Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Apple Inc. is preparing to put movies in the cloud, entering a market in which it may be both competitor and ally to a similar offering backed by most Hollywood studios.
Representatives of the iPhone and iPad maker have been meeting with studios to finalize deals that would allow consumers to buy movies through iTunes and access them on any Apple device, according to knowledgeable people who requested anonymity because the discussions are private. The service is expected to launch in late 2011 or early 2012.
The talks come as the first movies from the multi-studio venture known as Ultraviolet are launching this week: Warner Bros.' "Horrible Bosses" and "Green Lantern."
People who buy DVDs or Blu-ray discs for those and other upcoming titles, including Sony Pictures' "The Smurfs" and Universal Pictures' "Cowboys and Aliens," will have access to digital cloud copies they can instantly watch on their Internet-connected TVs, smartphones and tablet computers. Ultraviolet purchases via the Web, without discs, are expected to come in 2012.
Every major studio except Disney is working on Ultraviolet with a large group of retailers and electronics companies that notably does not include Apple.
The studios are eager to boost purchases of movies, which have flat-lined in the face of competition from less expensive video on demand and Netflix and Redbox rentals. Sales of DVDs and digital downloads are still crucial to the studios' bottom line, as they are much more profitable than rentals.
However, despite the increasing popularity of digital distribution, online movie purchases are on track to bring in only $231 million this year, about the same as in 2010, according to IHS Screen Digest.
Storing digital films in the cloud, instead of making buyers manage the digital copy themselves on a computer or other device, could help spur online purchases by making it easier for people to access the movies on any device.
On Wednesday, Apple began rolling out an update to its operating system for mobile devices, called iOS5, which enables users to access music, photos, and some other media from the cloud, but not yet movies.
Though studios have spent years building Ultraviolet, people familiar with the thinking of several studio executives say they'd be happy to see Apple join as well, since it accounts for 66% of online movie sales and rentals.
"This is going to be a huge boost to a struggling online movie business," said Arash Amel, digital media research director for IHS. "Apple is going to make it work right off the bat."
Building a cloud movie business without iTunes would be difficult, Amel noted, as it accounts for 66% of online movie sales and rentals.
Under the plan Apple is proposing, users could stream movies they buy via iTunes on any device the company makes, such as the Apple TV, iPhones and iPads, as well as on PCs.
In addition, though Apple is not part of Ultraviolet, its devices could be compatible. The people who have talked to Apple representatives said the company is considering allowing people who buy and store movies with Ultraviolet to easily watch them on Apple devices via apps. That would be a big help to Ultraviolet, as Apple dominates the market for tablets and is one of the top two players in smartphones.
Movies bought on iTunes, however, would continue to work only on Apple devices and computers. That's because the company makes its biggest profits on hardware and wants to encourage people to keep buying its digital devices.
A spokesman for Apple declined to comment.
-- Ben Fritz
Photo: "Bridesmaids" on Apple's iPad. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times.
From the New York Times (click here)
A wonderful juxtaposition:
Max Abelson reports on the sorrows of the financial elite:
An era of decline and disappointment for bankers may not end for years, according to interviews with more than two dozen executives and investors. Blaming government interference and persecution, they say there isn’t enough global stability, leverage or risk appetite to triumph in the current slump.Meanwhile, Catherine Rampell reports on Bankers’ Salaries vs. Everyone Else’s, telling us that
Options Group’s Karp said he met last month over tea at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York with a trader who made $500,000 last year at one of the six largest U.S. banks.
The trader, a 27-year-old Ivy League graduate, complained that he has worked harder this year and will be paid less. The headhunter told him to stay put and collect his bonus.
“This is very demoralizing to people,” Karp said. “Especially young guys who have gone to college and wanted to come onto the Street, having dreams of becoming millionaires.”
the average salary in the industry in 2010 was $361,330 — five and a half times the average salary in the rest of the private sector in the city ($66,120). By contrast, 30 years ago such salaries were only twice as high as in the rest of the private sector.It would all be hilariously funny if these people weren’t destroying the world.
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 | 6:40 p.m.
To: Our readers
What do you think?Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor in 250 words or less. Please include the writer’s name, address and daytime telephone number for verification. Anonymous letters will not be printed, but if they are funny, they will be enjoyed. E-mail: click here. Mail: 2360 Corporate Circle, Third Floor Henderson, NV 89074 Fax: 383-7264.
From: Editorial staff
Re: The Occupy Wall Street movement
Our first thought on Occupy Wall Street was snarky: Occupy Wall Street? Can’t someone create an Occupy Las Vegas movement? We’d love to see people “occupy” the Strip — peacefully, that is, as tourists. They can spend their money, have a great time and make a statement that they care about Nevada’s economy.
OK. We’re done being snarky. More seriously, we understand why people are protesting, and we would think that most Nevadans would, too. The economy here has struggled — the state has the highest unemployment rate. It also has had the highest foreclosure rate due to the burst of the housing bubble.
Let’s face it, “Wall Street” — the financial industry — certainly played a role in the economic collapse. As many commentators and letter writers have noted, there doesn’t seem to be much justice: Rob a bank, go to jail; help tank the economy, get a bonus.
Yes, we know, the economy and the situation are more complex than that, but that’s the perception of many people: Too big to fail, Wall Street got bailed out and Main Street got the bill.
So what do you think?
Do you agree with the Occupy Wall Street movement or is it just hot air? Are you angry about this, and if so, who are you angry at? Did Wall Street get off easy in this? Should it be more regulated? What could or should be done from here to help the economy?
You can send us a letter to the editor — see the box above — or you can post a comment on this page below.
We’ll print a selection of trusted commenters and letters to the editor in an upcoming issue, and a selection of letters will also appear on the website.
Thanks for reading. We look forward to hearing your thoughts. And please, as always, keep it civil: No biting, gouging, blows below the belt, putting other commenters into the wall or taunting. And easy on the name-calling: Even “Teanuts” and “liberal whack jobs” have feelings.
And, just because we love you (we do), below is a sampling of some stories, columns and chatter from around the Web on the issue. View with caution: Some of them may get your blood boiling, depending on your political persuasion. We take no responsibility for that. You have been warned.
• This is a Las Vegas Sun story on the local rally by Conor Shine Hundreds march on Strip to protest corporate greed.
• The New York Times has a good (and lengthy) discussion on the issue.
• Here is a CBS News story about the protests. It includes some interesting comments, including GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain calling the protests “anti-American."
• For inspiration or outrage (depending on your view), some pictures of Occupy Wall Street rallies around the country can be found at the Atlantic. The photos include some shots of arrests and police confrontations, and one photo, near the end, of a protester holding a Gadsden flag, the historic "Don’t tread on me"flag that became popular with the Tea Party. (Ironic, no?)
• Here’s Las Vegas Sun columnist J. Patrick Coolican’s view on the movement with his recent column "Finally, the 99 percent has had enough."
• New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has two recent columns: "The Panic of the Plutocrats" and "Confronting the Malefactors".
• New York Times columnist David Brooks writes a column titled: "The Milquetoast Radicals".
• Here’s a clip of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor expressing his concern about the "mobs"on Wall Street. Jonathan Capehart at The Washington Post has some strong views and contrasts Cantor’s statement with some of his previous comments about the Tea Party.
• Glenn Beck on the protests. (We hope he’s being facetious.) The video can be found at the Huffington Post. Starting around the 4:30 mark, you’ll find him say that capitalists should be careful about "playing footsies" with the protesters because they will "come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you"and calls the protesters "Marxist radicals." At 6:39, he says "these guys are worse than Robespierre from the French Revolution ... they’ll kill everyone." At 7:09, he says the people are "calling for revolution ... calling for the overthrow of the United States government."
• Rush Limbaugh says Occupy Wall Street is a diversion to help President Barack Obama. You can find the transcript under the headline "The Regime Concocted Occupy Wall Street to Target Mitt Romney."
Thanks again for reading and for your opinions. We appreciate your thoughts, even if we disagree.
Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2011 | 6:40 p.m.
Friday, October 21 at 10:30pm - October 30 at 12:00am
1406 S. 3rd St.
Las Vegas, NV
BRAVE THEATRICS PRESENTS
Las Vegas stage collective’s inaugural production features psych-horror works from 10 local and national writers and directors
LAS VEGAS – Something new and terrifying walks onto the Vegas stage this month. In conjunction with the 2nd annual PollyGrind Film Festival, stage collective Brave Theatrics presents FEAROPHILIA, a program of original short plays built to scare. Performances will be at downtown’s Theatre7 Arthouse Theatre and Gallery on Oct. 21st and 22nd (10:30 p.m.), Oct. 28th (7 p.m.) and Oct. 29th (10 p.m.).
Over the summer, Brave Theatrics co-founders Breon Jenay and Dave Surratt realized that a bizarre and much loved Halloween holiday deserved theatrical homage in 2011. An open call for “exceptionally creepy, frightening, chilling, nightmarishly unsettling” scripts resulted in dozens of high-quality submissions, six of which were chosen for this production.
Along with Jenay and Surratt, FEAROPHILIA’s team of critically acclaimed writers and directors includes Sean Critchfield, Ernie Curcio, Erica Griffin, Troy Heard, Michael Manley, Paul McComas, Laura Neubauer and Ruth Palileo. These short works vary wildly in style and approach, but all reach past mere gore and shock effects, aiming instead for the same elemental fear button — wherever it lies. Simply put, audiences can expect this show to linger in mind long after the final curtain.
*THIS SHOW CONTAINS NUDITY AND DISTURBING SUBJECT MATTER*
Tickets for FEAROPHILIA are $10 each, and are available online athttp://fearophilia.eventbr
Brave Theatrics is a Las Vegas-based stage collective dedicated to the creation, production and promotion of all-original works for stage that are good, daring and need to be seen. http://facebook.com/groups
PollyGrind Film Festival is all about the darker side of cinema and the artists that bring those films to life. Our aim is to celebrate individuality, diversity, creativity and empowerment by showcasing the work of filmmakers with defiantly independent visions. Founded and directed by Chad Clinton Freeman, the festival consists of programming in the tradition of grindhouse theaters with double features, bookended by trailers and music videos. http://pollygrind.com/
Theatre7, located near the "Downtown Las Vegas" sign (1406 S. 3rd St., Las Vegas, NV 89104, in the arts district), is an art lover's and indie film fan's paradise. Owned by filmmaker Derek Stonebarger, theatre7 screens independent films, doubles as an art gallery and hosts live theatre performances. http://theatre7lv.com/
H. Lee Barnes to Conduct Public Reading
of New Memoir at CSN
of New Memoir at CSN
Award-winning novelist H Lee Barnes will read from his latest book at 6.30 p.m. on Friday, October 21, 2011, in Room D-101 on CSN’s West Charleston campus. When We Walked Above the Clouds, a memoir of Barnes’ service with Special Forces in Vietnam, has just been published by the University of Nebraska Press. Barnes, the author of numerous novels and story collections, is a recipient of the prestigious President’s Award for Teaching and a member of the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame. He currently directs the Creative Writing degree program at the College of Southern Nevada.
Early VOD out for now, Rosie takes on a new challenge, Farmville's fathers move on to bigger stakes, and what Network heads talk about over lunch
From the LA Times Company Town Blog.
Early VOD release scrubbed. Following staunch opposition from theater owners, Universal Pictures has abandoned its controversial plan to make the movie “Tower Heist” available to consumers via video on demand just three weeks after it opens in theaters.
"Universal Pictures today announced that in response to a request from theater owners, it has decided to delay its planned premium home video on demand (PVOD) experiment,'' the studio said in a statement Wednesday. "Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future."
Universal did not say when it would attempt to launch another similar VOD release.
Zynga grows up. Online game giant Zynga (FarmVille) has big plans to expand and cut down on its reliance on Facebook as the primary platform for its products. Zynga announced plans for four more games and a new site separate from the social networking giant. Zynga previously said it plans to raise $1 billion in an initial public offering. More on Zynga from the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal.
Saddle up! Looks like Walt Disney Co. is moving ahead with its plans to make a new "Lone Ranger" movie starring Johnny Depp as Tonto. The movie was in jeopardy when Disney wanted to trim the budget proposed by producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski. Details from Deadline Hollywood.
What Network Chiefs talk about over lunch. Apparently the only area off limits at an industry luncheon featuring the entertainment presidents of the five broadcast networks was the new television season.
Typically, the Hollywood Radio & Television Society's Network Chiefs gathering is a platform for the heads of the networks to offer their perspectives on the start of the new season and assess what's working and what's not. This time around, though, that was the only topic that was verboten as moderator Jeff Probst, host of CBS' "Survivor," steered clear of anything to do with the month-old season.
There were no questions to NBC about why "The Playboy Club" flopped or to CBS about how nervous they were about "Two and a Half Men" falling off a cliff without Charlie Sheen. No one asked any network chiefs which of their rival's shows they wish they had, an old reliable chestnut at these rubber chicken luncheons.
Instead, most of the questions focused on the effect online viewing is having on media consumption and the need for more accurate ratings measurement, both of which are well-worn topics and neither of which brought any new insights from the panelists.
That doesn't mean there weren't some moments of candor from the panelists. NBC's new entertainment president, Jennifer Salke, acknowledged that she fast-forwards "through a lot of commercials" when she's watching programs that she has recorded on her digital video recorder. While Salke is no different from anyone else out there, it is rare when a TV executive admits the obvious.
Fox Entertainment chief Kevin Reilly was again quite vocal about his desire to do away with the schedule on which the broadcast television business operates. "It's stupid," he said, adding that the current system leads to lots of programming choices that are "kind of embarrassing."
Joining Reilly in advocating a new model was Paul Lee, who observed that with the current system, the broadcast networks all compete against one another for actors and writers under an extreme deadline.
Although there was little in the way of news out of the lunch, there was one bright spot. The phrase "at the end of the day," a staple of the typical television executive, was uttered only once during the entire event. That alone may be worth a celebrationRosie's ratings. Rosie O'Donnell's new talk show made its debut on OWN, the cable network owned by Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications. As a promotional stunt, the show ran on not only OWN but also a bunch of Discovery's other channels. On OWN it got just under 500,000 viewers, which was not a strong start. That said, OWN is less than a year old and it is going to take time for it to establish itself, regardless of whose name is on the channel. Ratings coverage from USA Today and theNew York Times.
Fouled out. The delay of the National Basketball Association's regular season is bad news not only for TNT and ESPN, but also the dozens of regional cable channels that carry professional basketball. Although it is impossible to put an accurate number on the financial effect the loss of games will have until after the season starts, it won't be pretty. More from the Los Angeles Times and New York Post, with the Post focusing on MSG, the owner of Madison Square Garden, the Knicks and the MSG channel.
Hacked again. Sony Corp.'s Playstation has once again fallen victim to hackers with almost 100,000 accounts suspended after they were compromised. Another reason I don't play video games online and am thinking more and more about living my life off the grid. Coverage from Bloomberg.
Skid Row Documentary. Downtown Los Angeles has been a favored filming location since the days of the silent movies. But rarely do filmmakers get a chance to shine a spotlight on people who actually live on its streets, especially in a 50-block area known as skid row.
All that changed when Karen Gilbert and other crew members collaborated on “Lost Angels: Skid Row Is My Home,” a 75-minute documentary featuring wrenching stories of the men and women who live downtown and are struggling to turn around lives ravaged by mental illness and drug abuse.
The film, which has yet to be released in theaters, has been screening at festivals and conferences around the country and recently won a prestigious national award for promoting awareness of mental health issues.Production Up in LA. The economy may be sputtering, but Los Angeles is abuzz with commercial shoots. Overall filming on city streets and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County climbed 13% last week over the same time a year earlier, thanks to a surge in commercial production from advertisers such as Sears, Lexus, Verizon and L'Oreal, according to the latest data from FilmL.A. Inc., which processes film permits. On-location shoots for commercials generated 94 production days last week, a 67% increase over the same time a year earlier. Commercial filming activity rose 17% in the third quarter.
Feature film activity was virtually flat week, producing 106 days. The category jumped 50 % in the third quarter, fueled by a new crop of movies benefiting from the state film tax credit. Television shoots accounted for 306 production days, up 1.3% last week.