Walmart to License MGM Content for its Vudu VOD Service

Walmart, which bought video-on-demand service Vudu eight years ago, just inked a partnership with MGM to license family-friendly content. Vudu’s monthly viewer numbers lag behind Netflix and Hulu, the latter controlled by Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox and AT&T. Although media outlets reported that Walmart intends to launch a subscription-based streaming video service, sources inside Walmart reveal that Walmart is not doing so, but still hopes to improve its VOD business and target viewers outside big cities. Continue reading Walmart to License MGM Content for its Vudu VOD Service

Documentarians, Trade Associations Debate Copyright Laws

One of the gray areas of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is the exemption for filmmakers. Although documentary filmmakers are allowed to use small pieces of copyrighted films in some circumstances, many of them say the provision is unclear and can lead to confusion and uncertainty. In late 2017, the International Documentary Association, Kartemquin Films, Independent Filmmaker Project, University of Film and Video Association and others asked the U.S. Copyright Office for clarity. Trade associations including the MPAA, RIAA and ESA have expressed concerns regarding exemptions. Continue reading Documentarians, Trade Associations Debate Copyright Laws

Best Buy to End CD Sales, While Target Adjusts Sales Model

Physical CDs are still selling well, although the U.S. has seen sales down by 18.5 percent. But Best Buy and Target have just taken steps that may hasten the demise of physical media. Best Buy, which was once the biggest music seller in the U.S., has told its music suppliers that it plans to pull CDs from its stores on July 1. The company will continue to carry vinyl records for two years, fulfilling a promise made to vendors. Meanwhile, Target is now telling music suppliers it will sell CDs on a consignment basis. The move would also impact sales of movies, TV shows and other video content on DVD. Continue reading Best Buy to End CD Sales, While Target Adjusts Sales Model

Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

Redbox, known for its red kiosks where users can rent DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, has unveiled a new on-demand streaming service for movies and TV shows. The new service is not subscription-based but, similar to iTunes or Google Play, allows the user to pay for each movie or show that they rent or buy; the on-demand service, currently in public beta, will offer the same kind of new release movies and shows available in the kiosks. The privately held company offers content from every studio except Disney. Continue reading Redbox in Public Beta for New On-Demand Streaming Service

Networks Seek Safer Way to Deliver Screeners to the Press

Networks are changing how they deliver screeners to the press, due to rising concerns over piracy. HBO, for example, was hit by two cyberattacks on “Game of Thrones,” and now is moving access to screeners from its own portal to MediaSilo’s Screeners.com. Amazon, Hulu and El Rey Network have also moved screeners to the same site. Fox moved its screeners from one proprietary site, Fox Flash, to another, Screeners.Fox, and Starz is now delivering shows to the press via DAX’s cloud-based software. Continue reading Networks Seek Safer Way to Deliver Screeners to the Press

Sony Introduces Optical Disc Archival System to Replace Tape

The advent of digital acquisition has made long-term storage more complicated for media and entertainment companies, which up until now have been dependent on tape-based solutions. Now, Sony has unveiled Everspan, an optical disc technology it guarantees will last for 100 years. That 100-year guarantee would relieve companies of the expensive, time-consuming need to migrate libraries to new technology. Each disc stores 300 gigabytes, and Everspan uses up to 64 drives to read data at extremely high speed. Continue reading Sony Introduces Optical Disc Archival System to Replace Tape

Disney Movies Anywhere Service Goes Wide on New Platforms

Disney is expanding support for its cloud-based digital movie service on more platforms with the debut of new apps for Amazon Fire tablets, Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, and Microsoft Xbox 360. Apps for Android TV and Roku are expected in a few days. The Disney Movies Anywhere collection currently features more than 450 digital movies from Disney, Marvel and Pixar in addition to Star Wars and short form content. Its new app is now available to Amazon and Microsoft customers, the result of new partnerships between the studio and both companies. Continue reading Disney Movies Anywhere Service Goes Wide on New Platforms

Comcast Commits to Theme Parks with Billions in Investment

Comcast has turned to its theme park portfolio, which it acquired four years ago with its purchase of NBCUniversal, as a serious source of revenue. The company just committed to invest $1.6 billion to expand the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in California — featuring a snow-capped Hogwarts Castle — and build a $3.25 billion theme park in Beijing, in partnership with Chinese companies, slated to open in 2019. Comcast invested $100 million for a new “Transformers” ride at Universal Orlando in 2013. Continue reading Comcast Commits to Theme Parks with Billions in Investment

TV Academy to Distribute Chromecast Devices to Emmy Voters

With the aim of enhancing the viewing experience of this year’s Emmy-nominated content, the Television Academy inked a deal with Google to distribute Chromecast devices to all of the Academy’s eligible voting members. This new initiative also prompts a rule change, enabling voting members to vote for all major program categories as well as those professional categories pertinent to their expertise. In addition to widening the voting, the new rule means an end to the Academy’s “blue ribbon” panels. Continue reading TV Academy to Distribute Chromecast Devices to Emmy Voters

Make Purchases from Your Twitter Feed with New Buy Button

Twitter has announced its trial run of a “Buy” button on tweets, which enables users to make purchases directly from their Twitter feeds. So far, Twitter has announced that it will test this new feature with a variety of retailers, nonprofits, and musicians, but movie purchases may not be far behind. Fandango, for example, has already launched a “Twitter Card” feature, which redirects users to the Fandango site so they can buy movie tickets. The “Buy” button is currently being tested by a select number of Twitter users. Continue reading Make Purchases from Your Twitter Feed with New Buy Button

Yekra Adds Blockbusters, Customized Playlists to Movie Player

Yekra, a Los Angeles-based startup, distributes movies by embedding them in websites. With Yekra’s improved movie player, websites can directly distribute relevant movies to their visitors, and make money doing it. Website owners can choose movies for their customizable playlists from Yekra’s 250-film library, including blockbusters such as “The Dark Knight,” “The Great Gatsby” and “The Lord of the Rings.” In the past two years, Yekra has made $2.5 million in sales. Continue reading Yekra Adds Blockbusters, Customized Playlists to Movie Player

Hearst Launches On-Demand Subscription Channel CosmoBody

The new Hearst Digital Studios unit is starting an online channel of fitness and lifestyle videos inspired by Cosmopolitan magazine. For $9.95 per month, viewers can subscribe to CosmoBody, which will stream video content on-demand to the iOS app, the Android app, and Internet browsers. Hearst plans to launch similar online channels to expand its digital presence as business faces a downturn in traditional print and cable television markets. Continue reading Hearst Launches On-Demand Subscription Channel CosmoBody

The Impact of Electronic Devices on Developing Minds

What will the future look like, when the generation of children growing up on portable screens ascends into adulthood? The long-term neurological effects are yet unknown, according to Dr. Gary Small, director of the Longevity Center at UCLA. However, what is known: the brain is highly sensitive to screen-based stimuli and spending too much time on devices and less time with people could hinder communication skills. Continue reading The Impact of Electronic Devices on Developing Minds