MoviePass Acquires Moviefone, Plans Recommendation Engine

The disruptive movie subscription company MoviePass plans to build a recommendation engine to rival Rotten Tomatoes, which, say its executives, is too general and too critical for its client base. MoviePass subscribers pay a flat monthly fee to see one showing per day in participating theaters. According to MoviePass chief executive Mitch Lowe, subscribers want to be able to review movies on its site and say they would prefer to read reviews by fellow subscribers. MoviePass is also buying Moviefone from its owner, Verizon Communications’ Oath. Continue reading MoviePass Acquires Moviefone, Plans Recommendation Engine

NAB 2018: Hollywood Pushes HDR Production, Post – Part 1

At NAB 2018 in Las Vegas, a panel of Hollywood leaders described the progress of high dynamic range (HDR) as part of the motion picture, TV, and home entertainment pipelines. They also revealed some of the pitfalls that continue to bedevil adoption of the new standard, as well as spell out the changes that need to take place for HDR to be fully embraced. Sony Pictures Entertainment senior vice president, technology Bill Baggelaar noted however that, “consumers have a preference for HDR,” underlining its inevitability. Continue reading NAB 2018: Hollywood Pushes HDR Production, Post – Part 1

MoviePass Teams With Landmark for E-Ticketing, Other Perks

MoviePass has announced a new partnership with Landmark Theatres, the chain co-owned by Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner that caters to indie and foreign films as well as mainstream titles. MoviePass subscribers will have the option to enjoy exclusive perks such as e-ticketing, seat selection and advance screening reservations for movies exhibited at Landmark’s 255 screens in 53 theaters. “There is no better place to watch a movie than Landmark and now MoviePass customers will be able to enjoy all of our theaters,” said Cuban. Continue reading MoviePass Teams With Landmark for E-Ticketing, Other Perks

Startup Using AI to Help Create Effects for Movies, TV, Games

Palo Alto-based startup Arraiy is developing methods for automating part of the often-tedious process of producing visual effects for movies, TV shows and video games. “Filmmakers can do this stuff, but they have to do it by hand,” said CTO Gary Bradski, who has worked with tech companies such as Intel and Magic Leap. The Arraiy team, led by Bradski and CEO Ethan Rublee, “are building computer algorithms that can learn design tasks by analyzing years of work by movie effects houses,” reports The New York Times. “That includes systems that learn to ‘rotoscope’ raw camera footage, carefully separating people and objects from their backgrounds so that they can be dropped onto new backgrounds.” Continue reading Startup Using AI to Help Create Effects for Movies, TV, Games

Netflix Has No Plans to Offer Live TV Such as News or Sports

From Netflix’s 280,000-square foot studio in Hollywood, chief executive Reed Hastings revealed that the company has no plans to enter the live TV market in news or sports, as its rivals Hulu and Amazon Video have done. Instead, the company is investing $8 billion in original content this year, part of its larger strategy to fend off competition from these popular services and a growing list of emerging competitors. Hastings also explained that Netflix has no plans to introduce advertising. Continue reading Netflix Has No Plans to Offer Live TV Such as News or Sports

EU Hearing Explores Preserving Democracy in the Digital Age

The ETC’s Philip Lelyveld was one of five subject matter experts invited to speak before the European Union’s “Preserving Democracy in the Digital Age” hearing at the European Political Strategy Centre in Brussels on February 22, 2018. The EU is working to understand and deal with the problem of ‘fake news’ and Russian interference in democratic processes in Europe. This one-day event is part of an ongoing multi-organization effort within the EU. Lelyveld was invited to present a ‘Hollywood’ perspective. Continue reading EU Hearing Explores Preserving Democracy in the Digital Age

Registration Deadline for USC Hackathon Extended to March 7

ETCentric subscribers and their friends are invited to participate in the Creating Reality Hackathon, being held March 12-15 on the USC campus. The organizers are seeking forward-thinking industry storytellers, game designers, coders, and other creative artists. The teams that produce the top AR and VR submissions will each be awarded $5,000. This event will also be an opportunity to get a hands-on preview of the HTC Vive Pro and Intel’s Vaunt AR glasses. If you wish to participate, please submit your request via this special link (the deadline has been extended to March 7). Visit the event website for more info. Continue reading Registration Deadline for USC Hackathon Extended to March 7

HPA 2018: Real Networks Explores the Future of T-Commerce

T-Commerce, which allows consumers to buy items they see on TV shows directly from their set, is not new. Predicted since the 1980s, it’s appeared as Enhanced TV, T-Commerce and Shopification. The idea that a viewer could simply click on a sweater worn by her favorite sitcom character and purchase it is heady, but the difficulty of making items clickable frame-by-frame was (and is) a massive stumbling block. At the HPA Tech Retreat, RealNetworks described its T-Commerce solution, powered by computer vision. Continue reading HPA 2018: Real Networks Explores the Future of T-Commerce

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

ETC’s Bergquist to Deliver TR-X Keynote and Debut AI Primer

Yves Bergquist, project director data & analytics at ETC@USC, will deliver the TR-X keynote at next week’s HPA Tech Retreat and debut ETC’s AI primer for media and entertainment. The HPA Tech Retreat (February 19-23) will take place at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert, California. The TR-X Seminar (February 19, 1:00-5:15 pm), held in conjunction with the HPA Tech Retreat, will explore AI and machine learning in the M&E ecosystem. Panels will address real world AI case studies, partnering with AI in the creative process, marketing, research and more. Registration info is available online. Continue reading ETC’s Bergquist to Deliver TR-X Keynote and Debut AI Primer

Alphabet, Amazon and Apple Post Record-Breaking Quarters

Alphabet, Amazon and Apple recorded glowing quarterly financial results for Q4 2017, for a combined market value of over $2 trillion. Apple’s revenue rose 13 percent to $88.29 billion, in part due to the iPhone X. Alphabet marked its 32nd consecutive quarter of revenue growth of 20 percent or more, and a 38 percent increase in revenue to $60.5 billion, with $1 billion per quarter profit in cloud computing. Amazon built beyond its core market, with the largest cloud-computing business, a Hollywood studio and the purchase of Whole Foods. Continue reading Alphabet, Amazon and Apple Post Record-Breaking Quarters

Studios, Streaming Services Take on TickBox in Copyright Suit

In October, MPAA member studios 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros. teamed with streaming services Amazon and Netflix to sue TickBox TV over copyright infringement. Yesterday in California, U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald sided with the studios and streamers by issuing “a preliminary injunction against the streaming device manufacturer to pause further potential infringement while the litigation plays out,” explains The Hollywood Reporter. “TickBox argues it only offers hardware, on which users can ‘voluntarily install legitimate or illegitimate software,’ and that access to the infringing content came from downloadable ‘themes’ that it didn’t create.” Continue reading Studios, Streaming Services Take on TickBox in Copyright Suit

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

Studios Take on Dragon Box in Latest Streaming Piracy Battle

Amazon and Netflix have joined major studios including Disney and Warner Bros. in suing Dragon Box, claiming that the company’s $350 streaming device makes it easy for consumers to access illegal streams of TV shows and movies. The lawsuit alleges that some of the titles, such as Disney’s “Coco,” are still in theaters. Variety reports: “Dragon Box has advertised the product as a means to avoid paying for authorized subscription services, the complaint alleges, quoting marketing material that encourages users to ‘Get rid of your premium channels … [and] Stop paying for Netflix and Hulu.’” Continue reading Studios Take on Dragon Box in Latest Streaming Piracy Battle

How Social, Mobile Are Transforming Entertainment Marketing

“The perfect companion for mobile is social,” said Facebook head of industry, entertainment division Gwen Throckmorton during a CES 2018 panel. “Match that with entertainment, and the combination yields a variety of opportunities. What we see is that, through stories, people are looking to find meaning, connect and share.” A group of marketers, moderated by Deloitte Consulting managing director Rob Aitken, examined the parameters of social as a factor in marketing, and one panelist stressed it begins with mobile. Continue reading How Social, Mobile Are Transforming Entertainment Marketing

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