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Monday, February 26, 2007

Three from the Times: BitTorrent, Gaming at the Movies, and YouTube Celebs

Feeling glum this morning because I wound up in the middle of the pack last night in the Oscar pool...(though I did manage to get the visual effects and best animated feature awards right -- two categories near and dear to CinemaTech.)

Most of the coverage this morning involves dissections of last night's Oscar-cast. But the NY Times has three worthy, non-Oscar pieces:

- Software Tool of Pirates Gets Work in Hollywood

Brad Stone writes about BitTorrent, the file-sharing service that's trying to go legit. One possible advantage of buying movies from BitTorrent as opposed to other sites could be speed:

    In a test of the new BitTorrent store, downloading the film “X-Men 3” took two hours with a broadband Internet connection. Downloading the same movie from took three hours. And BitTorrent downloads should theoretically become faster as more people sign up, since digital copies will originate from nearby computers whose owners have bought the movie, instead of from a central server.

    The company, which has received close to $30 million in venture capital, ultimately wants to use its media store to demonstrate how the underlying technology is effective at moving large files around the Internet. It wants to sell the technology to other media stores and to the studios themselves.

    The studios hope the new BitTorrent will put a dent in the illegal trading of their content. Thomas Lesinski, president of Paramount Pictures Digital Entertainment, said he hoped the store would win over young people accustomed to free fare. “We look at this as a first step in the peer-to-peer world, to try to steer people toward legitimate content,” he said.

- The New Video Arcade in Spain Might Be the Movie Theater

Doreen Carvajal writes about cinemas inviting gamers in to play against one another on the big screen:

    “Forget the pathetic speakers of a PC or television!” screams an ad for the theater, which opened in December and is offering cut-rate tickets at 3 euros, or about $3.95. “Come feel the sound that puts you at the center of the action.”

    “We’re trying this concept because there are many theaters in Spain, and admissions are down,” Mr. Martínez said. “So we have to offer new products.”

- New Hot Properties: YouTube Celebrities

Bob Tedeschi profiles some YouTube celebs who are being recruited by other video sites, with promises of pay - or just more promotion. He claims that YouTube "has been stung by the departure of popular acts" like Lonelygirl15. Would any traffic numbers bear that out? Not sure it made much of a dent. But there is a tiny scrap of speculation in the piece about how YouTube may soon compensate creators. Tedeschi writes:

    In January, YouTube’s co-founder, Chad Hurley, said the company would in the coming months begin sharing advertising revenue with contributors. The company last week said it would not elaborate on that plan, or on the efforts of competitors to lure its contributors away.

    But [videomaker Paul] Robinett said he was contacted by a talent agency claiming YouTube plans to share about 20 percent of the advertising money gleaned from each video clip with the clip’s producer. Mr. Robinett said he could not confirm that claim with a YouTube executive.

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