Newest Installment of “The Hobbit” Trilogy Improves Upon HFR

Part two of “The Hobbit” trilogy, out this week, is back with the much-debated High-Frame-Rate (HFR) 3D format — but with some changes. The 2012 “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” boasted 48 frames per second, but some of the criticism of the format was that the super-HD quality was an eyestrain. The new “The Desolation of Smaug” maintains the HFR; however, director Peter Jackson says he’s toned down the sharpness of the image to make it look more “filmic.” Continue reading Newest Installment of “The Hobbit” Trilogy Improves Upon HFR

Darcy Antonellis Named CEO of Vubiquity, Exits Warner Bros.

Darcy Antonellis, president and chief technology officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment, will leave her post to become CEO of Vubiquity in January. Virginia-based Vubiquity, formerly Avail-TVN, is a global provider of multiplatform video services. Antonellis, winner of three technical Emmys, has been with Warner Bros. for 15 years, and has held her current position since 2008. She will replace Ramu Potarazu, who stepped down as CEO in March. Continue reading Darcy Antonellis Named CEO of Vubiquity, Exits Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. Launches Home Video Experiment with Reelhouse

Warner Bros. has launched a three-month electronic sell-through experiment via Reelhouse, which the studio invested in earlier this year through the Turner/Warner Bros. MediaCamp startup accelerator program. Targeting fans who want more than just a digital copy of movies, the Reelhouse website offers titles for rental or purchase along with enhanced content such as blog posts, photos, interactive games, various extras, and digital as well as physical merchandise. Continue reading Warner Bros. Launches Home Video Experiment with Reelhouse

Spotify Has Plans to Go Mobile with Free, Ad-Supported Music

Spotify has plans to launch a free, ad-supported version of its streaming music service on mobile devices, according to people familiar with the matter. The Sweden-based company has reached licensing deals with three of the global music companies to use their recordings on the service. The ad-supported offering will allow nonpaying mobile users to play a limited number of songs on demand, but will mostly serve up music based on user input, similar to services such as Pandora.

Continue reading Spotify Has Plans to Go Mobile with Free, Ad-Supported Music

Time Warner Cable Offers $29.99 Bundle: HBO and 20 Channels

Time Warner Cable is marketing a stripped-down, low-cost bundle ($29.99 per month) that includes HBO and a limited number of broadcast TV channels. The new package is targeting viewers who are not interested in paying for a traditional tier of cable channels. The “Starter TV with HBO” package features about 20 channels including local broadcast networks. The special pricing is available for the first 12 months, but does not include set-top box fees or other charges. Continue reading Time Warner Cable Offers $29.99 Bundle: HBO and 20 Channels

Hollywood Executives Discuss Piracy with President Obama

Entertainment media execs met with President Obama this week to discuss including copyright protections in new trade agreements and help in facilitating improved relations between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. During the meeting, the president offered his administration’s assistance in bridging the divide between the two industries. A priority in Hollywood is to stop search engines from linking to websites that stream pirated content. Continue reading Hollywood Executives Discuss Piracy with President Obama

USC Event: Andy Nicholson on Designing the World of ‘Gravity’

The 5D Institute and USC School of Cinematic Arts will host a special presentation this Friday with production designer and art director Andy Nicholson, who will discuss the 3D space drama “Gravity.” Nicholson will be introduced by USC professor and filmmaker Bruce Block. Following the presentation, a Q&A session will be moderated by editor and author Bill Desowitz. The event will take place 3:30-5:30 at USC’s Eileen Norris Theater. Continue reading USC Event: Andy Nicholson on Designing the World of ‘Gravity’

Home Entertainment Branding: Studios Adopt Digital Monikers

Hollywood studios adopted new terminology this week in home entertainment sell-through branding that will soon appear across marketing and communication efforts. The terms “Digital HD” and “Digital” will be used to package digital versions of filmed entertainment and television content. According to the Digital Entertainment Group, the branding intends to enhance the value of digital home entertainment offerings and offer consistency for consumers. Continue reading Home Entertainment Branding: Studios Adopt Digital Monikers

DCDC Launches Digital Theatrical Delivery Service via Satellite

The Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition launched the industry’s first-ever digital theatrical delivery service yesterday. The service delivers films and other content to theaters via satellite. The DCDC initiative was founded by theater chains AMC, Regal and Cinemark, with Warner Bros. and Universal. Partnering with the remaining major studios and exhibitors Southern Theatres and National Amusements, the service will reach about 17,000 screens in 1,200 theaters. Continue reading DCDC Launches Digital Theatrical Delivery Service via Satellite

YouTube to Launch New Premium On-Demand Music Service

According to inside sources, YouTube is readying a premium on-demand music service expected to launch later this year. The new YouTube offering, designed with mobile listening in mind, would be similar to a service such as Spotify, but include video. It is expected to be tiered with a free ad-supported option and a premium component that features unlimited access to a full catalog of tracks, similar to what Google offers with its All Access subscription music service. Continue reading YouTube to Launch New Premium On-Demand Music Service

Netflix Sees Spike in Subscriber Base, Profits Remain Slim

Netflix posted its third quarter earnings yesterday, announcing that it has added 1.3 million U.S. customers. The video service ended the quarter with 29.93 million paid domestic users. While Netflix’s latest figures suggest the service has surpassed HBO and Showtime in number of U.S. customers, the company’s profit margin remains low in comparison to leading premium cable networks. Regardless, stock was up nearly 10 percent following the earnings results. Continue reading Netflix Sees Spike in Subscriber Base, Profits Remain Slim

‘Breaking Bad’ Creator Credits Illegal Downloads for Popularity

Vince Gilligan, the creator of the Emmy-winning series “Breaking Bad,” told BBC in a recent interview that he attributed the show’s following in part to illegal downloads. The dramatic final episode was downloaded illegally more than 500,000 times in just 12 hours — the show’s most pirated episode, according to Variety. But Gilligan also says those downloads negatively affected the people who worked on the show and earned them less money as a result. Continue reading ‘Breaking Bad’ Creator Credits Illegal Downloads for Popularity

Amazon Launches Offline Viewing of Videos on New Kindles

Amazon is launching an offline viewing feature for its Prime Instant Video service on the new line of Kindle devices. The move is an attempt to catch up to Netflix and make the Amazon offering distinct from other subscription video services. Google is planning its own offline video feature for YouTube mobile apps as well. It remains to be seen if offline viewing will be a desired feature in the long term, but Amazon is the first to offer such an option. Continue reading Amazon Launches Offline Viewing of Videos on New Kindles

Clear Channel-Warner Deal Underlines Digital Licensing Issues

Clear Channel Communications announced a deal late last week with the Warner Music Group through which Warner’s acts will collect royalties when their songs are played on Clear Channel’s 850 stations. This will mark the first time that the music label and its acts — which include Bruno Mars, CeeLo Green, Coldplay and Green Day — will collect payments from Clear Channel. In exchange for the deal and promotion for its acts, Clear Channel will receive a favorable rate for online streaming. Continue reading Clear Channel-Warner Deal Underlines Digital Licensing Issues

Target to Launch New TV and Movie Service Early Next Month

Target announced it will enter the Internet video business with a new service that will offer customers the ability to purchase or rent TV shows and movies. The Target Ticket service already has approximately 30,000 movie and TV titles available. Although the retailer is entering the digital video market a bit late in the game, the company is betting that Target Ticket will stand out due to its simplicity, parental controls, and access to next-day TV episodes.   Continue reading Target to Launch New TV and Movie Service Early Next Month

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