[ Digital cinema, democratization, and other trends remaking the movies ]

AD: Fans, Friends & Followers

Monday, November 06, 2006

Monday links: Ads on HD DVDs, Talent costs, Revver partnership, InDplay, and more...

- What else can you put on those fancy new HD DVDs? Ads, of course. From today's NY Times: `Insert Product Here: Plenty of Space to Sell on HD DVDs.'

- Also in the Times, a Laura Holson piece on Hollywood's new attempts to manage talent costs. It includes some interesting passages about how actors, directors, and writers are struggling to get paid for digital downloads of their work. She writes:

    Hollywood is in the midst of a strategic shift. The average cost to make and market a movie has skyrocketed — to $96.2 million last year, from $54.1 million in 1995 — while lucrative DVD sales have flattened. Major film studios are fending off illegal piracy, which industry executives say accounted for $1.3 billion in lost revenue in the United States last year.

    The growth of new media threatens to undermine traditional businesses, while studios are flummoxed about how to take advantage of the new opportunities they represent. And movies and TV also face tough new competition from video games and online social networking sites. Even cellphones have become a favorite diversion among the young.

    As in so many other show business debates, money and control are at the heart of the matter. And without solutions to these problems in sight, relations between talent and the studios are more strained than ever.

- Revver and Creative Artists Agency have done a deal, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The gist, writes Andrew Wallenstein, is this:

    CAA is expected to bring marketing opportunities and talent to the Web site, which has cut a distinctive figure in the anarchic viral-video world by compensating contributors through its syndication technology. The partnership is not exclusive to either company.

- inDplay, a content licensing marketplace here in the Bay Area, seems to finally be getting some traction, thanks to a deal with Allied Artists. The San Francisco Chronicle has the story. Gina Smith writes:

    "The number of these films and TV shows and documentaries that could be available to the public and aren't is just staggering," said venture capitalist William Hearst. Along with Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, Hearst is giving angel funding to the Redwood City startup inDplay Inc., which hopes to solve this problem. "There are libraries and libraries of these films just sitting around lying fallow," Hearst said. "With inDplay, we hope to ... (create) a place where the library owners can broker deals with customers who want to license them." Hearst serves as a director of Hearst Corp., the company that owns The Chronicle.

    Allied Artists' library will be the first big library to sign up with inDplay, a deal that is expected to be announced today. The huge library not only features the Robin Williams and Ingrid Bergman films, but seven lost shows from cult actor and director John Cassavetes, and more than 20,000 other titles. The company hopes that this kind of content will come in handy, for instance, if a cable channel wanted to do a weekend of Westerns. The Allied library includes 876 Westerns, including some little-known John Wayne titles.

- Time says that YouTube is the best invention of 2006. (Actually, it was invented in 2005. Keep up, Time!)

- Finally, DVGuru brought to my attention a new service offering to insert ads into video: Brightroll. (No relation to Brightcove.)