Will the Supreme Court back upstart tech company Aereo in its bid to short-cut broadcasters with a service that provides an Internet connection to over-the-air TV signals? Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten is headed to Washington D.C. to cover tomorrow’s oral arguments before the Court. Here’s a quick primer on the legal aspects of the case and what to look for ahead of the court’s final decision, which is expected by July. (Please note that in the time since this podcast was recorded, the Supreme Court has agreed to allow the U.S. Solicitor General to join in the oral arguments on behalf of the broadcasters.) For a view on the potential business-side impacts of the case, make sure to listen to Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman in his weekly Deadline Big Media podcast from Friday, where he and David Bloom look at whether the Aereo decision will upset the broadcast apple cart should Aereo win. Also, Lieberman and Patten collaborated on a series of stories this past week looking at “The ABCs of the Aereo Case,” beginning with this piece explaining what Aereo is.
Cineworld is extending its lead in 3D digital. About half of the UK exhibitor’s screens will be 3D within three years. At present 33% of its 790 screens are digital. Cineworld has just announced a £30 million ($44 million) initiative with technology company Arts Alliance Media, rolling out across all of its 77 cinemas. AAM will collect virtual print fees from distributors, helping to repay Cineworld’s £40 million total investment.
AAM has virtual print-fee agreements in place with five of the Hollywood majors. It services VPF arrangements with 7,500 screens in Europe. The company operates the UK Film Council Digital Screen Network, so it has installed and maintains screens for nearly every UK exhibitor – multiplexes and independents alike. The technology company also has a deal with UK operator Reel Cinemas to digitise all 60 of its screens.
Cineworld posted a £40 million profit for 2009, boasting how it has led the way in 3D. There were grumbles that most of its digital 3D lead has come from the public purse, upgrading its 73 DSN screens to 3D and playing Hollywood blockbusters on them.
A little background: At the beginning of the year, ESPN and Discovery Communications announced plans to launch the first 3D television networks. ESPN’s net, ESPN 3D, will be introduced this week with the first 2010 FIFA World Cup match South Africa vs. Mexico on Friday, while Discovery’s joint venture with Sony and Imax is being prepped for a 2011 launch. Both companies have claimed to have the first 3D network. ESPN has an earlier launch date, but the network will go dark when not airing 3D programming, while Discovery’s channel will be on the air 24/7. Here is Sony/Discovery/IMAX’s release announcing Tom Gosgrove’s appointment as president and GM.
LOS ANGELES – Sony Corporation, Discovery Communications and IMAX Corporation today announced that Discovery Channel executive Tom Cosgrove has been named President and General Manager of the joint venture they have established to develop the first 24/7 dedicated 3D television network. The network will feature content from genres that are most appealing in 3D, including natural history, space, exploration, adventure, engineering, science and technology and motion pictures from Discovery, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., IMAX and other third-party providers. In his new position, Cosgrove will oversee all business and creative areas of the joint venture, with a goal of driving consumer adoption of 3D televisions and giving the network long-term leadership in the 3D home marketplace. He
How ironic to be writing about NBC, ABC, & Fox trending overwhelmingly single-camera in their comedy series orders on a day when the syndication sale of a multi-camera sitcom, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory, broke the record for off-network coin held by another muticamera sitcom, Seinfeld. But multi-camera sitcoms suffered another seasonal setback in their attempt to regain ground on broadcast television outside of CBS. With NBC, ABC and Fox done with their new series orders, only one multicamera sitcom, ABC’s Better Together, found its way to the schedule among those three nets for next season. That’s down from 3 last year.
It’s not that NBC, ABC and Fox are retreating from comedy altogether — their combined new comedy series order tally was 10 this year vs. 9 at the same point last year. But 9 of the 10 went to single-camera half-hours.
Over the past couple of years, especially in the context of the economic downturn that hit the TV industry hard, NBC, Fox and ABC executives have stressed that they are looking to diversify their comedy offering with less-expensive multi-camera sitcoms. And they have done it the development stage, buying multi-camera scripts and picking up multi-camera pilots. But when it came down to series orders this year, they went almost exclusively with single-camera shows.
Look at NBC. The network ordered 10 pilots evenly split between the two formats: five single-camera and five multi-camera. It picked up four of the single-camera pilots to series, …
I’ve confirmed that Bob Lambert, SVP of Disney corporate new technology, no longer has his job there. “He’s leaving as part of a general restructuring plan,” an insider tells me.
The island has announced that it is going to stage a film and entertainment technology market in June next year. ScreenSingapore aims to become the market and launch platform for international film releases in Asia. Hollywood will also be able to showcase its summer product in what is the world’s fastest growing region. Greg Coote, CEO of Avatar financier Dune Entertainment, is chairing the board. Other board members include Michael Werner, CEO of Fortissimo Film Sales, and Ashok Amritraj, CEO of Hyde Park Entertainment. Given that Hong Kong’s Filmart already takes place each March — pretty much followed by Cannes — it’s difficult to see what room there is for yet another market one month later.
Here’s the context in his commencement speech at Hampton U today:
“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t rank all that high on the truth meter. With iPods and iPads; Xboxes and PlayStations; information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment. All of this is not only putting new pressures on you; it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy.
It’s a period of breathtaking change, like few others in our history. We can’t stop these changes, but we can adapt to them. And education is what can allow us to do so. It can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time.
…With so many voices clamoring for attention on blogs, on cable, on talk radio, it can be difficult, at times, to sift through it all; to know what to believe; to figure out who’s telling the truth and who’s not. Let’s face it, even some of the craziest claims can quickly gain traction. I’ve had some experience with that myself.
Fortunately, you’ll be well positioned to navigate this terrain. Your education has honed your research abilities, sharpened your analytical powers, and given you a context for understanding the world. Those skills will come in handy.
I’ve been reading the Boy Genius Report for some time because it’s such a go-to website for mobile and gadget news scoops. So, apparently, does my boss. Jay Penske’s digital media and publishing network now has acquired the BGR.com website. As tonight’s news release states, “The impact of the expansion cannot be underestimated. RIM’s stock price increased by over 30% immediately after BGR.com broke the news of their new devices. Testament to the fact that the immediacy with which new media sites like BGR.com and Deadline.com break news and report on major events first, does move the needle in the financial sector.”
Penske, the founder, chairman and CEO of MMC, stated: “We’re thrilled to announce our acquisition of BGR, and partnership with Jonathan. Very much in the mold of Nikki Finke of Deadline.com, Jonathan has singlehandedly built an influential site with original content that appeals to an extremely engaged and loyal following in one of the largest and most exciting categories online. And he’s done it all before his 23rd birthday.” Here’s the complete news release:
CNBC says Apple has surpassed Microsoft as of yesterday’s close in terms of market cap and shares available for the public. (Microsoft 88%, Apple 99%.)
It was billed as the “can’t miss episode of Glee” this season, but the conclusion of the much-hyped Madonna episode went MIA for DVR owners. Because of an American Idol overrun Tuesday night, many viewers watching Glee on DVR saw the show cut off before the climax, the cast’s performance of Like a Prayer featuring a large gospel choir. Viewers grumbled last year about Idol overruns that cut short recording of the shows that followed the singing competition but nothing compares to the interruption of Fox’s most-promoted scripted hour this season, written and directed by Ryan Murphy no less. Glee fans took to Twitter to voice their anger and frustration. A fan site, gleetastic.com, was quick to get the Like a Prayer video up, while the official Fox Web site only offered promos for the episode as well as the Sue Sylvester Vogue music video.
UPDATE WEDNESDAY AM: The Madonna episode of Glee is now available on fox.com and hulu.
Apple today announced that it sold over 300,000 iPads in the U.S. as of midnight Saturday, April 3 — nowhere near the 700,000 units predicted. These sales included deliveries of pre-ordered iPads to customers, deliveries to channel partners, and sales at Apple Retail Stores. Apple also announced that iPad users downloaded over 1 million apps from Apple’s App Store and over 250,000 ebooks from its iBookstore during the first day. But the more interesting story is how Apple analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray and others blew the iPad sales estimates. BusinessInsider was first to have the note that Munster put out explaining how his iPad predictions were twice what Apple actually sold because he overestimated the online pre-orders. Therefore, he is lowering his 2010 iPad sales estimate to 4.3 million units from 5.6 million:
Where We Went Wrong. We believe that we misgauged the online pre-orders received for the iPad starting on March 12. We originally estimated online-sales to be about 75% of all iPad sales; however, it appears that online pre-orders made up about 50% of the sales, resulting in a significant unit difference.
Deja Vu: Wrong On Launch Day, Right On Theme. We were overly optimistic on our launch day estimates of 600-700k, similar to the iPhone launch, when we were also too aggressive. With the original iPhone we estimated sales at
Analysts are telling Bloomberg that Apple likely sold 2 times and even 3 times as many iPads its first weekend in release (including pre-sales) than everyone thought possible. By comparison, Apple reportedly took 74 days to sell 1 million first generation, while the iPhone 3G and Phone 3GS each took just 3 days to sell the first million units. Estimates are that 5 million iPads may be sold in the first 12 months compared with 6.1 million iPhones in its first year on the market), and perhaps 7.1 million globally. Me, I love gadgetry but I still can’t figure out why I need to lug this around and an iPhone and a Kindle and a laptop… But I’m sure Apple and Hollywood will convince me.
Sherlock Holmes was just released this past Tuesday in Blu-Ray and DVD. So a Warner Bros press statement asks: “Why not download it from iTunes for your iPad? Why not also play the game designed for the device? Sherlock Holmes: Mysteries is that immersive game experience that does just that. It leverages the powerful platform of the iPad and its 1024×768 screen resolution for intense graphics through 11 immersive 3-D environments as players work to solve the case. They also take advantage of multi-touch in various boxing matches where Sherlock knuckles his way through 12 unique characters.” In other words, Warner Bros Digital Distrbution chose to support the iPad and leverage the Apple platform and its 1024×768 screen resolution in a big way.
Disney announced today that Marvel Comics is on iPad:
Marvel Comics App includes over 500 of Marvel’s greatest comic books, from classic stories to modern tales, featuring Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor and more of the world’s most popular Super Heroes. The Marvel Comics App offers the option to preview three pages from each available comic before purchasing and a cutting edge recommendation engine for every fan to find a comic they’re sure to love. The app also arms fans with a handy comic shop locator, allowing them to find their local retailer’s address and phone number and then journey even further into the Marvel Universe. To further enhance the mobile reading experience on the iPad, the Marvel Comics App features multiple viewing modes, taking readers panel-by-panel through the comic book in a smooth, action-packed progression using just the swipe of a finger.
UPDATED: Marvel Comics App To Debut On iPad
BURBANK, Calif., April 1, 2010 – As part of its ongoing strategy to provide original creative content where and how consumers want it, Disney will offer applications from all of its businesses on the new Apple iPad. The ABC Player app extends the reach of ABC.com’s full episode player onto the iPad. iPad users will have the ability to watch free, ad-supported episodes from approximately 20 popular ABC series through a wi-fi connection. The application will also allow iPad users to purchase downloads of episodes via the iTunes store. The ABC iPad app brings the full experience of ABC.com’s Emmy Award-winning full episode player to a touch-screen, handheld device for the first time. Additionally, the ABC.com site is now optimized for the iPad, complete with full-functionality for all its features, including short-form video.
Disney Publishing Worldwide has built two original “Toy Story” read-along apps for the iPad, both combining Disney stories and unique activities with cutting edge technology. Each “Toy Story” read-along is an immersive multimedia experience – the books feature video from the feature films, karaoke and voice record features, the voices of Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, songs from the movies, original games, and even an interactive coloring feature that lets kids finger-paint with up to 10 fingers on the screen. The
Sony Corp has officially announced its entry in the 3D television game, launching its first line of Bravia flatscreen TVs for sale in Japan beginning in June. Other announcements will follow as Sony joins electronics giants like Panasonic and Samsung in chasing a 3D marketplace that Sony expects will immediately become responsible for 10% of its sales in the next year.
The big question I have Is Sony indebted to James Cameron, beyond what his film Avatar has done to stoke 3D demand?
To hear Cameron tell it, Sony’s TV plan is exactly the same one he pitched Sony chief, Sir Howard Stringer, as a business proposition. Though Cameron makes his films at 20th Century Fox, he had a strong association with Sony, the maker of 3D cameras that were used for Avatar.
Listen to Cameron’s response to a recent Business Week cover story, when Charlie Rose mentioned Stringer ‘s plan to make 3D units the entire thrust of Sony’s presentation at the Consumer Electronics Show that took place in early January.
Said Cameron: “There’s an interesting history there because, about 6 or 7 months ago, I had a closed-door secret presentation to Howard Stringer of a new business venture, and I mapped out what I believed was going to be the future of 3D and how many television sets were going to be entering the home and how there would initially be a dearth of …
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Feb. 22, 2010 — Walmart announced today a definitive agreement to acquire VUDU, Inc., a leading provider of digital technologies and services that enable the delivery of entertainment content directly to broadband high-definition TVs and Blu-ray players. The deal is expected to close within the next few weeks.
VUDU is a revolutionary service, built into a growing number of broadband-ready TVs and Blu-ray players, that delivers instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows directly through the television. Customers with broadband Internet access and an Internet-ready TV or Blu-ray player can rent or purchase movies, typically in high-definition, without needing a connected computer or cable/satellite service. New movies and features will be added continually, enabling customers to enjoy a product that continues to become more robust long after they have left the store.
“The real winner here is the customer,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, vice chairman for Walmart. “Combining VUDU’s unique digital technology and service with Walmart’s retail expertise and scale will provide customers with unprecedented access to home entertainment options as they migrate to a digital environment.”
VUDU has licensing agreements with almost every major movie studio and dozens of independent and international distributors to offer approximately 16,000 movies, including the largest 1080p library of video on-demand movies available anywhere. Via their broadband Internet connection, users have the ability to rent or buy titles and begin viewing them instantly.
VUDU will continue developing entertainment and information delivery solutions such as VUDU Apps, a platform that delivers hundreds of streaming Internet
Apple’s Steve Jobs unveiled its iPad tablet device. First, the stats: 9.7-inch screen and weighing 1.5 pounds, with 1 GHZ processor, starting at 16GB, 10 hours of battery life, prices ranging from $499 to $829, an unlimited data plan of $30 a month, and some with 3G by AT&T, plus a new iBooks online store.
Beverly Hills, CA — The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 15 scientific and technical achievements represented by 46 individual award recipients will be honored at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation at The Beverly Wilshire on February 20, 2010.
Unlike other Academy Awards to be presented this year, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards need not have been developed and introduced during 2009. Rather, the achievements must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures.
The Academy Awards for scientific and technical achievements are: