Equinix and ETC Present ‘Virtual Production at Cloud Speed’

Global data center leader Equinix and the Entertainment Technology Center at USC will present a series of discussions that address virtual production and cloud workflows across various media and broadcast industries. The free webinar is slated for September 23 and will feature thought leaders from AWS, Epic Games, Equinix, ETC@USC, Google, Lux Machina, Mo-Sys Engineering, Paramount Pictures, PGA Tour Productions, Quintar, Silverdraft, and T&P Productions. Visit the webinar page online for more information and to register for what promises to be a compelling event. Continue reading Equinix and ETC Present ‘Virtual Production at Cloud Speed’

Apple Allows Reader Apps to Use Outside Payment Systems

After an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC), Apple agreed to let Netflix, Spotify and some other companies use payment methods outside Apple’s App Store when users sign up for subscriptions. Analysts dub the move a “strategic retreat” from what has been a huge source of revenue for Apple. During Epic Games’ lawsuit against the tech giant, lawyers revealed that 81 percent of the App Store’s 2016 revenue came from games, 3 percent from music and 4 percent from other forms of entertainment. Continue reading Apple Allows Reader Apps to Use Outside Payment Systems

Turner Classic Movies Promotes Logo and Content Makeover

Warner’s pay-TV network Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is unveiling a new logo, colorful on-air promos, new sets for Ben Mankiewicz and other hosts, new openings for shows including “The Essentials” and “Noir Alley,” and new branding that explores the interplay between past and present cinema. The aesthetics update will not change the vintage movie collection but intends to “help the cable channel stay relevant and reach a wider audience.” TCM executives are also weighing the future of a linear cable channel in a growing streaming media ecosystem. Continue reading Turner Classic Movies Promotes Logo and Content Makeover

More Americans Now Subscribing to Multiple SVOD Services

According to Leichtman Research Group, the number of U.S. consumers subscribing to more than one of the big three SVOD services — Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu — more than doubled to 58 percent in 2021, up from 28 percent 2016. Overall, 78 percent of U.S. households now subscribe to one of the three, compared to 59 percent in 2016. Among those that have any of the three top-tier SVOD services, 74 percent also pay for a second service of some sort, versus 47 percent in 2016. Findings from LRG’s Emerging Video Services study are based on a survey of 2,000 households nationwide. Continue reading More Americans Now Subscribing to Multiple SVOD Services

Global Movie Piracy Skyrockets with Day-and-Date Releases

When the opening weekend of “Black Widow” fell below expectations, theater owners were suspicious that it didn’t match the well-attended Thursday night preview. That’s because, as reported by TorrentFreak, “Black Widow” was the most pirated movie in the world for three weeks following its July 9 debut. Likewise, pirated copies of “The Suicide Squad,” “Jungle Cruise” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” proliferated shortly after their releases, shooting to the top of The Pirate Bay and LimeTorrents, two popular piracy websites. Continue reading Global Movie Piracy Skyrockets with Day-and-Date Releases

Movies Anywhere Debuts Feature for AI-Enabled List Making

Movies Anywhere, the cloud-based digital locker and OTT streaming platform that allows users to pull together streaming movies from multiple digital stores into a single hub, is now adding an AI-enabled ability to generate personalized lists of those movies. Users have wanted a list-making capability, which will allow them to streamline their lockers, removing multiple listings of the same movie and funneling them into categories. An AI algorithm will keep track of user behavior and organize the list. The “My Lists” tab will be located next to “My Movies.” Continue reading Movies Anywhere Debuts Feature for AI-Enabled List Making

Warner Bros. Teams with AI Startup to Create Custom Trailers

To promote its upcoming sci-fi thriller “Reminiscence,” Warner Bros. has teamed up with AI startup D-ID to create a website that allows anyone to upload a photo that turns it into a deepfake video sequence promoting the film. D-ID, which started out as developing technology to protect consumers against facial recognition, now uses that research to optimize deepfakes. D-ID chief executive Gil Perry stated that the company “built a very strong face engine” that enabled a deepfake to be created from a single photo. Continue reading Warner Bros. Teams with AI Startup to Create Custom Trailers

Disney: Streaming Subscription Growth, Theme Parks Reopen

At the end of Q3, Disney+ had 116 million subscribers, exceeding the 112-115 million analysts had predicted. The most popular content included the Pixar animated feature “Luca,” superhero series “Loki” and live-action film “Cruella.” Meanwhile, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products earned a profit of $356 million. Disneyland in California reopened with limited capacity on April 30 after being closed for 14 months. Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said that park bookings are “really strong” despite the surge of COVID-19 cases with the Delta variant.  Continue reading Disney: Streaming Subscription Growth, Theme Parks Reopen

Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown

Netflix now blocks residential IP addresses in its efforts to stymie VPN and proxy users from bypassing geographical restrictions. But some ordinary Internet users without a VPN have been impacted and now report “missing content” on Netflix. When Netflix began this crackdown six years ago, it was in response to copyright holders complaining about piracy. But the ban hit a lot of legitimate VPN users and VPN pirates found other ways to get around geographic blocking including using residential IP addresses as proxies. Continue reading Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown

AMC Opens New Theater Locations, Plans to Accept Bitcoin

AMC Entertainment Holdings is in the midst of changes intended to appeal to its Reddit investors. In addition to opening new locations, chief executive Adam Aron said the company would start accepting Bitcoin at U.S. locations by the end of 2021. After AMC was brought to the verge of bankruptcy by COVID-19 lockdowns, its revenue tripled in the June quarter compared to the previous 2021 quarter. In the wake of that news, share prices rose 4.6 percent to $35.36 in after-hours trading. Its stock ended in 2020 at $2.12. Continue reading AMC Opens New Theater Locations, Plans to Accept Bitcoin

NEP Acquires Companies to Open Virtual Production Division

NEP Group is buying three companies in order to offer virtual production (VP) services for films, TV and interactive exhibits. Prysm Collective, Lux Machina and Halon Entertainment will form NEP Virtual Studios, a new division that, says NEP Group chief strategy officer Carrie Galvin, will be “a technical and creative services partner for content creators around the globe.” She added that NEP’s existing virtual production tools “start at the creative stage” and include special effects, augmented reality, and LED stages. Continue reading NEP Acquires Companies to Open Virtual Production Division

ViacomCBS Reports Rise in Revenue, Streaming Subscribers

In Q2 of this year, ViacomCBS — parent company of the CBS broadcast network, Showtime, Nickelodeon and the Paramount movie studio — saw revenue rise 8 percent to $6.6 billion and the addition of 6.5 million new streaming subscribers for a total of 42+ million. Net income was $1.04 billion or $1.56 per share, compared with $481 million or 78 cents per share year-over-year. Chief executive Bob Bakish said the company looks forward to scaling Paramount+ offerings, referring to a deal with Comcast to launch it on Sky in Europe. Continue reading ViacomCBS Reports Rise in Revenue, Streaming Subscribers

WarnerMedia Report: ‘Intentionality’ Key to Content and Ads

WarnerMedia advertising sales has identified “intentionality” as key to what drives today’s viewers. A survey it recently conducted found that 59 percent of respondents agreed that “I am more thoughtful about how I spend my time since the pandemic.” HBO Max, which now has an ad-supported tier, described the trend in a report, “Welcome to the Age of Intentionalism,” stating that consumers “are rethinking the essentials in their lives and making decisions of all sizes with increased intention — including … what, where, and why they stream.” Continue reading WarnerMedia Report: ‘Intentionality’ Key to Content and Ads

Korean Virtual Production Stage Features Samsung’s The Wall

Samsung has partnered with CJ ENM, a major Korean entertainment media production company to build a virtual production facility in South Korea. CJ ENM, which previously inked a deal with Epic Games to use its Unreal Game engine, will rely on Samsung’s next-generation MicroLED display, also known as “The Wall.” The facility will open later this year in Paju, Gyeonggi Province. Because of the savings offered to film and television via virtual production, the Göteborg Film Festival predicted it will be the norm in filmmaking in five years. Continue reading Korean Virtual Production Stage Features Samsung’s The Wall

HBO and HBO Max Subscriber Numbers Exceed Expectations

AT&T reported advances made by HBO in Q2 2021: a net gain of 2.85 million total domestic HBO Max and HBO subscribers, including 2.38 million retail net additions, for a total of 47.0 million at the end of the period, representing a gain of 10.7 million over the last year in the United Sates. HBO and HBO Max counted 67.5 million customers worldwide, up 12 million from last year. AT&T chief financial officer Pascal Desroches noted that the numbers exceeded Wall Street forecasts as well as AT&T’s own expectations. Continue reading HBO and HBO Max Subscriber Numbers Exceed Expectations

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