Cuomo Greenlights March 5 Opening for NYC Movie Theaters

New York governor Andrew Cuomo gave the okay for movie theaters to open beginning March 5 for a maximum of 50 people per screening, a capacity of 25 percent. This marks the first time that movie theaters there have opened in almost a year. Theaters must use advanced air filtration systems, while attendees are required to wear masks and sit in their assigned seats. State theaters outside New York City have reopened over the last few months based on lower COVID-19 infection numbers. In reaction to the news, AMC Entertainment stock rose 16 percent. Continue reading Cuomo Greenlights March 5 Opening for NYC Movie Theaters

AMC Chief Exec Adam Aron Still Optimistic in Perilous Times

When COVID-19 hit last year, AMC Entertainment had just taken on $4.8 billion in debt, a combination of a modernization effort that started in 2012 and acquiring competing movie chains to become the world’s largest movie theater company. Now, almost a year into the pandemic, AMC’s debt has risen to $5.5 billion — not including deferred rental payments. Pre-pandemic, AMC generated $5.5 billion a year in revenue. AMC Entertainment chief executive Adam Aron was the first to ink a deal for a limited exclusivity window. Continue reading AMC Chief Exec Adam Aron Still Optimistic in Perilous Times

ETC Executive Coffee: USC Students Meet with Dolby Execs

In the final Fall 2020 installment of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series on November 12, Dolby Laboratories proposed two discussion topics: 1) Virtual and augmented reality; what are they good for, and what concerns you about them? And 2) Privacy, security and controlling your own data. Richard Doherty, senior director of technology strategy, Office of the CTO at Dolby Labs led a group of 14 Dolby employees in a discussion with seven USC students studying cinema, engineering, music, communication and business. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: USC Students Meet with Dolby Execs

ETC Executive Coffee: A Talk with Vubiquity’s Darcy Antonellis

During the seventh installment of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series, Vubiquity CEO Darcy Antonellis posed an intriguing question for USC students: “If you were asked to create the educational system of the future, what would learning look like for college-age students or post-grads such as yourself?” Graduate and undergraduate students from the USC School of Cinematic Arts and the Iovine and Young Academy participated in this lively November 4 discussion. Students expressed interest in online schedules, networking meet-ups, collaboration and support, the technology gap, group-based learning and more. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: A Talk with Vubiquity’s Darcy Antonellis

ETC Executive Coffee: Students, Execs Talk Cloud Resources

As part of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series, M&E leaders connected via Zoom with eight engineering students, three cinema students and one business student on October 29. The topic of discussion was “Production in the Cloud for Media and Entertainment; content and experience creation, distribution, interaction, and analytics.” Students were particularly interested in new advances related to areas such as production workflow, asset management, gaming, remote collaboration for live music, and the impact of analytics on content creation. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Students, Execs Talk Cloud Resources

ETC Executive Coffee: Equinix Ponders Consequences of AI

Equinix executives led the fifth installment of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series. “AI development and ethics, what are the intended and unintended consequences of the rollout?” was the topic of the October 22 discussion. Kaladhar Voruganti, VP of technology innovation and senior fellow, and Doron Hendel, senior manager of global business development, ecosystem development, partnerships and alliances at Equinix led the discussion. Eleven graduate and undergraduate USC students, mostly computer science and data science majors, participated. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Equinix Ponders Consequences of AI

ETC Executive Coffee: A Discussion with Michael Park of Fox

Fox Corporation joined USC students via Zoom for the fourth installment of ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series. Sixteen graduate students from the Marshall School of Business and the Iovine and Young Academy, many preparing to work in entertainment, shared their views on the future of media with Michael Park, VP of digital marketing for Fox Corporation. The discussion topic for the October 14 session was “What is the future of streaming entertainment, TV consumption, marketing, advertising and revenue models?” Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: A Discussion with Michael Park of Fox

ETC Executive Coffee: Universal Execs Talk Content Creation

During Universal Pictures’ second appearance in ETC@USC’s Executive Coffee with… series, executives led a discussion with students on content creation and virtual production. Annie Chang, VP of creative technologies, and her colleague media technology manager Lindsey Townley addressed pandemic and post-pandemic content production concerns with 13 USC students from cinema, business, engineering and innovation. The framing topic for the October 9 session was “What kind of engaging entertainment experiences do you want to create, how do you expect to create them, and what will your working environment be like?” Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Universal Execs Talk Content Creation

ETC Executive Coffee: Universal Execs on Consumer Behavior

During ETC@USC’s second Executive Coffee with… installment, executives from Universal Pictures discussed trends in consumer behavior. “What’s the future of entertainment; in your hands, on a wall, and in the world around you?” was the topic of Universal’s first of two sessions with USC students. The September 29 session was hosted by CTO Michael Wise, along with VP of technology partnerships & innovation Greg Reed and media technology manager Lindsey Townley. Twelve students from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts plus four students from other USC schools took part. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Universal Execs on Consumer Behavior

ETC Executive Coffee: A Discussion with Verizon’s Albert Lao

To kick off ETC@USC’s eight-part Executive Coffee with… series, Verizon’s Albert Lao led a Zoom discussion on September 23. “How will advances in network technology over the next 36 months impact the way we watch movies, play video games, and create and produce immersive and engaging experiences?” was the framing question for a wide-ranging discussion. Three students each from the cinema school and the engineering school, plus two students from the business school participated. Lao set up the discussion by showing a brief video explaining 5G and edge computing, and describing how they would impact entertainment creation, distribution and analytics. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: A Discussion with Verizon’s Albert Lao

Studios Adapting to Pandemic Limitations with Film Releases

WarnerMedia chief executive Jason Kilar revealed that his company plans to release blockbuster “Wonder Woman 1984” simultaneously in theaters and on its HBO Max streaming service on Christmas Day. He noted the changed environment, in which box office revenue alone doesn’t measure a film’s success but also by the number of new subscribers it generates for the studio’s streaming service. The distribution plan for the much-anticipated release is a sign of how much media companies have evolved to put more emphasis on streaming. Continue reading Studios Adapting to Pandemic Limitations with Film Releases

Universal, Cinemark Sign Deal for Shorter Exclusivity Window

Comcast’s Universal Pictures teamed with Cinemark Holdings, the third largest theater chain in the U.S., to permit online distribution of movies after three weekends (or 17 days) in theaters. The exception is movies that gross $50+ million domestically during their first weekend, lengthening the exclusivity window to five weekends or 31 days. Universal inked a similar deal with AMC Entertainment in July. Pre-pandemic, the exclusivity window was 2-1/2 months from a film’s premiere in theaters until it could be distributed to homes. Continue reading Universal, Cinemark Sign Deal for Shorter Exclusivity Window

Comcast Posts Strong Q3 with Peacock, High-Speed Internet

In July, Comcast reported that its NBCUniversal Peacock streaming service had 10 million subscribers. Now, the company announced, Peacock has 22 million subscribers, adding that it is “a differentiating factor for customers considering Xfinity broadband and is also improving churn.” In the same quarter, Comcast added 633,000 high-speed Internet customers, for its best quarterly results in its history. Comcast stated that, in the first nine months of 2020, cable added more broadband sign-ups than in all of 2019. Continue reading Comcast Posts Strong Q3 with Peacock, High-Speed Internet

Universal Adopts a New Theatrical/Online Distribution Model

During the holiday season, to pump up motion picture theater attendance, Comcast’s Universal Pictures is trying a new distribution model — releasing more movies and making them available sooner for online rental. On December 4, it will release “All My Life” to U.S. theaters, the eighth film slated for domestic release by the end of 2020. That’s almost double its releases during the same period in 2019, and far more than other Hollywood studios. Meanwhile, AMC is offering its theaters for rent, starting at $99.

Continue reading Universal Adopts a New Theatrical/Online Distribution Model

ETC and Partners to Pilot Test Virtual Production Capabilities

The Entertainment Technology Center at USC has selected filmmakers Hannah Bang, Margo Sawaya and Sabina Vajrača to receive the 2020 Innovative Technology Award for their virtual production-based project, “The Ripple Effect.” The trio developed the futuristic live-action project with the aim of testing the limits of virtual production. “With Unreal Engine, we can minimize on set crew and provide better controls for talent and staff,” explained executive producer Erik Weaver. “We want to get people back to work while keeping cast and crews safe.” Continue reading ETC and Partners to Pilot Test Virtual Production Capabilities

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