Netflix Drops $465 Million to Produce ‘Knives Out’ Franchise

In 2019, director Rian Johnson (“Star Wars: The Last Jedi”) wrote and directed “Knives Out,” which became a surprise hit. Now, Netflix spent about $465 million to buy two sequels. Experts are debating if the streamer overpaid or made a canny move to create a new franchise. Former Lionsgate co-president Erik Feig, who was involved with both the “Twilight” and “Hunger Games” franchises, noted that the sequels could turn into a TV show and, more importantly, establish a long-term relationship with high-profile writer/director Johnson. Continue reading Netflix Drops $465 Million to Produce ‘Knives Out’ Franchise

HPA Tech Retreat: ETC, SMPTE Collaborate on AI Standards

Yves Bergquist, director of ETC@USC’s AI & Neuroscience in Media Project, described how ETC’s task force is working in concert with SMPTE to develop standards for AI and machine learning (ML) in the media and entertainment industry. During the HPA Tech Retreat, Bergquist noted how the two organizations successfully collaborated to develop standards in digital cinema, interoperable media, and cloud production. “We thought it was an opportunity to step up and help the media community better understand the scope of the AI technology,” he said. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: ETC, SMPTE Collaborate on AI Standards

NBC Grows Streaming ‘News Now’ Network with Tenth Show

NBC News is debuting two program hours on NBC News Now, its live streaming service. From NBC owned and operated station WRC-TV in Washington, DC, former anchor Aaron Gilchrist will headline a 12:00-2:00 PM slot Monday through Friday that will also be available on NBCUniversal’s streaming hub Peacock. The show will focus on breaking news, supplemented by stories from journalists in the field. The new program boosts NBC News Now to 10 live original hours daily. NBC News also produces “dozens of hours” daily for MSNBC. Continue reading NBC Grows Streaming ‘News Now’ Network with Tenth Show

Netflix Tops 200 Million Subs in 2020, Lifted by the Pandemic

By the end of 2020, Netflix signed up a record 37 million new subscribers for a total of 203.7 million users, driven by the home-bound people eager for more entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest bump in subscriber numbers took place in an increasingly competitive environment with new streaming services, including Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock. Unlike other TV networks, Netflix has been able to offer more new content during the pandemic, with 500+ new titles in post production or ready to air. Continue reading Netflix Tops 200 Million Subs in 2020, Lifted by the Pandemic

CES: Keynotes Address 5G, AI, Robotics, Pandemic, Security

CES 2021 was the first-ever all-digital version of the annual confab produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). This year’s show featured nearly 2,000 companies and more than 100 hours of conference programming. Despite its new virtual format, CES offered compelling keynote addresses by top executives from major companies such as AMD, Best Buy, General Motors, Microsoft, Verizon and Walmart who discussed plans for new products, services and business models, in addition to an array of changes underway designed to address a world facing a pandemic. Continue reading CES: Keynotes Address 5G, AI, Robotics, Pandemic, Security

CES: WarnerMedia Chief Ann Sarnoff on Entertainment Shifts

MediaLink chair and chief executive Michael Kassan held a conversation during CES 2021 with WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group chair and chief executive Ann Sarnoff on the impact of COVID-19 on the entertainment industry. Sarnoff, a 30+ year industry veteran, heads the Warner Bros. Pictures Group, HBO and HBO Max, the Warner Bros. Television Group, DC, and other WarnerMedia networks, channels and products. “When [AT&T Communications chief executive] John Stankey hired me a year and a half ago, he talked about breaking down the silos,” she explained of the organization’s new strategy. Continue reading CES: WarnerMedia Chief Ann Sarnoff on Entertainment Shifts

All-Virtual CES 2021 Focuses on Innovation Despite Pandemic

The sprawl of CES, typically measured in millions of square feet of exhibit space, multiple venues, and hundreds of thousands of attendees, now spans the globe as the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) sets “the global stage for innovation” in an all-digital format when it opens its four-day run on January 11. However dispersed, CES Week will still be the focal point for the consumer technology sector and trends will emerge, even if news and product announcements will originate from both CES events and individual company presentations. Continue reading All-Virtual CES 2021 Focuses on Innovation Despite Pandemic

Survey Suggests Movie Theaters Will Struggle in Near Future

Deloitte Insights’ recent Digital Media Trends survey revealed that 71 percent of consumers are not comfortable about attending a movie in the theater in the next month and just over 50 percent said they wouldn’t go to a theater in the next six months. The survey revealed that a mere 18 percent of U.S. consumers have gone to see a movie in a theater since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Deloitte concluded that, when the pandemic is over, “it is unclear what role movie theaters will play in consumer entertainment.” Continue reading Survey Suggests Movie Theaters Will Struggle in Near Future

Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Warner Bros. announced that its entire 2021 slate, comprised of 17 movies, will be distributed simultaneously via movie theaters and on its streaming service HBO Max where new titles will remain for one month. Warner Bros. made the decision that, despite coronavirus vaccines on track to be widely deployed, the movie-going audiences won’t return to theaters until next fall. The move is also intended to boost interest in HBO Max, which debuted in May for $15 per month as a new competitor to Netflix and other streaming services. Continue reading Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

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

Nielsen Plans to Measure Targeted Advertising on Television

Nielsen has partnered with AT&T’s DirecTV and Dish Network, two of the largest pay-TV distributors in the U.S., and smart TV maker Vizio, to use data collected by these companies to measure targeted advertising on television. The shift means that, rather than tabulating an average audience for all ads in a program, Nielsen will measure each ad individually. The adoption of targeted advertising is expected to increase the value of TV ads, which have been struggling recently as broadcast and cable networks lose viewership to a growing number of streaming services. Continue reading Nielsen Plans to Measure Targeted Advertising on Television

ETC Members Receive 20% Discount to Future of Television

The Future of Television is a 3-day event focused on streaming, digital video creation, monetization and distribution, connected entertainment and more. The event is designed for broadcasters, studios, cable networks, digital distribution networks, ad firms, VCs, social networks, tech providers and analysts. This year’s Future of Television is scheduled for November 10-12 and ETC members qualify for a 20 percent registration discount for access to all speaking sessions and panels. Click here to register with the discount. Continue reading ETC Members Receive 20% Discount to Future of Television

Quibi Shutters Video Platform That Targeted Mobile Viewers

After launching only six months ago, Quibi is shuttering its doors. According to sources, Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg called investors to give them the news. As a startup, Quibi raised $1.75 billion but, since its debut, failed to sign up subscribers, garnered low download numbers and faced a well-funded lawsuit from interactive video company Eko, which claimed credit for its video streaming technology. Quibi also contended with the coronavirus pandemic while promoting a mobile platform. Katzenberg envisioned Quibi as “quick bites” of 5- to 10-minute videos formatted for the mobile screen. Continue reading Quibi Shutters Video Platform That Targeted Mobile Viewers

Netflix Growth Lags in Q3, Largely Due to More Competition

Netflix revealed it added 2.2 million subscribers in the third quarter, although it predicted in July it would add 2.5 million. The slowdown follows two quarters of growth that was much larger than anticipated and added 26 million net subscribers, nearly its entire subscription growth for 2019. On the news, shares fell 6.4 percent in after-hours trading. To boost growth, Netflix created a new promotion that will offer everyone in a country access to free service for a weekend; the promotion will first launch in India. Continue reading Netflix Growth Lags in Q3, Largely Due to More Competition

In Major Reorg, Disney Moves Streaming Services to Center

The Walt Disney Company is reorganizing to put more emphasis on its streaming video services Disney+ and Hulu. The company is creating content groups for movies, general entertainment and sports, with a distribution unit that will determine the best platform — streaming, TV network, movie theater — for every piece of content. According to Disney chief executive Bob Chapek, the move acknowledges that consumers now are more likely to watch content on a streaming service than broadcast and cable channels or movie theater screens. Continue reading In Major Reorg, Disney Moves Streaming Services to Center

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