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

FCC Votes 3-2 to Roll Back 2015 Net Neutrality Regulations

As anticipated, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 along party lines yesterday to repeal the Obama administration’s net neutrality rules, which were originally introduced to help protect an open Internet. FCC chair Ajit Pai and two other Republicans backed the change. Net neutrality rules were created as a means of regulating how broadband providers treat Internet traffic in an effort to avoid slowing content delivery or providing fast lanes for specific services. Dismantling the rules is seen as a win for cable and wireless providers and will likely result in lawsuits. Continue reading FCC Votes 3-2 to Roll Back 2015 Net Neutrality Regulations

Netflix Users Are Watching a Billion Hours of Video Per Week

While facing increased competition from Amazon Prime, HBO Go, Hulu and others, Netflix revealed that its users collectively watched about one billion hours of content per week in 2017 (that’s more than 140 million hours per day). Despite being an impressive number, the average user may actually be watching less over time. Based on 109 million global subscribers, the math points to about 480 hours per account. According to TechCrunch, “at the end of 2015, Netflix announced that the 74.7 million users it had at the time had watched 42.5 billion hours of content that year. That suggests about 570 hours per year per account.” Continue reading Netflix Users Are Watching a Billion Hours of Video Per Week

TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Despite the increasing number of digital streaming services currently available, including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix, about 85 percent of U.S. households continue to subscribe to traditional cable television. However, The Diffusion Group suggests the tide is turning; the market analyst predicts that by 2030 as many as 40 percent of Americans will have cut the cord. TDG Research also expects the percentage of households subscribing to pay TV will drop to 60 percent during the same period. TDG suggests that by 2030, about 30 million households will be “without an MVPD service of any kind.” Continue reading TDG: 40 Percent of U.S. Households Will Cut the Cord by 2030

Unity, Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp Partner on Creative Project

Game engine Unity and filmmaker Neill Blomkamp (“Elysium,” “District 9”) have partnered to create a more fleshed out version of “Adam,” a short proof-of-concept film that Unity released to show off its Cinemachine movie creation tools. At the same time, Unity debuted a new version of Cinemachine, software that allows users to direct their own CG films. Blomkamp is an ideal partner, having just launched his own studio, Oats, and released three videos (“Rakka,” “Firebase,” “Zygote”) and other shorter projects. Continue reading Unity, Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp Partner on Creative Project

Comcast, Charter Reportedly In Talks to Ink Deals With Hulu

Comcast and Charter Communications are reportedly in talks with Hulu to offer its on-demand content via their set-top boxes. Currently, Comcast offers Dish Network’s Sling TV, Netflix and YouTube with its X1 service, which offers voice-activated search for movies and TV shows. Comcast’s goal is to become a “one-stop shop” for digital video services, says company executive vice president Matt Strauss. Sources say that Charter is also on track to add Netflix via a new user interface for web video. Continue reading Comcast, Charter Reportedly In Talks to Ink Deals With Hulu

Samsung Begins Installation of ‘Cinema LED’ Movie Screens

After introducing its Samsung Cinema LED during CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Samsung announced that it is debuting the movie theater screen in Europe, with plans for more global markets including the U.S. in 2018. The Samsung Cinema LED screen’s first commercial installation was in South Korea in July, with another in Bangkok, Thailand a few months later. The first European installation will be at Arena Cinemas in Zurich, Switzerland. The screen displays 33.6 x 17.8 feet and supports 4K resolution and high-dynamic range images. Continue reading Samsung Begins Installation of ‘Cinema LED’ Movie Screens

Intel, Warner Bros. Unveil AV Entertainment Experience Plans

During this week’s LA Auto Show, Intel and Warner Bros. announced a partnership to develop in-cabin, immersive experiences for autonomous vehicles. The companies are creating the AV Entertainment Experience, which Intel chief Brian Krzanich describes as “a first-of-its-kind proof-of-concept car to demonstrate what entertainment in the vehicle could look like in the future.” Since Americans spend an average of 300 hours per year driving, there is a wealth of possibilities for using that time differently when automobiles become self-driving. The collaboration is looking beyond movies and TV programming to more immersive experiences. Continue reading Intel, Warner Bros. Unveil AV Entertainment Experience Plans

Snapchat Intros Wide-Reach Promoted Stories for Advertisers

On Black Friday, Snapchat introduced Promoted Stories, a new advertising format that allows marketers to get their messages to more users. The company’s existing Story feature is a stitched-together collection of photos and videos that disappears 24 hours after it is shared. Any Snapchat user (including a business or brand) can create a Story, but it will only be visible to that user’s followers. Promoted Stories, however, which will appear on the Stories page in the Snapchat app, will be pushed out around the country. Continue reading Snapchat Intros Wide-Reach Promoted Stories for Advertisers

Google Fends Off Facebook Threat with Local Search Feature

Although Google+ might be considered a failed experiment in creating a social network, it still came in No. 1 in the 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index, meaning some people still find it useful. Most brands have moved from Google+ to other social media platforms with bigger audiences, but Google didn’t give up, introducing Google My Business in 2014. The service, which allows businesses to manage how information about them appears in a search, is poised to go big with Google Posts. It could also help fend off Facebook as a competitor in search and advertising revenue. Continue reading Google Fends Off Facebook Threat with Local Search Feature

HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Against the backdrop of eroding live TV viewership and the expansion of video games and Web video, acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic,” “The Knick”) has directed “Mosaic,” an interactive series with branching narratives. Co-developed by Soderbergh and former Universal Pictures head Casey Silver with screenwriter Ed Solomon, “Mosaic” is a multi-episodic mystery that allows audiences to choose the story threads they experience. The series is now available for free download from Android and Apple stores and for viewing with Apple TV. Continue reading HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Paramount Pictures to Launch Virtual Reality ‘Movie Theater’

Paramount Pictures, in partnership with Bigscreen and in collaboration with Oculus, Samsung, HTC and Microsoft, is launching its first VR movie theater. On December 3, anyone with any brand of VR headset can sign onto Bigscreen’s website and watch “Top Gun 3D” for free. The viewer walks into a virtual movie theater with theater seating, and watches trailers prior to the main film. Viewers are seated in a virtual audience and can chat before the movie, which is shown in 30-minute increments over the following 24 hours. Continue reading Paramount Pictures to Launch Virtual Reality ‘Movie Theater’

Hollywood Producer Plans Initial Coin Offering to Fund Films

Producer Christopher Woodrow (“Birdman,” “Black Mass,” “Hacksaw Ridge”) is about to launch MovieCoin, his own blockchain token, based on his certainty that the cryptocurrency will revolutionize filmmaking. Monies raised in the initial coin offering (ICO) in Q1 2018 will be used to produce a slate of films. Investors, says Woodrow, will benefit because the tokens, which can be traded, will appreciate as the film succeeds. He is currently developing projects that will include top movie stars, directors and producers. Continue reading Hollywood Producer Plans Initial Coin Offering to Fund Films

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’

Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

Amazon has decided to cancel its plans to create an online streaming service that would have bundled broadcast and cable TV networks. The decision was reportedly based on the challenges involving how to generate a profit from the proposed service. The e-commerce giant has also experienced difficulties drawing interest from networks for its Amazon Channels a la carte TV platform. The company has been looking to leverage more television content, especially to attract younger cord cutters who are increasingly viewing media on mobile devices. Continue reading Amazon Cancels Plans to Launch a Skinny Bundle TV Service

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