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Saturday, September 01, 2007

In-theater Movie Commentary ... Apple & NBC ... Miller and Levinsohn unite ... Dolby digital cinema demo

- Screenwriter, director, and blogger John August has created a director's commentary for his new movie 'The Nines,' which is in limited release now. The idea is that you'd download it to your iPod and listen to it in the theater...the second time you go to see the movie. Kevin Smith apparently did the same thing for 'Clerks II.' (But Smith's commentary was never released, though, because theater owners worried it would be disruptive to other audience members.)

Peter Debruge has some thoughts on this strategy at Anne Thompson's blog. (IE, how loud will your iPod have to be to compete with the volume in the theater?)

- Apple's response to NBC's decision to pull its shows from iTunes is well worth a read. (Thanks, Andy.) Apple says it doesn't want to stop selling NBC shows in mid-season (one feature of iTunes is the ability to buy an entire season of shows as a package), so it is dropping new NBC content before the September season begins. The Wall Street Journal has a report that suggests that Apple is hoping NBC will change its mind; NBC is accusing Apple of caring more about iPod sales than the money it generates for content creators.

- Jonathan Miller, formerly CEO of AOL, and Ross Levinsohn, formerly president of Fox Interactive Media, have started a new firm to buy Internet companies, the Journal reports. (OK, now that the roll-ups are starting, this really feels like Bubble 2.0) From the piece:

    The new entity, called Velocity Investment Group, is already actively scouting for acquisitions and has signed letters of intent with a few consumer-oriented Internet companies. Velocity aims to purchase start-ups in related content areas and boost their online ad revenue by selling across multiple properties. Velocity is also considering buying out companies that broker ads for other Web sites. It is being advised by the investment bank Allen & Co.

- has some video from a digital cinema demo night that Dolby Labs held in San Francisco late last month. Two reactions: it's pretty funny to see film shown side-by-side with digital projection in a low-rez Internet video (obviously, you can't see the difference), and the reporter makes some broad comments about theatrical woes which don't feel all that relevant right now. (Regal Entertainment, the biggest chain of theaters, had net income of $52 million in the second quarter.)

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  • I'm not a big network lover by any means, but I am a content creator. Unfortunately, Apple has become an ego-maniac in the past year, and I tend to agree with NBC (as well as others who've complained). Apple's insistence on dictating the consumer pricing for content while also setting their fee (reportedly 50% of the $1.99/show on iTunes) is making it very tough on the content producers. If NBC can only essentially make $1/download, it's going to take an insane number of downloads to even make it worth their while to be on the iTunes store.

    The only company I see clearly winning with the iTunes scenario is Apple. They're making tons of dough off of other people's content for doing virtually nothing. This is on top of all the iPods, video iPods, and iPhone hardware they are selling because there is content available at all. Hopefully one of the major providers can break the monopoly and get some mindshare back from consumers.


    By Blogger Steve, at 4:04 AM  

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