 Cameras

With ABC and AMPAS, Comcast Brings Oscars Content to VOD

In a deal with ABC and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, Comcast is delivering a package of 72 “Best of Oscars” moments from previous Academy Awards broadcasts via its VOD platform to X1 subscribers. The goal, for Comcast, is to drive up VOD rentals and purchases of Oscar-nominated features. For ABC, which is offering content gratis, the hope is that Comcast’s Oscars content will boost awareness and viewership of the 88th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, February 28. Continue reading With ABC and AMPAS, Comcast Brings Oscars Content to VOD

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