Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College recently got together to answer one simple question: does BitTorrent hurt U.S. box office numbers? According to this study, the answer is a resounding ‘no,’ much to the chagrin of the movie industry. The study did find a correlation in the data, but it amounts to Hollywood throwing away money.
If Paul Revere were around today, he'd have to hop in his Ford Mustang and ride through the streets lined with Blockbuster kiosks yelling, "Redbox is coming! Redbox is coming!" Not that it would matter, because NCR Corporation, which operates the roughly 9,000 existing Blockbuster kiosks, sold them all to Redbox along with "certain retailer contracts and DVD inventory" for up to $100 million.
Telecommunications giant Verizon is partnering up with Coinstar's popular Redbox subsidiary to roll out an online streaming video service in the second half of 2012. It will be an "affordable" subscription-based service "that will allow all consumers across the U.S. to enjoy the new and popular entertainment they want, whenever they choose, using the media and devices they prefer," the two companies stated in a joint announcement.
Warner Bros. decided to play hardball with Netflix, Blockbuster, and Redbox by demanding they each wait 56 days after a title is released before making it available for rent, which is twice is long as the 28-day waiting period film studios typically impose. While Netflix and Blockbuster begrudgingly accepted WB's terms, Redbox decided it can do better on its own and decided not to renew its contract, which expired on January 31, 2012.
It's no secret Netflix would like to see its DVD-by-mail business go the way of the Dodo so it can focus its attention entirely on the streaming scene, and with streaming subscribers almost twice as profitable as DVD customers, who can blame 'em? Company CEO Reed Hastings jumped the gun when he attempted to put Netflix's DVD business out to pasture by spinning it off into a separate company (Qwikster), a move that sparked an intense backlash from its customers, but if he's patient, it will die off all on its own, and in fact that's exactly what he anticipates will happen.
Over a year ago, I wrote in this space that 3D TV is inevitable in the home theater market. I still feel that way, and I’ll explain why.
I saw my first 3D movie in 1953. It was House Of Wax, starring Vincent Price, Phyllis Kirk, Carolyn Jones, and featured a pretty scary newcomer named Charles Bronson. It was directed by Andre de Toth, who ironically only had one good eye.
To this day, it remains one of my favorite 3D movies, and I wish Warner Bros. would get off their butts and release it on 3D Blu-Ray, perhaps a double set with Phantom Of The Rue Morgue, starring Karl Malden. I’d also like Universal to release a box set of The Creature From The Black Lagoon, Revenge Of The Creature, The Creature Walks Among Us (not in 3D) and It Came From Outer Space.
Netflix over the weekend announced that its expanding to the U.K. and Ireland where it hopes to entice potential subscribers with a free one-month trial. It's a different ballgame overseas, and while Netflix dominates the streaming scene in the U.S., it will now face off against Lovefilm, a popular streaming service in the U.K. with over 2 million subscribers and owned by online giant Amazon.
With all the fuss over Netflix's price hikes and near-catastrophic amputation of its DVD-by-mail arm, after the all the pitchfork wielding, the mass exodus, falling stock price, and everything else company CEO Reed Hastings and the rest of the Netflix crew would like to forget about, subscribers still kicked back on their couches and tuned in to what the streaming outfit had to offer.
Unless you've been intentionally cutting yourself off from mainstream movies and TV (and we wouldn't blame you if you had), you've probably become aware of the practice known as product placement--when companies pay money to have their product or brand featured in a movie or TV show.
Used judiciously, product placement can be a way for filmmakers to get a little extra cash and flesh out the realism of their world. It makes more sense to see characters at a bar drinking real brands of beer, after all. Unfortunately, Hollywood isn’t known for its subtlety, and product placement can all too often be jarring and obvious.
And, of course, tech brands are no stranger to this kind of advertising. We’ve put together a gallery of 15 of the most shameless, hamfisted instances of tech product placement in movies and TV shows. Check them out, then hit the comments and let us know what we missed.
Western Digital's WD TV media player family just got a little bit better with the addition of streaming movie service Vudu. That's in addition to several new sports and entertainment services WD rolled out to the WD TB Live and WD TV Live Hub media players, both of which are already content rich with support for Netflix, Hulu Plus, Blockbuster, CinimaNow, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Facebook, and a bunch of others.