1. The Weinstein Co. has made a deal with Google for YouTube rentals and bought into Starz Media for DVD and digital distribution, which is also a way to get some Netflix money. Studio executives have a complicated relationship with Netflix, and Redbox is finally starting to feel its competitive pressure. As far as disc sales go, Blu-ray is helping to offset DVD’s decline, but they could both be replaced by something called UltraViolet someday.
2. Anne Thompson tells us everything we need to know about the 2010 box office. And whether you need to know it or not, here are a slew of movie awards and nominations announced in this past fortnight: Producers Guild, Writers Guild, Directors Guild, Art Directors Guild, American Society of Cinematographers, Visual Effects Society, BAFTA, Scientific and Technical Oscars, Broadcast Film Critics Association, and last and boldly least, the Razzie Worst Picture shortlist.
3. Independent film is increasingly going the video-on-demand route, and both Sundance and Slamdance will have films available on VOD, while black-themed films are trying to take advantage of a growing film festival circuit. Edward Jay Epstein sees indie cinema as an endangered species at this point, while Ted Hope is filled with, um, hope for the next decade, though he is frustrated that there still aren’t more indies in the National Film Registry (most recent entries, if you missed them).
4. Pingdom has a bunch of stats about internet use in 2010, and Reddit in particular had a great year, while China is touting how much it censored the internet last year. Kudos! The US trade deficit with China is made notably worse by the iPhone, but when your company is worth $300 billion, your App Store has reached 10 billion downloads, and your Mac App Store is an instant success, you can probably still sleep at night pretty well.
5. Google’s acquisition of eBook Technologies enhances the company’s digital book distribution plans, though Google now has to contend with the European Commission’s concerns. But that’s nowhere near the trouble Borders is dealing with right now, including possibly being cut off by publishers. The trouble seems to stem from Borders being a digital step behind, whereas Barnes & Noble has benefited from sales of its Nook e-reader. (Totally not related to digital distribution but a must-read print industry story that I wanted to fit in: how the New Yorker Saddam Hussein statue article was financed by nonprofit sources.)
6. Hypebot has an infographic breaking down some 2010 demographics of Facebook and Twitter users. Most of the Facebook news this fortnight was about money: a Goldman Sachs investment, plans for an IPO, predicted 2011 profits of $1 billion, and market power evaluations. Most of the Twitter news was about tweeting: reading the US mood through tweets, the rise of hashtagging, thriving regional slang in tweets, the Ashton Kutcher bump, a UK crackdown on deceptive paid tweets, and the Wikileaks subpoena.
7. MySpace is crumbling, with overseas shutdowns, mass layoffs, and angry ex-employees. Dan Frommer thinks this opens up a great opportunity for Tumblr, while Google appears to have given up on social media. But Douglas Rushkoff worries that corporate marketing could ruin all of social media.
8. 2010 was a very down year for album sales, both in the US and the UK, but it’s been a pretty good past ten years for iTunes, and TorrentFreak claims more music than ever before is being sold, if not on CD any longer. Spotify’s general manager thinks the URL will be the music format of the future, and Pandora wants to get into your car. Too bad Spotify isn’t coming to the US…wait, yes it is…well anyway, should it?
9. Video game sales in 2010 were down 5% and total spending on gaming content was flat compared to last year, but GameStop had a great Christmas (to the consternation of Joystiq commenters). For console sales, Microsoft’s Xbox was king in 2010 thanks to Kinect, but Nintendo wants to remind us that the DS is the best-selling console to date in the US. Some things to keep an eye on in 2011: DC Universe Online, digital sales, and Sony’s PS3 hacker suit.
10. Good News for TV Majors links: Writing Teleseminar, Guide to 1980s Sitcoms, Archie at 40, TV Makers the Gatekeepers, OWN First Week, Networks MIA Cable Involved, PBS Defense, Kennedys Pulled, College Television Awards & Scholarships, Best of 2010, Oprah TVeets, Time Warner Ready to Neutralize Netflix, NYPD Blue Case Tossed Out, Viewing Up.