Things get weird and ugly when journalism collides with the inelegant demands of outlets’ corporate masters. A Houston TV reporter alleges Disney prevented reporters from ABC affiliates from interviewing Johnny Depp at the Austin Film Festival because he was there to promote the upcoming movie The Rum Diary while his film Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides has just come out on home video.
The McDonald’s corporate types must think the ambiance of their dining rooms may be a little lacking. Perhaps that’s why they are testing the McDonald’s Channel, a roundup of news and entertainment segments, tailored to each community, that will play as you succumb to the siren song of empty calories.
The revolving door that is Netflix’s streaming service has lined up another entrant. The company nailed down a deal to stream previous seasons of scripted CW TV shows starting the year after they air.
Never afraid to exploit a good idea for all its worth and more, the studio that brought you Bambi II announced it will capitalize on the success of its 3D theatrical re-release of The Lion King by using its cattle prod to jolt four more golden geese back to life.
When Netflix started upped its prices for subscribers by splitting streaming and disc rentals into separate subscriptions, the top brass said it would use the additional funds to secure streaming deals. Now the company has something to show for the promise, having secured a deal with DreamWorks for programming that currently goes to HBO. The agreement goes into effect in 2013.
The likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon will reportedly face some new competition, when Dish Network finally justifies its purchase of Blockbuster by starting a video streaming service in October.
Come March, Netflix’s array of video streaming options could be considerably thinned. Starz announced it’s stopped negotiating an extension with Netflix and all its movies and TV shows will vanish from the service when the current deal expires February 28.
By renting and selling TV episodes via iTunes, Apple presented an a la carte alternative to subscription TV. Now it’s funneling viewers toward the more expensive option by eliminating the 99-cent rental option and only selling episodes, mostly in the $2-$3 range.
Ringing cell phones, incessant texting, screaming kids and chattering neighbors can all make moviegoing a harrowing experience. There’s an unwritten social contract that anyone in a theater should know to adhere to, but too many people seem unaware of its existence.
Anti-smoking groups have long pressured Hollywood to decrease smoking in kids’ movies, and studios have apparently listened. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report says there were 72 percent fewer smoking incidents in kids’ movies in 2010 than in 2005 levels, dropping from 2,093 instances to 595. Smoking in PG or G-rated films plummeted 94 percent (from 472 instances to 30) in that span.
Now that spotting an open Blockbuster location is a novelty that merits a double take, and scores of other video rental chains have vanished, movie fans who want to rent some DVDs for the road have had to change the way they operate. Redbox remains an option for nightly rentals, and Netflix will still ship out discs via the mail, but gone are the days you can stop by a rental store, browse and pull some discs off the shelves and not have to return them for a week or so.
Home entertainment studios seem to have gotten over the whole “let’s try and charge $30 for all new Blu-ray movies” thing, with prices generally closer to the $20 range. But general price cuts still haven’t sparked the Blu-ray bonanza Hollywood was hoping for.
When cable company execs unwind at home, probably in front of Netflix-streamed videos like most everyone else, they no doubt daydream about ways to seize some of Netflix’s market share-gobbling momentum. After all, it seems the old “overcharge for hundreds of channels no one really wants so they can get the few that they do” plan is losing steam. An idea cooked up by Time Warner Cable, though, seems so promising it must be too good to be true.
An analyst says the lower-than-expected box office performance by Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is a sign that the 3D gimmick and its accompanying higher ticket prices may be coaxing customers to stay home rather than cough up more dough.
A Netflix app finally came out last week for Android, but due to the complications of the plethora of devices running Android, it only came out for a few of them. Netflix says they’ll slowly but surely roll out the app to other devices, but if you don’t feel like waiting you can do a little cellphone hackery and get it on your phone now.
(Some) Android users can now finally get in on the instant-streaming candy train with the long-awaited release of a Netflix app on their platform. For now the app is only available for a relatively thin number of phones, HTC’s Incredible, Nexus One, Samsung’s Nexus S, Evo 4G, and G2, but the company says they’re working diligently to roll it out to more phones. There’s just damn many of them.
Say what you will about this exit survey for unsubscribing Netflix customers, but at least it’s realistic about why people cancel Netflix. It’s especially thoughtful of Netflix to include the addresses of still-functioning torrent sites for those users who aren’t yet familiar with them. (Thanks, MedicallyNeedy!)