Innovative Tech, Industry Leaders Celebrated at HPA Awards

A sold-out crowd celebrated Hollywood’s top technical achievements at the HPA Awards 2022, where FotoKem’s David Cole took top feature film honors in color grading for Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Batman” and Picture Shop’s Steven Bodner was recognized for the “How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?” episode of Amazon Prime Video’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Amazon Web Services’ Color in the Cloud was one of four corporate efforts to take home a coveted Engineering Excellence Award. The technology is capable of lossless image quality using JPEG XS over AWS Direct Connect, AWS VPN or the open Internet. Continue reading Innovative Tech, Industry Leaders Celebrated at HPA Awards

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

Warner Bros. Discovery Adds Nearly 3 Million DTC Subs in Q3

Warner Bros. Discovery saw streaming subscriptions grow to almost 95 million globally in Q3 across HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+, propelled largely by “House of the Dragon,” the hotly anticipated “Game of Thrones” prequel. The buoyant performance prompted WBD CEO David Zaslav to announce on the earnings call that the company has accelerated the U.S. launch for the new streaming platform that combines HBO Max and Discovery+ to spring, rather than waiting until summer 2023 as originally planned. The growth translates to 2.8 million HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ subscriptions added from Q2 to Q3 — 500,000 of them domestically. Continue reading Warner Bros. Discovery Adds Nearly 3 Million DTC Subs in Q3

Nexstar Acquiring Majority Stake in The CW in Cashless Deal

After more than six months of negotiations, Nexstar Media Group has struck a deal with Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery to acquire a 75 percent stake in The CW Network. Paramount and WBD will each continue to hold a 12.5 percent stake in The CW and will continue to provide scripted programming for it through the 2022-23 season after the deal closes, which Nexstar expects to happen in Q3. Financial terms were not disclosed, though Variety reports Nexstar is not paying cash, but rather assuming “a large chunk” of The CW’s “more than $100 million” in debt. Continue reading Nexstar Acquiring Majority Stake in The CW in Cashless Deal

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

Netflix Said to Be Retooling Deals as it Readies New Ad Tier

Netflix has reportedly entered into discussions with studios including Warner Bros., Universal and Sony Pictures Television to revise licensing terms to include their content on the streamer’s planned ad-supported tier. The talks include shows created specifically for Netflix — like Sony’s “The Crown” and Universal’s “Russian Doll” — as well as second-run programming like Sony’s “Breaking Bad” and Paramount Global’s “NCIS.” Sources say the studios will likely be angling for a premium of 15 percent to 30 percent for duplexing the shows on the new tier. While Netflix self-produces some original content in-house, much of it is acquired externally. Continue reading Netflix Said to Be Retooling Deals as it Readies New Ad Tier

CJ ENM Opens the Largest MicroLED Virtual Production Stage

Entertainment company CJ ENM has opened what is being described as the world’s largest virtual production stage to use Samsung MicroLED technology. The facility, created in collaboration with Samsung Electronics, is outfitted with connected cameras and offers a 360-degree backdrop using Samsung’s “The Wall.” The South Korean virtual production stage will be used to produce scripted and unscripted shows for film and television and serve as a venue for concerts and other entertainment events. CJ ENM says the virtual production technology will also produce the next generation of immersive content for augmented reality experiences and the metaverse. Continue reading CJ ENM Opens the Largest MicroLED Virtual Production Stage

AT&T Announces Subscription Growth for HBO and HBO Max

AT&T’s Q1 quarterly earnings — the last to include results for WarnerMedia, which was offloaded to Discovery in early Q2 — reported good news about HBO Max and HBO, which AT&T said ended Q1 with global subscribers totaling 76.8 million, an increase of 12.8 million year-over-year, and a 3 million subscription increase from Q4 of last year. AT&T also disclosed that WarnerMedia’s Q1 operating income fell to $1.3 billion, a 32.7 percent decline year-over-year. Diminished WarnerMedia earnings were attributed in part to “investments incurred in launching CNN+,” which new owner Discovery announced will cease operations as of April 30. Continue reading AT&T Announces Subscription Growth for HBO and HBO Max

Sony and Kirkbi Invest $2 Billion in Epic Games’ Meta Vision

Epic Games has raised $2 billion in a funding round that will fuel the company’s ambition to build a metaverse. Investments of $1 billion each came from existing shareholder Sony Group and Kirkbi, the family-owned company that owns 75 percent of the Lego Group. Epic continues to have a single class of common stock outstanding and remains controlled by founder and CEO Tim Sweeney, who launched the company in 1991. The fresh funds — the largest game company raise since 2002, according to PitchBook Data — positions Epic’s post-money equity valuation at $31.5 billion, the company says. Continue reading Sony and Kirkbi Invest $2 Billion in Epic Games’ Meta Vision

WarnerMedia and Discovery Merger Alters Media Landscape

Discovery Inc., the broadcasting and film production company founded by John Hendricks in 1985, on Friday completed its $43 billion acquisition of AT&T’s subsidiary WarnerMedia, the multinational M&E conglomerate and parent of the famed Warner Bros. motion picture studio launched in 1923. The newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery includes film, television and news operations that generate roughly $50 billion in annual revenue, creating an entity valued at about $130 billion, placing it at the forefront of the world’s media empires. Continue reading WarnerMedia and Discovery Merger Alters Media Landscape

YouTube Joins the Free, Ad-Supported Streaming TV Market

YouTube recently announced that it plans to offer full seasons of ad-supported streaming TV series free of charge, a first for the Google video platform. The move will put YouTube in competition with a growing number of free streaming services such as IMDb TV, Peacock, Plex, Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Tubi and Xumo. U.S. consumers can expect more than 4,000 free episodes to start, with up to 100 additional film and television titles to be added each week. The popular video site already offers more than 1,500 free, ad-supported movies, so the television content is expected to serve as a vital expansion of its streaming options. Continue reading YouTube Joins the Free, Ad-Supported Streaming TV Market

HBO Max, Discovery+ Will Be Combined into a Single Service

Discovery plans to merge Discovery+ and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max into one streaming service shortly after completing the acquisition of AT&T’s entertainment spinoff WarnerMedia. The news was shared by Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels, speaking Monday at Deutsche Bank’s 30th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference. Wiedenfels said that the transition will likely take “several months” but “an interim solution” will be introduced “in the meantime.” “Building one very, very strong combined direct-to-consumer product and platform, that’s going to take a while,” he said. Continue reading HBO Max, Discovery+ Will Be Combined into a Single Service

Apple Joins Top Streaming Video Services in the Oscar Race

Streaming services had another strong showing with the latest Oscar nominations. Apple TV+ received six nominations, including its first in the Best Picture category for “CODA,” also groundbreaking as the first film with a majority deaf cast to contend in the top category. Apple acquired the film at last year’s Sundance Film Festival where it set a record with its $25 million bid. Apple also got noticed for Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” which earned Denzel Washington a Best Actor nod and is competing for Best Production Design and Best Cinematography. When the contenders were announced Tuesday morning, it was Netflix that tallied the largest haul, with 27 nominations, the most of any studio.  Continue reading Apple Joins Top Streaming Video Services in the Oscar Race

Scorsese Institute and Virtual Production Center New at NYU

Cinematic iconoclast Martin Scorsese has secured a perch for his legacy at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts, which has announced the establishment of the Martin Scorsese Institute of Global Cinematic Arts (SICA). The new Institute takes shape not only to celebrate film history but to showcase the future and will encompass the state-of-the-art Martin Scorsese Virtual Production Center to complement the Martin Scorsese Department of Cinema Studies and provide general support for student scholarships, all of which is a result of the largest donation in the school’s history. Continue reading Scorsese Institute and Virtual Production Center New at NYU

Intel’s 8K HDR Live Streams ‘Way Beyond Proof of Concept’

On the heels of several successful tests that included Tokyo 2020 Olympics telecasts in Brazil and Japan, Intel is moving full steam ahead to bring live, end-to-end 8K HDR streaming to audiences across the globe. The company sees the future of 8K HDR as revolutionizing the worlds of sports, entertainment and gaming by delivering spectacular, immersive events at stadium scale, augmented by 3D, VR, AR and UHD audio. The key to this brave new broadcast world is Intel’s Xeon Scalable processors for local encoding and delivery over-the-top. And of course, the slickest compression algorithms. Continue reading Intel’s 8K HDR Live Streams ‘Way Beyond Proof of Concept’