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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Young Hollywood Get Younger

Media company Young Hollywood has announced the launch of a new division, Younger Hollywood. Considering itself a 'millennial' brand, Young Hollywood's new venture will focus on engaging an even younger audience (Generation Z) by creating content designed specifically to what they desire -engagement.

Young Hollywood says it can do this by connecting with younger audiences directly with their favorite stars through social and on-line platforms.  They will be producing movies and TV series for traditional and internet distribution that speak to the highly engaged Gen Z (see listing of Generations below). Their content will feature behind-the-scenes interviews and movie set tours with both traditional and social media stars.

"Young Hollywood prides itself on being connected with our audience and understanding what they're looking for", R J Williams, Founder and CEO of Young Hollywood told CMG. "The brand extension to Younger Hollywood marks our next phase of growth."

Young Hollywood envisions its growth to include overseas expansion as well, and the number don't lie. Young Hollywood currently gets 1.3 million views for a single live on-line broadcast.

CMG thinks Young and Younger Hollywood are onto something and catering to a younger Gen Z audience with enhanced engagement makes a lot of sense. The key to all marketing right now is to get the user/consumer, of any generation, to interact with what you are selling, be it entertainment content or jellybeans.

Generation Listing

GI Generation: 115 - 90 Born 1901-1926
Silent Generation: 89 - 71 Born 1927-1945
Baby Boomers: 70 - 52 Born 1946-1964
Generation X: 51 - 36 Born 1965-1980
Generation Y (Millennials): 35 - 16 Born 1981-2000
Generation Z (Boomlets): 15 - 0 Born 2001-Present


Asia Pacific Screen Awards (APSA)

The Eastern answer to the Oscars, are the Asia Pacific Screen Awards, which were held on November 24th and broadcast from Brisbane, Australia. As CMG has foretold, the Oscars will continue to be more and more irrelevant as movie viewership shifts to Asia.

As you can imagine, the winning films at the APSA would be unknown to U.S. moviegoers except for the most avid of cinema fans. This year's Best Picture Award went to 'Cold of Kalandar' a Turkish film.  Other winners were:

Best Actress: Hashine Killip in 'Ordinary People' from the Philippines
Best Actor: Manoj Bajpayee in ' Aliyarh' from India
Best Director: Feng Xiaogung for 'I Am Not Madame Bovary' from China
Best Documentary: 'Starless Dreams' from Iran

Many other Awards were given, the categories similar to the Academy Awards. The point being that there is a massive shift taking place in the global cinema industry. As Asian countries modernize and prosper their cinema industry grows as part of their greater cultural growth.  In doing so, Hollywood becomes less important. In fact, all of the major Hollywood studios have inked co-production deals with Asian movie producers.

The U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has become too self-absorbed and social correctness has infiltrated into its structure and selection process making, in my opinion, the Oscars less relevant. The major studios are going where the money is and that is Asia. They have placated to the social and political wills of China and are aiding Chinese government controlled production companies in making films specific to Chinese tastes - bypassing Hollywood entirely.

"As you stand-back and look at the APSA Awards two things hit you. One, is the issue of the family and the importance and role of the family in everyday life.  The other is the extraordinary quality of the performances. I have never seen that many outstanding performances - ever. Anywhere" said David Puttnam, Head Jurist for the APSA. "We could have awarded six male best acting awards."

Hollywood glitterati need a wake-up call. Their smugness and over-the-top political rants have run out of steam. They need a new shtick. As an example, many H'wood stars promised to leave the U.S. if Trump was elected, figuring that Hillary was a shoe-in. How many have now left? None.  The game is changing in the global cinema industry - its epicenter is moving out of Los Angeles and into a whole lot of other places in Asia.



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

It's All A Blur

Streaming/Live Streaming, News/Fake News, On-line/Pay-Per-View, WiFi/Box Top, Cell/iPad, PC/Game Console - all things digital are getting to be one huge out-of-control blur for the user/consumer.

Let's take one example - Fandango, the movie ticketing service. Fandango has just entered the video-on-demand movie streaming game but has decided that streaming movies through the use of Microsoft X-Box and Android TV platforms are the way to go. Why?  Well, Fandango believes that they will instantly have over 100 million installed devices from which their new streaming service can be accessed. Whether this is a viable strategy for entering the home entertainment sector is questionable.

Fandango, owned by Comcast's NBC/Universal, has the lofty goal of expanding out of its movie ticketing business and grabbing a vast number of gamers who want to use their console for movie watching. This is one hard nut to crack as it will be going up against the likes of: Apple TV, Amazon Prime, Walmart Vudu, Roku, Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and a score of lessor known content streamers.

According to Fandango execs, however, their secret sauce is the bundling of movie ticketing and home entertainment. For example, next month, subscribers who purchase or rent the movie 'The Secret Life of Pets' via X-Box will receive a free child's movie ticket to Illumination Entertainment's next feature film, 'Sing', scheduled for cinema release on December 21st.  This scheme is another one of these, 'if you do this and that you can do this and that' - these schemes rarely work.

CMG believes Fandango's strategy into home entertainment is flawed and just another nut in the fruitcake of digital entertainment, which is so fragmented and complex that people have come to pick one or two platforms and are sticking with them.  Everytime a new player enters the fray with a new formula that is going to shake-up the industry, they fall flat. My gut is that Fandango will get some subscribers but their ploy will not become the panacea Comcast and Microsoft envision.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Quivers and Flying Robots

Flying Robot International Film Festival

The second annual FRIFF is taking place on November 17th and will be presenting 24 short films from around the world, which were shot from drones.

The entries are rumored to be of a very high quality and a huge improvement over last year's entries - as the cameras and drones continue to advance in performance and drone film-makers improve their skills. FRIFF film categories include: Drones for Good, Aerial Sport, and Cinematic Narrative. Winners will receive product and cash prizes worth over $10,000. In addition, this year's festival will include training workshops and seminars from basic to advanced drone film-making, regulatory issues, and live-streaming from the skies.

CMG predicts the Flying Robot Festival will continue to grow exponentially as more and more film-makers enter the realm of drone photography.


An on-line movie distributor which has delivered over 5,000 self-made movie over a variety of digital platforms, Quiver - has decided to go mainstream and is expanding into traditional film acquisition/distribution.

Quiver realized that many on-line film-makers do not or could not self-distribute their content mainly due to cost, as even entry into film festivals is expensive. So, Quiver has decided to fill the gap and offer distribution services for the on-line film-makers.

Quiver will launch its new distribution service with three films: two documentaries ('Undecided:The Movie', and 'Long Way to The Top') and a romcom ('Seven Lovers'). "New movies are flooding the marketplace as never before and many struggle to find the support of a distributor", Sean Flanagan, Quiver Marketing Manager, told CMG, "We need to combine the film-makers with the distribution tools of a company like Quiver."

We'll hold judgment on Quiver's new venture. On-line distribution is very difficult to scale and even harder to monetize.  Getting mainstream distribution at cinemas or from a major streamer is next to impossible - there is simply just too much exceptional content in the marketplace.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Movies and Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Hollywood movies have a long history and preoccupation with AI.  Robots and human-like intelligent computers (HAL) have been in films for decades.  However, reality hasn't kept up with the fantasy - until now!

You (and I mean you)  have contact with AI on a daily basis but are unaware of it.  Recommendations on purchases to make, which videos to watch, push notifications from viewed websites are all driven by machine-learning algorithms that crunch tons of data points to make decisions about the products and media that is specific to you. Large tech companies currently use algorithms that simulate the way the human brain thinks.  There are literally billions of data points on purchasing and viewing behavior to plot against which you (in particular) are buying or viewing.

According to Sundar Pichai, CEO at Google, "We are at a seminal moment in computing. We are evolving from a mobile-first to an AI-first world."  Some in the tech community believe that within five years every company of size will have an AI engine at it center.  AI systems can learn not only which products to recommend, but how to market each product and provide the best price and value for each and every customer.

The next step in AI is understanding customer satisfaction.  AI knows which products you like but not which of these you like the most - this satisfaction factor is now being developed.

We are all currently being manipulated by AI and the process will get greater and more subtle. The movies had it right decades ago - that people would be out-thought by robots and super computers. The reality, one can argue, is more sinister as it is driven by your own decisions.  In the near future, movies at the cinema will be recommended to you - given your past choices and satisfaction level.

As the joke goes: Based upon you last purchase decisions we are recommending your next purchase be a stool and rope.

Monday, November 07, 2016

CINEMA BUZZ by Seymour Flix


Launched last week, FilmStruck is a subscription video-on demand service featuring hundreds of classic and cult movies. Developed and sold by the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable channel, FilmStruck will be priced at $10.99/month or $99 for a full year's subscription.

TCM estimates that there are 15 million people in the 18-64 age group that would be interested in the service.  Available only in the U.S.,most of FilmStruck's titles will be available with closed-captioning.

TV - Do We Need It Any More

Broadcast and cable TV are losing their audience, that's a fact. A perfect example of the move away from broadcast programming are this year's Video Game Award Show. This Show features the biggest video game stars and titles but this year it will not be on TV. Instead, the Show will be live-streamed free of charge on a wide variety of internet platforms, including Xbox, PlayStation, Apple TV, and Roku, as well as, social media platforms Twitter and Facebook.

For the first time the Game Awards Show will be simulcast in China, the world's largest gaming market. The point being that the Show will have free worldwide distribution. "TV is not where our audience is, Geoff Keighly, executive producer of the Show told CMG, "we're 80% in the 18-36 demo and making the Show a free event and not a  broadcast TV event was very important. Broadcast and cable is very limiting."

The Game Awards nominees and winners are selected by voters at 28 gaming and entertainment publications, as well as, gaming fans that get to vote on-line.

The Game Awards will be held on December 1st at the Microsoft Theater in LA.,  - watch them on a digital platform near you and look for other big event shows to follow suit.

Piracy in Japan

The Japanese, noted for their law abiding and social code of honor,may not be so honorable when it comes to digital piracy. According to the Motion Picture Association of America 31% of Japanese internet user are involved in movie piracy which equates to $270 million in lost box office revenue.

Now, not nearly as bad as its larger and much more populace Northern neighbor (China, who knew) the Japanese use of pirate movie sites is huge and uncharacteristic of their adherence to other laws.

Recommended Movies To Be Seen BEFORE The Oscars

'Arrival' - a sci-fi thriller from Paramount
'Billy Lynn's Long Half-time Walk' - much acclaimed story of Iraq war hero
'Manchester By The Sea' - story of working-class hero, a top performer at film fests
'Lion' - drama about a man trying to locate the family he lost as a boy
'Jackie' - recap about Jackie Kennedy in the days right after the President's assassination
'La La Land' - musical about two lovers in LA
'Silence' - long awaited drama about Jesuit priests on a mission to spread Christianity in Japan
'20th Century Women' - comedy/coming of age film about a teen growing up in a house full of women.

Seymour Flix

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

We Told You So!

The Past
Last week AT&T made it known that it wanted to purchase Time-Warner, Inc. (comprised of HBO, CNN, TBS, and Warner Bros. studios) This is but one transaction in a string of many that is transforming the media business - pairing giant tech and telecom companies with entertainment content providers and distributors.  CMG has been on track with this transition for some years now (see list at the end of this post), harping on the fact that the cinema business was in for major changes not the least of which is the move toward day-and-date release on movie content across any number of distribution platforms, putting an end to the exclusive theatrical release window.

The Future
The old-line Hollywood studio has all but disappeared. Disney, MGM, Lionsgate, and a few other hangers-on are the only remnants of the once dominant content providers. Replaced by the likes of Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, and Netflix. We are witnessing a giant convergence of content and distribution which will change the entire business model of entertainment and how it is delivered to consumers worldwide.

AT&T has now entered the fray, challenging the big tech bullies. Verizon is also on the hunt, saying that it was interested in buying CBS and Viacom (which owns Paramount Pictures). Disney, is still the standalone, but even Disney (with a market cap of $150b) could be gobbled-up - Apple, for example, has $200b in cash and strong connections with Disney.

On the other hand, several of the giant streamers which are also content providers, such as Netflix, could be targets themselves. With a market cap of $60b Netflix could be bought - providing a solid worldwide distribution channel and highly acclaimed programming. For Disney, this could be a good strategy as it would provide further protection against a hostile purchase.

The game of entertainment creation and distribution will continue but the players and rules are, and will, change.  For cinemas, these game-changing events will further stress the need to dial-up their service, content offerings, environment, and customer-centric focus - because only in this way will they be able to survive and prosper.

List of prior posts on this topic:
- Cinemas vs Streamers 5/22/16
- Movie Industry In Flux 11/5/15
- So Darn Predictable 4/29/14
- Beginning of the End 11/6/13
- As Predicted by CMG 4/7/13
- Digital Condersions 4/8/12
- Future For The Cinema - Distribution 1/11/12