Streaming Drives Massive Hollywood Soundstage Expansion

The streaming wars are spurring a content surge that is driving a demand for production space. The latest beneficiary of that is Television Center, a six-acre Art Deco complex on Romaine Street in Hollywood. The former home of the Technicolor Hollywood film lab is being remade as Echelon at Television Center in a $600-million makeover courtesy of Bardas Investment Group and Bain Capital Real Estate. Plans are underway for a complex of offices and a 620,000-square-foot studio with four soundstages and underground parking for more than 1,000 cars, spanning two city blocks. This is one of several production facilities in the planning stages. Continue reading Streaming Drives Massive Hollywood Soundstage Expansion

Netflix ‘Better Than Expected’ Q2 Results Include $6B Profit

Netflix is “relieved” over a loss of nearly one million subscribers, according to The New York Times, which proclaims “disaster has been averted” in time for Q2 reporting. Despite the largest subscriber losses in the company’s 25-year history, defections fell short of the two million Netflix had projected in its Q1 guidance. Netflix, now standing at about 220.7 million subscribers globally, told investors it hopes during Q3 to reengage as many as one million of the lost, a bullish outlook considering austerity measures that included layoffs during the first half of the year. Continue reading Netflix ‘Better Than Expected’ Q2 Results Include $6B Profit

Are DAOs About to Revolutionize the Film and TV Industries?

Decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) are riding the crypto wave, with some asking if their notion of distributed decision-making marks an evolution from crowdfunding through platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to crowdsourced creativity on a blockchain. It’s already been demonstrated that tokens can be used for smart contracts and to designate property ownership. The film and television industries are just becoming aware of the potential impact of NFTs, which have already disrupted the worlds of art and gaming, driving creator economies. The wisdom of the crowd might be tapped to find fresh stories, too. Continue reading Are DAOs About to Revolutionize the Film and TV Industries?

‘CODA’ Wins 3 Oscars, Including First Best Picture for Apple

Apple TV+ made history Sunday night as the first streaming service to win an Oscar for best picture when “CODA” took the top prize. The film’s title — an acronym for Children of Deaf Adults — won in all three categories in which it was nominated, sending Apple on its first-ever Academy Award victory lap. With its total of six nominations, Apple TV+ was a dark horse, as was “CODA,” upstaging Netflix and “The Power of the Dog,” the most nominated distributor and film, with 27 and 12 nods, respectively. Netflix earned just one Oscar, for Jane Campion’s direction of “The Power of the Dog.” Continue reading ‘CODA’ Wins 3 Oscars, Including First Best Picture for Apple

Miramax’s Tarantino Lawsuit Forges a Path for Industry NFTs

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs), digital assets stored on the blockchain, hit $10.7 billion in trading volume during the third quarter. It’s a serious pot of money and Hollywood wants a piece. Quentin Tarantino’s efforts to sell NFTs associated with his 1994 feature “Pulp Fiction” and Miramax’s lawsuit to prevent him from doing so without its own financial participation could prove seminal. While studios have undoubtedly begun adding “NFT” to contracts in express terms, the rulings as this first-in-class lawsuit wends its way through the courts will impact NFT rights for all previously made films. Continue reading Miramax’s Tarantino Lawsuit Forges a Path for Industry NFTs

Popular Kids Content Creator Moonbug Acquired for $3 Billion

Digital-first company Moonbug Entertainment has been purchased by the newly formed and as yet unnamed venture of former TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer and fellow Disney alum Tom Staggs, with backing from private equity firm Blackstone. An aggregate of YouTube channels with a focus on children’s content — including CoComelon, Little Baby Bum and Blippi — Moonbug launched in 2018 and currently has a market value of about $3 billion. Other recent children’s IP transactions include Epic Games’ purchase of SuperAwesome in September 2020, and the $500 million July acquisition by Indian educational firm Byju of a learning platform also named Epic. Continue reading Popular Kids Content Creator Moonbug Acquired for $3 Billion

Apple to Expand Hollywood Ambitions with Regional Campus

Apple is expanding its Los Angeles footprint, building new regional headquarters in the northern part of Culver City. Construction is in progress on two adjacent buildings comprising more than 550,000 square feet on a lot flanked by National, Venice and Washington boulevards. Apple says the complex will house teams working on Apple TV+, Apple Music, engineering and artificial intelligence at a site near the new Ivy Station development and Metro Expo Line stop. Apple already has more than 1,500 employees working in a leased 128,000-square-foot Culver City office.  Continue reading Apple to Expand Hollywood Ambitions with Regional Campus

Governments Are Crafting Ways to Regulate Streaming Media

In the last 10 years, streaming media companies have changed the film and television landscape, and government authorities have struggled to figure out if the companies should be regulated as broadcasters, video rental owners or in some completely new way. Netflix will, once again, not make an appearance at the Cannes Film Festival but across Europe, Amazon, Disney and Netflix are becoming an integral part of the film and TV industry. Streaming is big business in the EU, and the European Commission is developing new rules to regulate it. Continue reading Governments Are Crafting Ways to Regulate Streaming Media

ETC Execs to Present at Hollywood IT Society Spring Summit

The Hollywood IT Society (HITS) is a community of technologists representing the Hollywood studios, independent content creators and their supporting information technology partners. On Wednesday, May 12, the annual Spring Hollywood IT Summit — HITS Spring: Hollywood Innovation & Transformation Summit — will include presentations by ETC@USC’s Erik Weaver, director of Adaptive Production and Special Projects, and Yves Bergquist, director of ETC’s AI & Neuroscience in Media Project. Presented by HITS and the Media & Entertainment Services Alliance (MESA), the event features 50+ speakers and more than 20 breakout sessions. Registration is available via Eventbrite. Continue reading ETC Execs to Present at Hollywood IT Society Spring Summit

Streamers Invest in Global Local Productions to Attract Subs

Emulating Netflix’s international strategy, Disney, Amazon and other companies with streaming services are heavily investing in local-language productions globally, to woo international subscribers. Formerly, Hollywood shipped dubbed or subtitled domestic movies and TV shows. These companies are fueling a boom of movie and TV production in Hindi, French, Portuguese, German, Polish and other languages. The Motion Picture Association reported that global subscriptions reached 1.1+ billion last year, rising from 400 million in 2016. Continue reading Streamers Invest in Global Local Productions to Attract Subs

ArcLight Cinemas, Pacific Theatres to Shut Down Operations

To the dismay of cinephiles, ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theatres are permanently shuttered, a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the company’s holdings is the historic Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. An IndieWire report stated that Pacific Theatres still owes $181,900 for its March 2021 rent on the Culver City ArcLight location, which could rise to $2.2 million for a full year. Parent company Decurion Corporation controlled 300+ screens in California, including 18 at the Americana at Brand mall in Glendale and 14 at The Grove in Los Angeles. Continue reading ArcLight Cinemas, Pacific Theatres to Shut Down Operations

HPA Tech Retreat: ETC’s ‘Ripple Effect’ Beta-Tests Safetyvis

When COVID-19 hit, Hollywood (and other filmmaking venues) came to a near standstill, with movie theaters closed and productions halted. As DigitalFilm Tree chief executive Ramy Katrib noted, the M&E business is “uniquely unsuited to social distancing.” But Katrib decided to leverage Cinecode, the tools his company built for virtual production, to see if he couldn’t come up with a way to “visualize” safety on the set. At the Entertainment Technology Center@USC, senior consultant Erik Weaver worked with Katrib and beta-tested the result on the live-action short “Ripple Effect.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: ETC’s ‘Ripple Effect’ Beta-Tests Safetyvis

Roku Purchases Quibi Shows, May Produce Original Content

Roku is apparently planning to expand its VOD offerings by producing its own original content, having placed a LinkedIn ad in January looking for a “lead production attorney … [with] substantial experience in television and film production either at a studio, network, streaming service or entertainment law firm [for its] expanding slate of original content.” The ad also asked for someone with “experience working with Hollywood guilds and unions.” Roku recently purchased original content from the startup Quibi. During the holiday quarter, Roku experienced a 58 percent jump in revenue. Continue reading Roku Purchases Quibi Shows, May Produce Original Content

CES: Snapshot of All-Digital Show’s Announcements, Trends

CES 2021 concluded last week in the wake of a challenging year marked by political unrest, social upheaval and a global pandemic that continues to impact our personal and professional lives. And much like all that we’re juggling in our current COVID world, the all-digital format of this year’s CES presented a number of unique challenges, most notably how to determine which products and services are most relevant to an M&E audience without the benefit of interacting up close in person. We’re still working our way through information from nearly 2,000 companies and will continue to report our findings on ETCentric. In the coming weeks, ETC will also publish a comprehensive overview of the show with a focus on four dynamic themes, rather than trends: Adaptation, Change, Snapback and Opportunity. In the meanwhile, we provide this snapshot of some of the key products, technologies, trends and announcements. Continue reading CES: Snapshot of All-Digital Show’s Announcements, Trends

Productions Return Slowly in California But Boom in Canada

California Film Commission executive director Colleen Bell said Hollywood production is slowly but steadily coming back. In March, all projects approved under the California film and TV tax credit program requested force majeure to retain their tax credits, and now 10 of them have resumed production since June 12. Still, the number of on-location film permits in Los Angeles declined 7.6 percent from October to November while production in Vancouver and Toronto are at pre-pandemic levels although movie theaters are shuttered. Continue reading Productions Return Slowly in California But Boom in Canada