HPA 2018: Making the Case for IMF in Broadcast and Online

IMF (Interoperable Master Format) came of age, and two hours at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat were devoted to progress made and reasons for its adoption. Led by NABA (North American Broadcasters Association) chair of the working group on file formats Clyde Smith, a senior vice president at Fox Network engineering and operations, the block of speakers covered the business benefits of IMF and how Hollywood, broadcast and OTT would benefit from adopting it. Other topics focused on integrating IMF into the production pipeline. Continue reading HPA 2018: Making the Case for IMF in Broadcast and Online

Alibaba to Stream Popular Disney Movies, TV Shows in China

Alibaba Group’s entertainment unit has signed a new licensing deal with Disney that will make Disney’s movies and animated TV shows available in China via Alibaba’s streaming video service Youku and other distribution channels. In addition to more than 100 live-action and animated films, the agreement includes more than 1,000 episodes of Disney TV series, making Alibaba the largest distributor of Disney animated content in the region. The deal comes almost two years after the DisneyLife streaming video service ceased operating in China. Continue reading Alibaba to Stream Popular Disney Movies, TV Shows in China

Awesomeness Delivers DreamWorksTV on Amazon Channels

Digital media company Awesomeness has launched DreamWorksTV on Amazon Channels, marking the first time DreamWorksTV is transitioning to another online platform (it launched on YouTube in 2014 and currently has more than 3.7 million subscribers). The channel, targeting viewers aged 6-12, will offer kids’ programming and original content exclusively for Prime members via Amazon Channels, the e-commerce giant’s a la carte TV service. The DreamWorksTV streaming OTT offering will run $4.99 per month following a 7-day free trial period.

Continue reading Awesomeness Delivers DreamWorksTV on Amazon Channels

Netflix Experiences Its Best Quarter for Signing Up New Subs

Q4 2017 marked Netflix’s biggest quarter to date; the video service signed 8.3 million new subscribers. That surpasses the 6.3 million new subscribers the company had predicted, and brings the company’s total number of global paid subscribers to 110.6 million. The news boosted Netflix shares 9 percent, and put its market capitalization above $100 billion. The growth also took place during a period in which Netflix has faced more competition, from a wide range of content distributors and producers. Continue reading Netflix Experiences Its Best Quarter for Signing Up New Subs

MoviePass Ventures Plans to Acquire Films With Distributors

During the Sundance Film Festival, theater subscription service MoviePass announced the launch of MoviePass Ventures, part of a new strategy to co-acquire films with distributors. Data firm Helios and Matheson Analytics Inc. (HMNY), now the majority owner of MoviePass, claims its new service is already boosting domestic box office. HMNY plans to invest in movies so that it can share in downstream revenues, including streaming, pay TV, Blu-ray, DVD, EST, PPV, and ancillary and foreign markets. HMNY could also eventually sell subscriber data to Hollywood studios for targeted marketing. Continue reading MoviePass Ventures Plans to Acquire Films With Distributors

Blockchain at CES: Evaluating the Tech’s Hype and Potential

There were twice as many people as chairs throughout the nearly four-hour “Future of Blockchain” CES conference program this week. The enthusiasm of the program’s attendees mirrored that of exhibitors as well as the general anticipation surrounding blockchain and its applications at the show. The new offerings discussed at CES 2018 ranged from Kodak’s resurgence as a rights management platform to fast food chains asking users to mine tokens by eating chicken wings. A number of entertainment-specific blockchain technologies showed promise beyond an alternative means of purchasing content. Continue reading Blockchain at CES: Evaluating the Tech’s Hype and Potential

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

OWNZONES Demos its Cloud-Based IMF Transcoder at CES

OTT video distribution startup OWNZONES Media Network claims it can transcode Interoperable Master Format (IMF) assets 40+ times faster than conventional methods via its Connect solution. “Using a parallel architecture with cloud transcoding, the company says OWNZONES Connect can process a film with a runtime of 2 hours and 40 minutes in just 6 minutes,” reports Variety. “In addition, the company has introduced a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model to let content owners distribute assets in the new SMPTE IMF format standard without any upfront investment.” Continue reading OWNZONES Demos its Cloud-Based IMF Transcoder at CES

SMPTE: Industry Leaders Gather to Discuss the Future of AI

SMPTE kicked off its 2017 Annual Technical Conference & Exhibition on Monday with an all-day symposium on artificial intelligence and its emerging role in entertainment production and distribution. Among the day’s presentations, SMPTE’s Richard Welsh presented a compelling primer on AI, Google’s Jeff Kember discussed the differences between supervised and unsupervised systems, Hitachi Vantara’s Jay Yogeshwar addressed using machine learning and AI for production workflow, Yvonne Thomas of Arvato Systems looked at the value of effective data analytics, Greg Taieb of Deluxe addressed language localization for multilingual distribution, and Aspera co-founder Michelle Munson examined next generation network design. Continue reading SMPTE: Industry Leaders Gather to Discuss the Future of AI

Netflix Makes Major Commitment to Canada With New Studio

Netflix is planning to invest a minimum of 500 million Canadian dollars ($400.8 million U.S.) over the next five years to build a studio in Canada, revealed Canada’s Heritage Minister, Melanie Joly. The studio will create original Canadian productions, some of which will be French-language, in recognition of Canada’s status as a bilingual country. Canada, which was the first foreign country where Netflix launched, is also home to the third most global subscribers. The Canadian studio will be Netflix’s first global content outpost. Continue reading Netflix Makes Major Commitment to Canada With New Studio

Amazon to Handle Distribution, Marketing of Movie Releases

Thus far, Amazon has followed a traditional distribution model, releasing its movies via indie distributors Roadside Attractions, Bleecker Street and Lionsgate. But in December, Amazon will itself distribute and handle the theatrical campaign for Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel,” the first of many scheduled films. Other upcoming movies Amazon plans to self-distribute include Gus Van Sant’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot,” Luca Guadagnino’s remake of “Suspiria,” and Lynne Ramsay’s “You Were Never Really Here.” Continue reading Amazon to Handle Distribution, Marketing of Movie Releases

Vimeo to Acquire Livestream Platform and Launch Vimeo Live

IAC-owned Vimeo is purchasing the Livestream platform and rolling out its own live-streaming service called Vimeo Live. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Earlier this year, Vimeo abandoned its plans to release a SVOD business. Rather than compete in the SVOD space with Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, “Vimeo’s core business is focused around selling tools and services to professional and semi-professional video creators,” reports TechCrunch. Integrating Livestream tech into Vimeo Live “will allow video creators to capture, edit, stream and archive their live events … in addition to hosting, distributing, and generating revenue from their videos.”  Continue reading Vimeo to Acquire Livestream Platform and Launch Vimeo Live

Pay TV Losses Could Jump to 5 Million Households per Year

We’ve seen a wide range of recent forecasts regarding cord cutting and the impact on traditional pay TV. According to a new survey from RBC Capital Markets, only 55 percent of respondents said they would continue their pay-TV subscriptions. While 2016 saw a loss of 2 million subscribers, a future increase exceeding 5 million per year “does not seem impossible,” wrote RBC analyst Steven Cahall. “The RBC survey found that 21 percent of current cable, satellite or telco TV customers were considering switching to a lower-cost virtual pay-TV service,” reports Variety, “like Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV or DirecTV Now.” Continue reading Pay TV Losses Could Jump to 5 Million Households per Year

VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

Over the weekend, the Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF) released its draft VR and 360 video production and distribution guidelines at IBC 2017 in Amsterdam. The draft document begins with an intro section suggesting best practices for VR/360 production, including experiences with three degrees of freedom (3DOF). It then makes specific recommendations for the technical aspects of visual and audio VR/360 content production, media and presentation profiles, and content security. VRIF aims to release the full guidelines, with an emphasis on an open ecosystem, at CES 2018 in January. Continue reading VR Industry Forum Draft Guidelines Push for Open Ecosystem

Apple, Now a Content Creator, Speaks Up for Net Neutrality

After remaining quiet on the topic over the past months, Apple has finally made its position clear on net neutrality, urging the current administration to preserve it and prevent service providers from interfering or slowing Internet traffic. In its comments to the Federal Communications Commission, Apple also asked chair Ajit Pai not to end the ban against “fast lanes” that allow broadband providers to charge for delivery of specific content, something that could impact consumers of Apple’s fare. Continue reading Apple, Now a Content Creator, Speaks Up for Net Neutrality

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