Pixar Makes Its First Foray into Virtual Reality With ‘Coco VR’

On November 22, Disney-Pixar will release the animated feature “Coco,” which takes place during Dia de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday honoring the dead. Pixar has also debuted its first VR experience, “Coco VR,” created in partnership with Oculus. “Coco VR” is available on Rift headsets, with a Gear VR version out next week. Pixar dubs the experience a “social adventure” where participants embody skeletal characters and explore the Land of the Dead and the holiday, to learn about the film, the festival and the traditions. Continue reading Pixar Makes Its First Foray into Virtual Reality With ‘Coco VR’

Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Philo, the latest streaming TV service to hit the market, has eliminated sports from its line-up of three-dozen cable TV networks. The service will deliver programming to the user’s phone, laptop or connected TV. Because of the lack of sports, the base package will cost $16 per month, compared with YouTube TV’s $35 per month subscription or Hulu’s $40 per month fee. Participating cable networks include A&E, Scripps, Discovery, AMC and Viacom. Venture capital companies have invested $25 million in the new service. Continue reading Philo Streaming TV Service Offers Cable Bundle Minus Sports

Disney Looks to Major Franchises for First Streaming Content

The Walt Disney Company has revealed some of the details regarding its upcoming streaming service, slated for launch in the second half of 2019. Debuting on the new service will be television series based on “Star Wars,” “Monsters Inc.,” “High School Musical” and Marvel, currently under development. Disney chief executive Bob Iger also disclosed that the service will be priced substantially less than Netflix, in part because it will have less content at its introduction. However, Iger noted that the price could increase as Disney adds more content. Continue reading Disney Looks to Major Franchises for First Streaming Content

Amazon FreeTime Rolls Out New Feature for Offline Viewing

Amazon is introducing a new feature to its subscription children’s service this week that enables users to download and watch FreeTime Unlimited content without an Internet connection. The new Offline Mode will roll out for free as an over-the-air software update for Fire and Fire Kids Edition tablets. Parents can create Kindle Fire profiles for their kids through FreeTime and specify age, gender, time limits, filters and appropriate content. FreeTime Unlimited features a range of children’s offerings from the likes of Amazon Originals for Kids, DC Comics, Disney, Nickelodeon and PBS. Continue reading Amazon FreeTime Rolls Out New Feature for Offline Viewing

Disney, Lenovo Introduce AR Headset and ‘Star Wars’ Games

Disney, with Lenovo, just released a new augmented reality kit for “Star Wars: Jedi Challenges,” which retails for $200 and includes the Lenovo Mirage AR headset, AR-powered lightsaber controller and LED puck for motion tracking. The headset relies on a phone for graphics rendering and can work with the most recent Android and Apple iOS phones. The phone is placed above the user’s field of view, and the image then mirrored on a transparent plane, allowing her to see the environment combined with “Star Wars” games. Continue reading Disney, Lenovo Introduce AR Headset and ‘Star Wars’ Games

Nielsen Begins to Measure Audience Data of SVOD Services

Nielsen has begun collecting Netflix viewership data via audio recognition software in 44,000 U.S. households, part of its planned initiative to measure TV audiences of subscription video on-demand services. So far, A&E Networks, Disney ABC Television Group, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. have subscribed to the service. Nielsen clients can opt to release the data publicly. By adding SVOD measurements, Nielsen continues efforts to capture viewing behaviors that have changed with the emergence of mobile and streaming video.  Continue reading Nielsen Begins to Measure Audience Data of SVOD Services

Amazon, Netflix, MPAA Go After TickBox TV for Infringement

Amazon, Netflix Studios and the Motion Picture Association of America have filed a copyright lawsuit against TickBox TV, a streaming media player the plaintiffs dub a “tool for mass infringement.” TickBox TV works by grabbing pirated video streams from the Internet, the plaintiffs say, giving users “instantaneous access to multiple sources” that stream copyrighted material without authorization. The Hollywood studios that make up the MPAA include Columbia, Disney, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. Continue reading Amazon, Netflix, MPAA Go After TickBox TV for Infringement

Focusing on Original Content, Netflix Plans 80 Films for 2018

Netflix will spend between $7 billion and $8 billion on content in 2018, from up about $6 billion in 2017. The company added 5.3 million subscribers this quarter and revenue of almost $3 billion, a 30 percent increase from the same quarter last year. Its net income also rose to $130 million, compared to last year’s Q3 total of $52 million, but not as much as the $143 million that Wall Street predicted. With 104 million paid subscribers, Netflix has seen the majority of its Q3 growth come from international markets. The company is planning a major push into original movies next year. Continue reading Focusing on Original Content, Netflix Plans 80 Films for 2018

Hollywood Studios Join Disney for Movies Anywhere Service

While a formal announcement is pending, insiders report that 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are among the Hollywood studios that will be joining Disney’s Movies Anywhere service, which enables consumers to purchase movies from authenticated platforms — including Amazon Video, Fios by Verizon, Google Play, iTunes, Microsoft and Vudu — and store them in a digital locker so that they can be viewed on multiple devices. Disney Movies Anywhere, powered by KeyChest storage technology, was first introduced in 2014 when other studios were supporting the UltraViolet format. Continue reading Hollywood Studios Join Disney for Movies Anywhere Service

Netflix Bets Subscribers Are Willing to Pay More for Streaming

To help offset its investments in original programming, Netflix will raise prices starting next month for its streaming-video subscribers in the U.S. Marking the third price increase in four years, the company’s $9.99-per-month standard two-stream plan will be bumped to $10.99, while the premium four-stream $11.99 plan will now cost $13.99. The basic plan will remain at $7.99 for now. Wall Street reacted positively, as Netflix stock was up 4 percent following the announcement. Nearly four million consumers in the U.S. still subscribe to the company’s $7.99 DVD-by-mail service. Continue reading Netflix Bets Subscribers Are Willing to Pay More for Streaming

DisneyNOW Consolidates Three Popular Kids Apps Into One

Until now, Disney had separate Watch apps for children 2-14 that featured entertainment content from the Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior. Now, the company has consolidated all three into a single app, thus boosting its pay-TV business. DisneyNOW will offer full episodes and live streaming from all the networks to customers whose cable, Internet TV, satellite or telco providers are participating. In addition to DisneyNOW, the company reportedly plans to create its own movie streaming service when its deal with Netflix expires in 2019. Continue reading DisneyNOW Consolidates Three Popular Kids Apps Into One

AMC Invests $20M in Dreamscape, Plans to Open VR Centers

AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest theater chain, just invested $20 million in Dreamscape Immersive, a company that has been developing a virtual-reality multiplex for the last year-and-a-half for rollout in the U.S. and U.K. Other investors include Steven Spielberg, 21st Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros. Dreamscape’s team includes former chief of Disney’s theme park design, a “Men in Black” series producer, and a live event bigwig. With AMC’s investment, Dreamscape has amassed $40 million. Continue reading AMC Invests $20M in Dreamscape, Plans to Open VR Centers

Streaming Service to Debut Without Pricey Sports Channels

Discovery Communications, Viacom, AMC Networks, A+E Networks and Scripps Networks Interactive are joining forces to create a new streaming service catering to people who don’t want sports in their streaming TV bundles. According to sources, the service will have a soft launch in the next few weeks, cost less than $20 per month, and offer nonfiction, lifestyle, children’s and scripted drama programs from the channels owned by these networks. Media outlets have discussed a bundle without sports for some time. Continue reading Streaming Service to Debut Without Pricey Sports Channels

Incoming MPAA Chief Faces Industry Shifts, New Challenges

Entertainment industry veteran Charles Rivkin is replacing Christopher Dodd this week as the MPAA chief. While the position has historically faced numerous challenges, such as managing consensus among the six major Hollywood studios, Rivkin takes the helm as the industry contends with a growing list of new hurdles: the MPAA has yet to take a stance on the debate over net neutrality rules, Silicon Valley is a growing force in Washington, digital platforms and changes in consumer behavior are impacting theater attendance and traditional distribution models, and media continues to battle global piracy. Continue reading Incoming MPAA Chief Faces Industry Shifts, New Challenges

New Software Tackles Scratch Removal for Film Restoration

At The Reel Thing, an AMIA (Association of Moving Image Archivists) conference, Hollywood technologists and filmmakers gathered to hear presentations on challenges in restoration, remastering and archiving. PurePix Images chief executive Michael Inchalik and University of Georgia mathematics professor Alexander Petukhov looked at how Algosoft is developing software to repair vertical scratches, one of the toughest challenges in digital restoration. “We’re discussing a high-level restoration workflow,” said Inchalik. Continue reading New Software Tackles Scratch Removal for Film Restoration

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