Editorials

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Viewer Options Actually Benefit the Entire Entertainment Ecosystem

by Andy Marken / 23-Nov-20

 “I have no intention of taking a job. My work is going far too well - I can't afford to waste time earning money.” – Arthur Rimbaud, “Total Eclipse,” FIT Productions, 1995

Attention streaming video folks.

Yes, we really, really like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Apple TV+, Disney + stuff.  

We like this and that on BritBox and HBO, or whatever you’re calling it today.

So why didn’t we throw Peacock, Pluto, Tubi into the pile?   They’re free.

If we lived in China, we’d like Youku, iQuyi, LeTV and Tencent Video stuff.

If we were in India, we’d like Hotstar, Hungama, Spuul and Jio Cinema stuff.

If we were in Europe, we’d like Cinesquare, Uncut and Joyn+ stuff.

If we were in Africa, it would be APAC, EMEA; yeah, different stuff.

Get the picture?

It’s not about you.

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Everyone in the M&E Industry is Evaluating Their Options

by Andy Marken / 16-Nov-20

“When you have access to the vastness of space, you realize there's only one resource worth fighting over... even killing for: More time. Time is the single most precious commodity in the universe.” – Kalique Abrasax, “Jupiter Ascending,” Warner Bros, 2015

Several weeks ago, on one of our forums, one of the participants was lamenting how streaming media was messing up the entire industry by showing all of the best content D2C, limiting options to filmmakers and leaving nothing but crumbs for movie theater owners and audiences. 

Wrong dude--just plain wrong! 

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Short Mobile Viewing is Nice but People Like Long Stories

by Andy Marken / 09-Nov-20

“I once asked this literary agent, “Uh, what kind of writing paid the best...” he said, "Ransom notes." – Harry Zimm, “Get Shorty,” 1995, MGM

I don’t know about you, but we’re getting awfully tired of looking up people’s noses during Zoom meetings.

It probably doesn’t bother you; but one of our college degrees was in radio & TV, so we were drilled on how to act, look and respond to a camera.

But today, everything is a closeup and we have to tell you…you need to trim your nose hair!

Seriously!

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Content Industry Players Need to Anticipate, Embrace Change or ...

by Andy Marken / 02-Nov-20

“Listen, you moron! I am here to stay and if you don't wanna be in my life, you've got two choices. Move out or Ring out! That's it! End of File!” – Lt. Jordan O’Neil, “G.I. Jane,” Caravan Pictures, 1997

We just canceled our fourth holiday trip this year … no warm water diving this year.

But we’re an optimist, so next year …  yeah!

Actually, we should have realized the entire M&E industry was going to change back in February when VIP Cinemas, the world’s largest producer of reclining movie seats, filed for bankruptcy but we blew the move off as just a knee- jerk reaction to a “temporary inconvenience.”

Fortunately, most of the industry took the time to examine every aspect of entertainment that actually hasn’t changed much since the end of the studio caste system back in 1948 (and probably before that but…). 

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TIFF Highlights Equality in Your Entertainment

by Andy Marken / 24-Oct-20

 “When no one is to blame, everyone is to blame.” – Pope Francis, “The Two Popes,” Netflix

Because of the global pandemic, we were unable to go to this year’s Venice Film Festival.

Couldn’t go in years past because we couldn’t afford it.

Nice to have a new reason.

Actually, we’ve never minded missing over the top film festivals like Venice and Cannes. But having to pass up September’s TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) hurt.

Next to Sundance, TIFF is one of the events where they really focus on new, different and great indie filmmaker projects. 

Plus, it reminded us we weren’t able to visit Amsterdam and IBC.

Next year? 

BAM! we’re there.

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As Theaters Open, Dedicated Filmgoers Take Their Seats, Others Have Options

by Andy Marken / 19-Oct-20

 “Nothing good is born from lies. And greatness is not what you think.”  – Diana Prince, “Wonder Woman 1984,” DC Entertainment, 2020

 

Finally, things are getting back to normal and we’re able to go to our club to workout.

Okay, it’s not completely normal, but it’s a step in the right direction. We can do our workouts outside so far apart that we’re really alone together.

Can hardly wait for the cold winter rains.

Before class a few weeks ago we were hollering back and forth with Sarah, a lady friend who has to actually “go” to a movie, or it isn’t a real movie.

For her, stuff on a TV set is TV.

 

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A 5G Network Can Be a Blessing and a Curse, So Play Nice

by Andy Marken / 12-Oct-20

 “Yes, well, life is full of small challenges.” – James Bond, “The World is not Enough,” MGM, 1999

The other day, we were watching a movie on our smartphone. 30-minutes in this huge buffering wheel filled the screen.

 Then … stutter, stop, spin, stutter, stop, spin.

A few months back, the EU asked Netflix; Amazon; YouTube and Disney to cut their streams back to HD video to save precious bandwidth.

The only person we know who recognized the difference and quietly complained was industry tracker Bob Raikes, managing director of Meko publishers of Display Daily

Ordinary folks didn’t notice the difference. As long as the screen had the 4K logo in the corner, they were watching in 4K

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The Decision of Streamed vs. Theater is Fading for Consumers

by Andy Marken / 05-Oct-20

“There are some, Phil, who consider this character building.” – Dom, “The Ritual,” Entertainment One, 2017

Netflix’s Reid Hastings had the streaming stage to himself since about 2000 but it got so crowded that this year, the board “encouraged” Ted Sandaros to join him as co-CEO and the two are confident the stage can hold all the new folks that joined them.

 

First, it was just the new members of the FAANGD mob ((Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google/YouTube, Netflix, Disney) and China’s BAT squad (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent); but it didn’t take much for everyone in the M&E industry to figure out that this streaming thing was here to stay.

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The M&E Industry is Being Nudged into a Remake

by Andy Marken / 28-Sep-20

“It's difficult to explain. On our planet, we, uh... we pretend to... to entertain. Mathesar, I am so sorry. God, I am so sorry.”  -- Jason Nesmith, “Galaxy Quest,” DreamWorks, 1999

We were Zooming with an industry friend in Croatia last week and he made the passing observation that it was so good that the industry was finally getting back to normal.

Well yes, shooting has been underway for almost a month in London, Toronto, Montreal, Nigeria, Kenya, Bollywood, Beijing, Shanghai and Wellington while learning all kinds of new stuff like testing, insurance negotiation, handling crowd/intimacy scenes, craft services and crew limitations.   

Universal, Focus Features, Disney, Netflix, Paramount and other studios have already signed long-term sound stage, production and post facility agreements with the new and expanded studio complex owners as projects increasingly become limited to a single location because of governmental health concerns/restrictions.

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TV Shows, Filmmakers Prepare to Fill the Content Pipeline

by Andy Marken / 21-Sep-20

“Well, anything worth doing is worth doing right.” – Jimmy Dugan, “A League of Their Own,” Columbia, 2016

We’re beginning to wonder if there’s something about the human psyche that makes people not to want to be alone with themselves.

To make the pandemic tolerable for folks, someone came up with an empathetic phrase, “Alone Together.”

It’s not bad enough that you have to spend half of your business day on Zoom calls; but then you move from the home office to the couch to watch a bunch of Zoomers watch someone else Zoom and call it … entertainment.