Warner Bros, Sony, Paramount and 20th Century Fox’s UltraViolet service, which will allow consumers to stream purchased movies to internet connected devices, will make its debut this week. The movie studios hope UltraViolet will attract consumers back to purchasing movies instead of simply renting them. Here’s how it will work: when you purchase a DVD or Blu-ray disc with an UltraViolet label, you will have the option to also stream the movie to portable devices such as smartphones and tablets, or to connected TVs. The idea is that users will be able to permanently purchase a movie and keep a copy of it in the cloud. “We want to emphasize the concept of ‘buy once, play anywhere,'” Warner Bros president of digital distribution Thomas Gewecke said. For now, it remains unclear how successful the service will be, as many consumers have instead opted for products that provide streaming access to large libraries of movies, such as cable set-top boxes, Boxee or Roku. “Green Lantern” and “Horrible Bosses” are the first two movies to offer an UltraViolet option, and both films will be available for purchase on Friday.
The Warner Bros. blockbuster The Dark Knight has become the first title to be made available for rental on Facebook, giving us our first glimpse of what ultimately could be a truly disruptive home entertainment product. Executives at Netflix, Hulu, Redbox and other similar services were no doubt squirming in their seats on Tuesday morning following the announcement that users can now use Facebook credits to rent The Dark Knight for $3. One rented, the movie can be streamed directly from the movie’s Facebook fan page for 48 hours. “Facebook has become a daily destination for hundreds of millions of people,” said Thomas Gewecke, President of Warner Bros. Digital Distribution, in a statement. “Making our films available through Facebook is a natural extension of our digital distribution efforts. It gives consumers a simple, convenient way to access and enjoy our films through the world’s largest social network.” Warner Bros. said it also plans to make digital movies available for purchase via Facebook. Hit the break for Warner Bros.’ full press release. More →
Netflix and Warner Bros. announced on Thursday that Netflix will be adding several new Warners Bros. televisions shows to its catalog and extending its license for current WB movies until 2011. The agreement brings all 100 episodes of the popular television series Nip/Tuck to Netfilix for the next four years as well as other series including Veronica Mars, Pushing Daisies, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Though this deal expands WB content on Netflix and strengthens the relationship between the two companies, the agreement still keeps in place the restriction which imposes a 28 day delay for the release of all new WB movie titles on Netflix. Full press release is after the break. More →
Just because we might associate the company with loveable characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck doesn’t mean the characters who are running the show at Warner Bros. Entertain UK have similar personalities. After all, they’re the ones that came up with the brilliant idea of hiring a student intern, paying him or her £17,500 ($26,212 USD) over the course of a year and having them engage in a bit of digital espionage. The intern, who is to be “IT literate” and currently enrolled as a student pursuing a degree in computer science, will be charged with infiltrating torrent sites and creating bots which sniff out media which Warner Bros. and NBC Universal hold the copyrights to. Here’s a snippet from the job description:
During the 12 month internship, duties will include: monitoring local Internet forums and IRC for pirated WB and NBCU content and in order to gather information on pirate sites, pirate groups and other pirate activities; finding new and maintaining existing accounts on private sites; scanning for links to hosted pirated WB and NBCU content and using tools to issue takedown requests; maintaining and developing bots for Internet link scanning system (training provided); preparing sending of infringement notices and logging feedback; performing trap purchases of pirated product and logging results; inputting pirate hard goods data and other intelligence into the forensics database; selecting local keywords and submitting local filenames for monitoring and countermeasure campaigns and periodically producing research documents on piracy related technological developments. Various training will be provided.
Yikes. More →
Midway, maker of everyone’s favorite cute and cuddly franchise Mortal Kombat, has not had a smooth run of late. To recap Midway’s recent plight in one sentence: In December, Sumner Redstone sold his 87 percent stake in Midway for all of $100,000 and the company proceeded to file for bankruptcy in February. Yikes. The creator of a bazillion Mortal Kombat titles isn’t dead in the water just yet however, as several companies are reportedly preparing acquisition bids. One such company, according to Bloomberg, is Time Warner — maker of both Mortal Kombat motion pictures. Hey didn’t one of those win an Oscar? No? Time Warner seemingly won’t have much competition as Bloomberg reports Midway expects less than five bids. Regardless of the outcome of this debacle, the phrase “Finish Him” will hold a special place in our hearts forever.