Netflix to Open its Own Studio, Lessen Reliance on Hollywood

Up until now, Netflix has made its “original” programming by relying on Hollywood studios. In fact, many of the biggest hits associated with Netflix Originals are actually owned by other studios. But, as some studios grumble about the arrangement, Netflix is taking steps to produce its own original programming, most notably by leasing a 200,000 square foot space in Hollywood, which it plans to open in early 2017. The first production under consideration is Chelsea Handler’s new talk show. Continue reading Netflix to Open its Own Studio, Lessen Reliance on Hollywood

Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

For an additional $4 ($11.99 per month), Hulu is offering an ad-free option to streaming movies and TV shows. Those who prefer to pay $7.99 will still have to sit through ads. The move could help Hulu better compete with popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon that do not include advertising. It could also present the company with an opportunity to increase its revenue in order to invest in more content. This could prove vital since premium cable networks such as HBO and Showtime are making their programming available outside traditional cable bundles. Continue reading Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

Game Changer: Netflix Film to Debut on Big and Small Screens

Netflix’s first feature film “Beasts of No Nation,” debuts at the 72nd Venice Film Festival, to be followed by showings at the Telluride and Toronto festivals. The movie, about a young boy recruited to fight a civil war in an African nation, was directed by Cary Fukunaga (“True Detective”) and acquired by Netflix for $12 million. The movie will open on October 16 on Netflix and 29 independent screens via distributor Bleecker Street. Netflix also plans a comprehensive ad campaign and awards season push. Continue reading Game Changer: Netflix Film to Debut on Big and Small Screens

Apple Considers Move into Producing Original Video Content

Sources indicate that Apple has recently been meeting with Hollywood executives to discuss the possibility of the tech giant taking a more active role in the entertainment business by producing original programming. The group exploring the possibility reports to Eddy Cue, who handles content-related issues for Apple. According to one high-level exec who met with Apple, the goal is to launch development and production units by next year that would produce streaming content to take on Netflix and similar services. Continue reading Apple Considers Move into Producing Original Video Content

Europe’s TV/Film Groups Rebuff Netflix, Digital Single Market

The European film and TV industries are expressing concern over two forces they believe threaten their well-being: Netflix and the Digital Single Market, a proposal by the European Commission to create a single European market, ending movie and TV territorial copyright barriers. International TV and film business groups coalesced against the latter proposal, arguing that the Digital Single Market would only benefit a handful of big global Internet platforms. Chief among those platforms, they believe, is Netflix. Continue reading Europe’s TV/Film Groups Rebuff Netflix, Digital Single Market

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

Ellation Debuts as New Chernin, AT&T Brand for Online Video

Ellation, a new brand for subscription-based online video services, is about to be unveiled by Otter Media, the joint venture between AT&T and the Chernin Group. When it rolls out, Ellation — whose name is a play on words on the Aleutian Islands, a series of interconnected islands between Alaska and Russia — will host Crunchyroll, Creativebug and SoompiTV. Otter Media’s goal is to build between 30 and 50 niche video channels under the aegis of Ellation, which has been in development for the past few months. Continue reading Ellation Debuts as New Chernin, AT&T Brand for Online Video

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

NBA to Offer Individual Out-Of-Market Games for First Time

Starting next season, the NBA will let fans watch individual out-of-market games for $6.99 on smartphones, tablets and PCs, as well as from any cable or satellite provider that offers NBA’s League Pass. Providers such as AT&T, Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, Time Warner Cable and Verizon currently offer League Pass. A $120 package for all out-of-market games of an individual team will also be available. Although $6.99 per game is not exactly cheap, it may be a good deal for fans who want to watch a particular matchup, and costs only a fraction of League Pass. Continue reading NBA to Offer Individual Out-Of-Market Games for First Time

Amazon Debuts Launchpad: New Marketing and Sales Portal

Amazon unveiled Launchpad this week, a new platform designed to help hardware and physical goods startups market and distribute their new products on Amazon’s e-commerce site. Launchpad, which currently features more than 200 items from a wide variety of startups, will compete with similar services offered by Product Hunt, Shopify and Shyp. Amazon is going big with the new platform, positioning it as a global product with access to 10 international distribution portals, and working with 25 VC firms, accelerators and crowdfunding services. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Launchpad: New Marketing and Sales Portal

YouTube Stars to Launch Video Series via Vimeo On Demand

New Form Digital Studios announced it has signed YouTube stars PJ Ligouri and Sawyer Hartman for a pair of video series to be made available exclusively through Vimeo On Demand. Ligouri and Hartman, who collectively have more than 3 million YouTube subscribers, were awarded deals after creating shorts with New Form Digital, the MCN backed by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Discovery Communications. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop has been tapped to create the mythical beasts for Ligouri’s series, “Oscar’s Hotel for Fantastical Creatures.” Continue reading YouTube Stars to Launch Video Series via Vimeo On Demand

Pew Research: Facebook, Twitter Are Preferred News Sources

While social networks such as Facebook and Twitter prefer to describe themselves as content distribution platforms rather than content publishing platforms, denying any involvement in the editorial reshaping of what users see (despite their editorial ability to remove content from their sites), a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center reveals that Facebook and Twitter users across multiple demographics in the United States are increasingly turning to the two services to access external news. Continue reading Pew Research: Facebook, Twitter Are Preferred News Sources

Paramount Shortens Release Date from Movie Theater to DVD

Paramount Pictures has inked a deal with two major theater chains to release two upcoming films on DVD just two weeks after they leave theaters, a significant change to the traditional schedule. Since the 1980s, and the advent of the VCR, studios have waited at least 90 days, so this new deal marks a real break with the status quo. The Viacom-owned movie studio has partnered with AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. and Canada’s Cineplex Inc., two of North America’s largest exhibitors. Continue reading Paramount Shortens Release Date from Movie Theater to DVD

Netflix Looking to Build its Brand with Original Feature Films

Netflix is ready to expand its original content beyond TV series to feature films. First, the service will release Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation” on October 16. The film will debut via Netflix and select U.S. theaters, which will make it eligible for industry awards. On December 11, Netflix will release “The Ridiculous Six,” the first of four Adam Sandler films it plans to distribute. And in Q1 2016, the sequel “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend” will be released globally on Netflix, theatrically in China and on IMAX. Continue reading Netflix Looking to Build its Brand with Original Feature Films

HuffPost Announces Online Video Network, Film and TV Units

The Huffington Post announced plans to expand its video capabilities with a new 24-hour online video network called HuffPost 24. The announcement arrived just days after Verizon closed its $4.4 billion acquisition of Huffington Post parent company AOL. The network’s range of programming will be made available via apps, the HuffPost website, OTT platforms and as VOD. HuffPost Films and HuffPost TV divisions will also be established to produce content for the new network and beyond. Video GM Nathan Brown is currently hiring as part of the the new initiatives. Continue reading HuffPost Announces Online Video Network, Film and TV Units

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