Entertainment Industry

February 3, 2010

Sony Pictures to lay off 450

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., based in Culver City, will be laying off about 450 people and eliminating 100 open positions to cope with declining DVD sales. Most of the cuts at the studio will occur by the first week of March and will be in the home entertainment and information-technology units in the United States.

The company, a subsidiary of Japan’s Sony Corp. also cut back last March, when it laid off nearly 250 people and eliminated nearly 100 open positions. Company staff was informed of the latest cuts in a memo Monday and through videos by the studio co-chairs on an employee Web site. “Our industry is affected by two things: It’s affected by the economy, of course, and it’s affected by technology,” co-chair Amy Pascal says in the video. “Over the last two years, it’s changed people’s DVD buying habits, which has had a huge effect on our company and the industry at large.”

The home video market has been declining as people have not been buying videos as often, and instead turn to rentals, which are far less profitable for the industry.

Filed under California Economy, Entertainment Industry, Japan by

January 24, 2010

Avatar pulled from most theaters in China

The hit movie “Avatar” directed by James Cameron of Fullerton, and distributed by 20th Century Fox, of Los Angeles, is being pulled from most theaters in China, apparently because it is so successful.  As reported in the Los Angeles Times, The movie is no longer being allowed in 2D theaters even though is already the most successful movie of all time in China, having grossed a record $76 million.  The Chinese government only allows 20 foreign movies per year to be shown in China’s theaters. “Avatar,” which opened worldwide in mid-December, was held in Chinese theaters until January because the 2009 quota had already been filled.  The movie is already being widely pirated, with copies available in Beijing’s bootleg DVD stores. 

It seems incredibly strange that the Chinese government should be able to pull one of our most successful products just because it is successful, without any repercussions at all from our government.  Should the U.S. now stop the sale of some manufactured goods from China, as soon as they become successful?

Filed under China, Entertainment Industry, Opinion by

March 13, 2009

Sony Pictures to cut 150 jobs in Los Angeles

Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., the movie studio subsidiary of the Japanese electronics maker, is laying off nearly 250 people and eliminating nearly 100 open positions in an effort to cut costs. According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, about 150 of those jobs will be in the Los Angeles area:

Chief Executive Michael Lynton and studio co-chair Amy Pascal announced job cuts of 3.5 percent of the studio’s staff worldwide in a staff memo sent out Tuesday afternoon. “Our studio remains profitable, but over the past five months, the deepening global financial crisis has begun to impact some of our lines of business, such as television syndication, DVDs and advertising sales,” they said in the memo. These economic effects have, regretfully, made it necessary to take the step we had hoped to avoid, and worked hard to minimize: reducing our headcount.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Japan by

December 14, 2007

Hong Kong Government disappointed in local Disneyland

The government of Hong Kong is said to be disappointed in the operational numbers coming from Hong Kong Disneyland, but will continue to try to improve the park, according to various media reports. The Hong Kong government holds a 57 percent stake in the park, and Walt Disney Company holds the other 43 percent. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Frederick Ma said that the park has come in below attendance estimates for a second consecutive year. No official figures have been released for the current year, but fell short of its initial estimate of 5.6 million visitors in its first year. Local media reports have estimated that about 4.8 million people visited the park in its second year. The park has often faced criticism for being too small- it is the smallest of all the Disney theme parks, and there are rumors that Disney might build another park in mainland China, possibly in Shanghai. About half the visitors to the park come from the China mainland.

Filed under China, Entertainment Industry by

February 26, 2007

State tourism campaign to debut during Oscars

“The California Travel and Tourism Commission will unveil its new $10 million promotional campaign with a big Hollywood premiere. Viewers in four Western markets who tune in to the Oscars telecast Sunday will see the pitch. The 30-second spot will air in pre-show, during and post-show coverage of the Academy Awards on the ABC affiliates in Denver, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Portland, Ore. The ad, dubbed “Fast Lane,” will feature appearances by Clint Eastwood, Wolfgang Puck, Teri Hatcher, Tony Hawk, Jeff Gordon and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver, among others.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Travel and Tourism by

Motion Picture Association of America caught pirating software

According to Freethinker’s Forum: “The Chairman of the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). You remember the MPAA right? This is the high-and-mighty organization that is in charge of convincing and threatening people with legal action if they violate copyright or licensing terms of movies and music. It turns out the MPAA blog is run by a piece of software called “Forest Blog” – a Freeware blog, and one of the few things the author asks is that if you use the software in a commercial environment, pay about $40 for the registration, and don’t remove the links to the author’s original site. Of course, the MPAA apparently installed the software, didn’t register and removed the links and credits from it before they let their executives use the blog software to rant and rave about the evils of piracy.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Legal and Criminal Issues by

February 21, 2007

BitTorrent will launch legal download network

BitTorrent peer-to-peer network, often associated with illegal downloads of copyrighted material, is going legit. According to Mercury News: “Next week, BitTorrent, the creator of software that made it possible to easily exchange full-length movies at virtually no cost, will launch a marketplace of licensed movies, television shows, video games and music. While details of pricing and available titles have yet to be unveiled, the San Francisco company says it has cut deals with 40 studios, production houses and game publishers.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Information Technology by

Vivendi Games buys Wanako Games

“Vivendi Games has purchased the largest game development studio in Latin America, the company said Tuesday. Financial terms of the deal with Wanako Games, based in Santiago, Chile, were not disclosed. Vivendi said in a release that the purchase will help its Los Angeles-based Sierra Online division to enhance its internal product development capabilities in the downloadable online games space. Sierra will keep Wanako’s developers… Los Angeles’ Vivendi Games is the interactive entertainment unit of France-based Vivendi SA.”

Filed under Chile, Entertainment Industry, France, Mergers and Acquisitions by

February 14, 2007

DirecTV launches interactive game channel with Mattel Content

“DirecTV launched a new channel Tuesday, Game Lounge, which will offer games for both children and adults that will be played using the DirecTV remote. With the launch, DirecTV also announced an exclusive deal with Mattel Inc. that will incorporate all of the Mattel brands, including Barbie, Hot Wheels and UNO, into a line of children’s games available exclusively for the Game Lounge platform. Other brands that will have games on the channel include Nickelodeon, Leap Frog and PBS Kids… Mattel is the world’s biggest toy maker. DirecTV Group Inc. is the largest direct broadcast satellite provider in the United States. Both companies are based in El Segundo.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Telecommunications by

February 13, 2007

Electronic Arts buys online karaoke company

“Video game maker Electronic Arts Inc. said Monday it bought SingShot Media, an online karaoke company. Redwood City-based Electronic Arts didn’t say how much it paid for SingShot, which is based in San Francisco. SingShot lets people record themselves singing famous songs and then share those recordings with other people.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Information Technology by

February 12, 2007

MySpace cuts deal with European Vodafone

“The big social networks are looking for ways to reach more people, and they’re having to partner. MySpace.com, the giant social network, will enter the European mobile phone market with an exclusive relationship with Vodafone, they just announced.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Europe, Information Technology, Telecommunications by

Cisco to buy social networking provider Five Across

“Cisco Systems Inc. has agreed to acquire Five Across Inc., the company said late Thursday. San Jose-based Cisco did not disclose terms of the deal. San Francisco-based Five Across is a vendor in the social networking marketplace. Its platform, Connect Community Builder, is designed to let companies augment their Web sites with user-generated content such as audio, video, and photo sharing, blogs, podcasts and profiles. Five Across, which was founded in 2003, has 11 employees.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Information Technology, Mergers and Acquisitions by

February 11, 2007

Jobs signed Pixar contract with suspicious option date

The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that Apple Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs, “helped broker a film director’s employment contract with Pixar that included a large stock options grant that had a particularly beneficial date… The Wall Street Journal said the grant was part of a 2001 contract between Pixar and John Lasseter, and carried the lowest share price of the previous year on a date more than three months before the signing of the contract. Jobs, who was at the time chairman and CEO of Pixar, signed on behalf of the company. The Journal said it’s not clear whether Jobs had a role in choosing the prior grant date, one of several awarded by the Emeryville-based company at yearly lows.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Legal and Criminal Issues by

February 8, 2007

Apple disputes with EU Growing

Is Steve Jobs trying to create a trans-Atlantic trade issue? A report in today’s International Herold Tribune covers a growing dispute between Apple and the European Union about the digital music industry. The EU generally believes that consumers should be able to play songs from online sites on any digital music player. Songs purchased from Apple’s iTunes store, however, can only be played on the company’s iPod music players.

A consumer ombudsman in Norway last month agreed with this complaint, giving Apple until March 1 to respond and until Oct. 1 to do something about it. The ombudsman’s decision was followed by complaints from consumer groups in other Nordic countries, along with groups in France, Germany and the Netherlands. Jobs fired back last week when he wrote on his website that “Much of the concern over DRM systems has arisen in European countries” and proposed that music companies drop digital rights management software, which restricts the ability of consumers to copy songs or to move them from one digital device to another.

The Tribune noted that “in issuing a call for the record industry to drop copy protection, or digital rights management, from music sold online, the Apple chief executive, Steve Jobs, highlighted the fact that two of the big four music firms, and half of another, are owned by European companies”. Many in the EU are not buying Jobs arguments, “He’s trying to move the responsibility away from Apple and turn this into a trans-Atlantic trade issue,” said Torgeir Waterhouse, senior adviser to the Norwegian Consumer Council.

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Europe, Norway by

February 7, 2007

Saudi prince wants Disney park

“The world’s eighth-richest man is in talks with other investors to build a Disney theme park in Bahrain, according to a report from Bahrain’s al-Waqt newspaper. Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is leading the charge for the first Disney park in the Middle East, which would have a price tag of $8 billion and would be termed ‘Disney Bahrain’.” The Los Angeles Business Journal reports that Kuwait Finance House, the second-largest Islamic bank in the Persian Gulf region by market value, is one of the potential investors. Work on the park is proposed to begin in May and would take six years to complete.

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Saudi Arabia by

February 6, 2007

Two Apples settle long standing dispute

Apple Inc. of Cupertino and The Beatles’ company Apple Corp. Ltd. of London have settled a long standing dispute about the use the Apple name and logos. Apple Inc will own all of the trademarks but will will license certain of those trademarks back to Apple Corp. for continued use. According to the San Jose Business Journal, details of the settlement were not disclosed: “We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks,” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. “It feels great to resolve this in a positive manner, and in a way that should remove the potential of further disagreements in the future.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry by

February 3, 2007

Viacom wants 100,000 videos cut from YouTube

“Viacom Inc. said Friday it has demanded that YouTube Inc. remove more than 100,000 videos from its site. New York-based Viacom has started a competing service, and said the videos on San Bruno-based YouTube are mostly clips that represent more than 1.2 billion video streams and come from Viacom-owned properties including MTV Networks and BET. In a press release, Viacom sad that ‘After months of ongoing discussions with YouTube and Google, it has become clear that YouTube is unwilling to come to a fair market agreement that would make Viacom content available to YouTube users.’ The video-sharing service is owned by Mountain View-based Google Inc.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry, Internet by

January 16, 2007

Hollywood asks YouTube: Friend or foe?

As YouTube, with the backing of Google, becomes a powerful force in the media world, Hollywood studios and other entertainment companies are trying to figure out if it is a friend or foe. After all, YouTube distributes unauthorized clips of the movies that the studios spend an average of $96 million to make. But it can also help them build a tremendous buzz, and that is driving Hollywood to try to work with it instead of against it.”

Filed under Entertainment Industry by

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