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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

30 years ago today, the second time "the music died."

Lennon fans gather at New York City's Strawberry Fields in one of several global vigils to mark the 30th anniversary of his murder. Photograph: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Thirty years ago the dreams and hopes of a "Beatles reunion" came to a brutal end, as John Lennon was assassinated near his New York City Central Park are brownstone. A brutal final ending to the band that has since become an icon of a generation with long lasting musical legacy, given the pacifism Lennon represented.

For more go to the New York Times, the Guardian and other sites.

Season's Greatings

Tablets and 3DTVs and phones, oh my

  • What a year for Consumer Electronics


  • International CES is just around the corner, which means that another year is ending. Companies are gearing up to showcase new technologies and products at the event, but before we look at what's coming, let's look back at what this year brought, and you can't talk about 2010 without mentioning the tablet. Apple blazed a trail when it introduced its iPad in April, and many other CE manufacturers, including Samsung, HP, Dell, and Research in Motion, are now offering devices of their own. The tablet market is on pace to reach 15.1 million units this year, with that number expected to skyrocket to more than 115 million by 2014, according to Oppenheimer & Co.

    3DTV also burst into view this year, with more movie studios, device makers and content providers jumping into the fray. Digital content as a whole really began to take hold, and CEA is planning Entertainment Matters at CES, which will bring digital Hollywood together with CE manufacturers and content providers. SmartBrief and CEA partnered to launch the Entertainment Matters Digital Content SmartBrief in October.

    E-readers, HDTVs, smartphones, Blu-ray players and personal music players were among the other hot technologies this year. The industry also got a bit greener, with more LED devices, better batteries, more recycling programs and new Federal Trade Commission energy guidelines that will require all TV sets manufactured after May 10, 2011, to bear the yellow EnergyGuide label.

    On the retail front, CEA's "17th Annual CE Holiday Purchase Patterns Study" predicts that consumer spending on CE gifts this year will be up 5% year-over-year to $232. "Not only are three in four adults planning to give CE products as a gift this year, but more consumers want electronics as a gift for themselves, demonstrating that electronics will be the must-have gifts of the season," Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis, said when the study was released in October.

    With the lame-duck session of Congress and Republican control of the House of Representatives just ahead, it will be interesting to see if lawmakers move to expand free trade and spectrum availability. Will they resist broadcasters' proposal to require FM radio chips in electronics devices?

    Happy New Year. I hope to see you at CES.

    --Susan Rush, CEA SmartBrief Editor

TRON: LEGACY Official Trailer

Movies At home The Day they hit theaters

Hope popcorn comes with it. Want to avoid the hassles of long lines, crowded parking lots and messy bathrooms when you go to the movies? Well, for $20,000 you can sign up to watch movies at home the same day they premiere on the big screen. Oh, and it also costs $500 a movie. If you're still interested, odds are you already have the means to avoid all the hassles of going to the movies already! The Wall Street Journal says Hollywood is lukewarm toward the plans of Prima Cinema Inc., which looks to launch late next year. If they want to set up a test system in my house just to show how it works, I'm game. -LA Times
Wall Street Journal

A proposed service aims to bring movies to homes the same day they hit theaters, a milestone that Hollywood has long anticipated with a mixture of fear and fascination.

But there's a catch: At the prices currently being discussed by Prima Cinema Inc., the start-up that is touting the service, those movies will reach only world's the best-appointed living rooms.

Prima plans to charge customers a one-time fee of about $20,000 for a digital-delivery system and an additional $500 per film. The Los Angeles-based company has around $5 million in backing from the venture arm of Best Buy Co. and General Electric Co.'s Universal Pictures, and hopes to start delivering movies to customers as soon as a year from now.

The steep price has been met with mixed reactions in Hollywood. Some executives question whether it will be possible to build a market beyond a few thousand users. (Prima says it plans to install its systems in 250,000 homes within five years.) Others say the high price would create an exclusive, super-premium niche market without cutting into existing sources of revenue.

"While this is a niche market, there is a chance for significant upside," says Adam Fogelson, chairman of Universal Pictures, which holds a minority stake in Prima. "And precisely because it is a niche market, that upside should come without harming any of our existing partners or revenue streams."

To read this and other stories in the Wall Street Journal, click here.

Yogi Bear Movie Trailer 2 Official (HD)

Tentpole films not expected to save Hollywood, this year at least

2010 may mark the first box office downtick in four years. Then again, last Dec.'s release of "Avatar" helped the industry collect roughly $1 billion in the last three weeks of the year.

It's now clear that movie admissions will be down from last year, despite film distributors still having holiday tentpoles such as Tron: Legacy and Yogi Bear still to open. In fact, after three consecutive year-over-year weekend downticks to start the holiday box office season, it remains to be seen if the industry can mark a new high in theatrical revenue.
Failing to do so would mean the first box office downtick in four years.
This is despite the uptick in demand for 3D and increase in the traditionally key 12 to 25 box office attendance.
Meantime, the average movie ticket cost 4.7% more in 2010 than a year earlier, at $7.85. Assuming the industry matches last year dollar-for-dollar in the home stretch, that would make for 1.37 admissions by year's end and mean an almost 3% downtick in 2010 ticket sales.
Netflix and other alternative distribution methods have been growing, along with technologies such as Smart Phones, iPads and other alternative distribution methods to theatrical screenings.
One possible cause for Hollywood's failure to match its performance a year earlier in '10: There were fewer studio releases this year. Major studios released 112 movies last year, while just 103 films will reach movies screens by the end of December.
Disney and other studios have slashed their release calendars, shed themselves of previously prolific "idependant" release labels and backed off on risk taking titles (such as "The Hurt Locker").