AT&T Spins Off DirecTV, Combines It with AT&T TV, U-verse

After acquiring DirecTV six years ago, AT&T has spun it off and, along with AT&T TV and U-verse, formed a new company it will co-manage with TPG Capital. AT&T received $7.1 billion in cash and a 70 percent interest in the new company, and TPG contributed $1.8 billion and owns the remaining 30 percent. In 2015, AT&T had paid $49 billion to acquire DirecTV, absorbing another $18 billion in debt, becoming the largest U.S. pay-TV provider with 26 million customers. It then lost almost 40 percent of its TV subscriber base. Continue reading AT&T Spins Off DirecTV, Combines It with AT&T TV, U-verse

Forum: Vubiquity to Present ‘The Democratization of Content’

During this week’s MESA Content Workflow Management Forum, Vubiquity will address strategies for how to keep pace with today’s evolving video supply chain. Piers Godden, commercial director EMEA for Vubiquity and Amdocs Media, will discuss the numerous challenges involved with the growing changes to content licensing, material handling costs, processing and distribution. “The time has come for CaaS — Content as a Service,” notes Godden, “the content you want, where you want it, at the flick of a switch.” The online presentation is scheduled for February 25. Continue reading Forum: Vubiquity to Present ‘The Democratization of Content’

ETC Executive Coffee: Students, Execs Talk Cloud Resources

As part of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series, M&E leaders connected via Zoom with eight engineering students, three cinema students and one business student on October 29. The topic of discussion was “Production in the Cloud for Media and Entertainment; content and experience creation, distribution, interaction, and analytics.” Students were particularly interested in new advances related to areas such as production workflow, asset management, gaming, remote collaboration for live music, and the impact of analytics on content creation. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Students, Execs Talk Cloud Resources

Survey Suggests Movie Theaters Will Struggle in Near Future

Deloitte Insights’ recent Digital Media Trends survey revealed that 71 percent of consumers are not comfortable about attending a movie in the theater in the next month and just over 50 percent said they wouldn’t go to a theater in the next six months. The survey revealed that a mere 18 percent of U.S. consumers have gone to see a movie in a theater since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Deloitte concluded that, when the pandemic is over, “it is unclear what role movie theaters will play in consumer entertainment.” Continue reading Survey Suggests Movie Theaters Will Struggle in Near Future

Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Warner Bros. announced that its entire 2021 slate, comprised of 17 movies, will be distributed simultaneously via movie theaters and on its streaming service HBO Max where new titles will remain for one month. Warner Bros. made the decision that, despite coronavirus vaccines on track to be widely deployed, the movie-going audiences won’t return to theaters until next fall. The move is also intended to boost interest in HBO Max, which debuted in May for $15 per month as a new competitor to Netflix and other streaming services. Continue reading Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Universal Adopts a New Theatrical/Online Distribution Model

During the holiday season, to pump up motion picture theater attendance, Comcast’s Universal Pictures is trying a new distribution model — releasing more movies and making them available sooner for online rental. On December 4, it will release “All My Life” to U.S. theaters, the eighth film slated for domestic release by the end of 2020. That’s almost double its releases during the same period in 2019, and far more than other Hollywood studios. Meanwhile, AMC is offering its theaters for rent, starting at $99.

Continue reading Universal Adopts a New Theatrical/Online Distribution Model

Court Finds Amazon Liable for Defective Third-Party Products

The California Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that Amazon can be held liable for the damages created by a defective replacement laptop battery purchased from a third-party seller on its marketplace. The buyer, Angela Bolger, reportedly got third degree burns when the battery, from Amazon third-party seller Lenoge Technology, caught fire. Amazon has defended itself against such liability lawsuits so the appeals court decision is a major blow to its e-commerce business. The company currently faces several other liability suits.

Continue reading Court Finds Amazon Liable for Defective Third-Party Products

Judge Rules in Favor of Ending Paramount Consent Decrees

U.S. District Judge Analisa Torres approved the Justice Department’s proposal to terminate the 71-year-old Paramount Consent Decrees, intended to prevent Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Paramount and other major studios from owning both the means of production and distribution. Studios such as The Walt Disney Company and Lionsgate that became distributors after the law went into effect were not subject to its rules. Last fall, the Justice Department suggested the Decrees were anachronistic in today’s entertainment ecosystem. Continue reading Judge Rules in Favor of Ending Paramount Consent Decrees

AMC Expresses ‘Substantial Doubt’ About its Chain’s Survival

AMC Theatres told its investors that “substantial doubt exists about our ability to continue as a going concern for a reasonable period of time.” In a new 8-K filing, ahead of its earning call next week, the company described how it is trying to survive but also stressed how badly the coronavirus pandemic is eroding its financial stability. The movie theater chain had $5 billion in debt by the end of 2019 and continues to borrow more. Adding to its woes is the worry that distributors will postpone new film releases. Continue reading AMC Expresses ‘Substantial Doubt’ About its Chain’s Survival

Executive Spotlight: A Talk With Tony Driscoll of Warner Bros.

For the third week of ETC’s Executive Spotlight series, in which we interview leaders from our member companies about how they are adapting business operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, we had an opportunity to speak with Tony Driscoll, SVP of emerging technology strategy & data services at Warner Bros. Technology. Previously with AT&T, Driscoll is currently responsible for his studio’s strategies involving emerging trends and tech-driven innovation opportunities. He also works in close coordination with the WarnerMedia Innovation Lab. Warner Bros. has been using various technologies for remote collaboration since the offices began closing due to the pandemic in early 2020. We caught up with Tony at his home office. Continue reading Executive Spotlight: A Talk With Tony Driscoll of Warner Bros.

Executive Spotlight: A Talk with Paramount’s Anthony Guarino

Welcome to the second week of ETC’s Executive Spotlight series, in which we interview execs from our member companies about how they are adapting business operations during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Today we have Anthony Guarino, EVP of Worldwide Technical Operations at Paramount Pictures, who explained that his studio had the necessary infrastructure and processes in place to smoothly transition their global archive, mastering and content distribution operations when social distancing went into effect. From the start of the safer-at-home orders, Paramount’s Tech Ops team has effectively worked from home since most of their operating processes utilize software systems that are web enabled. Continue reading Executive Spotlight: A Talk with Paramount’s Anthony Guarino

The State of AI in Media & Entertainment: Pedal to the Metal

As the world turns its sights on the “new normal,” the future of the media and entertainment industry is starting to come into focus. Cloud-based everything. Internet of Production. Digital distribution. Automation. Truth is, most of these changes were already in progress. It’s the timeline that has been dramatically shortened: 5-year plans now have to be implemented in 5 months. And among the handful of technologies being fast-tracked, artificial intelligence holds a special place because of its ability to solve two of the industry’s most pressing post-COVID challenges: (1) how to better manage its inherent product risk, and (2) protect and optimize its precious financial, human and technological resources. Continue reading The State of AI in Media & Entertainment: Pedal to the Metal

Virtual Event: The Future of M&E in a Time of Radical Change

Media & Entertainment have been deeply affected by current events. Increased streaming demands and unprecedented stress on infrastructure have forced media companies to quickly adapt and accelerate their digital transformation, yet the future remains uncertain. How will this unprecedented crisis affect content product and distribution? Who will be the winners and losers in the aftermath? What technologies will move to the forefront? Join Equinix and the Entertainment Technology Center on Thursday, April 30 for an insightful and provocative conversation with an array of thought leaders as we explore the future and its opportunities. Continue reading Virtual Event: The Future of M&E in a Time of Radical Change

WarnerMedia Deal to Bring HBO and Cinemax to YouTube TV

Google’s streaming OTT service YouTube TV — which provides subscribers with live television and news, on-demand video, cloud-based DVR, and live and local sports from 70+ networks— will carry Cinemax and HBO for the first time under a new distribution deal with AT&T’s WarnerMedia. As part of the agreement, YouTube TV will also offer the upcoming streamer HBO Max when it debuts in May, and will continue to provide Turner cable networks such as Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, truTV and Turner Classic Movies.  Continue reading WarnerMedia Deal to Bring HBO and Cinemax to YouTube TV

HPA Tech Retreat: The Latest Workflows for Virtual Production

The HPA Tech Retreat kicked off with an ambitious daylong demo that highlighted innovations in content creation, management and distribution technology and workflows. Supersession chair Joachim Zell, VP technology for EFILM walked the audience through numerous elements of an HDR production: filming, editing and finishing two scenes that provided the final chapters for a short film. The process, much of which involved workflows in the cloud, featured multiple cameras, on-set management and collaboration platforms, editorial, dailies and digital intermediate color grading systems, as well as online mastering and distribution platforms. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: The Latest Workflows for Virtual Production