26 January 2020 18:37

MediAvataar's News Desk

MediAvataar's News Desk

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Sunday, 26 January 2020 00:00

Big screen revival

Unlikely heroes are reviving the classic cinema experience.

Despite fears that streaming services are threatening the life of big-screen cinemas, new brand investments indicate a heightened focus on the in-theater viewing experience—paving the way for a future iteration of cinematic entertainment.

High-end department store Selfridges is branching into film entertainment catered to their luxury consumer base. In November 2019, the retailer opened an in-store cinema at their Oxford Street flagship in London, in collaboration with independent boutique cinema Olympic Studios. The permanent theater will screen blockbusters and indie films and will offer a premium membership scheme.

Most notably, Netflix—who has been widely blamed, along with other streaming services, for killing the movie theater—is now reviving iconic theaters and restoring the classic movie watching experience. The streaming giant is heavily investing in traditional theaters, turning to the very entertainment habits they originally disrupted in an effort to, firstly, differentiate in a saturated market and, secondly, solidify their credence in the high-brow film scene.

In November 2019, Netflix took a ten-year lease on New York’s iconic 581-seat Paris Theater. The Paris shuttered in August after 71 years, the last remaining single-screen cinema in the US dedicated to first-run platform release movies. Though Netflix has previously rented cinemas, this is the first long-term lease the company has acquired. The streaming giant noted that the theater would “become a home for special Netflix events, screenings, and theatrical releases.”

Additionally, reports began surfacing in spring 2019 about Netflix acquiring the historic Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles. Negotiations are still underway but, according to recent news, the sale would continue to support weekend viewings of historic films, rarities and indie cinema, organized by the American Cinematheque, while Netflix will utilize the theater for screenings and premieres on weekdays. Aside from supporting a continuation of its current programming, the influx of cash would likely also deliver a much-needed renovation and boost the programming by American Cinematheque, according to the organization’s chairman, Rick Nicita.

Starting last year with Oscar-winning “Roma,” Netflix has released select films in theaters, necessary for their consideration during award season. More recently, “The Irishman” had its theatrical release on November 1, 2019 followed by digital streaming on Netflix starting on November 27th and “Marriage Story” began a limited theatrical release on November 6, 2019 with digital streaming following on December 6th. With Martin Scorsese directing and an all-star cast, “The Irishman” is the latest in Netflix attempt at being viewed as a real player in high-brow filmmaking. The movie has been called a passion project for the veteran filmmaker and in his own words: Netflix “alone allowed us to make ‘The Irishman’ the way we needed to.”

While the acquisition of the Paris and Egyptian theaters has been met with no shortage of critique, some are suggesting this is not a short-lived phenomenon—that Netflix has long-term cinematic intentions. Beyond needing a home to showcase its award-contenders, Netflix also needs these investments in traditional theaters to continue attracting talented filmmakers, according to Variety writer Matt Donnelly. “Auteurs like Scorsese revere the big-screen experience, but they also need backing for their passion projects. With the major studios focused on making tentpole movies and sequels, Netflix is filling a void,” Donnelly says. “A more robust theatrical component could be important if Netflix wants to keep filmmaking giants such as Scorsese and Cuarón in the fold.” The takeaway from Donnelly and from Scorsese here: Netflix isn’t necessarily a foe to great filmmaking. In fact, it could be a supporter of the arts, financing projects that big studios won’t. Even if the tech company is merely seeking credibility in the film industry, that can be a win for the creative scene.

While Netflix so far is the only streaming service that is investing in brick-and-mortar cinemas, it has remained a leading force in the space. With more and more services launching, such as AppleTV+ and Disney+, and with Amazon producing its own award-winning film content, it’s not unlikely that this is a precedent that will be followed by others.

What’s more, challenging the critique that streaming services are deterring a night out at the cinema, a 2018 study from Ernst & Young’s Quantitative Economics and Statistics group found that people who go out to movie theaters are also consuming more films via streaming services at home. And though 2017 marked a three-year low at the North American Box Office, the following year showed more than 1.2 billion tickets, representing a 4.8 percent increase over 2017 (a total of more than $11.8 billion in ticket sales). Similarly in the UK, theaters saw their highest attendance since 1970 last year, with 177 million trips being made. With the numbers to back it up, Netflix could be kicking off the next wave of disruption for cinema—and other services may well follow suit.

Netflix, which led the charge in streaming disruption, is now perhaps setting the stage to drive a resurgence in traditional movie theater viewing. While a revival in classic cinema viewing is clearly underway, the question remains: can Netflix do for movie theaters what it did for streaming?


Source: JWT Intelligence

Connected TVs saw a 319% increase in views over-the-top for sports content, with the highest completion rates of any device.

Brightcove Inc., the leading provider of cloud services for video, today published the Q3 Brightcove Global Video Index, a report that analyzes hundreds of millions of recent data points from Brightcove’s media customers globally to provide insights into how viewers are watching video content, which devices they are using, and what types of content they are consuming across these various devices.

Streaming Reaches New Sports Audiences

The Q3 Video Index report findings show sports content is steadily moving into a major role among streamers — with viewers watching on every device, in and out of the home. And a recent survey from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found 56% of consumers said they’d pay more for a streaming channel than their current pay-TV sports offering. Furthermore, Brightcove found strong global consumption growth in streamed sports content, with more than half (54%) of sports content views beginning on smartphones globally, up 49% from a year ago.

“Sports rights are among the most expensive video rights in the world today, but that’s not stopping streaming services from going after them aggressively,” said Jim O’Neill, Principal Analyst, Brightcove, and author of the Q3 2019 Global Video Index. “With sports content becoming a fan favorite to view on all devices, streaming services understand they must evolve alongside consumers’ viewing habits and expectations to keep viewers’ attention. In Q3, for example, we saw streaming views on smartphones increase 46% year-over-year, with connected TVs close behind at 34%.”

Viewing Behavior Across Devices Impacts Completion Rates

The data shows viewers watch sports content on all devices, with smartphones getting 54% of all sports video views. Other findings the report uncovered include:

Completion rates hover near 42% on smartphones, the lowest for any device — an indication that mobile devices are used primarily to “touch base” with an event, check scores, watch highlights, and the like.

Computers account for 40% of sports viewing and have a completion rate of 60%, which is the second-best of all devices.

Only 6% of video views are on tablet devices, and that’s after a 31% increase in views in Q3, and a 41% increase in Q2. Tablets have a completion rate just slightly higher than smartphones (45%).

Connected TV views made up less than 1% of all sports video views, completion rates are the highest among all devices (68%), and average viewing minutes are 4x higher than any other device.

Furthermore, the length of content also impacts completion rates. Connected TVs see the highest completion rates in medium-form content (75%), followed by short-form content (71%), long-form content (66%), and lastly, ultra-long-form content (36%). While the report’s findings show that bigger screens lead to higher completion rates, every device’s completion rates exceed 30% for all content lengths.

“Sports content is not the only content that saw year-over-year gains, we saw increases in video views across every device and in nearly every region,” O’Neill continued. “Time spent watching video was up; video completion was up and, regionally and globally video engagement was up. Simply put, over-the-top video is center stage, something content owners and distributors need to focus on — especially if they hope to attract younger viewers.”

Chaozon Barlow to Share HBO MAX Originals Slate with Marketing SVP Peter Sherman

Pia Chaozon Barlow has been named Senior Vice President of Program Marketing for HBO Max, it was announced today by Chris Spadaccini, Chief Marketing Officer of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer, to whom she will report. It is a homecoming of sorts for Chaozon Barlow, who was responsible for launching some of HBO’s most creative campaigns including Girls,
Silicon Valley, Boardwalk Empire and The Newsroom, when she served as Director of Advertising & Promotions at HBO until her departure for Netflix in 2014.

“It gives me great pleasure to welcome Pia Chaozon Barlow back to the family,” Spadaccini said. “Pia’s innovative thinking, proven track record, collaborative spirit, and institutional knowledge of the streaming business will add tremendous value to our team as we build a new brand of Originals to differentiate HBO Max.”

Chaozon Barlow will work alongside Peter Sherman, also SVP of Program Marketing for HBO Max Originals, to share responsibility for an expansive slate of upcoming shows. Each executive will be responsible for a selection of programs and tasked with guiding the overall strategy, including creative, media, events, partnerships, and social media.

“Pia and Peter make for a dynamic duo, and by dividing the slate, we’ll be able to efficiently manage the business at scale, while ensuring that we have expert marketing leadership dedicated to each show,” Spadaccini said.

At Netflix, Chaozon Barlow quickly established a reputation as an innovative marketer with a keen eye for building, mentoring and empowering the next generation of leaders. Over her 5 years at the company, she led integrated, global marketing campaigns across a range of genres including Drama, Comedy, Documentaries, International and Kids & Family. She most recently served as Head of Nonfiction Marketing, overseeing campaigns for such diverse programming as Queer Eye, Chef’s Table, Nailed It!, Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, Dave Chapelle: Sticks & Stones and Making a Murderer.

She also held a senior level theatrical marketing position at 20th Century Fox for a brief period between stints at Netflix, spearheading campaigns for acclaimed and popular films like Deadpool 2, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Greatest Showman and Love, Simon.

Before HBO Max, Sherman ran marketing strategy for TBS & TNT, focusing on initiatives that brought science to the art of marketing and ensuring that the whole marketing organization was using the most effective data-centric tools to optimize their effectiveness in reaching the right user with the right message at exactly the right time.

Sherman joined Turner after eight years at Google, where he was most recently the product marketing lead for YouTube Gaming. In his time at Google he also launched Chromecast, Android TV, YouTube on TV, as well as the cornerstones of YouTube’s monetization – TrueView ads, interest based advertising and the homepage masthead. Before that he had a career in advertising, managing the accounts for American Express, Miller, Pepsi, P&G, and Wrigley’s – to name a few.

Social media has transformed so many aspects of modern life, from how we communicate and build communities online, to how we organise for social action and raise money for charitable causes.

It has also changed the way companies, especially small ones, grow their businesses. Today, we estimate that around 25 million businesses in the European Union, mostly small businesses, are using our services each month.

To understand the true extent of Facebook’s impact on the European economy, we commissioned a study by Copenhagen Economics, one of the leading economic firms in Europe. The study surveyed over 7,700 businesses across all industries and sizes in 15 countries.

Surveyed businesses said that using Facebook apps helped them generate sales corresponding to an estimated EUR 208 billion last year. Using standard economic modeling techniques, this translates into an estimated 3.1 million jobs.

Businesses also said that using Facebook apps helped them generate an estimated EUR 98 billion in exports last year. Of these exports, EUR 58 billion are sales within the EU and EUR 40 billion are sales to the rest of the world.

This shows the critical role social media plays in driving sales for businesses across Europe. This is particularly true for small and medium sized businesses, who not only use social media to showcase their company and their products, but also as a trusted forum for communication with customers, a tool for analytics and insights and a source of cost-effective advertising, enabling them to reach new customers locally and abroad.

The study also found that female-founded businesses in particular credit social media with helping them to start and grow their businesses. 58% of female-founded businesses surveyed said that Facebook apps are important for enabling them to start businesses, while 65% said it helped grow their revenue.

Virginia Pozo Castro started her business in 2011, borrowing money from her parents to finance the project, and since the beginning she’s used Facebook and Instagram to show off her designs and find new customers. Today, she has 22 stores across Spain and her clothes are stocked in 60 retail outlets in addition to her online store.

Virginia’s business is just one example of the millions of businesses using our apps to connect with customers, drive sales and grow. For years, it’s been common to hear people discuss the ‘digital economy’ as if the value that technology companies add is somehow separate from the rest of the economy. This report shows how social media has become an integral part of the European economy and is significantly contributing to its growth.


Written By Nicola Mendelsohn, Vice-President for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Facebook

Gearing up for an aggressive marketing agenda across its family of apps, Facebook expands its India leadership team

Facebook today announced a new addition to its leadership team in India, which is driving the charter for the company’s deepening focus in the country. The latest addition to the India leadership team is Avinash Pant, who will take on the role of Marketing Director at Facebook India.

The role of Marketing Director will be a new one at Facebook India, with the mandate to drive the company’s consumer marketing efforts across the family of apps, including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. Pant comes with twenty-two years of experience working with leading consumer brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, The Walt Disney Company, and most recently, Red Bull. In his last assignment as the India Marketing Director at Red Bull, he was responsible for building the brand in India, especially amongst the youth, through unique partnerships and content related to sports, music, and dance. Pant is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He will report to Ajit Mohan, Vice President and Managing Director, India.

The announcement comes a year after Facebook announced a new leadership structure in India bringing the company’s functions under Ajit Mohan, reporting directly to its headquarters in Menlo Park.

Over the last year, the company has spearheaded several India-focused initiatives with a particular focus on fuelling entrepreneurship and breaking the gender imbalance on the Internet. ‘Boost with Facebook’ and the ‘VC Brand Incubator Program’ were aimed at accelerating the growth of SMBs. In 2019, Facebook also made its first minority investment in a company, Meesho, a social-commerce venture empowering first-time entrepreneurs, especially women in small towns. The company also announced a tie-up with the Government of India’s Common Services Centre (CSC) to provide tools and training to more than 25,000 women in 3000 villages around the country. It was also a year when Facebook announced a ground-breaking partnership with the International Cricket Council (ICC) that made it the exclusive digital content rights partner in the Indian subcontinent for ICC global events.

Said Ajit Mohan, VP and MD of Facebook India, “We’ve been working towards deepening our mission to build empowered communities, form stronger local partnerships, create economic opportunities for SMBs and entrepreneurs to grow in India, and, to do our part to break the gender imbalance on the Internet. Consumer marketing is a new strategic area of focus for Facebook and one where we will dramatically increase our investment in communicating directly to consumers. Avinash is one of the best marketers in the country, and am delighted that he is joining us on this exciting charter to shape the voice of Facebook’s family of apps in India.”

In the last few months, Facebook has recruited for key roles across multiple functions such as Marketing, Sales, Partnerships, and Policy. Consistent with the new organization structure, these roles have been spread across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

“We are dedicated to creating an environment where our people can be their authentic selves and unleash the power of their diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Teams at Facebook are focused on channeling that energy to be an ally to India in its exciting journey of transformation and growth,” added Mohan.

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