New York and Los Angeles – The Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) and Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE) today announced a joint call for submissions for the second annual WGA New Media Writing Awards. Submissions will be accepted beginning September 19, 2011, through November 18, 2011. WGA New Media Writing Award nominees will be announced on January 11, 2012, along with Videogame Writing Award nominees. Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Writing Original New Media and Outstanding Achievement in Writing Derivative New Media will be presented at the upcoming 2012 Writers Guild Awards to be held on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York City.
Entertainment news reporter Matt Mitovich, a TV Guide veteran who is currently Executive Editor of TV News at Fancast.com, is the first major hire to join Michael Ausiello in launching a new consumer TV-focused property with media and publishing company MMC. The new consumer TV website will debut in January 2011. Starting November 29, Mitovich’s role will be to assist Ausiello, the site’s Editor-In-Chief, in developing this new TV property and defining its editorial plan. “When I started to think about the best reporters in TV news, Matt’s was the first name that popped into my head,” said Ausiello. Mitovich will be the Editor-At-Large.
Over the course of his career, Mitovich has conducted more than 1,200 celebrity interviews and evolved as a go-to reporters for TV lovers who crave news and previews. In addition to breaking TV news stories, Mitovich is well known for a fun, relaxed, and free-flowing interview style that elicits both insight and storyline intel.
“We are thrilled to have another incredible talent like Matt join our quickly expanding team,” commented Jay Penske, MMC’s Founder and Chairman & CEO, and owner of other entertainment properties Deadline.com led by Nikki Finke, HollywoodLife.com led by Bonnie Fuller, and Movieline.com led by Charles Runnette. “He has become one of the TV industry’s most prominent and best all-around consumer TV journalists — and now with Michael Ausiello and Matt Mitovich working together, and contributions from Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva, this business holds almost limitless potential.”
EXCLUSIVE: Baby Cow, Coogan’s TV production company, tells me it’s re-cutting the series of internet shorts that it made for Australian beer company Fosters as a new TV series. Until now Coogan’s cringingly-embarrassing TV chat show host and disc jockey Alan Partridge character has always aired on the BBC. The new 6-part series could be sold to Channel 4 or digital comedy channel Dave, Baby Cow boss Henry Normal tells me. The 12-part internet series starring Coogan will begin appearing online on November 5. Each 11 minute webisode is shot as if
Twitter may be amazingly popular, but it’s had major trouble turning a profit. So that’s why it has a new CEO. Co-founder Evan Williams has stepped down after 2 years running the company and will be replaced by the company’s chief operating officer, Dick Costolo. Costolo, 47, may be a better fit within the tech community than Williams who is staying to focus on product strategy. Costolo. He founded RSS service FeedBurner which he sold to Google in 2007 for $100 million. HeW said today in a statement, ”We have awesome stuff in the pipeline, and we’re ready to accomplish more in the next two years than we’ve accomplished in the last four.” But can Twitter monetize its cool factor? Well, the company is next venturing into targeted ads that “find” users based on the words in their tweets.
The WGA is now accepting submissions for the first annual Writers Guild of America New Media Writing Awards. The deadline for submissions is 5 PM PT on Tuesday, November 23rd for the 2011 award. To be eligible for entry, an original stand-alone new media program or an original episode written for a new media series must have first been exhibited on a new media platform between December 1, 2009, and November 30, 2010. The WGA is defining a New Media platform as the Internet via a major video sharing site or unique URL, mobile devices such as cell phones or PDAs, or any other established new media platform. Only work that was written and produced under a WGA collective bargaining agreement and whose writing credits can be determined by the Guild may be submitted.
Time Warner’s chairman and CEO says he asks what TV aggregators can do for his channels rather than the other way round. “New entrants such as Google , Amazon and Apple must support or improve programming going into the marketplace,” said Bewkes, speaking at the Royal Television Society conference in London this afternoon. For example, Time Warner keeps full-length shows off YouTube. The Time Warner boss predicted a shake-out among internet companies. Whatever was new on the internet, whether it’s a Google search engine or Facebook social media, tends to be winner takes all, he said.
Bewkes argued that with TV shows such as Boardwalk Empire, which will come to UK Sky next year, TV is having its 2nd golden age. Partly this is because TV has kept pace with technology, from digital to HD to 3D. “We’re in the midst of a TV renaissance,” Bewkes tub-thumped. Bewkes singled out UK-originated shows such as Shameless, The Office, American Idol and X Factor as examples of quality TV. “The cultural impact of TV is now greater than movies. TV has become the most innovative medium in pop culture today. And it comes from increasing quality. Television is very healthy right now; TV is the only medium which has increased its audience apart from the internet.”
Given that 80% of Time Warner revenue comes from TV, Bewkes said he’d restructured the media giant as mainly a video programming business. “AOL was meant …
Burbank, California – July 27, 2010—The Walt Disney Company has agreed to acquire Playdom Inc., one of the leading companies in the fast-growing business of online social gaming. Playdom shareholders will receive total consideration of $563.2 million, subject to certain conditions, and a performance-linked earn-out of up to $200 million.
In just two and a half years of operation, Playdom has established itself as a pacesetter in building popular games for social networks enjoyed by consumers around the globe. Through well-known titles like Social City, Sorority Life, Market Street and Bola, Playdom engages an estimated 42 million active players each month.
By acquiring Playdom, Disney will strengthen its already-robust digital gaming portfolio, acquire a first-rate management team and provide consumers new ways to interact with the company on popular social networks like Facebook and MySpace.
“We see strong growth potential in bringing together Playdom’s talented team and capabilities with our great creative properties, people and world-renowned brands like Disney, ABC, ESPN and Marvel.” said Robert A. Iger, President and CEO, The Walt Disney Company.
“This acquisition furthers our strategy of allocating capital to high-growth businesses that can benefit from our many characters, stories and brands, delivering them in a creatively compelling way to a new generation of fans on the platforms they prefer,” Iger added.
“We are at the start of a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way people of all ages play games with their friends across devices, platforms and
Watching TV shows online has become the norm for young viewers, and most networks have embraced that. (The CW even started selling spots in full episodes of its shows streamed online this past upfront as part of “convergence packages”). But there have been two notable holdouts, Fox’s American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance,
Hulu’s long-rumored paid service is now a reality as the online content hub has just launched Hulu Plus. A monthly fee of $9.99 allows subscribers to get season passes to more than 40 current series, including Glee, Modern Family, House, Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock and The Office, as well as access to over 120 previous episodes of current and old shows. The episodes can be delivered to iPhone, iPad and iPod, some Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players and soon to PlayStation3 and Xbox. A free version of Hulu is still available but offers only recent episodes of ABC, NBC and Fox shows. In its initial launch phase, Hulu Plus is available by invitation only. You can get one here.
UPDATE: In connection with the summary judgment ruling today in its litigation against Google and YouTube, Viacom Inc made the following statement:
“We believe that this ruling by the lower court is fundamentally flawed and contrary to the language of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the intent of Congress, and the views of the Supreme Court as expressed in its most recent decisions. We intend to seek to have these issues before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as soon as possible. After years of delay, this decision gives us the opportunity to have the Appellate Court address these critical issues on an accelerated basis. We look forward to the next stage of the process.” In connection with the judgment, Viacom’s Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary, Michael Fricklas, issued a statement about the decision that can be found at: http://news.viacom.com/news/Pages/summaryjudgment.aspx
Statement posted just now by Kent Walker, Vice President and General Counsel of Google:
Today, the court granted our motion for summary judgment in Viacom’s lawsuit with YouTube. This means that the court has decided that YouTube is protected by the safe harbor of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) against claims of copyright infringement. The decision follows established judicial consensus that online services like YouTube are protected when they work cooperatively with copyright holders to help them manage their rights online.
This is an important victory not just for us, but also for the
NEW YORK / BURBANK, Calif., June 23, 2010 – DC Comics, publisher of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Fables, is partnering with comiXology and PlayStation®Network for two separate digital comics distribution deals launching today, Wednesday, June 23. In addition, a DC Comics App for the iPhone®, iPad® and iPod® Touch is available allowing consumers an easy way to access DC Comics’ content. The announcement was made jointly today by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Digital Distribution.
“At DC Comics, it has been a top priority that DC forges a meaningful, forward-looking digital strategy,” said Jim Lee, Co-Publisher, DC Comics. “As both a comic book creator and Co-Publisher, it was incredibly important that our plan includes not only creator incentive payments, but also an innovative component that supports comic shop owners. We see digital as an opportunity to grow our entire business.”
Both the comiXology and the PlayStation Network Digital Comics launch offerings will include classic titles from DC Comics, Vertigo and WildStorm, such as Batman: Hush, Green Lantern: Rebirth, Fables: Legends in Exiles and Planetary: All Over the World and Other Stories. Both programs will share a tiered pricing format, with digital comics priced from $.99 to $2.99 per issue. The Justice League: Generation Lost mini-series will be available through both platforms day and date with each issue’s print edition on-sale date, with both the digital and print editions priced at $2.99. Several comics will be available for free at launch, including the first installment of the ZUDA series Bayou and select stories from Batman: Black & White.
To further promote today’s announcement, DC Comics is offering a free 10-page preview of the 700th issue of Superman available through both platforms, day and date with the issue going on sale in comic book stores. The 10 page story is a prelude to writer J. Michael Straczynski and artist Eddy Barrows’ highly anticipated “Grounded” storyline that will be published in Superman which will examine how Superman sees America, and how America sees Superman.
“Grounded is a major turning point in the history of Superman,” said Dan DiDio, Co-Publisher of DC Comics. “This storyline has the potential to generate national headlines and bring new readers the series.”
Video-on-demand/online service FearNet is planning to go linear October 1. The multi-platform service, owned by Lions Gate, Sony Pictures TV and Comcast, said it will launch as a high-definition ad-supported movie channel. No carriage agreements have been announced though having No.1 cable operator Comcast as a parent should come in handy. FearNet on demand is currently available in 28 million homes.
Upstart payweb EPIX has branched into online, hatching a new service that will allow subscribers to watch on their computers through a subscriber authentication system. EpixHD.com is now available to Cox Communications and Mediacom Communications customers, and will introduce authentication with Charter Communications next month. The movie lineup includes Star Trek, Shutter Island, Precious and Tyler Perry’s I Can Do Bad All By Myself.
His resume is filled with dance-centric TV programs with Britney Spears and Pussycat Dolls, and his first film, Fame, flopped. How then could director Kevin Tancharoen–a Fanboy at heart–regain enough street cred to put himself in contention to direct a scifi fantasy film? Tancharoen spent $7500 of his own money, got a script by Oren Uziel, called in favors with actors like Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan and made in two days what amounts to an audition film for an edgy new version of Mortal Kombat. It has become a viral sensation since Tancharoen posted it on Youtube early last week, getting around 6.5 million hits so far, and the Fanboy websites are all over it. Movie rights to Mortal Kombat–originally turned into a 1995 film by Paul W.S. Anderson–were bought by Warner Bros when the studio’s interactive division acquired the catalog of Midway Games. There are definite plans to relaunch the vidgame, but insiders say a movie is no sure thing. It’s a bit messy with original producer Larry Kasanoff and his Threshold Entertainment threatening a lawsuit. Whether or not he gets the job, Tancharoen’s phone is starting to ring again, which means it was money well spent. View the short below:
NEW YORK – June 9, 2010 – Jason Klarman has been promoted to President, Oxygen Media, effective immediately. The announcement was made today by Lauren Zalaznick, President, NBC Universal Women & Lifestyle Entertainment Networks to whom Klarman will continue to report. With this promotion, Klarman will add oversight of Oxygen’s original programming and development teams to his responsibilities. Since January 2008, Klarman had been General Manager of Oxygen Media, its first since NBC Universal’s acquisition in November of 2007.
“Jason has an unparalleled gift for identifying a brand’s essence and driving a business from that vantage point,” said Zalaznick. “His ability to deliver a message that cuts through the clutter along with keen business acumen has driven the incredible double digit growth at Oxygen these past two and a half years.”
In year one, Klarman completed a total network rebrand, changing the entire look, feel and attitude of Oxygen by introducing the “Live Out Loud” tagline. Subsequently, under Klarman’s watch, Oxygen Media has experienced double and triple digit growth across every platform, with the cable network growing 119% among women 18-34 and 85% among women 18-49. And since 2008, one hundred new advertisers have partnered with Oxygen Media, with the network’s total revenue increasing by more than 30 percent.
In December 2009 Klarman oversaw the launch of OxygenLive, a first-ever live two-screen viewer social media experience in which fans discuss, interact and react to a show while it airs — delivering double-digit
Former AOL Time Warner COO Robert Pittman and his partner Andrew Russell have joined the investor roster of GeekChicDaily, the fanboy-geared website founded last fall by web entrepreneur Peter Levin, Wizard Entertainment’s Gareb Shamus and Mandalay Entertainment Group CEO Peter Guber. Pittman’s investment is low six-figures. Pittman was an early investor in Daily Candy, hatched by Pete Sheinbaum and sold last year to Comcast for $125 million. Sheinbaum also joined the GeekChicDaily board.
Ken Loach has created his own YouTube channel, hosting several of his older features. Sixteen Films, Loach’s production company, eventually wants to convert the site into an online video-on-demand service. At present, Loach’s YouTube channel hosts three of his early features: Poor Cow and Kes – his first and second films – plus classic BBC drama Cathy Come Home, which did so much to illuminate the plight of the homeless for 60s TV viewers. The site originally hosted more titles, but rights holders asked Sixteen to take them down. Sixteen only posted the movies as a way of contacting obscure rights holders in the first place. That way, it hopes to migrate to a full online movie service going forward. The numbers so far have been small: 89,201 for Kes; 28,111 for Cathy Come Home; and just 7,452 for Poor Cow. What’s interesting is this could indicate a way going forward for other directors and producers to start exploiting their own back catalogues. “Making these films available can only create more interest in our current films such as Cannes entry Route Irish,” Loach’s producer Rebecca O’Brien tells me. “We’ve always found it difficult to identify Ken’s audience, especially in the UK. I think we may have just found it online.”
The Producers Guild of America holds its second annual “Produced By” Conference this coming weekend at 20th Century Fox Studios. At the same time, PGA president Marshall Herskovitz’s tenure is coming to a close this month. (Mark Gordon and Hawk Koch are running unopposed as co-Presidents.) Herskovitz talks to Deadline freelancer Diane Haithman about the PGA’s new “Transmedia Producer” credit; a new Producers Wiki website to be unveiled at the conference; plans for a PGA feature film competition in 2011; and the reality of today’s Hollywood producer:
DH: What was the reason for establishing the Produced By Conference?
MH: My goal when I became the president four years ago was to continue our mission of a cultural shift in Hollywood so people in the industry have a better understanding of what producers do. We had found, and it’s sort of amazing if you think about it, that there was a lot of ignorance, even among the executives who run the companies, as to what role producers play in the generation of material, in getting things made, and in making sure they are made in the right way.
One of the reasons the producers’ credit has been so weakened in recent years, and given to people who didn’t deserve it, was that people didn’t understand what producers did. The idea of doing a conference came out of our educational intent. It also had this function of bringing together our …
PRODUCED BY 2010 CONFERENCE
Thursday June 3rd
7:30pm – 9:30pm: Producers Challenge Finalists Screening Awards
(Zanuck Theatre – Fox Studios Lot)
Friday, June 4th
8:30pm: Conference Pre-Registration
8:30pm: Produced By Kick-Off Party on The Culver Studios Lot
Saturday, June 5th
8:00am: Registration Open
8:30am – 9:30am: Breakfast with The Film Commissioners Co-sponsored by Cast & Crew Entertainment Services
9:15am – 9:30am: PGA Welcoming Remarks
9:45am – 11:00am: A Conversation: Brian Grazer, Ridley Scott — Creative Alchemy
Speakers: Brian Grazer (Producer, Robin Hood, The Da Vinci Code, Frost/Nixon, A Beautiful Mind), Ridley Scott (Producer/Director, Robin Hood, Gladiator, Thelma & Louise)
Moderator: David Picker (Former Head of Production at Three Studios and Producer and Executive Producer of such movies as The Crucible, Lenny and The Jerk)
The Golden Age of Scripted Television
Speakers: Gary Goetzman (Producer, HBO’s The Pacific, Big Love and Band of Brothers), Tim Kring (Executive Producer, Heroes), Shawn Ryan (Showrunner/Executive Producer, Lie To Me, The Shield, The Unit), Matthew Weiner (Executive Producer, Mad Men)
Moderator: Mary McNamara
Produced in the USA: An Update on Domestic Tax Incentives (MCLE)
Speakers: Thomas Adamek (President, Stonehenge Capital Company, LLC), Andrew Matthews (President, RKO Pictures, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Executive in Charge of Film Investment, Wedding Crashers, Financial Advisor, Rush Hour and Austin Powers Franchises, Financial Consultant), Bryan Yaconelli (Vice President Production, Management and Finance, Overture Films, Last Chance Harvey, Traitor, The Crazies), Jennie Yamaki (Director of Physical Production, Mandate Pictures, Whip It, Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, Juno)
Moderator: Joseph Chianese (Vice President Business Development and Production …