Upcoming Apple TV Plus Will Focus on Quality Not Quantity

Apple senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue has released some details about the company’s Apple TV Plus service, scheduled to launch in the fall. Positioning itself opposite Netflix’s strategy, cue said that Apple will be “creating the best” rather than “the most” original content. He added that there is “nothing wrong” with Netflix’s model, “but it’s not our model.” Apple is a latecomer to streaming video, although Disney, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. will also debut platforms in 2019 and 2020. Continue reading Upcoming Apple TV Plus Will Focus on Quality Not Quantity

DOJ Warns Academy New Netflix Rules Could Violate Laws

As the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mulls over rule changes that would limit the eligibility of content from Netflix and other streaming services, the U.S. Department of Justice weighed in with a warning that doing so could violate competition law and raise antitrust issues. Academy board member Steven Spielberg reportedly has encouraged changes to Oscar eligibility rules, prompting the DOJ’s response. At CinemaCon, movie theater owners are also discussing how Netflix is changing the landscape. Continue reading DOJ Warns Academy New Netflix Rules Could Violate Laws

Apple Rolls Out New TV, Gaming, Finance, News Services

During yesterday’s highly anticipated “Show Time” event at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, CEO Tim Cook was joined by top execs and Hollywood heavyweights to unveil details regarding a new streaming TV service in addition to initiatives involving news, gaming and finance services. The Apple TV+ subscription service is slated to launch this fall in more than 100 countries. While cost and specific launch dates were not addressed, the event emphasized original programming and a collection of channel partners during a presentation that was similar to a traditional television upfront, including major celebrities and musical performances. Continue reading Apple Rolls Out New TV, Gaming, Finance, News Services

Steven Spielberg Criticizes Oscar Noms for Streaming Films

As the Academy Governor representing directors, filmmaker Steven Spielberg is intent on changing the rules so that movies made by streaming content creators won’t be eligible for Oscars but would only be considered for Emmys, along with other TV fare. Spielberg — and the studios — were motivated most recently by how close Netflix-produced “Roma” came to winning Best Picture. As it was, “Roma” director Alfonso Cuarón won Academy Awards for best director and best cinematographer. One complaint is the lopsided spending for Oscar competition. Continue reading Steven Spielberg Criticizes Oscar Noms for Streaming Films

Diller and Spielberg on the Growing Dominance of Streaming

On Kara Swisher’s podcast Recode Decode, Barry Diller declared that Hollywood is “now irrelevant,” adding that those executives who used to hold a lot of power now have much less and that the six movie companies that once dominated everything no longer do. “For the first time, they ain’t buying anything,” he said. “Meaning they’re not buying Netflix. They are not buying Amazon.” Meanwhile, at the Cinema Audio Society Awards, Steven Spielberg declared his affinity for the movie theater experience. Continue reading Diller and Spielberg on the Growing Dominance of Streaming

Dreamscape Immersive to Expand Location-Based VR in 2019

Dreamscape Immersive focuses on creating virtual reality experiences as location-based entertainment in malls and other venues. From the entrance, a “departure lounge” that immerses visitors in backstories and props, titles such as “Alien Zoo” and “Lavan’s Magic Projector: The Lost Pearl” are intended to feel like journeys. Dreamscape chief executive Bruce Vaughn, who was former chief creative officer of Walt Disney Imagineering said it’s about reframing how audiences view virtual reality. Continue reading Dreamscape Immersive to Expand Location-Based VR in 2019

Apple Grows Its Services by Partnering with Samsung, Others

Although Apple doesn’t have an official presence at CES, it still made news there, with companies announcing partnerships for iTunes, AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. The Silicon Valley firm is rumored to be rolling out a streaming video service in early 2019, with content from Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, M. Night Shyamalan and Steven Spielberg. At CES 2019, Apple’s integration with third party platforms included TVs from Samsung, LG, Vizio and Sony. The move into content and services comes as Apple contends with lower iPhone sales. Continue reading Apple Grows Its Services by Partnering with Samsung, Others

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

Apple Inks Deal With Sesame Workshop for Three Programs

Apple ordered two shows, one live-action and the other animated, from Sesame Workshop, the home of “Sesame Street,” and also put a puppet-centric show into development there. With this order, Apple now has 15 original content series in development and said it will begin streaming them in 2019. The crime series “Are You Sleeping” — a production of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine company starring Octavia Spencer — will start production on Monday, the first Apple show to do so. Other Apple shows have experienced glitches. Continue reading Apple Inks Deal With Sesame Workshop for Three Programs

J.J. Abrams Teams With Tencent to Form Bad Robot Games

Director J.J. Abrams, who most recently helmed “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” plans to add video games to the portfolio of his production company Bad Robot. Formed in partnership with Chinese company Tencent Holdings, and a minority stake from investor Warner Bros. Interactive, Bad Robot Games will be headed by Dave Baronoff and Tim Keenan. Baronoff worked on the Bad Robot game adaptation of “Cloverfield” and Keenan, who will serve as creative director, is the creator of “Duskers” and “A Virus Named Tom.” Continue reading J.J. Abrams Teams With Tencent to Form Bad Robot Games

Facebook Debuts Real-World AR Effects Tied to New Movies

Facebook has confirmed that it is currently testing an augmented reality camera that goes beyond its earlier functions (and limitations) of selfie masks and inserting 3D objects into locations. Beta users can now test the use of real-world location markers that set off augmented reality experiences right where they stand. The closed beta includes promotions tied to the films “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Ready Player One,” and near future plans include adding tracker-based AR to its AR Studio tool that will be open to all developers.

Continue reading Facebook Debuts Real-World AR Effects Tied to New Movies

AMC Invests $20M in Dreamscape, Plans to Open VR Centers

AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest theater chain, just invested $20 million in Dreamscape Immersive, a company that has been developing a virtual-reality multiplex for the last year-and-a-half for rollout in the U.S. and U.K. Other investors include Steven Spielberg, 21st Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Warner Bros. Dreamscape’s team includes former chief of Disney’s theme park design, a “Men in Black” series producer, and a live event bigwig. With AMC’s investment, Dreamscape has amassed $40 million. Continue reading AMC Invests $20M in Dreamscape, Plans to Open VR Centers

Sony Pictures Masters Classic Films in High Dynamic Range

At AMIA’s The Reel Thing conference in Hollywood, Sony Pictures Entertainment senior vice president of technology for production and post production Bill Baggelaar presented a session on HDR video mastering for classic cinema. He first hoped to dispel myths about high dynamic range. “I’ve heard that you need sunglasses to watch HDR, that filmmakers will hate it and that it will be too hard to deliver,” he said. “People also worry that there are too many formats, with HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+ and HLG.” Continue reading Sony Pictures Masters Classic Films in High Dynamic Range

HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

Road to VR is featuring a guest article this week by Alvin Wang Graylin, China president of Vive at HTC, who sings the praises of Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel Ready Player One. The story depicts an existence in which “VR is intertwined into every aspect of our daily lives,” writes Graylin. He believes there are positive lessons to be learned from such a “VR-First future.” The book details tech “that has the potential to create truly transformative impact on our future lives, culture, and world,” which is why he makes sure every member of his China Vive team has a copy. In his article, Graylin outlines what he sees as the 16 key takeaways from Ready Player One.

Continue reading HTC Exec Shares Lessons From Novel For a VR-First Future

Screening Room Files Eight Anti-Piracy Patent Applications

Napster co-founder Sean Parker has been working on Screening Room, a controversial project that would bring Hollywood blockbusters into homes on the day of their release, for $50 per movie. J.J. Abrams, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg are shareholders, but industry skeptics are worried that Screening Room will provide pirates with easy pickings. But now Parker’s Screening Room Media has submitted eight patent applications addressing piracy, including a so-called P2P polluter. Continue reading Screening Room Files Eight Anti-Piracy Patent Applications

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