‘Trolls’ Sequel Tests PVOD Model While Theaters Are Closed

“Trolls World Tour,” produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Universal Pictures, was due to release in movie theaters on April 10. But when the coronavirus pandemic closed theaters, Universal decided to release it as a $19.99 digital rental on platforms including Apple TV, Amazon and Comcast’s Xfinity. Three weeks later, “Trolls” has generated almost $100 million, more than the original 2016 movie. That has encouraged Universal execs to consider digital release as a real alternative to postponing a theatrical release. Continue reading ‘Trolls’ Sequel Tests PVOD Model While Theaters Are Closed

Comcast to Invest $2 Billion in Peacock Streaming Service

Comcast chief financial officer Mike Cavanagh announced that the Philadelphia-based telecom giant plans to invest $2 billion in NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock during 2020 and 2021, with the expectation that it won’t be profitable for five years. Cavanagh, who spoke at the UBS Global TMT Conference in New York City, added that the spending will represent, at its height, only about 1 percent of Comcast’s annual revenue. Comcast pay-TV subscribers will have free access to Peacock, scheduled to debut in April 2020. Continue reading Comcast to Invest $2 Billion in Peacock Streaming Service

NBCUniversal to Launch Peacock Streaming Service in April

In April, NBCUniversal will introduce its streaming service, dubbed Peacock, and join the ranks of other streaming services to debut in the next few months. Apple TV+ will unveil November 1; Disney+ on November 12, and HBO Max from WarnerMedia, also in April. Peacock will have 15,000 hours of content on both its ad-supported and subscription-based services, including complete seasons of some of its most popular shows. In June, said a source, the company paid $500 million to regain rights to “The Office.” Continue reading NBCUniversal to Launch Peacock Streaming Service in April

Apple, Microsoft Latest to Join Academy Software Foundation

Apple and Microsoft signed on as premier members of the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), founded in 2018 to promote the use of open source software in the movie industry. By joining ASWF, Apple and Microsoft pushed annual funding for the organization over $1 million. Microsoft also joined ASWF’s governing board and technical advisory council. ASWF is a joint project of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Linux Foundation. ASWF executive director David Morin welcomed both companies into the fold. Continue reading Apple, Microsoft Latest to Join Academy Software Foundation

ASWF Debuts Open Source Project and Adds New Members

The Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), a neutral forum to develop and collaborate on open source software for images, VFX, animation and sound, debuted its first hosted project, DreamWorks Animation’s OpenVDB, an open source C++ library for volumetric representations including fluid simulations, animated volumes and environmental effects. The Foundation also added Sony Pictures Entertainment/Sony Pictures Imageworks, Warner Bros., Blender Foundation and the Visual Effects Society (VES) as new members. Continue reading ASWF Debuts Open Source Project and Adds New Members

FandangoNOW Is Latest to Join Movies Anywhere Ecosystem

Movies Anywhere announced that Fandango’s video-on-demand service, FandangoNOW, is the latest retailer to join the digital movie ecosystem. Movies Anywhere provides a central location for movies purchased or redeemed through Apple’s iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Walmart’s Vudu and FandangoNOW. The service is jointly controlled by five major studios: Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film, The Walt Disney Studios, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Continue reading FandangoNOW Is Latest to Join Movies Anywhere Ecosystem

NBCUniversal Set to Launch Universal Kids Network This Fall

On September 9, NBCUniversal will unveil the rebranding of its Sprout cable property into a new network, Universal Kids, to be overseen by Sprout exec Deirdre Brennan. The network will feature family-friendly content from DreamWorks Animation, Illumination Entertainment and Universal theme park attractions. Whereas Sprout targets preschool children, Universal Kids will broaden its reach to children 2 through 11 years old. The first series is “Top Chef Junior,” a version of Bravo’s cooking competition show. Continue reading NBCUniversal Set to Launch Universal Kids Network This Fall

Katzenberg Envisions Next Wave of Entertainment for Mobile

Jeffrey Katzenberg, who left DreamWorks Animation last summer, is launching WndrCo, a new media and tech venture that has already raised nearly $600 million. During a Q&A in New York with Hearst Magazines president David Carey, Katzenberg said he is interested in the next wave of television, which he sees as a mobile experience. He cited the roughly $200,000 per minute that Netflix spends on content and the less than $100 a minute needed to produce most YouTube content, suggesting there’s an opportunity that falls between the two approaches. “He said a few companies have been successful at producing mobile-oriented original video for a few thousand dollars per minute — citing Vice Media, BuzzFeed and AwesomenessTV,” reports Variety. Continue reading Katzenberg Envisions Next Wave of Entertainment for Mobile

Fandango Brings Movie VOD Service to Xbox Game Consoles

Movie ticketing company Fandango launched its VOD service FandangoNOW on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox One S consoles. FandangoNOW, which is already on Android TV among other platforms, offers 40,000 new-release and catalog movies as well as next-day TV shows for rent and purchase. The move puts Fandango in direct competition with Apple iTunes, Amazon Video and Walmart’s Vudu. Fandango’s end game is to deploy the rebranded FandangoNOW to increase overall revenues via a home entertainment offering. Continue reading Fandango Brings Movie VOD Service to Xbox Game Consoles

Verizon Invests in AwesomenessTV to Grow its Mobile Video

Verizon Communications announced yesterday that it has purchased a minority stake in AwesomenessTV, the digital entertainment network geared toward teens and young adults. Verizon is buying 24.5 percent of the video company, now valued at $650 million. DreamWorks Animation owns 51 percent of the unit (it acquired Awesomeness in 2013), and Hearst owns another 24.5 percent. According to the telco, plans include creating a “a first-of-its-kind premium short-form mobile video service featuring leading talent in front of and behind the camera.” Continue reading Verizon Invests in AwesomenessTV to Grow its Mobile Video

Lionsgate and Fox to Mold Movies into Theme Park Attractions

“Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and “Twilight” are Lions Gate Entertainment hits now morphing into theme park attractions in the U.S., U.K., China and the United Arab Emirates. Two theme parks near Atlanta and Macau, built by different companies, will host a “Hunger Games” stage show already slated to be performed in London and as part of a Lionsgate zone in a $3 billion entertainment complex being built in the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, 20th Century Fox announced yesterday that it plans to open a theme park in Dubai in 2018 that features Fox movies and TV shows such as “Aliens,” “Ice Age,” “The Simpsons” and “Sons of Anarchy.” Continue reading Lionsgate and Fox to Mold Movies into Theme Park Attractions

Children’s Programming Counts on HBO, Netflix, and Amazon

When PBS talked with “Sesame Street” producers about the future of the 45-year old children’s educational TV series, the choices were few. The show had been running a production deficit for years and suffered from changes in viewing habits. If the show wanted to continue production and stay on PBS, it only had one solution: find a production partner. HBO stepped into that role, highlighting a little known fact: that companies like HBO, Netflix and Amazon all take kids’ TV seriously. Continue reading Children’s Programming Counts on HBO, Netflix, and Amazon

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

Netflix and Amazon Aim to Shape Children’s Viewing Habits

Anyone who has ever read a story to a child knows the drill: children want to hear their favorite stories over and over again. That’s the major ingredient in Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu’s success in courting young audiences (and their parents). On-demand video makes it easy for a child to replay, over and over again, his or her favorite TV episodes or movies. Acutely aware of the phenomenon, these companies are actively working to provide video content for the young set, turning toddlers into life-long viewers. Continue reading Netflix and Amazon Aim to Shape Children’s Viewing Habits

Verizon and AwesomenessTV Announce New Streaming Service

Verizon announced its plans to rollout Internet TV channels featuring original content from teen-centric AwesomenessTV, the YouTube network owned by DreamWorks Animation. The companies announced yesterday that scripted and unscripted series will be geared toward teens and millennials. The multi-year deal will also include a DreamWorksTV channel that features live action and animated short-form content based on popular DreamWorks’ characters. The ATV network currently has 112 million subscribers on YouTube. Continue reading Verizon and AwesomenessTV Announce New Streaming Service

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