TOMORROW: ETC Digital Town Square on Virtual Production

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC’s next Digital Town Square will examine virtual production principles and lessons learned in the second of two programs breaking down production of the live-action short “Ripple Effect.” The virtual event, co-sponsored by Microsoft Azure, is free and open to the public. In the keynote address, Isaac Campos will analyze his 12-year journey in the LED panel market and describe the latest tools and technologies. Event panels and talks will address topics such as VAD (virtual art department) development and how to build a large LED volume. Register online now for this special event, scheduled for January 20, 1:00-3:30 PST. Continue reading TOMORROW: ETC Digital Town Square on Virtual Production

CES: Identifying Consumer Trends Shaping the New Normal

The Harris Poll’s CEO John Gerzema and Mastercard’s EVP of North America marketing and communications Cheryl Guerin presented data from their recent joint market research study of COVID-19’s impact on digital commerce. They grouped their findings around four key trends: The Touchless Revolution, The Betterment Boom, The Rise of Revenge Spending and The Uncalendared Year. The presentation was followed by a 30-minute discussion with panelists Julia Hammond of MDC Partners, DyShaun Muhammad of Uber, Lou Paskalis of Bank of America and Katie Riccio Puris of TikTok. Continue reading CES: Identifying Consumer Trends Shaping the New Normal

Struum to Aggregate Content from Many Streaming Services

Co-founded by former Discovery and Disney executives, Struum is a new entrant to the streaming space that, rather than offering its own content, instead hopes to find a niche in helping viewers manage the flood of content available from hundreds of streaming services. It will provide viewers á la carte access to shows and movies without having to subscribe to each platform, giving visibility to smaller services. Former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner’s The Tornante Company is Struum’s main financial backer.

Continue reading Struum to Aggregate Content from Many Streaming Services

All-Virtual CES 2021 Focuses on Innovation Despite Pandemic

The sprawl of CES, typically measured in millions of square feet of exhibit space, multiple venues, and hundreds of thousands of attendees, now spans the globe as the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) sets “the global stage for innovation” in an all-digital format when it opens its four-day run on January 11. However dispersed, CES Week will still be the focal point for the consumer technology sector and trends will emerge, even if news and product announcements will originate from both CES events and individual company presentations. Continue reading All-Virtual CES 2021 Focuses on Innovation Despite Pandemic

Streaming Platforms Benefited from 2020 COVID Lockdowns

In 2020, many analysts expected a shakeout among the burgeoning number of streaming services. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic led to record-breaking viewing. U.S. subscription numbers are expected to finish the year 50+ percent higher than a year ago, according to data from Moffett Nathanson and HarrisX, whose chief executive Dritan Nesho said “streaming coexistence and parallel growth” were leitmotifs for the year. Newcomers AT&T’s HBO Max and Disney+ also saw a rise in app downloads when they debuted feature films. Continue reading Streaming Platforms Benefited from 2020 COVID Lockdowns

ETC Executive Coffee: A Discussion with Michael Park of Fox

Fox Corporation joined USC students via Zoom for the fourth installment of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series. Sixteen graduate students from the Marshall School of Business and the Iovine and Young Academy, many preparing to work in entertainment, shared their views on the future of media with Michael Park, VP of digital marketing for Fox Corporation. The discussion topic for the October 14 session was “What is the future of streaming entertainment, TV consumption, marketing, advertising and revenue models?” Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: A Discussion with Michael Park of Fox

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

ETC Executive Coffee: Universal Execs Talk Content Creation

During Universal Pictures’ second appearance in ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series, executives led a discussion with students on content creation and virtual production. Annie Chang, VP of creative technologies, and her colleague media technology manager Lindsey Townley addressed pandemic and post-pandemic content production concerns with 13 USC students from cinema, business, engineering and innovation. The framing topic for the October 9 session was “What kind of engaging entertainment experiences do you want to create, how do you expect to create them, and what will your working environment be like?” Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Universal Execs Talk Content Creation

ETC Executive Coffee: Universal Execs on Consumer Behavior

During ETC@USC’s second Executive Coffee with… installment, executives from Universal Pictures discussed trends in consumer behavior. “What’s the future of entertainment; in your hands, on a wall, and in the world around you?” was the topic of Universal’s first of two sessions with USC students. The September 29 session was hosted by CTO Michael Wise, along with VP of technology partnerships & innovation Greg Reed and media technology manager Lindsey Townley. Twelve students from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts plus four students from other USC schools took part. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Universal Execs on Consumer Behavior

Survey Suggests Movie Theaters Will Struggle in Near Future

Deloitte Insights’ recent Digital Media Trends survey revealed that 71 percent of consumers are not comfortable about attending a movie in the theater in the next month and just over 50 percent said they wouldn’t go to a theater in the next six months. The survey revealed that a mere 18 percent of U.S. consumers have gone to see a movie in a theater since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Deloitte concluded that, when the pandemic is over, “it is unclear what role movie theaters will play in consumer entertainment.” Continue reading Survey Suggests Movie Theaters Will Struggle in Near Future

ETC Executive Coffee: A Discussion with Verizon’s Albert Lao

To kick off ETC@USC’s eight-part Executive Coffee with… series, Verizon’s Albert Lao led a Zoom discussion on September 23. “How will advances in network technology over the next 36 months impact the way we watch movies, play video games, and create and produce immersive and engaging experiences?” was the framing question for a wide-ranging discussion. Three students each from the cinema school and the engineering school, plus two students from the business school participated. Lao set up the discussion by showing a brief video explaining 5G and edge computing, and describing how they would impact entertainment creation, distribution and analytics. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: A Discussion with Verizon’s Albert Lao

Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Warner Bros. announced that its entire 2021 slate, comprised of 17 movies, will be distributed simultaneously via movie theaters and on its streaming service HBO Max where new titles will remain for one month. Warner Bros. made the decision that, despite coronavirus vaccines on track to be widely deployed, the movie-going audiences won’t return to theaters until next fall. The move is also intended to boost interest in HBO Max, which debuted in May for $15 per month as a new competitor to Netflix and other streaming services. Continue reading Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Netflix Commits $1 Billion to Expand New Mexico Production

New Mexico governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Albuquerque mayor Tim Keller and Netflix co-chief executive Ted Sarandos stated that the streaming giant will spend $1 billion on production spending in the state. The company plans to expand its ABQ Studios, adding 300 acres and as many as 10 stages, production offices, backlots, commissary and other buildings to the existing facilities. The increased spending will also create an estimated 1,000 production jobs over the next ten years and 1,467 construction jobs to build the studio expansion. Continue reading Netflix Commits $1 Billion to Expand New Mexico Production

Studios Adapting to Pandemic Limitations with Film Releases

WarnerMedia chief executive Jason Kilar revealed that his company plans to release blockbuster “Wonder Woman 1984” simultaneously in theaters and on its HBO Max streaming service on Christmas Day. He noted the changed environment, in which box office revenue alone doesn’t measure a film’s success but also by the number of new subscribers it generates for the studio’s streaming service. The distribution plan for the much-anticipated release is a sign of how much media companies have evolved to put more emphasis on streaming. Continue reading Studios Adapting to Pandemic Limitations with Film Releases

Universal, Cinemark Sign Deal for Shorter Exclusivity Window

Comcast’s Universal Pictures teamed with Cinemark Holdings, the third largest theater chain in the U.S., to permit online distribution of movies after three weekends (or 17 days) in theaters. The exception is movies that gross $50+ million domestically during their first weekend, lengthening the exclusivity window to five weekends or 31 days. Universal inked a similar deal with AMC Entertainment in July. Pre-pandemic, the exclusivity window was 2-1/2 months from a film’s premiere in theaters until it could be distributed to homes. Continue reading Universal, Cinemark Sign Deal for Shorter Exclusivity Window

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