IMAX 3.0 Underway with Acquisition of Streaming Tech Firm

IMAX Corp. has acquired SSIMWAVE, a leader in AI-driven video streaming solutions for $21 million in a mostly cash deal. Ontario-based SSIMWAVE lists Disney, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery among those currently using its technology, which lets streaming and broadcast providers deliver what IMAX says is “the best possible image” to any device for on-demand and live video. The move marks a significant expansion of IMAX’s strategy to deliver its own super-sized content at the highest quality to a variety of screens, including phones. As a service, SSIMWAVE fits IMAX’s financial strategy to generate new, recurring revenue. Continue reading IMAX 3.0 Underway with Acquisition of Streaming Tech Firm

Disney+ Shares the ‘Future of Storytelling’ with New AR Short

Disney+ has unveiled a new app for viewing augmented reality, inviting subscribers to test drive “the future of storytelling, in your own living room” with the new short “Remembering: The AR Experience.” Created by an award-winning duo (“Captain Marvel” star Brie Larson, who also produces, and writer/director Elijah Allan-Blitz), the 8-minute film is meant to be viewed “through” an iOS tablet or iPhone that you hold up to your TV screen, allowing its camera to activate a QR code that triggers the AR, bringing fanciful objects (trees, rainbows, shooting stars and clouds) to your IRL surroundings. Continue reading Disney+ Shares the ‘Future of Storytelling’ with New AR Short

Peacock Offers Shows for Next-Day Streaming at New Price

Peacock is having a sale for new customers in September. As part of “a special Fall celebratory offer,” the rate for a Premium plan will be reduced from $4.99 a month to “just $1.99 a month,” or $19.99 for the year. Premium subscribers see up to 5 minutes of ads per hour and can stream news and first-run entertainment content next-day. Peacock also offers an ad-free Premium Plus plan for $9.99 per month and a free Basic plan that has ads but no next-day streaming. September will also be the month Peacock adds current NBC and Bravo shows for next-day streaming. Continue reading Peacock Offers Shows for Next-Day Streaming at New Price

Nielsen Reports Streaming Leads Cable TV for the First Time

July was the first month in which streaming has overtaken cable viewing, according to Nielsen’s monthly snapshot The Gauge, which reports streaming captured a record 34.8 percent share of total U.S. TV viewership, cable 34.4 percent and broadcast 21.6 percent. While streaming has exceeded broadcast’s viewing share before, this is the first time it also exceeded cable, said Nielsen Global Media’s Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy and thought leadership. Audiences spent 23 percent more time streaming content than they did in July 2021, 9 percent less time watching cable and 10 percent less time watching broadcast television. Continue reading Nielsen Reports Streaming Leads Cable TV for the First Time

Walmart+ Subscribers Get Basic Tier of Paramount+ for Free

Walmart is taking a page from Amazon’s playbook and providing its Walmart+ customers streaming video content thanks to a deal with Paramount Global. Walmart+ subscribers will receive an ad-supported Paramount+ subscription as a perk. In addition to helping Walmart keep customers happy, the deal will further Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish’s stated goal of having 100 million Paramount+ subscribers by 2024. Walmart launched Walmart+ about two years ago charging $98 a year, or $12.95 a month, in exchange for free shipping with online purchases, free grocery deliveries for orders above $35 and discounted prescriptions and gas. Continue reading Walmart+ Subscribers Get Basic Tier of Paramount+ for Free

Summer Blockbusters Bringing Moviegoers Back to Theaters

U.S. audiences have been showing up at theaters to see summer blockbusters, a happy plot twist for an industry that saw the bottom fall out during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Films such as Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” and Universal’s “Jurassic World Dominion” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” have proven that despite the surge in streaming, audiences will trek out of the home for content that rises to the level of an event. “There’s no question that we’re coming back — in relevance, and in actual behavior,” said Warner Bros. domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein. Continue reading Summer Blockbusters Bringing Moviegoers Back to Theaters

YouTube Explores Plans for a Multi-Service Streaming Portal

YouTube is launching an online streaming video store and is in talks with entertainment companies to engage their participation. Internally referred to as a “channel store,” it could reportedly be open for business as early as this fall. Currently, subscribers who pay $64.99-a-month for the YouTube TV package of cable channels can add services such as HBO Max. The new marketplace would let consumers add streaming services a la carte via the main YouTube app. YouTube, a division of Alphabet-owned Google, will be competing with platforms including Amazon, Apple and Roku, which all have hubs that sell streaming video services. Continue reading YouTube Explores Plans for a Multi-Service Streaming Portal

Record $7.4B in Theme Parks Propels Profit Surge for Disney

It was a successful fiscal third quarter for The Walt Disney Company, which saw revenue jump 26 percent and profits up 54 percent compared to the same period in 2021. The company, celebrating its centenary, had revenue of $21.5 billion and profits of $1.41 billion (77 cents a share) for the three months ending July 2. Theme park revenue was up more than 70 percent, to $7.4 billion, as the company continued to shake COVID-19 contractions. For an added flourish, Disney+ grew a whopping 31 percent worldwide, adding 14.4 million subscribers to top out at 152 million. Continue reading Record $7.4B in Theme Parks Propels Profit Surge for Disney

Netflix Is ‘Shifting Gears, and Fast’ to Roll Out Its New Ad Tier

As Netflix pivots to add a lower-priced ad-supported tier, it is taking on its biggest challenge since shifting to streaming from its DVD-by-mail model, observers say, noting that the move to integrate advertising puts Netflix, once a disruptor, in the position of playing catch-up with rivals that have already adapted their business models to include less expensive, ad-supported options for consumers. Netflix hasn’t disclosed pricing for its ad-supported tier, but it will presumably be below the $9.99 fee for its least expensive ad-free tier. Reports are beginning to surface, however, as to ad rates, and they’re not cheap. Continue reading Netflix Is ‘Shifting Gears, and Fast’ to Roll Out Its New Ad Tier

Big Tech Drives Up Sports Prices as Amazon, Apple Go All In

Big Tech has become a disruptor in the marketplace for sports rights, with Amazon and Apple bidding against traditional media for rights to NFL and MLB games in addition to college conference competition and Formula 1 racing, according to recent reports. Among the prizes, DirecTV’s expiring rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket, a package that is being shopped with a $2.5 billion annual price tag, $1 billion more than the satellite operator’s current deal, which ends in January. In addition, Google is said to be bidding on behalf of YouTube. Beginning September 15, Amazon Prime Video begins its exclusive carriage deal for “Thursday Night Football.”  Continue reading Big Tech Drives Up Sports Prices as Amazon, Apple Go All In

NFL Subscription Streaming Service Targets Fans On-the-Go

The NFL has launched its long-awaited streaming service, NFL+, offering two tiers of live local and prime time regular season and postseason games on mobile devices, and live out-of-market preseason games on any device. Priced at $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year for the basic service, NFL+ also provides live local and national audio for every game and programs from the NFL Films archive. NFL+ Premium offers more live games and commercial-free replays on any device for 9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. Premium will absorb the $99.99 per year NFL Game Pass, launched in 2015, which will no longer be available as a separate subscription in the U.S.  Continue reading NFL Subscription Streaming Service Targets Fans On-the-Go

Legal Questions Loom as OpenAI Widens Access to DALL-E

OpenAI is expanding its beta outreach for DALL-E 2 by inviting an additional one million waitlisted people to join the AI imaging platform over the coming weeks. DALL-E users will receive 50 credits during their first month of use and 15 credits every subsequent month, with each credit redeemable for an original DALL-E-prompted generation (returning four images) or an edit or variation prompt (which returns three images). Additional credits may be purchased in 115-generation increments for $15. Starting this month, users get rights to commercialize their DALL-E images. However, the move highlights the legal implications of AI and possible copyright infringement. Continue reading Legal Questions Loom as OpenAI Widens Access to DALL-E

Gen Z Brand FaZe Clan Goes Public in $725M SPAC Merger

Entertainment and eSports brand FaZe Clan completed a $725 million merger with B. Riley Principal 150 Merger Corp., a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) and began publicly trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange Wednesday. FaZe Clan currently has around 93 creators with a combined 500 million followers across popular social platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Twitch. In May, Forbes ranked FaZe Clan the fourth most valuable eSports company, estimating its worth at $400 million. Trading as FAZE, the stock fell nearly 25 percent in its first day of trading. Continue reading Gen Z Brand FaZe Clan Goes Public in $725M SPAC Merger

Disney Accelerator Startups Focus on Web3, Immersive Tech

The Walt Disney Company has announced the six companies to participate in its latest business accelerator program. The 2022 Disney Accelerator focuses on tech startups involved in Web3 and immersive experiences through work in augmented reality, NFTs and artificial intelligence. The six participants are: Flickplay, Inworld, Lockerverse, Obsess, Polygon and Red 6. Disney will offer participants investment capital, co-working space, guidance from Disney’s senior leadership team and an executive mentor. The Accelerator program will conclude with a Demo Day this fall at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California. Continue reading Disney Accelerator Startups Focus on Web3, Immersive Tech

Disney Enters a Cross-Platform Ad Deal with The Trade Desk

Disney Advertising has entered into a deal with global ad tech firm The Trade Desk that will allow advertisers “to buy once to deliver everywhere across Disney.” Rita Ferro, president of ad sales, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said the pact leverages years Disney has spent “investing in our data and technology” to create solutions that use precision targeting “in a privacy-focused way.” The Trade Desk will utilize data from the Disney Clean Room, a repository of first-party data Disney has collected from customers combining it with consumer data produced by the Unified ID 2.0 industry framework. Continue reading Disney Enters a Cross-Platform Ad Deal with The Trade Desk