MediAvataar's News Desk
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has today named WPP as holding company of the decade.
Cannes Lions is the world’s leading event and awards programme for the creative marketing community. This year’s special global rankings recognise those companies which have demonstrated the greatest sustained creative excellence, based on winning and shortlisted work over the last 10 years.
Among the Lions awarded between 2010 and 2019, WPP agencies won a total of 51 Grand Prix and Titanium Lions for a huge variety of work including: 2011’s Dove Real Beauty Sketches by Ogilvy – one of the most-viewed advertisements of all time; 2016’s double Grand Prix-winning, data-driven The Next Rembrandt for ING by Wunderman Thompson; and last year’s Glass Lion for Change and Titanium winner The Last Ever Issue for Mastercard and BNP Paribas by VMLY&R and Wavemaker, which sought to transform the narrative for women.
VMLY&R Dubai also won Regional Agency of the Decade in Middle East and Africa.
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “Cannes Lions is our industry’s most important celebration of creativity, and this award makes me prouder than ever of our people and the extraordinary work we’ve done for our clients.
“Creativity is more than just a great idea; it’s about changing perceptions, questioning the status quo and transforming businesses. I would like to thank our fantastic clients who recognise the power of that creativity and who put their trust in WPP and our agencies to deliver it every day, all around the world.”
Peacock, NBCUniversal’s new streaming service,announced it will be available on Google platforms and devices including Android™, Android TV™ devices, Chromecast and Chromecast built-in devices on July 15, 2020.
At that time, Peacock will offer a free tier featuring more than 7,500 hours of movies, shows, and timely live and on-demand programming across news, sports, reality and late night. Peacock Premium offers 15,000 hours of content, and Android and Android TV users will receive complimentary access to Peacock Premium until Oct. 15, 2020. Once a user’s promotion concludes, Peacock Premium will be available for $4.99 per month on Android and Android TV via Google Play in-app purchase. Viewers may also upgrade to an ad-free tier for an additional $5.00 per month.
“Given Google’s extensive customer reach, millions of people will be able to start streaming Peacock on their preferred platform or device this July,” said Maggie McLean Suniewick, President, Business Development and Partnerships, Peacock. “We’ve made Peacock free to our distribution partners, including Google, because we want people everywhere to stream Peacock, and the Peacock Premium promotion demonstrates our commitment to providing incredible value for our mutual customers.”
“As millions of our viewers have already seen the massive benefit of having Peacock available to them these past few months, we look forward to leveraging the unprecedented reach of Google’s platforms and devices, to provide Peacock to even more fans on July 15,” said Matt Bond, Chairman, Content Distribution, NBCUniversal. “Google continues to be a terrific partner as we aim to deliver NBCUniversal’s world class content across all of their platforms and devices.”
Peacock recently announced original programming available at launch including Brave New World, The Capture, Intelligence and Lost Speedways; sports documentary In Deep with Ryan Lochte; and the entire full-length film Psych 2: Lassie Come Home. In addition, customers will enjoy current season programming from NBC and Telemundo, access to hundreds of blockbuster movies like Jurassic Park, Do the Right Thing, and Shrek; and iconic shows including comedies Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, Two and a Half Men, Frasier, George Lopez, Psych, Monk and Cheers; dramas Law & Order: SVU, Downton Abbey, Yellowstone, Friday Night Lights, House, Battlestar Galactica, Parenthood, Heroes, and kids programing including Curious George, DreamWorks Where’s Waldo? and Cleopatra in Space.
Peacock customers will also enjoy daily programming highlights from TODAY, NBC Nightly News, Meet the Press, Noticias Telemundo, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC Sports, E! News and Access Hollywood, and 75 streaming channels including clip-based channels like the best Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers comedy sketches, the best sketches from the SNL Vault, plus news channels from NBC News Now and Sky News, and genre channels like True Crime, Reality Check-In and 80s Mix Tape.
Independent cinemas and distributors are teaming up to release new films online, but is the virtual push a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
Faced with the prospect of no theatrical releases for the unforeseeable future, independent movie theatres and distributors across the United States have joined forces to release films digitally and keep afloat amid the global health crisis. In a matter of weeks, “virtual cinemas” offerings have skyrocketed (over at IndieWire, Kate Erbland has compiled a constantly-updated list), as distribution labels like Kino Lorber, Magnolia, Oscilloscope, and Film Movement—among many others—are offering cinephiles a whole array of unreleased festival darlings to stream from the comforts of home, with the revenue split between cinemas and distributors.
It’s an on-demand entertainment model exhibitors have staunchly resisted for years, evidence that unprecedented times require unprecedented measures. But while virtual cinemas are being touted as an extraordinary safety plan, questions remain over the long-term consequences they may have on the industry in the post-COVID-19 scenario. Will virtual cinemas only disincentivize viewers from returning to theatres once the pandemic subsides? If so, is the tactic essentially a Trojan horse?
Speaking with Ryan Faughnder at the L.A. Times, Kino Lorber’s CEO Richard Lorber contends that virtual cinemas are a means “[to put] the power back in the hands of the theater owners,” and “capture revenues that they otherwise would’ve lost.” Logistically, the virtual push is requiring distributors to integrate and expand on another set of technologies. As reported by Vadim Rizov over at Filmmaker Magazine—in one of the most comprehensive takes on the debate—these have proved to be for the most part relatively sturdy. Some labels like Oscilloscope were working with Vimeo OTT for direct-to-consumer TVOD sales already, while Lorber’s on-demand new platform, Kino Marquee, has built upon Kino Now, the à la carte TVOD system they launched last year. It has now grown to about 200 theatres across the United States.
As the argument goes, virtual cinemas will help films to screen in many more theatres than theatrical releases would afford them, and theatres to host many more titles than their brick-and-mortar would physically be able to, and for longer runs. Speaking with Ann Hornaday over at The Washington Post, Lorber elaborates:
The scourge of [arthouse theatres] is the limitation of the number of screens (…) very few have more than two or three screens, some even only have one. Distributors like ourselves often have films that open strongly but get bumped in a week because the theaters have calendars and commitments to other companies to play their films at a particular time. (…) We’ve moved from a screen-scarcity environment to screen plenitude. It’s almost a world of infinite screens.
But just how profitable is that world, exactly? Ann Hornaday goes on to report that Oscilloscope’s Saint Frances, which had just opened in theaters when they were forced to shutter, “has made around $100,000 as a virtual release, reaching a much wider audience than would have been able to see it on the big screen.” And the same goes for Kleber Mendonça Filho’s and Juliano Dornelles’s Bacurau, which—as noted by Filmmaker Magazine—by May 18 “[had] sold over 8,000 virtual tickets spread out across 223 US screens, far more than the 30 co-director Kleber Mendonça Filho’s previous Aquarius played at the peak of its release.”
But as far as theatres are concerned, the results are hardly uniform across the board. Over at the L.A. Times, Ryan Faughnder paints a sobering picture. Speaking with Film Movement’s President Michael Rosenberg, whose virtual cinema program has let theatres screen films including Poland’s Oscar-nominee Corpus Christi, he reports that “the sales pale in comparison to actual box office receipts,” for cinemas “aren’t just missing out on box office but also on popcorn and soda sales.” And while every little helps, and costs are generally lower to distribute online, Rosenberg himself remarks that this is still “not enough revenue to offset what the theaters lost by being closed.”
Arguably the most crucial concern for exhibitors—should the model outlive the pandemic—is that virtual cinema releases may only exacerbate the shrinking of theatrical windows, drawing “offline” customers (and vital revenues) from cinemas. And just how exactly should one price online releases? Kino Marquee charges a $12 flat fee for a 5-day rental period, considerably higher than other TVOD platforms. “We are competing with lower cost online streaming options,” Wendy Lidell, Kino Lorber’s senior VP of distribution and acquisitions, is reported by IndieWire’s Tom Brueggemann as saying, “but I believe we need to maintain the premium price of a premiere theatrical window, and we on the distribution side are endeavoring to promote films as such.”
That may be good in theory, but higher prices may only discourage cinemagoers, all the more so if they’ll be asked to patronize many more platforms of varying ease of access than they normally would, just to “attend” a screening. Not to mention another serious burden this would carry for cinemas, considering their newsletters and reviews will no longer simply have to point to a film and the theatre’s physical location, but the several different platforms on which new titles are rentable that week.
At the same time, virtual screenings may offer theatres an opportunity to attract new quarantined patrons who may not have a local theatre to support, and will have to choose which online cinema to give their money to. This is itself a mixed blessing. For while theatres could, theoretically, acquire new patrons through the ether, virtual cinemas are not geo-targeted, which means the reverse is also true, and cinemagoers may defect their local theatres and choose to support others. As per its FAQs, Kino Marquee can only ask streamers to rent the film through their habitual cinemas, but cannot enforce this. Over at Decider, Evan Davis talks about the subject to Jordan Cronk, head of Los Angeles art film series Acropolis Cinema, and Ashley Clark, director of programming at BAM:
“People outside of LA could be watching [these movies],” Cronk notes. “There are so many platforms, and people make a decision about who they want to support, which is a different experience. They may support us, or they may support another theater because they got an exclusive first-run booking, and didn’t want to wait.” Clark is slightly more optimistic. “One interesting question is how we build from that and look to communicate BAM’s curation to wider audiences in the virtual space; audiences who don’t live anywhere near Brooklyn!” You can’t help but wonder if a lot of these theaters could transition from a physical space to that curse word of the 2010s, a brand.
But how can a theatre foster a sense of brand awareness in pandemic times, when so much of its identity is often predicated on real-life exchanges between cinemagoers? At Variety, Rebecca Rubin chats with Sarah Pitre, programming director of the Austin, Texas-based indie chain Alamo Drafthouse, which is working to adopt its Terror Tuesday and Weird Wednesday repertory series to the new digital reality, and encouraging its virtual attendees to continue post-screening chats on the theatre’s website Birth.Movies.Death. In Rubin’s own words, “that’s as close as we can get to the Alamo experience without having doors open.”
Still, some things have proved impossible to recreate. At The Wrap, Brian Welk takes a closer look at BAM, which was forced to cancel two months of film programming, as well as its flagship June festival, BAMcinemaFest. And director of programming Clark makes clear that the pivot to digital, as far as repertory is concerned, is an arduous shift:
We can do certain standalone events, but the question of repertory programs, which include prints imported from different parts of the world, screening on film, screening on 16 or 35mm film, which is still an important part of what we do, that’s something you cannot replicate online.
None of this is to chastise independent theatres for trying to survive an unprecedented cataclysm that could wipe them off the map altogether. It’s the long-term repercussions virtual cinemas may bear on the industry beyond the pandemic that are particularly concerning. And it is crucial to understand that the backlash could affect both exhibitors and distributors.
For theatres, the risk is that the new online model will play into the giant streamers’ hands. In the words of Oscilloscope’s director of theatrical distribution Andrew Carlin, speaking with Vadim Rizov at Filmmaker:
Over the past decade, giant SVOD streamers have spent an incredible amount of money training audiences to stay home. To not go to the theater. Any arthouse that keeps a slate of virtual titles available after they’ve reopened their doors is—consciously or not—ultimately reinforcing that behavior.
As for distributors, Carlin explains to The Washington Post’s Ann Hornaday, the fear is that the strategy will only deepen the gap between smaller and bigger labels. For theatres would be in a position to create a two-tiered system:
…whereby they save their main auditoriums for the Sony Classics, A24s, Searchlight Pictures and Focus Features of the world, and send films from smaller companies like his into the virtual ether. “It’s already a struggle getting on screens in some of these markets,” Carlin says. “So if there’s effectively no need to get these smaller companies on screen, it would make what is already a challenging business even more challenging.
After all, what incentive would cinemas have to book smaller titles theatrically, if they can simply shuttle them off to a virtual space? In an eye-opening analysis of the impact of the 1918 influenza pandemic on the movie industry, over at The New Yorker Richard Brody observes that the flu gave rise to the mega-Hollywood that’s being duplicated today: smaller production companies went out of business, and the big ones got bigger, “creating the studios that became the masters of production, distribution, and exhibition together.” Whether or not the virtual cinema model will exacerbate the dominion of today’s streaming giants remains to be seen. People rushed back to the cinemas after the 1918 pandemic, and audience numbers only increased in post-WWI decades, observes Kaleem Aftab at BBC Culture. But to argue that the same will happen again over a hundred years later is to gloss over the seismic changes that viewing habits have undergone in recent times.
Which is why the virtual push is ultimately a double-edged sword. As per Richard Lorber’s comments to Filmmaker, the new model is here to stay. But if that’s the case, distributors and theatres will have to carefully negotiate just far it will go. In the words of Lorber:
We think of it as kind of a ‘Goldilocks model’: we want the virtual screening model to be successful, but not too successful. We want it to be an important piece of revenue—but not too important, because we don’t want the theaters to feel this is supplanting their investment in brick and mortar.
These negotiations will be vital to ensure the “duplex model” will provide the relief independent cinema needs, and not a potentially fatal blow.
Pride is a celebration of love, equality, inclusivity and acceptance. Symbolic of how one chooses to live, not subjected to societal norms and perceptions.
And the journey to make your own choices and stand alone, from coming out to being accepted is filled with anxiety and often takes courage. There are many such heartwarming and bittersweet stories of brave members from the LGBTQIA+ community, that are yet untold. Hoping to shed light on some of those stories and people, Colors Infinity showcases a special video series of acceptance and being proud.
It doesn’t take much to be accepting of a family-member or friend’s choice. Being informed would be the first step, followed by getting acquainted with terms and idioms that are more sensitized, towards members of the LGBTQIA+ community. And you always start with Colors Infinity’s ‘Glossary of Love’ – a quick guide, to help educate, communicate and overcome that unnecessary apprehension.
Head over to the Colors Infinity Instagram page to watch the heartwarming stories from the people of the community and how everything ends well if you just accept who you are
As protests against systemic police brutality and racial discrimination sweep across the United States and around the world, Parrot Analytics has found skyrocketing audience demand for Netflix’s Dear White People and When They See Us.
US demand for Dear White People grew 329% week over week, while When They See Us was up 147% compared to the previous week.*
“During a week of pain and protest, these series are finding a resurgence of demand,” said Ashley Alleyne-Morris, Parrot Analytics Partner Insights Director. “Whether it’s a satirical look at dealing with discrimination at majority white spaces (universities) or a true story about the miscarriage of justice faced by the Central Park Five, new audiences appear to be turning to these stories as a form of education and understanding of the Black experience in America.”
When They See Us debuted on May 31, 2019, and Dear White People released its most recent season in August of 2019, clearly suggesting the recent news events have helped spark new interest and audiences for this content.
Dear White People is a satirical look at the lives of a group of black students at a majority white fictional Ivy League university in the aftermath of a party where white students wear blackface. For the week of May 27 - June 2 it was 5.6 times more in demand than the average TV show in the US.
When They See Us is a miniseries about the notorious case of the Central Park Five, a group of black and hispanic teenagers who were falsely accused and convicted of the assault and rape of a white woman in 1989. Their convictions weren’t vacated until 2002. During the week of May 27 - June 2, it was 20.5 times more in-demand than the average TV show in the US.