VRX 2018: Bridging Entertainment, Enterprise and Technology

The annual VRX Conference & Expo is slated for December 6-7 in San Francisco. The ETC’s Phil Lelyveld will be moderating a panel on the second day, focused on immersive storytelling with panelists including Ted Schilowitz of Paramount, Paul Raphael of Felix & Paul Studios, Bruna Berford of Penrose Studios and Ryan Pulliam of Specular Theory. VRX organizers are gathering a stellar lineup of top companies, execs and investors across entertainment and tech to cut through the hype and get to the heart of what’s really happening in XR. For those interested in attending, enter code ETC15 at registration for a 15 percent discount. Continue reading VRX 2018: Bridging Entertainment, Enterprise and Technology

Movies Anywhere Ends First Year With Six Million Downloads

Launched one year ago, Movies Anywhere, a Disney-owned app and service for movies in partnership with 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., has six million users who have purchased more than 150 million movies. The most watched movie was Disney-Pixar’s “Coco.” Among the six million downloaded apps, Movies Anywhere has 5.8 million user accounts, which have watched 16 million hours in the first year. Although those numbers are miniscule compared to Netflix, they also show robust growth. Continue reading Movies Anywhere Ends First Year With Six Million Downloads

Netflix Plans to Experiment With Lower Price in Asian Markets

Netflix revealed its plan to test a lower-priced tier of its subscription streaming service in certain areas as part of a strategy to boost sales, especially in emerging markets such as Asia. While the company has not committed to specific regions or a time frame, CEO Reed Hastings explained that Netflix is looking to experiment. The move would represent a shift for the company, which has consistently maintained or raised its prices while spending more on new content and local productions to attract new customers. Netflix is not expected to reduce the cost of its lowest tier, but rather introduce an alternate fourth tier with different features. Continue reading Netflix Plans to Experiment With Lower Price in Asian Markets

Disney Readies Launch of New Subscription Streaming Service

The Walt Disney Company reported a record profit of $12.6 billion for its fiscal year, due to its hit movies, increased attendance at theme parks and a stabilized ESPN. Now the company is getting ready to introduce a new subscription streaming service that is similar to Netflix. While the rewards of the direct-to-consumer offering are potentially significant, launching such a service will entail expenses in content, technology and marketing. Disney chief executive Bob Iger recently revealed the new service’s name: Disney+. Continue reading Disney Readies Launch of New Subscription Streaming Service

VRX 2018: Bridging Entertainment, Enterprise and Technology

The annual VRX Conference & Expo is slated for December 6-7 in San Francisco. The ETC’s Phil Lelyveld will be moderating a panel on the second day, focused on immersive storytelling with panelists including Ted Schilowitz of Paramount, Paul Raphael of Felix & Paul Studios, Bruna Berford of Penrose Studios and Ryan Pulliam of Specular Theory. VRX organizers are gathering a stellar lineup of top companies, execs and investors across entertainment and tech to cut through the hype and get to the heart of what’s really happening in XR. For those interested in attending, enter code ETC15 at registration for a 15 percent discount. Continue reading VRX 2018: Bridging Entertainment, Enterprise and Technology

Roku Channel Adds Entertainment and Sports to Free Lineup

Roku is adding more sports and entertainment content to its ad-supported free streaming channel that already offers free-to-stream movies and news. The Roku Channel introduced live news earlier this year from ABC News, Cheddar, Newsmax, Newsy, People TV, The Young Turks and Yahoo. New entertainment content will now come from partners including AFV, FailArmy, People Are Awesome, The Pet Collective and TMZ, while live sports will be available from Adventure Sports Network, Combat GO, EDGEsport, Stadium, WHAM Network and others. Continue reading Roku Channel Adds Entertainment and Sports to Free Lineup

Netflix Unveils Ambitious Slate of Animated Features, Series

Netflix released its four-year plan to produce a variety of animated series and feature films. The company usually withholds information about upcoming projects until just prior to release, but animation typically involves a long lead-time. As a result, Netflix is publicizing its family-oriented programming in advance, similar to Disney, Pixar and DreamWorks. Netflix also revealed that 60 percent of its users watch family-friendly fare every month and that the new content is intended to appeal to “the tastes of every member of the family.” Continue reading Netflix Unveils Ambitious Slate of Animated Features, Series

SVOD Apps and Virtual MVPDs Continue to Gain Momentum

Leading subscription video apps such as Netflix and Hulu generated a total of $781 million last year as streaming video continues its rise. According to app intelligence firm Sensor Tower, U.S. consumers spent about $329 million during Q3 2018 on the top 10 SVOD apps available via Google Play and Apple’s App Store. That figure represents a 15 percent jump over Q1. While Netflix and Hulu continue their growth, live-streaming TV services are also gaining traction. Online video analytics firm Conviva reports that virtual MVPDs including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu with Live TV have experienced a 212 percent increase in viewing hours over the past year in the U.S. Continue reading SVOD Apps and Virtual MVPDs Continue to Gain Momentum

20th Century Fox, Google Use AI to Analyze Movie Trailers

Researchers at 20th Century Fox published a paper to reveal how they are using artificial intelligence to analyze movie trailers. Published last month, the paper described Merlin, the code name for machine vision systems examining trailers frame by frame and labeling the objects and events. Then this data is compared to data from other trailers, with the idea that trailers with similar labels will attract similar kinds of people. Movie studios already cull similar data via interviews and questionnaires. Continue reading 20th Century Fox, Google Use AI to Analyze Movie Trailers

5G Could Enable Interactive Video But Raise Privacy Issues

People typically associate 5G with ultra-fast high-bandwidth Internet connections, but few realize it will also impact how we watch video and could lead to a range of privacy concerns. With 5G, truly interactive television programming can become a reality, with minimal latency enabling content to respond quickly to the viewer’s emotional and physical responses. According to interactive video company Wirewax co-founder Dan Garraway, the video becomes “a two-way conversation.” In other words, while we watch 5G content, it watches back. Continue reading 5G Could Enable Interactive Video But Raise Privacy Issues

Helios and Matheson Analytics Plans to Spin Off MoviePass

Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY), parent company of MoviePass, wants to spin off the struggling movie theater subscription service as the publicly traded MoviePass Entertainment Holdings. The board has approved preliminary plans for the spin-off, which would also include other HMNY-owned film-related assets. But the company does not yet know if it is legal under Delaware law. Investors are also suing the company, which is under investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office. Continue reading Helios and Matheson Analytics Plans to Spin Off MoviePass

PlayStation Vue Content Now Available via the Apple TV App

Sony announced that PlayStation Vue’s on-demand programming and live sports are now accessible via the Apple TV App on iOS and tvOS. PlayStation Vue becomes the first U.S. pay TV provider added to the TV App, which already includes content from major cable channels and top streaming services (although not Netflix). While viewers will be forwarded to the PlayStation Vue service rather than streaming content directly in Apple’s TV App once content has been selected, the integration should make the process of finding available movies and TV shows easier. Continue reading PlayStation Vue Content Now Available via the Apple TV App

Movie Studios Creating 3D Digital Scans to Preserve Actors

Next year, an Amy Winehouse hologram will be on tour to collect money for an eponymous charity. She’s the latest in a trend of deceased actors, from Carrie Fisher in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” to Paul Walker in the “Fast & Furious” franchise, appearing as virtual 3D replicas. Now, some actors and studios are getting a jump on post-life value by creating 3D digital scans. Industrial Light & Magic just scanned Ingvild Deila, who was Princess Leia in “Rogue One.” She calls it “a safe bet for the people with the money.” Continue reading Movie Studios Creating 3D Digital Scans to Preserve Actors

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

Hulu Floats Idea of Skinny Bundle Minus Linear TV Networks

According to Hulu chief executive Randy Freer, the company is considering a skinnier bundle aimed at pay-TV cord shavers watching their wallets. The bundle would not include linear TV networks, which have pricey carriage fees, but would continue to offer sports, news and on-demand content licensed from cable networks. Hulu is in talks with programmers about the possibility of such a bundle. Few additional details are available, but that the price would be less than the current $40 per month plan. Continue reading Hulu Floats Idea of Skinny Bundle Minus Linear TV Networks

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