Amazon May Expand Media Efforts With Landmark Purchase

Amazon is reportedly among those vying to acquire Landmark Theatres, the country’s largest chain focused on indie and foreign movies. Landmark is part of the Wagner/Cuban entertainment holdings, backed by film producer Todd Wagner and billionaire investor Mark Cuban. According to insiders, Landmark’s owners have been working with financial services firm Stephens Inc. on a possible sale. The move would introduce Amazon to the brick-and-mortar cinema industry, while complementing the e-commerce giant’s media expansion of interests such as Prime Video, Prime Music and Amazon Studios. Continue reading Amazon May Expand Media Efforts With Landmark Purchase

Nvidia Quadro RTx Chips Offer AI and Real-Time Ray Tracing

Nvidia unveiled new Turing architecture during a keynote at SIGGRAPH 2018 as well as three new Quadro RTx workstation graphics cards aimed at professionals. Nvidia dubs the Turing architecture as its “greatest leap since the invention of the CUDA GPU in 2006.” The RTx chips are the first to use the company’s ray tracing rendering method, which results in more realistic imagery. Also at SIGGRAPH, Porsche showed off car designs accomplished with Epic Games’ Unreal engine and Nvidia’s RTx chips. Continue reading Nvidia Quadro RTx Chips Offer AI and Real-Time Ray Tracing

New Research Underlines the Ongoing Strength of P2P Piracy

Anti-piracy company Irdeto has revealed that P2P piracy is booming and still more popular than streaming in several countries. P2P traffic — mostly of the BitTorrent variety — continues to be a significant source of content for streaming portals hosting pirated content. Irdeto’s report comes at a time when Hollywood has focused its attention on streaming sites and services that distribute pirated content. Irdeto’s research examines web traffic to 962 piracy sites in 19 countries where P2P was the “dominant piracy tool.” Continue reading New Research Underlines the Ongoing Strength of P2P Piracy

AMPAS, Linux Foundation Team Up for Open Source Software

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The Linux Foundation announced this morning the launch of the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) to create an environment for developers to contribute to open source software for the motion picture and related media industries. Industry partners funding and participating in ASWF include Animal Logic, Autodesk, Blue Sky Studios, Cisco, DNEG, DreamWorks, Epic Games, Google Cloud, Intel, Walt Disney Studios, Weta Digital, with Foundry and SideFX. Continue reading AMPAS, Linux Foundation Team Up for Open Source Software

MoviePass Settles on Plan: Three Movies Per Month at $9.95

In the wake of service outages and other problems, MoviePass has cut back the number of films that its subscribers can see monthly, from one per day to three per month. The company had upped the monthly subscription fee from $9.95 to $14.95, but that only drove customers away, deepening its financial woes. The limit of three movies per month is in lieu of the price hike. MoviePass chief executive Mitch Lowe said the new policy will take effect August 15 and will reduce the company’s “cash burn rate” by more than 60 percent. Continue reading MoviePass Settles on Plan: Three Movies Per Month at $9.95

Department of Justice Revisits Paramount Consent Decrees

The U.S. Department of Justice stated it is now reviewing the so-called Paramount consent decrees, settlements struck between 1948 and 1952 that govern the way movie studios do business with movie theaters. The DoJ’s announcement was unexpected, and could have major implications for how Hollywood does business. Those 70-year old decrees broke up Hollywood studios’ monopoly over production, distribution and exhibition by making them sell their theater chains. The review is aimed at ending outdated antitrust judgments. Continue reading Department of Justice Revisits Paramount Consent Decrees

Sony Introduces its New Premium OLED and LED Televisions

Sony Electronics revealed its new premium TVs, the Bravia Master Series, with the goal of bringing a professional-level studio monitor into the home. The OLED A9F, which follows the first Bravia OLED set in 2017, and the A8F, launched earlier this year, feature an upgraded version of Sony’s Acoustic Surface, recreating a 3.2 audio set-up. Other new features are object-based HDR remastering and “super resolution.” Sony has also invested in large crystal LED (CLED) screens, “currently targeted at commercial users,” but not hard to imagine ultimately being scaled down for consumers. Continue reading Sony Introduces its New Premium OLED and LED Televisions

Vizio Adds WatchFree Service to SmartCast TVs via Pluto TV

On Wednesday, Vizio debuted WatchFree to its TV sets with its SmartCast operating system, adding more access to free, ad-supported TV programming. Pluto TV, an ad-supported streaming service, powers the service, which will offer 100 channels including NBC News/MSNBC, Fox Sports, MST3K and The Surf Channel, as well as movie channels. In the near future, “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” and “Unsolved Mysteries” will appear as pop-up channels. Vizio’s SmartCast operating system was first launched in 2016. Continue reading Vizio Adds WatchFree Service to SmartCast TVs via Pluto TV

MoviePass Has Service Interruption, Borrows $5M to Survive

MoviePass has experienced what its parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics is calling a “service interruption” after the company could not pay its bills. Chief executive Mitch Lowe apologized to its three million subscribers who could not see movies, and the company borrowed $5 million to stay afloat. Analysts and others have long doubted the company’s long-term viability, suggesting its $10 per month subscription fee cannot cover costs. The recent service outage has amplified those voices. Continue reading MoviePass Has Service Interruption, Borrows $5M to Survive

Moviegoers Can Now Buy AMC Theatre Tickets on Facebook

AMC Theatres now allows Facebook users to purchase movie tickets in the U.S. directly via the social media platform. “Facebook recently launched a new ticketing platform that allows users to search movies by location and showtime,” reports Variety. “Once a movie and showtime is selected, users have the option to choose the AMC ticketing platform, and are redirected to the AMC Theatres page to finish their transaction.” Facebook already has ticket agreements with online services Atom Tickets and Fandango, but this marks the platform’s first theater chain partnership. Continue reading Moviegoers Can Now Buy AMC Theatre Tickets on Facebook

Film/TV Restoration Costs Lead to Outsourcing, Say Experts

Thousands of film and TV titles from every decade require restoration, but the money isn’t there to fund much of it, and current restoration jobs are more likely to take place in China or Poland than Los Angeles. That was revealed at an event co-produced by SMPTE and the Visual Effects Society (VES) at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater. Restoration executives and practitioners from the major studios gathered to discuss the technological, artistic and business challenges of bringing classic film and TV titles back to life. Continue reading Film/TV Restoration Costs Lead to Outsourcing, Say Experts

Netflix Q2 Subscriber Dip Likely Just a Blip in Overall Picture

In Q2 2018, Netflix reported lower subscriber growth numbers than Wall Street predicted, causing its stock to fall 14 percent in after-hours trading. The company added 670,000 subscribers domestically and 4.47 million internationally, which significantly missed predictions of 1.23 million in the U.S. and 5.11 million international. The streaming content company also made predictions on its Q3 growth below the forecasts of analysts. Company executives said they did not know why subscriber growth was less than expected. Continue reading Netflix Q2 Subscriber Dip Likely Just a Blip in Overall Picture

IBM and MIT Media Lab Test AI Recommendation Algorithm

Tech companies rely on artificial intelligence algorithms to recommend content, thus keeping users on their apps and platforms. While the benefit of that is obvious for the companies using AI, how the consumer might reap rewards is less clear. Some of those same companies are now asking themselves if they can both use AI to keep the consumer’s attention while also adhering to an ethical framework. IBM Research and MIT Media Lab have developed a recommendation technique that its research scientists say does just that. Continue reading IBM and MIT Media Lab Test AI Recommendation Algorithm

Netflix ‘Smart Downloads’ Tool Makes Mobile Viewing Easier

Netflix’s new “Smart Downloads” tool helps mobile viewers manage their content storage by automatically deleting TV show episodes after they have been viewed and then replacing them with upcoming episodes in the queue. The company introduced offline viewing of certain movies and TV shows in 2016 based on subscriber demand. Now, Netflix estimates that about 60 percent of its global users access the streaming service on their mobile devices at least once a month. With the new feature, mobile users can minimize the amount of manual TV show downloads necessary for offline viewing. Continue reading Netflix ‘Smart Downloads’ Tool Makes Mobile Viewing Easier

New Accounting Rules Could Impact the Profits of TV Shows

In the new age of streaming (and often binge-watching) video content across multiple platforms, the distinction between movies and TV shows has become blurred. The Emerging Issues Task Force, a part of the non-profit Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), is recommending a change that would impact the profits of today’s TV shows. Calling the difference between such shows and movies as “no longer relevant” for gauging companies’ finances, the new accounting rules would let TV producers track costs the same way movie producers do. Continue reading New Accounting Rules Could Impact the Profits of TV Shows

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