Warner Bros. and HBO Max Have Big Plans for New Film Unit

Last week, Warner Bros. announced the creation of a new film production unit named Warner Max that will create original content for WarnerMedia’s new streaming service, HBO Max, set to launch in the U.S. this May for $15/month. The joint venture plans to produce 8-10 mid-budget movies per year, and will not impact the number of theatrical releases produced by Warner Bros. or New Line Cinema. The first Warner Max film is slated to premiere later this year, while Warner Bros. will distribute content across other media and territories beyond the HBO Max SVOD window. Meanwhile, WarnerMedia is reportedly investing heavily in online original series ahead of the HBO Max launch, including a number of sci-fi and fantasy titles. Continue reading Warner Bros. and HBO Max Have Big Plans for New Film Unit

Disney+ Classic and Original Content Sparks Major Growth

The Walt Disney Company chief executive Bob Iger said that Disney+ has more than doubled its subscription base in three months, from 10 million at its November launch to 28.6 million as of this week, stating that this has “exceed[ed] even our greatest expectations.” He revealed that Disney’s older programming has been as popular as its new original content, adding that 65 percent of subscribers who watched “The Mandalorian” watched 10 other movies/shows on the service. The next season of “The Mandalorian” debuts in November. Continue reading Disney+ Classic and Original Content Sparks Major Growth

Netflix Grows Globally but Disney+ Takes Limelight at Home

New streaming service Disney+ signed up 10 million customers on the first day it debuted in November. Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings acknowledged the new streamer’s compelling content, saying that Disney+ “takes away a little from us.” It did: in Q4 2019, Netflix posted 420,000 new customers, less than the projected 600,000, noting that the slump may be due to Disney+. Disney, meanwhile, has moved up its launch date for Disney+ in the United Kingdom and parts of Western Europe, from March 31 to March 24. Continue reading Netflix Grows Globally but Disney+ Takes Limelight at Home

Amazon Licenses Original Interactive Audio Series for Alexa

Amazon has inked an exclusive license for “Tala’s World,” a seven-episode young adult adventure series produced by audio startup Xandra, which has produced Alexa skills for HBO, Sesame Workshop and Ubisoft. In the new adventure series, listeners help elf-like character Blobby find his missing best friend Tala by making decisions, collecting clues, and interrogating suspects. Available exclusively on Alexa, Amazon recently released the first episode and plans to release the second episode on December 13. Continue reading Amazon Licenses Original Interactive Audio Series for Alexa

More Details Emerge About Facebook’s Upcoming News Tab

Facebook is slated to launch a News Tab as early as the end of October, but according to sources only a few of the publishers whose headlines appear there will get paid. The News Tab, which will appear on the toolbar at the bottom of the Facebook mobile app, will feature links for up to 200 publications, but sources say the social media giant never intended to pay all those news outlets. Sources note that it is similar to how Facebook built its Watch section, which includes videos it doesn’t pay for. Continue reading More Details Emerge About Facebook’s Upcoming News Tab

Netflix Considers Introducing Bonuses For Successful Movies

Netflix, which traditionally has paid talent with upfront deals, is reportedly considering bonuses for filmmakers, actors and producers when their movies prove to be successful. Insiders indicate that the number of awards a movie wins or its viewership numbers could measure the level of success. The new incentive model would be designed to win film projects for the streaming service that would otherwise be picked up by other studios. While Scott Stuber, head of Netflix’s original film division, has been discussing possibilities with producers, details regarding the types of bonuses or who might receive them have not been revealed. Continue reading Netflix Considers Introducing Bonuses For Successful Movies

NBCUniversal to Launch Peacock Streaming Service in April

In April, NBCUniversal will introduce its streaming service, dubbed Peacock, and join the ranks of other streaming services to debut in the next few months. Apple TV+ will unveil November 1; Disney+ on November 12, and HBO Max from WarnerMedia, also in April. Peacock will have 15,000 hours of content on both its ad-supported and subscription-based services, including complete seasons of some of its most popular shows. In June, said a source, the company paid $500 million to regain rights to “The Office.” Continue reading NBCUniversal to Launch Peacock Streaming Service in April

Google Updates Algorithm, Guidelines to Aid Original Stories

Publishers complain that their news scoops, when posted online, are quickly nabbed and recycled by other publications, leading to a loss in traffic. To stem the flow, Google made changes to its algorithm and its guidelines to favor original reporting. Google vice president of news Richard Gingras said that the company would make it easier for readers to “find the story that started it all.” He later added that the shift also benefited Google Search and Google News in its efforts to “retain the trust of [its] users.”

Continue reading Google Updates Algorithm, Guidelines to Aid Original Stories

Vudu to Release Family Viewing Controls, “Mr. Mom” Reboot

Walmart’s video streaming service Vudu is introducing both a suite of tools to help parents better control what their children watch and its first original series, the family-oriented 11-episode “Mr. Mom,” a reboot of MGM’s 1983 comedy written by John Hughes. The first two episodes of “Mr. Mom” debuted September 12. The new tools include Family Play, which allows viewers to automatically skip or mute profanity, sex, nudity, violence and substance abuse. Also on tap are reviews and ratings from Common Sense Media. Continue reading Vudu to Release Family Viewing Controls, “Mr. Mom” Reboot

Ad-Supported YouTube Originals to Be Free For Everyone

YouTube has released new details regarding its previously announced transition to ad-supported free content to be made available via YouTube Originals. According to a statement from the YouTube team: “New YouTube Originals series, movies, and live events released after September 24, 2019 will be made available to non-members to watch for free, with ads. For series, members will get immediate access to every episode of a new season, while non-members will have to wait for each new episode to be released.” Continue reading Ad-Supported YouTube Originals to Be Free For Everyone

Snapchat Intros Celeb Creator Shows, Shares Ad Revenue

Snapchat began streaming first-person ‘Creator Shows’ this week featuring celebrities and social influencers in the same vertical video approach of the platform’s collection of original series. Notable celebs such as Kevin Hart, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Serena Williams can now stream their short-form videos on Snapchat and monetize their efforts through an ad-revenue sharing model (specific terms have not been revealed, but sources note that Snap’s standard deal with media companies is typically a 50 percent split). Continue reading Snapchat Intros Celeb Creator Shows, Shares Ad Revenue

BBC and ITV Join Forces to Launch Rival to U.S. Streamers

In the U.K., Amazon and Netflix now own about two-thirds of that country’s video streaming market and, for the second time, the BBC and ITV are trying to pool their assets to launch their own streaming platform. Their first effort to do so, in 2007, was squelched by regulators. The new platform, dubbed BritBox (a version of which has been available in North America), is expected to make its U.K. debut later in 2019, with the two broadcasters’ popular shows and new content. But the BBC and ITV are still struggling to resolve issues of budget, audience data sharing and content exclusivity. Continue reading BBC and ITV Join Forces to Launch Rival to U.S. Streamers

Spotify’s Soundtrap Expands its Free Toolset for Podcasters

Acquired by Spotify in 2017, cloud-based audio recording studio Soundtrap just expanded its free tier for podcasters, now offering access to an unlimited number of projects and 2,210 loops. All creators using Soundtrap will now have unlimited free storage for podcasts and songs. Founded in 2012, the Swedish-based company has offered four subscription tiers, ranging from $10 to $17 per month, all supporting an unlimited number of projects, 550 instruments and 4,100 loops. Soundtrap’s free tier previously limited users to five projects and 900 loops. The number of available instruments will remain the same. Continue reading Spotify’s Soundtrap Expands its Free Toolset for Podcasters

Latest Sandler Film Sets New Viewership Record for Netflix

Netflix announced yesterday that “Murder Mystery,” starring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston, was viewed by nearly 30.9 million households in the film’s first three days of availability, setting a new opening weekend record for a Netflix original. According to the company, 13,374,914 accounts in North America streamed the new film, while 17,494,949 worldwide accounts represented the additional viewing figures. Netflix says it only counted views if members watched at least 70 percent of the film. Netflix inked a four-picture deal with Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions in 2015, and renewed for another four movies two years later. Continue reading Latest Sandler Film Sets New Viewership Record for Netflix

Mailchimp Aims For Entrepreneurs With Entertainment Unit

Marketing platform Mailchimp just launched its own entertainment division, Mailchimp Presents, to produce short-form original series, movies and podcasts with a focus on the common experiences and struggles of entrepreneurs and small business owners. “These folks are often isolated, thinking about work all the time,” said Sarita Alami, production lead of Mailchimp Presents, and the company’s senior manager of brand marketing. “We have this great opportunity to create content that resonates with them in a way that hopefully reminds them that they’re not alone.” Continue reading Mailchimp Aims For Entrepreneurs With Entertainment Unit

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