David Cross Partners with BitTorrent for Distribution of “HITS”

Starting this Friday, viewers will be able to name their price to see “HITS,” the latest feature film from actor/director David Cross. Rather than pursue a traditional distribution deal, Cross and his producing team opted to partner with BitTorrent. They felt that the indie film deserved to be showcased differently than a push into select cities with a VOD release to follow. According to Cross, the flexible pay option, which will run for two weeks, is an approach he hopes will help eliminate piracy of the film. Continue reading David Cross Partners with BitTorrent for Distribution of “HITS”

Nearly 90 Percent of World’s Cinema Screens are Now Digital

London-based IHS Cinema Intelligence reports that 89.8 percent of theatrical movie screens worldwide have completed the conversion to digital cinema. The global digital cinema footprint reached 127,688 screens in 2014, a 14.7 percent increase over the previous year. The largest increase was seen in the Asia Pacific region, followed by South and Central America. Additionally, digital penetration climbed to 96 percent in Western Europe, matching that of North America for the first time. Continue reading Nearly 90 Percent of World’s Cinema Screens are Now Digital

JustWatch Is a Search Engine That Scans Streaming Services

JustWatch is a new service that allows cord cutters to search many streaming services simultaneously to find their desired video content. This streaming aggregator is unique because it is aimed at an international audience, instead of just a U.S. audience. JustWatch also provides updates on new content added to streaming services. The service debuted in the U.S., and will soon be available in Germany and Brazil. Eventually, the company wants to help movie studios target cord cutters using an integrated adtech system. Continue reading JustWatch Is a Search Engine That Scans Streaming Services

Kodak Will Continue Supplying Film Stock to Hollywood Studios

Kodak announced yesterday that it has secured new supply agreements with the six major Hollywood studios to continue providing motion picture film. Following discussions with production companies, the studios, and film processors — in addition to the lobbying efforts of prominent filmmakers including Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino — Kodak will now continue to supply film stock to 20th Century Fox, Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros. Entertainment. Continue reading Kodak Will Continue Supplying Film Stock to Hollywood Studios

Parks Research Predicts Early Adopters of HBO Online Service

HBO is expected to offer its Web-only subscription service this spring. According to Parks Associates, the move could have an impact on the pay TV business since 17 percent of homes with high-speed Internet indicate plans to subscribe to the OTT service. And while 88 million U.S. households currently have broadband, that percentage potentially represents nearly 15 million subscribers. Following a strong media reaction, Parks followed up by clarifying that the data is a measure of sentiment and placing numbers on potential cord cutters may be premature. Continue reading Parks Research Predicts Early Adopters of HBO Online Service

The Pirate Bay Returns After Being Shut Down by Authorities

Popular file-sharing site The Pirate Bay is back online following a two-month outage after police in Stockholm raided a data center and seized servers. Responding to complaints from Swedish anti-piracy group Rights Alliance, authorities shut down numerous peer-to-peer and torrent-related services on December 9. Later that month, The Pirate Bay page returned, went through several iterations, and eventually replaced its pirate ship with a phoenix logo. A countdown clock indicated a February 1 return, and the site now appears to be live. Continue reading The Pirate Bay Returns After Being Shut Down by Authorities

2015 HPA Tech Retreat Unveils Expanded Session Schedule

The Hollywood Post Alliance has announced the final schedule for the 2015 HPA Tech Retreat, February 9-13 in Indian Wells, California. The Tech Retreat is a gathering where engineering, tech and strategic business leaders join top creative talent to explore and debate the most compelling topics facing the media and entertainment industry today. This year’s event will feature more than 45 sessions, 75 breakfast roundtables, 100 speakers and 30 new product demos. Pre-conference registration closes Monday, February 2. Continue reading 2015 HPA Tech Retreat Unveils Expanded Session Schedule

Oculus Launches Movie Studio to Make Content for its Headset

Oculus VR is expanding its focus from video games to virtual reality films. The Facebook-owned Oculus has created a new in-house movie studio called Story Studio to create films and find the best practices for VR storytelling. The new content created by Story Studio intends to help attract more users to the Oculus Rift headset, while also encouraging other filmmakers to make similar VR films. Story Studio’s first work is a short film called “Lost,” which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Continue reading Oculus Launches Movie Studio to Make Content for its Headset

Netflix Plans to Add Original Series, Expand to 200 Countries

Following news of record quarterly earnings, Netflix told Wall Street investors that it plans to expand its video service to 200 countries in the next two years. Netflix added 2.43 million international subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2014 after expanding to 50 countries and its stock jumped more than 20 percent. As part of its ambitious expansion plans, Netflix also wants to start producing 20 original scripted series per year, which could help the company become more successful in international markets. Continue reading Netflix Plans to Add Original Series, Expand to 200 Countries

Walmart Launches its New Vudu Spark Streaming Media Stick

Walmart has begun selling its own HDMI streaming media stick — the Vudu Spark — for $24.95 at Walmart.com and select Walmart stores. The Wi-Fi device features a dedicated remote, is powered via USB, and supports 7.1 surround sound and video up to 1080p. It looks like the Spark is largely a single-purpose stick, loaded only with the Vudu app (Walmart’s streaming video service), but the stick is priced $10 less than Google’s Chromecast and currently includes $25 in Vudu credits over five months for customers who activate it. Continue reading Walmart Launches its New Vudu Spark Streaming Media Stick

Vimeo Announces Launch of its New VOD Publisher Network

Streaming video platform Vimeo announced during the Sundance Film Festival yesterday that it has launched a new publisher network for content creators to reach their audiences directly. The Vimeo On Demand Publisher Network will provide partners with the ability to rent or sell premium, ad-free content from the Vimeo library via a transactional video player. While Vimeo already allows publishers to embed content on other sites, partners can now sell videos directly on their sites within articles or from VOD storefronts. Continue reading Vimeo Announces Launch of its New VOD Publisher Network

Following its Record Quarter, Netflix Eyes Global Expansion

Yesterday’s fourth-quarter earnings report indicates that Netflix added 13 million subscribers in 2014, including 4.3 million during the final three months (marking the company’s strongest quarter of subscriber gains to date). Netflix earnings also grew to a quarterly high of $83.4 million. “Internet TV is growing globally and Netflix is leading the charge,” claims CEO Reed Hastings. Netflix continues to invest heavily in original content and expand internationally as part of its effort to fend off growing competition from Amazon, HBO and YouTube. Continue reading Following its Record Quarter, Netflix Eyes Global Expansion

Overstock.com to Launch Streaming Video Service This Year

It looks like Overstock.com is the latest to throw its hat into the streaming video ring. The Salt Lake City-based company is planning to introduce a streaming video service later this year that will compete in a crowded field that includes its e-commerce rival Amazon. During the National Association of Television Program Executives conference, Overstock Chief Exec Patrick Byrne said the online retailer would launch with about 30,000 movies and TV shows available for rent or purchase and eventually offer original programming. Continue reading Overstock.com to Launch Streaming Video Service This Year

Fandometrics: Tumblr Launches Hub for All Things Pop Culture

Yahoo-owned blogging platform Tumblr launched a new pop culture hub yesterday that highlights top conversations from its community related to categories such as celebrities, TV shows, movies, music and video games. Since Tumblr blends online publishing tools with social features, the platform has grown popular for those who like to follow blogs and share posts. It has also become popular with fan communities, which makes the Fandometrics hub a natural fit for Tumblr — and a potential new marketing opportunity for brands. Continue reading Fandometrics: Tumblr Launches Hub for All Things Pop Culture

Amazon Studios Looks Beyond Original Series to the Big Screen

Amazon announced yesterday that it plans to expand its original programming efforts by producing and acquiring movies for theatrical release and distribution via Prime Instant Video. In a significant departure from the traditional windowing system, the films are expected to be available for streaming in the U.S. 4-8 weeks following their theatrical debuts (movies normally have to wait 39-52 weeks before streaming). The move is part of Amazon’s plan to grow its entertainment arsenal while competing with Netflix. Continue reading Amazon Studios Looks Beyond Original Series to the Big Screen

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