Hollywood Wins Piracy Battle Against STB Seller TickBox TV

Georgia-based TickBox TV has agreed to end all piracy-related activities and pay $25 million in damages to Hollywood studios and streaming services that had accused the set-top box manufacturer of copyright infringement. Major film and television companies filed a proposal yesterday with the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for a permanent injunction against TickBox to prevent pirated movies and TV shows from being streamed to consumer televisions via the STB. The decision is the first legal win for the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a coalition of entertainment companies and studios formed to combat piracy. Continue reading Hollywood Wins Piracy Battle Against STB Seller TickBox TV

Mattel Launches a New Film Division to Help Revitalize Sales

Toy maker Mattel just opened a new division, Mattel Films, to develop and produce movies based on its brands and headed up by Academy Award-nominated producer Robbie Brenner. Known for her work on “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Mirror Mirror” and “The Fighter,” Brenner will report directly to Mattel chief executive/chair Ynon Kreiz, a media and entertainment veteran, who has worked on children’s content. The new division could help bolster Mattel, which has seen slumping sales since the shuttering of Toys R Us. Continue reading Mattel Launches a New Film Division to Help Revitalize Sales

HPA Tech Retreat: Call for Proposals and Roundtable Topics

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) just called for proposals for the 2019 HPA Tech Retreat, which will take place February 11–15 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, California. Proposals submitted during this process make up the main portion of the conference, which focuses on the intersection of creative media and technology. The HPA Tech Retreat is made up of the Tech Retreat Extra (TR-X), the Supersession, breakfast roundtables, an Innovation Zone, and the main conference. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Call for Proposals and Roundtable Topics

EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

The EU’s European Commission announced its plans to make Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services operating within the European Union to dedicate at least 30 percent of their catalogs to content produced locally. A final vote approving the new law, described as “a mere formality” by Roberto Viola of the European Commission, is expected in December. The European Union plans to publish a report that details the percentages of European projects that are tied to multiple streaming platforms. Netflix is reportedly already close to the 30 percent quota. Continue reading EU Will Require Streaming Services to Feature Local Content

Rotten Tomatoes Diversifies Critic Pool to Strengthen Service

In an effort to make its Tomatometer ranking of movies and TV shows even stronger, popular review aggregation service Rotten Tomatoes made a move this week to add more female and minority reviewers. By revising its criteria for new critics, the service aims to include a wider range of voices, including those from the increasing number of reviewers gaining audiences via podcasts and YouTube. In order to be more inclusive, Rotten Tomatoes has adjusted its requirements that have thus far been based largely on employment duration and scale of publishing. As a result of the changes, 200 new critics were added to the site yesterday. Continue reading Rotten Tomatoes Diversifies Critic Pool to Strengthen Service

Twitch, Pokémon Company Team Up for Movie/TV Marathons

Twitch and The Pokémon Company International are joining forces to offer “Pokémon: The Series,” featuring 16 movies and 19 television seasons comprised of 932 episodes. Twitch plans to livestream the marathons — the longest program-related viewing event it has ever streamed — in several blocks, beginning August 27 and running into 2019. The two companies first partnered on the “Twitch Plays Pokémon” social experiment in 2014. The marathons will help market the Nintendo “Pokémon” games slated to debut this fall. Continue reading Twitch, Pokémon Company Team Up for Movie/TV Marathons

The Reel Thing: Prime Focus and HBO Test 10K Scans of Film

At The Reel Thing, an annual conference at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood on “current thinking and most advanced practical examples of progress in the field of preservation, restoration and media conservation,” Prime Focus Technologies executive director of cloud media services Anthony Matt and HBO director of remastering and alternate versions Laurel Warbrick described the results of their testing of 10K scans vs. 4K scans of 35mm film. Fittingly, they titled their presentation “The Burden of 10K Dreams.” Continue reading The Reel Thing: Prime Focus and HBO Test 10K Scans of Film

Blackmagic Design Debuts DaVinci Resolve 15 with VFX Tools

Blackmagic Design’s release of DaVinci Resolve 15 adds Fusion, a visual effects tool often used in Hollywood films, to its professional-level color correction and audio editor. The full studio release of Resolve 15 is $300, but another, stripped down version that still includes the most important features is free. This compares to Adobe Creative Cloud, which costs more than $50 per month. DaVinci Resolve 15 is platform agnostic, running on macOS, Windows 10 and Linux, and offers four modules in one app. Continue reading Blackmagic Design Debuts DaVinci Resolve 15 with VFX Tools

Sennheiser Records 3D Audio Thriller with New Smart Headset

Today’s personal video viewing elevates the need for immersive sound. Sennheiser has created a plug-and-play solution with its new prosumer-priced 3D AMBEO Smart Headset, which was recently used for “Final Stop” — a Sennheiser-sponsored short video billed as “a 3D audio thriller.” Shot on an iPhone with a professional crew, “Final Stop” leverages horror soundscapes made affordably possible by the Apogee-fueled headset. Sennheiser introduced the device last year under the AMBEO brand as a personal binaural recording headset. Continue reading Sennheiser Records 3D Audio Thriller with New Smart Headset

Roku Expands Reach of Video Channel to the Web and Mobile

Earlier this month, streaming device maker Roku introduced The Roku Channel — its streaming destination for free, ad-supported movies and TV shows — to non-Roku devices for the first time. The rollout started on the web and select Samsung smart TVs, before plans for a wider cross-platform launch. In addition to updating the navigation for Roku players and Roku TVs to access free TV content, the company plans to bring its service to PCs, smartphones and tablets for those consumers who have not purchased Roku devices. Continue reading Roku Expands Reach of Video Channel to the Web and Mobile

vETC 2018: How Would You Store a Zetta-Byte of Cold Data?

Imagine your entire film archive stored on small cubes of glass or as DNA? Now imagine that it could potentially last for hundreds or even thousands of years, and for the lowest cost ever achieved before. It may sound like science fiction, but, at Microsoft, it’s already a reality in one of their R&D labs. This fascinating presentation by Austin Donnelly and Karin Strauss shows you the future of long-term, cold storage. Continue reading vETC 2018: How Would You Store a Zetta-Byte of Cold Data?

MPAA Debuts First Update of Content Security Best Practices

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) completed its first update of Content Security Best Practices since the Trusted Partner Network (TPN) debuted in April in a joint venture with the Content Delivery and Security Association (CDSA). The TPN is intended to standardize and improve the quality of assessors and reduce the waste of duplicative audits. Current and future vendor assessments will be based on the MPAA Best Practices, built into the TPN platform to create its Common Controls. Continue reading MPAA Debuts First Update of Content Security Best Practices

Netflix Deletes All Customer Reviews Based on Declining Use

After last month’s announcement, Netflix began to remove all customer reviews of TV shows, movies and other programming from its site, saying it was due to “declining use.” Although Netflix did allow customers to post new reviews until July 30, the company said it will have erased more than ten years’ worth of reviews by mid-August. Netflix removed the five-star rating system a year ago. Rival services Amazon, Apple’s iTunes and App Store, Google Play and Rotten Tomatoes still display user reviews and ratings. Continue reading Netflix Deletes All Customer Reviews Based on Declining Use

Netflix Is Testing Promotional Videos That Play During Binges

While Netflix bingers may be accustomed to the occasional “Are you still watching?” interruption, some subscribers are now experiencing 10- to 20-second promotional videos, and complaints have suggested that the videos cannot be skipped or muted. Similar to traditional commercials, the videos appear between episodes, reminding users about various series available on the streaming service. The company explained on Sunday that it is merely testing the promotional videos and they can actually be skipped. Netflix did not indicate how many of its more than 100 million subscribers are experiencing the tests. Continue reading Netflix Is Testing Promotional Videos That Play During Binges

Amazon May Expand Media Efforts With Landmark Purchase

Amazon is reportedly among those vying to acquire Landmark Theatres, the country’s largest chain focused on indie and foreign movies. Landmark is part of the Wagner/Cuban entertainment holdings, backed by film producer Todd Wagner and billionaire investor Mark Cuban. According to insiders, Landmark’s owners have been working with financial services firm Stephens Inc. on a possible sale. The move would introduce Amazon to the brick-and-mortar cinema industry, while complementing the e-commerce giant’s media expansion of interests such as Prime Video, Prime Music and Amazon Studios. Continue reading Amazon May Expand Media Efforts With Landmark Purchase

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