AMC Joins the Streaming Business with On-Demand Movies

AMC Theatres is launching an iTunes-style digital video store today in the U.S. that will allow AMC Stubs members to rent or purchase movies for home viewing. Similar to the model introduced by Amazon, Apple and other VOD retailers, AMC Theatres On Demand will offer about 2,000 movies following their theatrical runs, despite the fact that chains have generally been at odds with online video. A major theater chain joining the expanding collection of studios, networks, tech companies and popular platforms already embracing this technology illustrates the impact of streaming video on entertainment media. Continue reading AMC Joins the Streaming Business with On-Demand Movies

Facebook Unveils Three New Ad Units: Polls, Playable, AR

Facebook announced plans to release three new ad units under the banner Advertising You Can Play With: polls, playable ads (both in the mobile News Feed), and, last, AR ads that will debut in beta in the fall. Playable ads, first shown at the ChinaJoy gaming conference in August 2018, allow users to install and try apps before buying them. AR ads have been in a test phase, with select advertisers, since Facebook revealed them at its F8 developer conference in 2018. All three products emphasize interactivity. Continue reading Facebook Unveils Three New Ad Units: Polls, Playable, AR

Apple, Microsoft Latest to Join Academy Software Foundation

Apple and Microsoft signed on as premier members of the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), founded in 2018 to promote the use of open source software in the movie industry. By joining ASWF, Apple and Microsoft pushed annual funding for the organization over $1 million. Microsoft also joined ASWF’s governing board and technical advisory council. ASWF is a joint project of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Linux Foundation. ASWF executive director David Morin welcomed both companies into the fold. Continue reading Apple, Microsoft Latest to Join Academy Software Foundation

Plex Inks Deal With Warner Bros. for Movies and TV Shows

Media center app developer Plex signed a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution to add an unspecified number of free movies and TV shows to its app when it debuts ad-supported video streaming later this year. Plex hopes to evolve its app into a “one-stop shop” for digital media, with plans to resell video subscription services and add transactional VOD in 2020. Plex chief executive Keith Valory noted that you “shouldn’t have to go to a lot of different apps to get the content you care about.” Continue reading Plex Inks Deal With Warner Bros. for Movies and TV Shows

AT&T Readies Streaming Service, Rebrands DirecTV Now

AT&T plans to rename streaming service DirecTV Now as AT&T TV Now. Its new streaming service AT&T TV will be tested in a handful of markets; customers will be able to access AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now via the same AT&T TV app on mobile devices and/or connected TVs. To continue service, DirecTV Now subscribers will have to accept AT&T’s terms of service, and will then be able to log in with the same credentials. AT&T, which has not released pricing information for the new services yet, lost about two million traditional pay-TV subs last year.  Continue reading AT&T Readies Streaming Service, Rebrands DirecTV Now

Netflix Invests $520 Million to Make Three Big-Budget Films

According to sources, Netflix will spend $520+ million to make three movies, although none of them are likely to get a wide theatrical release. This month, Netflix committed almost $200 million to make the action movie “Red Notice,” with Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds and Gal Gadot. The company has stated that one-third of its 150 million subscribers are drawn to its movies, with TV accounting for the rest. New movie productions, it hopes, will help retain current viewers and attract new ones. Continue reading Netflix Invests $520 Million to Make Three Big-Budget Films

Studios Cater Blockbuster Advertising to Next-Gen Viewers

Hollywood studios have typically teed up blockbusters well in advance of their release dates. For example, Walt Disney Studios promoted “Tron: Legacy” for three years; Warner Bros. spent almost two years pushing “Godzilla” and Universal Pictures publicized “The Secret Life of Pets 2” for three years. Now, these biggest marketers, which spent $4+ billion annually in advertising, have narrowed the gap considerably — to as little as a few months for tentpole movies — to better respond to the expectation of on-demand content. Continue reading Studios Cater Blockbuster Advertising to Next-Gen Viewers

WarnerMedia’s Streaming Service Will Be Called HBO Max

AT&T completed its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner last year, in part to take on phone service competitors and streaming giant Netflix. Now, WarnerMedia has confirmed that its upcoming streaming video service will be called HBO Max. A beta version is expected by the end of this year, with a full launch slated for spring 2020. The subscription service will feature 10,000 hours of content at launch, including films from the Warner Bros. library, HBO series and movies, exclusive streaming for all 236 episodes of “Friends,” The CW’s upcoming “Batwoman” and “Katy Keene” series, original movies from Greg Berlanti and Reese Witherspoon, full libraries of “Pretty Little Liars,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and more. Continue reading WarnerMedia’s Streaming Service Will Be Called HBO Max

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

Hollywood Technology Execs Gather at Annual ETC Dinner

The Entertainment Technology Center @ the University of Southern California (ETC) held its 8th annual Studio Technology Leaders Dinner this week, which coincided with the 26th anniversary of ETC’s founding. Executive director & CEO Ken Williams noted that the event, which was underwritten by supporting sponsor Equinix and contributing sponsor WekaIO, would honor industry leader Leon Silverman with the Bob Lambert Technology Leadership Award and feature a panel to examine some of the industry’s most pressing issues in “Media Fundamentals in Flex: Conflict, Chaos or Collaboration.” Continue reading Hollywood Technology Execs Gather at Annual ETC Dinner

Jury Finds VidAngel Must Pay Movie Studios $62.4 Million

U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte had ruled that VidAngel, which has streamed hundreds of Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. movies without permission, was illegal. Now a jury has ordered the company to pay $62.4 million to those injured studios, potentially forcing it to shutter its doors. The Utah-based VidAngel ripped movies from DVD copies and then created versions sanitized of violence, sex and other so-called objectionable material. Earlier, VidAngel stated that it was allowed to do this under the federal Family Movie Act. Continue reading Jury Finds VidAngel Must Pay Movie Studios $62.4 Million

IMDb Rebrands Its New AVOD Service and Triples Content

Amazon-owned IMDb — the popular online database featuring information related to movies, television and video games — is rebranding its recently launched Freedive video service as IMDb TV. Thanks to new deals with MGM, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Warner Bros., the ad-supported VOD service will add thousands of new titles in the upcoming months, essentially tripling the number of TV shows and movies available to U.S. viewers for free. The company also plans to expand its audience with a European launch later this year. Continue reading IMDb Rebrands Its New AVOD Service and Triples Content

VOD Platform Inks Licensing Deals With Hollywood Studios

Los Angeles-based startup ROW8 has signed licensing deals with Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. as part of its strategy to compete with transactional VOD offerings from the likes of Apple and Amazon. The streaming movie service, which launched last year with foreign and indie titles, is now targeting mainstream audiences with library titles and new releases from major Hollywood studios. It is taking an industry standard approach with $5.99 new-release rentals and $2.99-$3.99 catalog titles, but is also adding a feature that offers customers the ability to receive future credits for movie rentals they did not enjoy. Continue reading VOD Platform Inks Licensing Deals With Hollywood Studios

AT&T’s WarnerMedia Readies Beta of Its Streaming Service

According to sources, AT&T’s WarnerMedia will package HBO, Cinemax, the Warner Bros. TV/movie library and original content into a streaming service priced at $16 to $17 per month. The new offering, which would be competitively priced in a crowded market of streaming services, is expected to launch in beta later this year. Currently, an HBO Now streaming subscription costs $14.99 per month and Cinemax for cable customers is priced at $12.99 per month. WarnerMedia executives are meeting to discuss the service’s name and other details of its operation. Continue reading AT&T’s WarnerMedia Readies Beta of Its Streaming Service

Netflix Facing New Competition as Domestic Growth Slows

Subscription video service Netflix is still growing, but the new subscription numbers come largely from the international market. In the U.S., Netflix reported 1.7 million new subs in Q1 2019 out of a total of 9.6 million new customers. The streaming giant’s slowed domestic growth — including predictions for a slower Q2 globally — is likely due to increased competition as well as its recently raised subscription fees. Netflix investors are also concerned that the company cannot maintain what has thus far been rapid growth. Continue reading Netflix Facing New Competition as Domestic Growth Slows

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