Netflix Expanding Previews as Ad Tier Gets Up and Running

Netflix is now live with its ad-supported tier, but company co-CEO Reed Hastings said he regrets not having launched it sooner. Speaking at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit, Hastings said he was preoccupied with digital competition from Google and Facebook. “I didn’t believe in the ad-supported tactic for us. I was wrong about that. Hulu proved you could do that at scale and offer customers lower prices,” Hastings told NYT columnist and DealBook founder and editor-at-large Andrew Ross Sorkin. “I wish we had flipped a few years earlier on that, but we’ll catch up.” Continue reading Netflix Expanding Previews as Ad Tier Gets Up and Running

Subtitles, Closed Captioning Popular Among Young Viewers

More people than ever are using subtitles — often in their native language, to help follow-along with indiscernible audio, according to a study by language-teaching app Preply. Netflix released figures indicating more than 80 percent of its subscribers used subtitles (or closed captions) once a month or more. And the trend is not limited to seniors; younger viewers are about four times more likely to turn on subtitles. The prevalence of rear-facing, or downward-directed speakers in today’s ultra-thin TVs has compounded the problem, often resulting in worse audio than the old-fashioned TV sets, which had front-facing speakers. But there are other issues affecting TV audio. Continue reading Subtitles, Closed Captioning Popular Among Young Viewers

Cinedigm Teams with ROW8 to Bring ‘Still in Theaters’ to TV

Cinedigm, a streaming firm that debuted its Cineverse platform this summer, is introducing the ability to rent fresh theatrical films via a partnership with ROW8, a subscription-free cinema OTT service launched in 2018. Cinedigm says the partnership allows it to market content on Cineverse that’s “still in theaters” via TVOD (transactional video on-demand). The agreement is reciprocal, with ROW8 able to offer Cinedigm’s own upcoming theatrical releases to Android and iOS, Apple TV, Google TV, Roku players, Vizio and other mobile devices. Cinedigm claims to be platform agnostic. Continue reading Cinedigm Teams with ROW8 to Bring ‘Still in Theaters’ to TV

AMC and Zoom to Offer Videoconferencing in Movie Theaters

AMC Theatres is getting in on the growth in Zoom popularity by introducing two-way video-equipped rooms. Working with Zoom Video Communications, AMC will equip Zoom Rooms in 17 of its major markets’ theaters in 2023. “This combines the excellent experience of Zoom with the comfort and state-of-the-art sight and sound technology of AMC’s modern and centrally located theaters,” AMC said of the new alliance, which targets “companies and other entities with decentralized workforces and customer bases to bring people from different markets together for virtual and in-person events and meetings.” Continue reading AMC and Zoom to Offer Videoconferencing in Movie Theaters

MoviePass Labor Day Reboot Has Waitlist and Tiered Pricing

MoviePass is opening a waitlist this week for customers that want to get onboard in time for the company’s Labor Day comeback. Subscription tiers are initially being offered at rates generally staggered from $10, $20 or $30 per month. The startup that had a spectacular rise and fall before being purchased out of bankruptcy by co-founder Stacy Spikes last November is now headed for its third act as Spikes relaunches the once-popular moviegoing service. Mark Wahlberg through Unrealistic Ideas, his non-fiction production unit, is developing a documentary on the MoviePass ascent and flameout. Continue reading MoviePass Labor Day Reboot Has Waitlist and Tiered Pricing

Summer Blockbusters Bringing Moviegoers Back to Theaters

U.S. audiences have been showing up at theaters to see summer blockbusters, a happy plot twist for an industry that saw the bottom fall out during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Films such as Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” and Universal’s “Jurassic World Dominion” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru” have proven that despite the surge in streaming, audiences will trek out of the home for content that rises to the level of an event. “There’s no question that we’re coming back — in relevance, and in actual behavior,” said Warner Bros. domestic distribution president Jeff Goldstein. Continue reading Summer Blockbusters Bringing Moviegoers Back to Theaters

The Death of Day-and-Date Theatrical and Streaming Releases

National Association of Theatre Owners president and CEO John Fithian proclaimed the end of day-and-date streaming and theatrical releases in an address at CinemaCon 2022, which wraps today in Las Vegas. “I am pleased to announce that simultaneous release is dead as a serious business model, and piracy is what killed it,” Fithian declared Tuesday during his state-of-the-industry address. “When a pristine copy of a movie makes its way online and spreads, it has a very damaging impact.” Motion Picture Association chairman and CEO Charles Rivkin said that pre-release piracy reduces box office revenue by as much as 20 percent. Continue reading The Death of Day-and-Date Theatrical and Streaming Releases

MoviePass Service Plans to Be Back in Operation by Summer

Three months after MoviePass co-founder Stacy Spikes shared hopes to resurrect his subscription movie service, shuttered late 2019, the executive held a New York press conference to announce his summer reboot. “A lot of people lost money. A lot of people lost trust,” Spikes told reporters, explaining that he plans to run MoviePass 2.0 like a co-op, with top-level stakeholders eligible to hold partial ownership and a lifetime subscription. “Moviegoing is not going anywhere. Cinema is not going anywhere,” Spikes said during last week’s press event at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater. Continue reading MoviePass Service Plans to Be Back in Operation by Summer

Netflix Increases Its Production Spending, Acquires VFX Firm

With the success of “Red Notice” — the heist caper starring Ryan Reynolds, Gal Godot and Dwayne Johnson described as Netflix’s first stab at a film franchise — the streaming service has turned a corner, quelling resistance to making the first-run theatrical window an afterthought for direct-to-TV and Netflix’s 214 million subscriber households worldwide. Netflix has said it would spend $17 billion on original content in 2021, making it a talent magnet and major spender in Hollywood. The company plans to produce even more originals in 2022 and have them spread more evenly throughout the year (since the pipeline presumably won’t be interrupted with COVID-19 shutdowns). Continue reading Netflix Increases Its Production Spending, Acquires VFX Firm

Co-Founder Acquires MoviePass, Aims to Relaunch Next Year

The MoviePass subscription theater ticket service appears on track for a re-launch. The company was purchased by one of its original co-founders, Stacy Spikes, as a liquidated asset of parent company Helios and Matheson Analytics, which filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2020. Spikes was upon launch in 2011 the CEO of MoviePass, which Helios acquired in 2017. He released a statement last week confirming the acquisition, which was “encouraged by the continued interest from the moviegoing community,” and said he hopes to relaunch the service next year with new investors. Continue reading Co-Founder Acquires MoviePass, Aims to Relaunch Next Year

Art Film Streamer Mubi Debuts NYC Theater Ticket Program

While the arthouse cinema business has been pushed to the edge of extinction in recent years, production company and streaming platform Mubi is offering movie lovers hope. Featuring an eclectic mix of films, the monthly digital subscription service Mubi Go comes with a weekly invite for New York City members to experience a film in select theaters. Mubi expects to expand the theatrical component to Los Angeles next year, and from there to select markets throughout the U.S. Mubi Go launched in Britain in 2018 and has since teamed with more than 150 arthouses. Continue reading Art Film Streamer Mubi Debuts NYC Theater Ticket Program

AI-Powered Auto-Dubbing May Soon Become Industry Norm

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are poised to revolutionize the dubbing process for media content, optimizing it for a more natural effect as part of an emerging movement called “auto-dubbing.” AI has impacted the way U.S. audiences are experiencing the Netflix breakout “Squid Game” and other foreign content, as well as helping U.S. programming play better abroad. Its impact is in its nascency. Soon, replacing rubber-lip syndrome with AI-enhanced visuals that enable language translation at the click of a button may become the industry norm.  Continue reading AI-Powered Auto-Dubbing May Soon Become Industry Norm

Global Movie Piracy Skyrockets with Day-and-Date Releases

When the opening weekend of “Black Widow” fell below expectations, theater owners were suspicious that it didn’t match the well-attended Thursday night preview. That’s because, as reported by TorrentFreak, “Black Widow” was the most pirated movie in the world for three weeks following its July 9 debut. Likewise, pirated copies of “The Suicide Squad,” “Jungle Cruise” and “Godzilla vs. Kong” proliferated shortly after their releases, shooting to the top of The Pirate Bay and LimeTorrents, two popular piracy websites. Continue reading Global Movie Piracy Skyrockets with Day-and-Date Releases

AMC Opens New Theater Locations, Plans to Accept Bitcoin

AMC Entertainment Holdings is in the midst of changes intended to appeal to its Reddit investors. In addition to opening new locations, chief executive Adam Aron said the company would start accepting Bitcoin at U.S. locations by the end of 2021. After AMC was brought to the verge of bankruptcy by COVID-19 lockdowns, its revenue tripled in the June quarter compared to the previous 2021 quarter. In the wake of that news, share prices rose 4.6 percent to $35.36 in after-hours trading. Its stock ended in 2020 at $2.12. Continue reading AMC Opens New Theater Locations, Plans to Accept Bitcoin

HBO and HBO Max Subscriber Numbers Exceed Expectations

AT&T reported advances made by HBO in Q2 2021: a net gain of 2.85 million total domestic HBO Max and HBO subscribers, including 2.38 million retail net additions, for a total of 47.0 million at the end of the period, representing a gain of 10.7 million over the last year in the United Sates. HBO and HBO Max counted 67.5 million customers worldwide, up 12 million from last year. AT&T chief financial officer Pascal Desroches noted that the numbers exceeded Wall Street forecasts as well as AT&T’s own expectations. Continue reading HBO and HBO Max Subscriber Numbers Exceed Expectations