Netflix Focuses on Worldwide Content as Model for Growth

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings has publicly declared that streaming services from Apple and Disney are certain to feature some “great shows.” But he also stressed that he expects his company will do its “best job” facing such stiff competition. At the company’s Labs Day event, the media had a chance to “peek behind the scenes” to get an idea of what Netflix has in store for the future. As a hint, Netflix chief product officer Greg Peters noted that only 5 percent of the global population are native English speakers. Continue reading Netflix Focuses on Worldwide Content as Model for Growth

Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

Oculus unveiled a new version of its Rift VR headset at GDC 2019 yesterday. The $399 Rift S, available this spring, will feature a new design, higher resolution display (up to 1280×1440 per eye), two updated Oculus Touch controllers, and embedded sensors for tracking (rather than cameras). The current $349 Rift relies on an array of external webcams to sense the environment. The new Rift S will require a PC in order to power its high-res graphics, while the wireless Oculus Quest, also available this spring for $399 will not need additional power. Continue reading Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

Netflix VP Says Viewers Can Expect More Interactive Series

Following the global success of its choose-your-own-adventure style “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” Netflix plans to produce more such interactive content. During his keynote at the FICCI-Frames conference in Mumbai, VP of content Todd Yellin explained that new interactive approaches could include, for example, a romantic comedy in which viewers determine whether characters get together. Yellin told the crowd that “Bandersnatch” is “a huge hit” in India and “around the world, and we realized, wow, interactive storytelling is something we want to bet more on.” Continue reading Netflix VP Says Viewers Can Expect More Interactive Series

Steven Spielberg Criticizes Oscar Noms for Streaming Films

As the Academy Governor representing directors, filmmaker Steven Spielberg is intent on changing the rules so that movies made by streaming content creators won’t be eligible for Oscars but would only be considered for Emmys, along with other TV fare. Spielberg — and the studios — were motivated most recently by how close Netflix-produced “Roma” came to winning Best Picture. As it was, “Roma” director Alfonso Cuarón won Academy Awards for best director and best cinematographer. One complaint is the lopsided spending for Oscar competition. Continue reading Steven Spielberg Criticizes Oscar Noms for Streaming Films

5G Networks Will Impact the Media & Entertainment Industry

Download a movie in six seconds. Watch more immersive sports broadcasts. Enjoy sophisticated game play with only a few milliseconds of latency. Smart movie theater, smart home, smart car, smart personal devices … all will be connected by the new 5G networks, claim the experts. Qualcomm’s chief legal officer Donald Rosenberg told the World Economic Forum that, “we’re on the verge of a new age of interconnectedness, when the daily lives of people across the planet will be more closely intertwined than ever.” Continue reading 5G Networks Will Impact the Media & Entertainment Industry

Department of Justice Revisits 1941 Music-Licensing Rules

The Department of Justice will soon ask for public input on the status of two legal agreements that have been the foundation of music licensing since 1941, said sources. Advocates of overhauling the rules said that artists are harmed, earning less in the digital age. Those who believe the regulations should stay in place counter that the rules have created a stable marketplace. The review of these music licensing rules comes as the DOJ revisits consent decrees written decades ago for several different industries. Continue reading Department of Justice Revisits 1941 Music-Licensing Rules

Study Indicates Streaming Services Losing Revenue to Piracy

A study by CordCutting.com suggests that up to 20 percent of consumers are using another person’s account information to stream video from Netflix, Hulu or Amazon. “Netflix tends to be pirated for the longest period — 26 months, compared with 16 months for Amazon Prime Video or 11 months for Hulu,” reports TechCrunch. “That could be because Netflix freeloaders often mooch off their family instead of a friend — 48 percent use their parents’ login, while another 14 percent use their sister or brother’s credentials.” The reports estimates monthly revenue losses at $192 million for Netflix, $45 million for Amazon, and $40 million for Hulu. Continue reading Study Indicates Streaming Services Losing Revenue to Piracy

Rotten Tomatoes Adjusts Its Review Model to Combat Trolls

To better combat online trolls who have recently been waging campaigns to affect audience ratings for certain movies, Fandango-owned Rotten Tomatoes is making a significant change to its review submission model. Since the influential website relies upon credible ratings, “review bombing” that adversely impacts audience ratings is seen as a major issue. In order to minimize such a potential flood of negative reviews, users will no longer be permitted to post any audience reviews until the film in question appears in theaters. Continue reading Rotten Tomatoes Adjusts Its Review Model to Combat Trolls

Odeon Cinema and Telia Test 5G-Connected Movie Theater

Odeon Cinema Center in Oslo and Norwegian mobile firm Telia teamed to operate the first 5G-connected movie theater, presenting films streamed over the next-gen network. The plan was announced in December, with the introduction of a 5G “test network.” The two companies are still in test mode with the launch of the 5G-enabled Odeon, to demonstrate how 5G will replace 4G and at least some wired broadband services. The Odeon is in fact using 5G to transfer the films to its own server, and said the system “works excellently.” Continue reading Odeon Cinema and Telia Test 5G-Connected Movie Theater

Amazon Aims for Quality Not Quantity With 30 Films Per Year

Amazon hasn’t had a good year in the film business since 2017 when it moved away from its Hollywood distribution partners into self-distribution. Since then, the company released six flops in a row, including director Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel,” which cost $25 million and only earned $14 million in North America, and “Beautiful Boy,” which cost $23 million and made a mere $7.6 million. Amazon Studios head Jennifer Salke surmised that the company put “too much focus on a narrow prestige lane.” Continue reading Amazon Aims for Quality Not Quantity With 30 Films Per Year

Diller and Spielberg on the Growing Dominance of Streaming

On Kara Swisher’s podcast Recode Decode, Barry Diller declared that Hollywood is “now irrelevant,” adding that those executives who used to hold a lot of power now have much less and that the six movie companies that once dominated everything no longer do. “For the first time, they ain’t buying anything,” he said. “Meaning they’re not buying Netflix. They are not buying Amazon.” Meanwhile, at the Cinema Audio Society Awards, Steven Spielberg declared his affinity for the movie theater experience. Continue reading Diller and Spielberg on the Growing Dominance of Streaming

HPA Tech Retreat: CDSA Promotes Trusted Partner Network

The Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA), in collaboration with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), are responding to next-gen threats with the Trusted Partner Network (TPN), “a voluntary process by which vendors can assess the security preparedness of their facilities, staffs and workflows against industry best practices.” CDSA executive director Guy Finley, who is also MESA president, and CDSA chairman of the board Ben Stanbury, Amazon’s chief security officer, described TPN at the HPA Tech Retreat. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: CDSA Promotes Trusted Partner Network

Apple Readies TV Service With CBS, Starz, Viacom Content

Apple is reportedly aiming for a March or April event to announce its new streaming TV service that is expected to include original content plus subscription services from CBS, Viacom and Starz among others. Apple has been hinting at such a service for quite a while, has spent about $2 billion on original programming, and has signed major players such as Oprah Winfrey. Apple’s service is expected to take on competitors Netflix and Amazon Prime Video by launching globally, possibly distributed via the App Store since it is already available in more than 100 countries. Continue reading Apple Readies TV Service With CBS, Starz, Viacom Content

DP Curtis Clark Awarded Academy Sci-Tech’s Bonner Medal

Cinematographer Curtis Clark, ASC was presented with the John A. Bonner Award at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science’s annual Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony on February 9. The award, which began in 1977 and is not awarded every year, acknowledges Clark’s “dedicated work in helping to shape the future of motion-picture technology and educate the industry at large.” Sixteen years ago, Curtis founded the ASC Motion Imaging Technology Council (MITC), which he continues to lead. Continue reading DP Curtis Clark Awarded Academy Sci-Tech’s Bonner Medal

EPIX Offers Original Content, Movies via Streaming Service

MGM’s premium TV net EPIX has launched a new subscription streaming service that features original programming and films from MGM, Paramount and Lionsgate. The EPIX NOW app “is available for download today in the App store for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, and in Google Play for Android phones and tablets,” reports Deadline. “It will also be coming soon to Roku devices and Amazon Fire TV.” The $5.99 per month service, which also includes the four EPIX linear live channels, will be available across additional devices later this year. Continue reading EPIX Offers Original Content, Movies via Streaming Service

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