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

REMINDER: Virtual Production Webinar Slated for This Week

The next ETC Digital Town Square — Breaking Down “Ripple Effect”: A Case Study on COVID-19 Safety Protocols, Advanced Workflows and Virtual Production — will be hosted by Equinix and the Entertainment Technology Center@USC on November 19, 1:00-3:30 pm PST. Free and open to the public, the webinar will dive into “Ripple Effect,” a recent live-action short produced by ETC that leveraged Safetyviz as well as remote and virtual production to improve safety in the return to media production. Register today for your virtual front row seat to this important webinar. Continue reading REMINDER: Virtual Production Webinar Slated for This Week

Ripple Effect: Webinar Covers Virtual Production Case Study

The next ETC Digital Town Square — Breaking Down “Ripple Effect”: A Case Study on COVID-19 Safety Protocols, Advanced Workflows and Virtual Production — will be hosted by Equinix and the Entertainment Technology Center@USC on November 19, 1:00-3:30 pm PST. Free and open to the public, the webinar will dive into “Ripple Effect,” a recent live-action short produced by ETC that leveraged Safetyviz as well as remote and virtual production to improve safety in the return to media production. Register today for your virtual front row seat to this important webinar. Continue reading Ripple Effect: Webinar Covers Virtual Production Case Study

Hollywood VFX Experts Gravitate to AR/VR Jobs in Big Tech

Apple, Facebook and Google are among the Big Tech companies that are hiring technologists behind Hollywood movies like “Avatar” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” All three companies are developing headsets or glasses for AR/VR or so-called extended reality, and the most cutting-edge Hollywood visual effects create needed photoreal computer-generated characters and landscapes. VFX veteran Paul Debevec, now a professor at the University of Southern California, was recruited by Google four-and-a-half years ago. Continue reading Hollywood VFX Experts Gravitate to AR/VR Jobs in Big Tech

Impact Creative Rolls Out App to Connect Writers with Execs

In Hollywood, screenwriters are hired based on personal relationships and past successes but filmmakers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard believe the paradigm needs to change. “Promising writers blow years of their lives trying to get agents and have their work seen by the right people,” said Howard. For two years, their startup, Impact Creative Systems (formerly Imagine Impact) offered an eight-week bootcamp to help writers get their scripts ready to pitch. Now, they’ve added the free-to-join Creative Network app to connect them with executives. Continue reading Impact Creative Rolls Out App to Connect Writers with Execs

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

Join the ETC-SMPTE Survey: Artificial Intelligence in Media

We need your input! SMPTE and the Entertainment Technology Center have joined forces to investigate potential areas of standardization around Artificial Intelligence in media. We are currently surveying the industry in order to gain a better understanding of where there are the greatest needs for new standards. You can help by filling out our online survey. Feel free to answer as many or as few questions as you would like, and we invite you to forward the survey to anyone either inside or outside your organization who might be able to provide input. Continue reading Join the ETC-SMPTE Survey: Artificial Intelligence in Media

UK High Court Dismisses Appeal to Classify AI as an Inventor

Under the Patents Act, a UK court ruled that creator Stephen Thaler’s “Creativity Machine” called DABUS could not be an inventor. Thaler appealed, and the UK’s High Court dismissed it, saying an inventor must be a person and not a machine. Thaler, however, insists that DABUS is “fundamentally different from other AI systems,” noting that, via “simple learning rules” it combines “swarms of many artificial neural nets, each containing interrelated patterns spanning some conceptual space … with no predetermined objective.” Continue reading UK High Court Dismisses Appeal to Classify AI as an Inventor

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