Paramount to Experiment with Flexible Film Release Window

Paramount Pictures is looking to experiment with two October film releases — “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” and “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” — by shortening the length of time it takes to make them available to watch at home via digital platforms. AMC and Cineplex are joined by several smaller operators in participating in the new approach. However, Cinemark (the nation’s third largest exhibitor) and Regal Entertainment Group (the No. 1 chain in North America) have declined. Continue reading Paramount to Experiment with Flexible Film Release Window

Fox Offers Titles for WD’s Consumer 4K Ultra HD Movie Drive

A new 4K Ultra HD movie drive aimed at consumers is now on offer from WD, Western Digital’s storage company. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is partnering with WD by offering several movies and TV shows on the drive, dubbed My Passport Cinema. The drive plays back 4K/UHD, HD and HDR on Samsung SUHD TVs and a select range of other Vidity-enabled devices. Vidity is a 4K movie service backed by Warner, Universal, LG, SanDisk, Dolby, M-GO, Comcast and others in addition to Fox, WD and Samsung. Continue reading Fox Offers Titles for WD’s Consumer 4K Ultra HD Movie Drive

Greenlight VR Maps Today’s Virtual Reality Industry Ecosystem

Greenlight VR, a San Francisco-based business intelligence startup specializing in the virtual reality industry, has created a business map of significant VR players. The rising prospects for virtual reality as a mainstream medium has seen new demand for ways of better grasping the scope and nuances of the industry’s emerging and rapidly evolving landscape. The database profiles hundreds of VR businesses from around the world — from fledgling startups to the established companies entering this space — organized by 22 categories across 11 sectors. Continue reading Greenlight VR Maps Today’s Virtual Reality Industry Ecosystem

Watch TV on Any Device with AT&T’s First Nationwide Bundle

Less then two weeks following FCC approval of its $48.5 billion takeover of DirecTV, AT&T is already rolling out plans to lure new customers. In a first-of-its kind nationwide offer to be made available August 10, AT&T is packaging wireless phone service and television for $200 per month for the first year. The “All in One” promotional plan places an emphasis on TV anywhere, featuring HDTV and DVR services across four receivers through DirecTV or U-verse, four smartphone connections including unlimited talk and text, in addition to 10GB of shared data. Continue reading Watch TV on Any Device with AT&T’s First Nationwide Bundle

Comcast Commits to Theme Parks with Billions in Investment

Comcast has turned to its theme park portfolio, which it acquired four years ago with its purchase of NBCUniversal, as a serious source of revenue. The company just committed to invest $1.6 billion to expand the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in California — featuring a snow-capped Hogwarts Castle — and build a $3.25 billion theme park in Beijing, in partnership with Chinese companies, slated to open in 2019. Comcast invested $100 million for a new “Transformers” ride at Universal Orlando in 2013. Continue reading Comcast Commits to Theme Parks with Billions in Investment

MPAA’s MovieTube Suit Tries New Legal Tack to Block Pirates

Members of the Motion Picture Association of America have filed a lawsuit against MovieTube — “the search engine for free movies” — and third parties to force the disabling of sites providing access to pirated films including, recently, Disney’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which is still in movie theaters. MPAA attorneys are trying another legal maneuver to hold third party ISPs responsible. This comes three years after the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was not passed by lawmakers, dealing Hollywood studios a blow in their efforts to thwart content thieves. Continue reading MPAA’s MovieTube Suit Tries New Legal Tack to Block Pirates

JustWatch Goes Mobile with App to Track Movies, TV Shows

JustWatch launched in February as a free search engine to help cord cutters and others find where to legally watch their favorite TV shows and movies online. The app, which recently expanded to mobile and is available on iOS and Android, allows users to filter by streaming subscription services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video in addition to tracking rental and purchase options via services including Google Play, iTunes and Vudu. The app alerts users when new content arrives on their preferred service. Continue reading JustWatch Goes Mobile with App to Track Movies, TV Shows

With New Funding, AltspaceVR Plans More Virtual Gatherings

AltspaceVR, a virtual reality chat room and communication platform, just raised $10.3 million, which it will use to work towards a business plan that could include paid virtual gatherings with celebrities. Founded in 2013, Altspace launched its VR chat room in June. Its global user base spends time on the site chatting, browsing, playing games or watching videos; the software runs on Oculus, Mac and PC desktops and 3D TVs. Users can add a Leap Motion or Kinect motion sensor to add gestures to their robot avatars. Continue reading With New Funding, AltspaceVR Plans More Virtual Gatherings

Verizon to Offer HBO Now to Broadband, Mobile Video Subs

Verizon Communications has signed a multiplatform deal with HBO that will allow the telecom to offer HBO’s standalone streaming video service to more than 100 million wireless customers in addition to non-Verizon mobile device users. Verizon will offer HBO Now on its upcoming mobile video platform (reportedly to be called Go90) and to its DSL and FiOS broadband customers for $15 a month. Verizon is the latest distributor for HBO’s OTT offering, which initially launched in early April with Apple and Cablevision Systems. Continue reading Verizon to Offer HBO Now to Broadband, Mobile Video Subs

VR Storytelling: Oculus Story Studio Debuts Animated Short

Oculus Story Studio premiered “Henry,” its second virtual reality movie, at an event in Beverly Hills yesterday. The San Francisco-based company is attempting to define the parameters of VR content by making short movies. The studio’s first movie, “Lost,” which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, focused on immersing the viewer in an environment. “Henry,” however, focuses on creating a character — a hedgehog with a problem — and figuring out how to use that character’s presence in virtual reality. Continue reading VR Storytelling: Oculus Story Studio Debuts Animated Short

IPO Plan Details Benefits of ACR Software in Vizio Smart TVs

Vizio has sold more than 15 million smart TVs as part of its $3 billion per year business and is now ready to go public. Its recent IPO filing reveals how its smart TVs are tracking what consumers are watching. Inscape software embedded in Vizio screens can track anything being played — including cable TV, streaming devices and game systems. The technology, based on Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) software, can pull 100 billion datapoints from its connected TVs daily. The data should prove valuable to advertisers and content providers. Continue reading IPO Plan Details Benefits of ACR Software in Vizio Smart TVs

Twitter Will Remove Plagiarized Tweets on Copyright Grounds

Twitter is cracking down on plagiarized tweets, since tweets are considered the intellectual property of the original tweeter. Users can request to have copied tweets removed on copyright grounds. Twitter has deleted several copies of a stolen joke originally penned by freelance writer Olga Lexell after she reported the infringement. Although most social media-related copyright claims involve embedded media or links rather than text, anyone can submit a claim through Twitter, and the company will remove the tweet if the request is valid. Continue reading Twitter Will Remove Plagiarized Tweets on Copyright Grounds

YouTube Offers Incentives to Compete for Top Video Creators

At VidCon, YouTube chief executive Susan Wojcicki reached out to the video creator community with an array of enticements. That’s because, although YouTube may be the biggest player in user-generated content — including the properties that reach stratospheric views — the Google-owned company now has plenty of competition. Facebook, Periscope and Vine are just some of the platforms wooing video creators who have created successful properties, and YouTube unveiled efforts to keep these creators on its site. Continue reading YouTube Offers Incentives to Compete for Top Video Creators

AP, Movietone Launch Massive Video Collection on YouTube

The Associated Press and British Movietone are bringing more than one million minutes of digital film footage to YouTube to create a visual encyclopedia that provides viewers with a unique account of modern history. This will be the largest upload of historical content to a video platform ever recorded, and the YouTube channel will include more than 550,000 videos featuring content ranging from 1895 to present day. In addition to the archived content, the channel will be updated regularly with contemporary footage. Continue reading AP, Movietone Launch Massive Video Collection on YouTube

Security Among Topics Slated for ETC’s Project Cloud Meeting

A team of leading security experts from the Hollywood studios and the Cloud Security Alliance, working with the Entertainment Technology Center’s Project Cloud, helped shape the methodology for security guidelines related to cloud-distributed media content. Recommendations were handed off to CSA and the MPAA in September 2014 — and on March 17 of this year, the MPAA released “Content Security Best Practices” to the public. This is a fundamental milestone in moving studios toward the cloud. Security will be one of several topics discussed at the next Project Cloud meeting on July 27 at the Google offices in Venice. Continue reading Security Among Topics Slated for ETC’s Project Cloud Meeting

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