Posts Tagged ‘amazon’

Is Hulu Ready to Take on Netflix and Amazon?

April 27, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

When Hulu launched in 2008, the ad-supported streaming service wasn't a big priority for owners Fox, Disney and NBC. "It was like, if the ship is going to blow, at least we have an escape pod, but we don't want to equip this escape pod so well that everyone would prefer it to being on the ship with us," Forrester analyst James McQuivey put it. While Hulu attracts 30 million monthly uniques and 6 million consumers signed on for subscription service Hulu Plus, the company has been surpassed in buzz, breakout content and critical acclaim by competitors including Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go/HBO Now. "Suddenly for Hulu," said McQuivey, "it's either put up or shut up time." As Hulu prepares for its April 29 NewFronts presentation, it is squarely in the "put up" column, celebrating major coups in terms of both original series (including 11/22/63, a limited series from J.J. Abrams and Stephen King) and acquisitions (exclusive SVOD rights to all 18 seasons of South Park). "We have a mandate to swing for the fences," said Craig Erwich, svp, head of content for Hulu. "There has definitely been a mandate to get in business with the best talent that's available, support them creatively and financially, and be ambitious in terms of talent and creative vision." To that end, Hulu has spent much of the past six months making one major content announcement after another. The biggest by far was 11/22/63, based on King's best-selling novel from 2011 about an English teacher (James Franco) who finds a time portal and tries to prevent President John F. Kennedy's assassination. There's also Difficult People, a sitcom executive produced by Amy Poehler and starring Billy Eichner; Casual, a comedy exec produced by Jason Reitman; and The Way, a drama exec produced by Friday Night Lights and Parenthood showrunner Jason Katims. "On the acquisition side, we are acquiring the best of the best," said Erwich, referencing "landmark" SVOD deals for South Park, several present and future FX series (including Fargo and The Strain) and Empire, this season's biggest new series. "So anything we do on the originals side has to measure up." In the process, Hulu hopes to finally land the signature series that has long eluded it. "These new shows stand to really crystallize the Hulu brand in the hearts and minds of not only viewers but also advertisers, in a way that Mad Men may have crystallized AMC or what House of Cards did for Netflix," said Peter Naylor, svp, advertising sales at Hulu. "So I couldn't be given a better slate of programming to bring to market, especially in a crowded upfront/NewFronts season where everyone's trying to turn people's heads." Hulu knows it needs more than marquee names to keep pace with Netflix and Amazon. "Deservedly so, J.J. Abrams and Amy Poehler get you sampled and noticed," said Erwich. "But the shows have to stand on their own." Of course, when you take big swings, there's the potential for big misses. "Hulu has to be committed to a good couple of big swings in a row," said McQuivey. "And if all of them miss, then you fall back on a distribution strategy." Not gonna happen, insists Hulu, which just pulled off yet another huge deal last Thursday with Turner, acquiring exclusive SVOD rights to a variety of TNT, TBS, Adult Swim and Cartoon Network series, including The Last Ship, Aqua Teen Hunger Force and Robot Chicken. "We have a lot of momentum," said Erwich, "and we plan on continuing to capitalize on it."

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Distributor Icon, FrightFest Seal Blood Pact in U.K.

April 14, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

LONDON — U.K. distribution house Icon Film Distribution and FrightFest, the U.K.’s top horror film festival, have entered into an exclusive partnership that will see IFD releasing FrightFest curated films under the banner “FrightFest Presents.” The films will be made available in the U.K. and Ireland via IFD’s digital partners, including Sky, iTunes, Amazon, Blinkbox,... Read more

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Amazon’s Twitch Warns Users of Possible Hack Attack

March 24, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Twitch, the live-streaming game service Amazon acquired last year for about $1 billion, said some user accounts may have been hacked. “We are writing to let you know that there may have been unauthorized access to some Twitch user account information,” Twitch said in a post on its official blog. The company did not disclose... Read more

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How Are TV Networks Just Like Kimmy Schmidt?

March 24, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

The television networks are kind of like the main character in Tina Fey's new sitcom

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Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Serena’ Streaming on Google Play, iTunes, Amazon

March 7, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

In the latest twist in “Serena’s” nontraditional distribution plan, the drama, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, is available to rent on Google Play, iTunes and Amazon Instant Video three weeks before its theatrical release. The movie costs $10.99 for HD and $9.99 for SD on Google Play, while iTunes and Amazon Instant Video are... Read more

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Amazon Inks Deal for U.K. Comedy Series ‘Catastrophe’ from Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan

January 29, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Amazon Studios announced a licensing deal for Transatlantic comedy series “Catastrophe” — penned by and starring comedian and author Rob Delaney and actress Sharon Horgan — which will be available exclusively on Prime Instant Video. The first season of the six-episode half-hour comedy is airing on the U.K.’s Channel 4 and has been renewed for... Read more

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Today Only, Amazon Is Discounting Prime to $72 and Streaming Transparent for Free

January 24, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Apparently on a charm offensive after winning two Golden Globes for its witty dramedy Transparent, Amazon is streaming the show for free today and offering a discount for new converts to its Prime service. Prime, a subscription bundle that includes video streaming, a music service, free delivery and other assorted benefits, is $72 for a year's subscription today. That's down from the usual rate of $99, for a savings of $27. (Already a subscriber? Kinja Deals recommends gifting yourself a subscription today and canceling auto-renew on your current Prime subscription. That'll reportedly activate the discounted subscription as soon as your current one ends.) Today's special rate comes out to $6 a month, beating out every competitor in the streaming video space. And it says one thing pretty clearly to the market: Amazon desperately wants to beef up its subscriber base. The tech giant is due Thursday for the corporate equivalent of a physical: its quarterly earnings report. That means a lot of transparency before Amazon's investors, to whom Amazon is basically under oath. And since you can't give too many "I'm not going to answer" answers before your share price drops, Amazon's leadership has to show return on investment. Luckily, they're in a good position to do that. Amazon spent $100 million on streaming content in a single quarter last year—some of that is undoubtedly acquisitions, some of it is probably marketing, but it's certainly a ton of money for a business that notoriously operates with extremely slim margins and spends its R&D money, um, fearlessly . But Prime has so many angles by which the company can win.

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‘Welcome to Fairfax,’ ‘Bosch’ Most Active Shoots in L.A. in 2014

January 13, 2015  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Pivot’s 10-episode documentary series “Welcome to Fairfax” was the most active production shoot in 2014 in Los Angeles, followed by Amazon’s police procedural “Bosch.” A Variety analysis prepared with assistance from permitting agency FilmL.A. showed that “Welcome to Fairfax” generated 514 permitted production days last year, followed by 379 for “Bosch.” The final season of... Read more

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Five Shows Premiering This Winter That You Need to See

January 8, 2015  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Another new year, another bumper crop of slots on your DVR waiting to be filled with shows that haven't been canceled or started to smell funny after a few episodes. But where to look? We figured we'd look everywhere, so below, please check out our best bets for the first part of 2015 (yes, we cheated slightly—that new Amazon show premiered last month, but it's on demand and it's really good). Of course, you'd be unwise to count out broadcast entirely—there's a new cop show from no less than Vince Gilligan, and we liked the pilot a lot. And iZombie (which, oddly, still doesn't have a premiere date) is one of the best shows we've seen all season.

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5 Ways Television Changed Dramatically in 2014

December 17, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Television advertising has been a pretty conservative marketplace: You buy Nielsen ratings, you make 30-second advertisements and sometimes you buy product placement. But the sudden ascent of non-Nielsen-rated content has created a gaping void in the measurement world. And popular genres like horror, with shows such as The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and American Horror Story, aren't super friendly to adjacencies and product placement. Who wants to see consecutive bites taken out of a leg and a cheeseburger? (Game of Thrones, of course, isn't even ad-supported). So here are a few ways the industry is changing, and what it means for 2015. 1. Ratings went crazy. What happened? The measurement world's lack of visibility into the mobile and tablet spaces generated shrugs until fairly recently. It's become spectacularly—maybe horribly—easy to spy on computer users' surfing habits (no, "incognito mode" does not hide you from anybody except your mom). But your cell phone and your iPad are still difficult to track, mostly because in-browser viewing isn't the norm. Video apps like Hulu are much harder to track with cookies because you aren't in your browser. And that's where a huge, valuable chunk of viewing takes place. So Nielsen (which suffered a serious black eye at the beginning of the season by spilling coffee on the keyboard or something on a bunch of its Live+SD figures, resulting in some major corrections) is racing to make its gross ratings point tool, the one advertisers pay for in non-theoretical money, the standard across not just linear cable and broadcast, but new media, as well. It's not there yet, partly because there's still significant dispute over whether or not an ad delivered on a smartphone is worth the same amount of money as an ad delivered on a 50-inch plasma screen

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