CES: Quibi Pitches Streaming Short Video for Small Screens

During CES in Las Vegas last week, Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and chief executive Meg Whitman revealed more details about their streaming content venture fueled by $1.4 billion in venture capital funding. A portmanteau for “quick bites,” Quibi plans to offer short content — under 10-minutes — for mobile phones. In other words, the enterprise is entering the streaming wars, looking for a sweet spot between the heavy-hitter long-form providers like Netflix and HBO and the free, varied content of YouTube and TikTok. Continue reading CES: Quibi Pitches Streaming Short Video for Small Screens

Quibi Video Platform Inks Deals With ESPN and 60 Minutes

Quibi, the short-form video platform co-founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, signed two new content partners. The Walt Disney Company’s ESPN will provide a daily sports highlights show, which will debut with Quibi’s April launch and be part of that platform’s Daily Essentials. According to Katzenberg, Daily Essentials will curate content and “make it convenient” to viewers. CBS News’ “60 Minutes” will also create “60 in 6,” a version of original news stories condensed into six-minute long episodes specifically for Quibi. Continue reading Quibi Video Platform Inks Deals With ESPN and 60 Minutes

Netflix Tests Interactive Storytelling in ‘Black Mirror’ Episode

Netflix released “Bandersnatch,” an interactive episode of “Black Mirror,” its popular techno-paranoia series, that lets the viewer decide what happens at many points throughout the story, beginning with what cereal the protagonist has for breakfast. Netflix, which is using the episode to test if audiences are ready to embrace interactivity, already developed software to organize stories with infinite variations, called on producers to submit proposals for interactive stories, and hinted it has more in the works. Continue reading Netflix Tests Interactive Storytelling in ‘Black Mirror’ Episode

Netflix’s Release Models Are Challenging Hollywood Studios

If director Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” gets Netflix its first Best Picture nomination for the Oscars, much of the credit will go to Scott Stuber, who heads Netflix’s movie business. His mandate is to help Netflix loom as large in movies as it does in television, where it received 112 Emmy nominations this year, the most of any network. Netflix is spending big on its Academy Awards campaign for “Roma,” and studios are worried that Netflix’s move into features might lead viewers to avoid movie theaters altogether. Continue reading Netflix’s Release Models Are Challenging Hollywood Studios

HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Against the backdrop of eroding live TV viewership and the expansion of video games and Web video, acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic,” “The Knick”) has directed “Mosaic,” an interactive series with branching narratives. Co-developed by Soderbergh and former Universal Pictures head Casey Silver with screenwriter Ed Solomon, “Mosaic” is a multi-episodic mystery that allows audiences to choose the story threads they experience. The series is now available for free download from Android and Apple stores and for viewing with Apple TV. Continue reading HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Amazon Studios is Determined to Compete with HBO Originals

Amazon Studios entered the original programming business with the intent of developing quality content on par with that of premium networks such as HBO. Programming of HBO caliber however, is not possible without the necessary financial commitment to help producers. “There was never any need to go back to them (to ask for more money)… You don’t worry they’ll say, ‘Let’s do it for less,’” says creator Garry Trudeau of his experience with the studio on its debut hit, “Alpha House.” Continue reading Amazon Studios is Determined to Compete with HBO Originals

Auteur Structure: Are Film Directors Reimagining Television?

Notable film directors are increasingly making the transition to television as networks are providing more creative control and encouraging the use of distinctive styles. Cary Fukunaga directed every episode of HBO’s “True Detective,” illustrating that the auteur model could be an effective approach to a TV series. With Steven Soderbergh directing every episode of “The Knick” on Cinemax and David Fincher doing the same for the upcoming “Utopia” on HBO, the shift seems to be more than a mere trend. Continue reading Auteur Structure: Are Film Directors Reimagining Television?

Amazon Aims to Make Prime Instant Video a Major Competitor

Amazon Studios, the production arm of Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service, hopes to challenge Netflix with compelling original series. The studio greenlit several shows to debut later this year, and viewers will get the chance to view pilots for another set of prospective shows in the next few weeks, including a drama by Whit Stillman and a comedy produced by Steven Soderbergh. Amazon takes feedback from viewers into consideration when selecting new shows. Continue reading Amazon Aims to Make Prime Instant Video a Major Competitor

Soderbergh Distinguishes Between Cinema and Movies

Last week, filmmaker Steven Soderbergh dissected the business of making movies when he spoke on the current state of cinema at the San Francisco International Film Festival. Soderbergh, who has achieved success in both the Hollywood system and the independent arena, spoke at length about the challenges faced by today’s artists to get their movies screened in theaters. Based on unprecedented demand, Soderbergh gave The San Francisco Film Society permission to post his keynote video and transcript in its entirety. Continue reading Soderbergh Distinguishes Between Cinema and Movies