What Are You Missing? April 15-28
1. The Cannes Film Festival lineup is out, with heavy representation of English-language films, and the jury is also set. Meanwhile, the Tribeca Film Festival has wrapped up, with jury award and audience award winners that include a film whose Cuban actors are now seeking asylum in Miami. But Robert Levin says the big impact from Tribeca will come from its new model of digital distribution via the Tribeca Online Film Festival. And Toronto wonders, can there be too many film festivals?
2. In film production tax credit news, a British tax credit system is credited with offering a big boost to indie films, California has passed a 5-year extension, and we wait to see if Ohio deems its tax credit scheme worth renewing. We’ll also wait to see if there’s anything to the suspicion that Hollywood studios bribed the Chinese to allow them access to the Chinese film market (a deal mentioned in a previous WAYM). The SEC should also investigate to see if Russians were bribed to go see John Carter.
3. More directors are clamoring to get their films on IMAX screens, while Martin Scorsese has fallen hard for 3D, but Peter Jackson is one-upping them all by going to 48 frames per second, and even though it apparently looks crappy, Jackson says there’s no stopping it now. Some think recent indie films haven’t looked crappy enough.
4. Howard Stern’s lawsuit against Sirius XM has been dismissed, but this may not be the last we hear of it. The British will get to hear more live music, thanks to new rules that will streamline the process for small venues to book live acts. And we could soon be hearing Spotify sound just like Pandora.
5. Nintendo is struggling, so much so that they’re making video game sales overall look bad, and it might even be time for Nintendo to sell, but Nintendo thinks the Wii U and especially the 3DS will save it, with a new digital distribution strategy also offering hope for growth.
6. YouTube’s video service has turned seven years old, and for its birthday, Germany wants to give it a massive music royalty bill and demand that it better police copyrighted content, though this could mostly boil down to a negotiating tactic. A group of Hollywood studios failed in their attempt to hold an Australian internet provider responsible for piracy, but Voltage Pictures just won’t quit until they chase down every last Hurt Locker pirate. And it remains to be seen if Hollywood will go after a 92-year-old shipping bootleg DVDs to American soldiers overseas.
7. Facebook has had a drop in ad revenue this year for the first time, but it apparently doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme. After all, Facebook is nearing one billion users, over half of whom visit daily, and makes about $1.21 from each user per quarter. And yet, with 58% of its user base female, Facebook somehow hasn’t found a woman to appoint to its board of directors.
8. Apple is killing it in China with iPhone sales, and, in a fascinating story, apparently iPads can only be made in China, not due to cheap labor but to rare earth elements, which China has almost exclusive control over. Meanwhile, Microsoft is looking like the anti-Apple in the smartphone market and the consumer technology arena, but it hopes it can be all China-like in controlling Windows apps on iPads.
9. Is a Facebook “like” protected free speech? Apparently not. Is a tweet yours to own? Apparently not. Is a Tumblr with ads still a Tumblr? We’ll find out starting May 2. Will we get the internet and be able to tweet about a Tumblr we like once we’re on Mars? Maybe.
10. Some of the finer News for TV Majors posts from the past few weeks: TV & Diversity, Media Use, Political Posting Imposed, Web’s Impact on TV, Hulu Partner Out, NEA Giveth & Taketh Away, David Simon’s Blog, More News Corp Trouble, Future of TV is Broadband, Assessing CNN, The CW Online Impact, Sunday DVR Slam, Girls & Race, Girls Coverage, Hulu’s Growth.