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

Comcast to Purchase DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

The rumors are true. Comcast announced yesterday that it would acquire DreamWorks Animation SKG in a deal valued at $3.8 billion. The move reflects a significant change in entertainment media as companies seek new ways to address the impact of evolving trends such as streaming video and cord-cutting. Since animation performs well in foreign markets and helps drive consumer product sales, DreamWorks could serve as a vital resource for NBCUniversal. The animation studio could also become a launch pad for the Universal theme parks unit, which is currently planning a new park in Beijing. Continue reading Comcast to Purchase DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

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

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

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

DreamWorks CTO: “Cloud 2.0” Will Transform, Empower Artists

Speaking at ETC’s Media Management in the Cloud conference at NAB, Lincoln Wallen, CTO of DreamWorks Animation, described how “Cloud 2.0” gives digital graphics and animation artists extraordinary new creative freedom and power. Wallen described how this vision has already been realized in DreamWorks’ CGI movie development using in-house animation software Apollo (publicly unveiled in May 2014). The Cloud 2.0 wave Wallen champions focuses on using the cloud as an agile supercomputing resource with on-demand “Compute as a Service” scalability. Continue reading DreamWorks CTO: “Cloud 2.0” Will Transform, Empower Artists

NAB 2015: Industry Leaders Discuss HDR and Wider Color Gamut

High Dynamic Range and wider color gamut were the focus of “The Next Generation of Consumer Experiences is NOW” panel at the NAB Show. Panelists expressed their excitement about the potential of producing and delivering HDR content. Moderated by Carolyn Giardina of The Hollywood Reporter, the discussion included Bryan Barber of Warner Bros., JoDee Freck of Lionsgate, Jim Mainard of DreamWorks Animation, Michael DeValue of Disney, Hanno Basse of 20th Century Fox Film Corp., and Jim Helman of MovieLabs. Continue reading NAB 2015: Industry Leaders Discuss HDR and Wider Color Gamut

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

DreamWorks Developing 360-Degree Rendering for VR Films

DreamWorks Animation is working on new technology that will bring its pre-rendered CGI films to virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and Gear VR. To support headtracking, the company has developed “Super Cinema” technology that pre-renders the entire 360-degree image so that no matter which way a user turns his/her head, the frame is already generated. This technology would allow consumers to have an immersive VR experience even on lower-end hardware. Continue reading DreamWorks Developing 360-Degree Rendering for VR Films

Toymaker Hasbro in Talks to Purchase DreamWorks Animation

Rhode Island-based Hasbro, manufacturer of popular toys including G.I. Joe, Mr. Potato Head, My Little Pony and Transformers, is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire DreamWorks Animation. Hasbro would pay a mix of cash and stock according to current terms of the proposed deal. DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg is said to be looking for more than $30 a share for the sale. The news comes shortly after Japanese telecom SoftBank was reported to be a prospective buyer. Continue reading Toymaker Hasbro in Talks to Purchase DreamWorks Animation

VidCon 2014: Industry Leaders See Strong Future in YouTube

To kick-off VidCon yesterday, industry leaders discussed the strong foundation that YouTube is currently building for the future of entertainment. DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg discussed the acquisition of multichannel network AwesomenessTV in addition to the YouTube Nation venture. Maker Studios CEO Ynon Kreiz unveiled upgrades to the Maker Gen platform for creators. And Fullscreen’s George Strompolos announced a $10 million investment toward original programming. Continue reading VidCon 2014: Industry Leaders See Strong Future in YouTube

DreamWorks and AwesomenessTV Launch YouTube Channel

DreamWorks Animation, which acquired the YouTube content company AwesomenessTV last year, is bringing original programming featuring Shrek, Puss in Boots, and others to a new YouTube channel known as DreamWorksTV. Each day, the channel will release three videos of animated or live action content. The new shows include vlogs from Shrek, a reality TV show “Record Setter Kids,” an animated Web series “Jimmy Blue Shorts,” and animated comedy “Gorillaville.” Continue reading DreamWorks and AwesomenessTV Launch YouTube Channel

Netflix Raises Monthly Subscription Rate for New Customers

Netflix has raised its monthly price for new subscribers by $1 to $8.99, marking its first price increase in three years. CEO Reed Hastings recently announced that a price increase would likely be necessary to meet the rising costs of movies and TV shows. The video streaming service introduced a new $7.99 plan for subscribers not concerned with high-definition or the ability to stream programs on multiple devices, while a $11.99 premium plan lets users stream shows to four devices at once. Continue reading Netflix Raises Monthly Subscription Rate for New Customers

Media Execs Gather at HITS 2014: Hollywood’s Digital Makeover

The Hollywood IT Society (HITS) — a community of IT professionals representing the studios of the MPAA and supporting information tech partners — hosted its annual day-long Hollywood IT Summit at the Hyatt Regency in Century City this week. Adapting to rapidly changing expectations for IT-related content production and distribution was the running theme at the April 22 event, where execs and creatives gathered to discuss network connectivity, cloud resources, big data, analytics, content management and more. Continue reading Media Execs Gather at HITS 2014: Hollywood’s Digital Makeover

Disney to Acquire Popular YouTube Network Maker Studios

It has been confirmed that Disney is acquiring Maker Studios, a top YouTube multichannel network, for $500 million, with a performance-based earn-out of up to $450 million. The deal is expected to provide Disney with insight into new patterns of discovery and interaction regarding short-form online videos, especially among millennials. Maker Studios was founded in 2009. The network generates more than 5.5 billion monthly video views from its 380 million subscribers. Continue reading Disney to Acquire Popular YouTube Network Maker Studios

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