“YouTube said it will provide funding in about 20 global markets to support news organizations in ‘building sustainable video operations.’ The grants will let new orgs build out video capabilities, train staff on video best practices, and enhance production facilities. YouTube says it also will expand its team focused on supporting news publishers … and also detailed new features intended to flag misinformation and highlight authoritative news sources.”
Netflix is a production company of peerless scale when it comes to TV. It’s projected to spend $12 to $13 billion on original programming in 2018; meanwhile, HBO spent $2.5 billion on its shows in 2017. Netflix’s strategy is to overwhelm, pumping out fresh content at its subscribers and relying less and less on licensed material it doesn’t own. HBO has always had more of a “prestige” bent, taking a very long time to develop its shows and launching them with extreme fanfare, with an eye toward awards. But Stankey seems to view that deliberate pace as a result of laziness, and his desire to upend the network’s careful approach to putting out new shows (it only makes a handful per season) could mean the end of HBO as we know it.
“Premiering Tuesday on TruTV, Paid Off With Michael Torpey is pretty traditional for the genre: There are three rounds of play in which contestants buzz in to answer trivia questions and earn points. What sets it apart from other entries in the genre is what happens in the final round. If the top contestant answers eight trivia questions correctly, she wins a cash prize equal to the balance she owes on her student loans, because the contestant pool for Paid Off is the more than 40 million Americans who hold student loan debt.”
Co-founder Simon Walker said the service would be home to the “freshest, most innovative, most adventurous performances around”. Content available from its launch includes David Tennant in Richard II and New York City Opera’s Brokeback Mountain, based on the story by Charles Wuorinen and Annie Proulx. Marquee has also teamed up with Opus Arte, the company that supplies filmed productions from the Royal Opera House and Glyndebourne.
“We need hours a day,” Warner Media CEO John Stankey said. “It’s not hours a week, and it’s not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people’s hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes.” HBO has 40 million subscribers stateside and 143 million worldwide, but Stankey insists that it wasn’t enough. He said that they have “to move beyond 35 to 40 percent penetration to have this become a much more common product.”
In recent years, several studies have concluded that any aggression provoked by violent media is more than offset by decreases in violent crime that can be attributed to the same media. One study, in 2009, examined crime rates in the U.S. from 1996 to 2004. On the nights when theatre attendance for violent blockbuster movies, including “Hannibal” and “Spider-Man,” was high, rates of violent crime fell slightly, even in the six-hour period after midnight, when most movies had ended. Apparently, the people who were prone to violence were more likely to see a violent movie, and this kept them from committing crimes.
Have some luck, get a master’s degree from the Royal College of Art, and work your butt off for at least three years. Summer Camp Island creator and showrunner Julia Pott: “I feel like I’m just the person who created the world, and all of my favorite jokes and moments have come from other people.”
Things are going to change. HBO’s new executive, who was a longterm executive at AT&T, “described a future in which HBO would substantially increase its subscriber base and the number of hours that viewers spend watching its shows. To pull it off, the network will have to come up with more content, transforming itself from a boutique operation, with a focus on its signature Sunday night lineup, into something bigger and broader.”
Or at least its indie moment, after the Oakland scenes of Black Panther fade. “Long in the shadow of the city across the bay and nestled between liberal Berkeley and the exploding tech expanse of Silicon Valley, Oakland (pop. 425,000) is in the midst of a long-awaited movie moment, and [Sorry to Bother You writer/director Boots] Riley is helping put it on the map.”
What do they say about us, about our time period? What will historians say in the future, when this time (the time of the superhero) is, at long last, over? “Gone is respect for the rule of law and the importance of tradition and community. Institutions and human knowledge are useless. Religion is irrelevant. Governments are corrupt and/or inept, when not downright evil. The empowered individual is all.”
“The fantastical story of the Pepperlanders and the Blue Meanie menace is resistance cinema in the truest sense, albeit in a register so idealistic it barges past the point of naïveté. … A children’s film about pacifism winning out over imperialist annihilation might seem an odd combination, but in the cannabis haze after the Summer of Love, nothing made more sense.”
With the spread of virtual-assistant and smart-speaker technologies – one out of every five U.S. homes with wi-fi has Alexa or an equivalent – both the national NPR network and Seattle public radio station KUOW are experimenting with ways to let listeners donate with a simple voice command.
AMC Theaters, the largest multiplex chain in the United States, rolled out its own MoviePass-style service on Tuesday. For $20 a month, subscribers to AMC Stubs A-List can see up to three movies a week. Also last week, the Alamo Drafthouse chain said it would begin testing a service called Season Pass that would offer unlimited movies for one monthly price.
Emoji, which have grown from an original set of 176 characters to a collection of over 3,000 unique icons, present both opportunities and challenges to the academics who study them. Most agree that the icons are not quite a language—the emoji vocabulary is made up almost entirely of nouns, and there’s no real grammar or syntax to govern their use—but their influence on internet communication is massive. By 2015, half of all comments on Instagram included an emoji.
So how would we know if we were in the middle of a real Oscars revolution? For starters, how about a foreign language film earning a best picture nomination for the first time since 2012’s “Amour”? In this dramatic membership expansion, the academy has, to its credit, cast a wide net, inviting hundreds of international filmmakers, actors and crafts people. (“What it is is we realize now how much talent there is out there,” academy president John Bailey told me last year.)
Tech has now captured pretty much all visual capacity. Americans spend three to four hours a day looking at their phones, and about 11 hours a day looking at screens of any kind. So tech giants are building the beginning of something new: a less insistently visual tech world, a digital landscape that relies on voice assistants, headphones, watches and other wearables to take some pressure off our eyes.
Beanie Feldstein played the titular character’s best friend Julie – and she stole most of the scenes she was in, with people tweeting “I want a movie about Julie!” Instead, Feldstein landed her first lead role. “As soon as we saw her in Lady Bird, we knew we’d both found Johanna and seen someone who was going to be a superstar. … From the moment you see her, you root for her.”
Not good for Spanish-language channel consumers (including soccer fans): “Univision has been seeking higher fees to bring its Spanish-language channels closer to those charged by English-language networks, such as ABC, NBC and CBS. But Dish has balked at Univision’s demands and declined Univision’s offer of a two-week contract extension to continue the talks.”
The bullseye is the 1940s, of course. Why? The audience. “What’s been bubbling for a while, probably since The Iron Lady and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel came out [in early 2012], is the conviction that the most reliable cinema-going audience are the over-50s. And a period movie falls into the category of films that audience will go to see.”
The streaming behemoth has quite the foreign film library. It takes a little work to find the films, but they’re worth it for most tastes: “The sheer amount of material may be the most impressive thing about the category. And for a mainstream platform like Netflix, international doesn’t mean art house.”
True crime has outgrown the news magazines in favor of in-depth episodic storytelling. In thinking about whether the stories themselves have changed, it’s important to note the goals haven’t. First and foremost, podcasts, like documentaries, strive to put us in the room, and to explore the context of a murder. True crime audiences need to go deeper than the motives and the method. We’ve seen that summary level story on Dateline for the past twenty-five years.
Every cent you don’t fork over for each free or super-cheap service you use is balanced by the advertising revenue the service hopes to make off of you. That’s not just true of the app-centric, surveillance-saturated economy of 2018 — it’s basically how the entertainment biz has worked for over a century. If you’re not entirely supported by sales or subscriptions, you’re working with advertisers. MoviePass is no different, but they are a fascinating case study in how, as modern data-driven advertising risks extinction via overdue regulation, the most cynical impulses of “old school” advertising threaten to turn everyone off just as much.
“Disney has moved one step closer to purchasing a big chunk of 21st Century Fox. On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced it had approved the proposed deal, valued at a total $71.3 billion … with one caveat: Disney, the owner of ESPN, must sell off 22 regional sports networks that were originally a part of the purchase, to avoid undue dominance in sports broadcasting.”