What Are You Missing? Aug 28-Sept 10
1. The NY Times says Hollywood’s summer was bad; the LA Times says Hollywood’s summer was strong. Resolving this East Coast-West Coast feud is David Poland, who rips the NY Times for ridiculous spin. The Midwest’s Kristin Thompson argues that 3D had a rough summer, but drive-ins are still somehow holding on, plus now so-called microcinemas are coming on strong.
2. Lionsgate is finally free of its stalker, Carl Icahn, but who knows where it goes next. The Wrap analyzes where Revolution Studios went, and more European producers are increasingly saying they don’t need Hollywood to get where they want to go, yet many are going to Toronto rather than Venice in order to get American attention. Venice was good enough for the graphic Shame (full frontal Michael Fassbender!) to grab American attention: it’s been picked up by Fox Searchlight. (And Fassbender won the top acting award for his, um, performance.)
3. Wal-Mart claims it’s happy to work in tandem with Netflix, not against it, with its Vudu video service, but it earned a strategic victory in defeat from a lawsuit. Netflix might have to step up its lobbying spending even more to keep its edge, and it’s also seeing what it can do in Latin America, taking on another piracy hotbed. The Weinstein Co. is now embarking on a video-on-demand effort, and Kevin Smith’s Red State-on-demand experiment continues and will be augmented by a one-night simulcast theatrical screening.
4. Music sales in 2011 are up thanks to digital sales, and Hypebot’s Natalie Cheng says even stores that sell physical music media are reflecting the impact of digital. The National Association of Recording Merchandisers (yes, that’s NARM, Nate Fisher fans) is fighting to find its place in the digital/cloud world. Justin Timberlake is fighting to give MySpace a place in the future of music, and Facebook may get involved in the music game soon too, while it was clarified this week that the iTunes Match cloud service will not offer streaming.
5. Bitmob’s Rus McLaughlin says digital distribution is the new console war, though that doesn’t mean the console wars are over, as we might see a new Playstation by 2013. Business Insider gets us chartastically up to speed on the state of the video game business, while another Bitmob writer laments how much gaming costs the consumer these days. He might be interested in the new WiFi-free PSP being developed for budget-strapped youth.
6. Apple fought Flash and apparently has won, but the iPhone is still fighting to catch up to Android for the biggest share among the 40% of mobile phone users who have smartphones (and here I thought I was the only one whose phone only makes phone calls). Apple’s also fighting against Samsung all over the world and against counterfeits all over China, where a fake Viagra expert could come in handy. And Apple’s opening real stores in Hong Kong and London; the latter will literally block the sun.
8. Google just turned 13 years old, and the company started its teen years by buying a shiny new company, Zagat. This could add to Yelp’s and Groupon’s already existing troubles plus raise concerns about search neutrality. Google is also ridding itself of some excess baggage in shutting down a group of products. Meanwhile, Amazon is working on a significant website redesign that seems to emphasize digital goods over physical products, and the company cut a deal with California on sales taxes.
9. Tumblr has reached 10 billion posts, Twitter has 100 million active users and just had an $800 million funding round, Facebook is on track for a $3 billion year (if not quite the year originally projected), and Google+ is well short of millions and billions of anything.
10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors (@N4TVM) post from the past two weeks: Men in Crisis, Sorkin & HBO, Decline of Female Writers, Soap Oral History, NFL Overexposure, Reality TV Lives, Nielsen Numbers, Soap Stars Sign, TV Cloud, BitTorrent TV, Global Streaming Increases, Starz Leaves Netflix, Warner as TV Factory, DMA Rankings, State of AMC, British Sitcom Appeal, AMC Talk, Arts Losses, Google & TV, Hulu’s Performance.