Netflix Makes Major Commitment to Canada With New Studio

Netflix is planning to invest a minimum of 500 million Canadian dollars ($400.8 million U.S.) over the next five years to build a studio in Canada, revealed Canada’s Heritage Minister, Melanie Joly. The studio will create original Canadian productions, some of which will be French-language, in recognition of Canada’s status as a bilingual country. Canada, which was the first foreign country where Netflix launched, is also home to the third most global subscribers. The Canadian studio will be Netflix’s first global content outpost. Continue reading Netflix Makes Major Commitment to Canada With New Studio

European Broadcasters Create Web Videos for Young Viewers

While U.S. networks primarily repost their broadcast television shows online, European broadcasters are taking a different approach by producing short-form Web series that are created specifically for mobile viewing. The new shows are a way for broadcasters to compete with the growing popularity of Netflix and Amazon, while creating a new revenue stream as mobile advertising sales are expected to surge 82 percent in the next two years. The ads for these shows are often targeted at younger audiences who are more likely to be watching on the go. Continue reading European Broadcasters Create Web Videos for Young Viewers

STX Entertainment Acquires Surreal, Launches New Division

STX Entertainment is making a move into virtual reality with its purchase of Surreal Inc., producer and distributor of immersive media content. “Under terms of the deal, Surreal will operate as a division of STX, led by co-founders Rick Rey and Andy Vick, who now will serve as co-presidents of VR and Immersive Entertainment under the new STX Surreal label,” reports Deadline. “Rey and Vick are among those at the forefront of VR, including live-action 360-degree video and interactive VR content.” STX president Sophie Watts will oversee the new division. STX recently became strategic equity partners with China’s Tencent Holdings Limited and Hong Kong telecom PCCW. Continue reading STX Entertainment Acquires Surreal, Launches New Division

‘Aliens’ Panel to Stream from Comic-Con via YouTube Service

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will be at Comic-Con International in San Diego this week celebrating the 30th anniversary of James Cameron’s sci-fi thriller “Aliens.” According to Variety, “Fox is for the first time using YouTube’s new mobile live streaming service to let the original cast of the movie talk to a global audience.” Streaming the Saturday panel will mark the first time a Hollywood studio uses the service. The panel will feature Cameron, producer Gale Anne Hurd, and actors Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser, Michael Biehn and Carrie Henn. The “Aliens” 30th anniversary limited edition Blu-ray and digital release will be available September 13. Continue reading ‘Aliens’ Panel to Stream from Comic-Con via YouTube Service

Weather Channel Turns to AR Tech for 2016 Hurricane Season

The Weather Channel has launched three new augmented reality tools to help bring tropical storms and hurricane season to life during its broadcasts. SurgeFX offers a realistic to-scale surge forecast, Shear Factor displays real data in three dimensions, and 3D visualization tool Tropical Replay tracks past storms to provide historical context. Last year, the network unveiled its AR capabilities with an in-studio tornado simulation. “For the 2016 hurricane season, the network is adding a data dimension to its augmented reality features,” reports Mashable. “Instead of just simulating weather phenomena, the products will incorporate real-time data through dazzling graphics.” Continue reading Weather Channel Turns to AR Tech for 2016 Hurricane Season

Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

Lionsgate announced it has agreed to acquire premium cable network Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock. Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht, who just signed a new contract that runs through 2020, is expected to continue running Starz. It is not clear if the deal would have any impact on Lionsgate’s stake in Epix, which the company owns with Viacom and MGM, and serves as the pay TV home to Lionsgate films. The deal will bring 17 Starz- and Encore-branded channels and Anchor Bay Entertainment video distribution to Lionsgate. Continue reading Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

Comcast to Purchase DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

The rumors are true. Comcast announced yesterday that it would acquire DreamWorks Animation SKG in a deal valued at $3.8 billion. The move reflects a significant change in entertainment media as companies seek new ways to address the impact of evolving trends such as streaming video and cord-cutting. Since animation performs well in foreign markets and helps drive consumer product sales, DreamWorks could serve as a vital resource for NBCUniversal. The animation studio could also become a launch pad for the Universal theme parks unit, which is currently planning a new park in Beijing. Continue reading Comcast to Purchase DreamWorks Animation for $3.8 Billion

Comcast is Reportedly in Early Discussions to Purchase DWA

Reports have surfaced that Comcast is in talks to purchase DreamWorks Animation SKG for more than $3 billion. The unconfirmed deal would make the cable giant a major player in the family entertainment business, and possibly provide additional leverage for building out theme park and consumer product businesses. According to The Wall Street Journal, “One person with knowledge of the talks said that DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment, Universal’s animation studio, would remain separate brands.” However, a deal could provide Universal with a greater presence in China, where DreamWorks chief exec Jeffrey Katzenberg has focused much of his attention. Continue reading Comcast is Reportedly in Early Discussions to Purchase DWA

ABC Developing Original Programming for Streaming Initiative

ABC is said to be exploring a new approach to streaming original content online. Rather than launching a standalone subscription service similar to CBS All Access or NBCUniversal’s upcoming comedy offering Seeso, the network is reportedly planning to introduce new series exclusively through its WatchABC app. In addition to offering expanded original programming on an alternative platform, the Disney-owned network could also use the model as a means of trying out new concepts and talent that could eventually make their way to broadcast television. Continue reading ABC Developing Original Programming for Streaming Initiative

Apple Considers Move into Producing Original Video Content

Sources indicate that Apple has recently been meeting with Hollywood executives to discuss the possibility of the tech giant taking a more active role in the entertainment business by producing original programming. The group exploring the possibility reports to Eddy Cue, who handles content-related issues for Apple. According to one high-level exec who met with Apple, the goal is to launch development and production units by next year that would produce streaming content to take on Netflix and similar services. Continue reading Apple Considers Move into Producing Original Video Content

New Form Digital Studio to Launch Program at USC This Fall

Director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer’s newly launched digital studio, New Form, will team up with students from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts to develop digital content. Two-person teams of students will participate in the year-long program to develop scripted series for the Web and pitch their projects. At the end of the first semester, three of the pitches will be selected for production to take place during the second semester. Continue reading New Form Digital Studio to Launch Program at USC This Fall

Alchemy Virtual Reality Studio Takes Viewers Back In Time

Atlantic Productions, a British production company known for its educational programs, documentaries, and Emmy-award winning visual effects, has just launched a new virtual reality studio to create content for Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus VR technology. Alchemy’s first project is collaborating with Sir David Attenborough, a celebrated naturalist, to take viewers on a journey to meet the creatures that lived about 550 million years ago. Continue reading Alchemy Virtual Reality Studio Takes Viewers Back In Time

BBC Plans the First Live Ultra HD Broadcast Entirely Over IP

As several broadcasters get ready to test live Ultra HD broadcasts of the World Cup this week, the BBC has plans to go one step further. Journalist and ETCentric contributor Adrian Pennington tells us that the BBC has chosen next month’s Commonwealth Games for the world’s first live Ultra HD production that will use an entirely Internet-based infrastructure. While broadcasters have used IP to distribute content between the studio and remote locations, all-IP live production is not yet common. Continue reading BBC Plans the First Live Ultra HD Broadcast Entirely Over IP

E3 2014: Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus Lead VR Revolution

Two virtual reality headsets are generating the most attention at the E3 confab in Los Angeles this week — Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. Both are expected to launch commercially during 2015, and may represent a significant business opportunity for producers of immersive entertainment. In addition to the gaming community, Hollywood is expressing strong interest. In fact, many media producers see VR as the next big revolution in entertainment. Continue reading E3 2014: Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus Lead VR Revolution

E3 2014: Electronic Arts Puts Focus on Conceptual Prototypes

In addition to games it plans to produce this year, Electronic Arts offered a glimpse of the future at its E3 press conference. CEO Andrew Wilson promised “raw prototypes of what’s to come over the next few years” and “thoughtful reflections on what’s inspiring the future.” Early prototype footage was shown for “Star Wars Battlefront” from DICE, a new game in the “Mass Effect” series from BioWare, and an unnamed first-person game with helicopters, motorcycles and skydiving from Criterion. Continue reading E3 2014: Electronic Arts Puts Focus on Conceptual Prototypes

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