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News in Brief - july 2013


NOTING a general lack of familiarity with UltraViolet, Shaun Austin, a research analyst at YouGov, reported that among people surveyed in advance of a London briefing, 12% said they were likely to use UltraViolet after their next purchase of a Blu-ray disc or DVD. Twenty-two percent of respondents who had not used UltraViolet before said they were likely to do so in the future, with 55% of people who had used it before said they were now likely to do so. Sixteen per cent with low familiarity of the ecosystem said they were likely to try, with 72% of respondents 'highly familiar?' intending to use it in the future.

ACCORDING to the BFI's findings, UK revenue from the sales of feature films on video (DVD, Blu-ray) fell during the year 2012 to £968 million - their lowest level since 2001 and down from over £1.1 billion in 2011. Video rentals of films were also down, from 86 million transactions in 2011 to 78 million in 2012, with the value of the rental market for film falling from £246 million in 2011 to £229 million in 2012. The BFI suggests that the VoD market may be growing into the gap left by video. The total VoD market for film was estimated to be worth £243 million in 2012, a 50% increase on the previous year. It remains that packaged media revenues are still five time those derived from online digital distribution.

MAJOR Russian film and TV companies, including Timur Bekmambetov's Bazelevs, are creating a search engine that will locate illegitimate content online in a bid to fight widespread online piracy. An chosen operator will search for pirated content and provide links to rights holders who, in turn, will make decisions based on the information. In addition to Bazelevs and A-Media, the list of Russian rights holders involved in the project includes Sistema Mass Media, which controls the film production company Central Partnership, and Direktsiya Kino, the film production wing of Russia's top TV station, Channel One.

ACCORDING to Strategy Analytics' ConsumerMetrix survey, 23% of respondents expect to buy an HDTV over the next year, up from 18% in the fourth quarter of 2012. Thirteen per cent of people intend to buy a Blu-ray player, up from 10%. Recovery is expected first in the US market, where HDTV purchase intentions have risen by 7.6 percentage points over the figure for late 2012. In Europe, purchase intentions have risen by 4.5%, with Germany emerging as the strongest European market and Italy as the weakest. Strategy Analytics surveyed 2,062 individuals aged 15-74 in the US and 4,118 in Europe in June.

UNIVERSAL Pictures International Entertainment is to distribute DVD and Blu-ray releases for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment in Italy from October 2013. Universal will provide operations, finance and marketing support in order to maximise studio efforts in the Italian market. Sony has also confirmed a separate home video distribution deal with Fox in Spain. Fox will manage the marketing and distribution of Sony's DVD and Blu-ray Discs, also from October 2013. Whilst the distribution deal marks the end of Sony's physical home entertainment operations in Spain both this deal and that in Italy exclude content delivered digitally.

WHEN studios that distribute UltraViolet content begin using the upcoming UltraViolet common file format (CFF) later this year, Paramount Pictures will use the DTS-HD codec for surround sound. DTS is a member of the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), the progenitor of the cloud-based digital locker UV system. DTS claims to have over 85% of the Blu-ray Disc audio market.

TOSHIBA's Digital Products Division announced it is the first Blu-ray player manufacturer to be awarded 4K Image Certification by Technicolor. Native 4K content used for production of Hollywood movies, is reduced in resolution for the home to fit accordingly with existing HD disc formats and display panels. Technicolor has certified Toshiba's 4K image processing technology up-scales "less than 4K" content to near 4K quality without inserting image-damaging artifacts. home from existing HD content.

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group and Media & Entertainment Services Alliance Europe (MESA Europe), in association with the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), have announced the date and details of their second annual Academy on UltraViolet. This year's industry event, to be held in London on 11th September, will provide delegates with an update on UltraViolet's roll-out, profile key learning to date, and foster discussion on both global and European territory-specific opportunities and imperatives for UltraViolet.

A NEW Juniper Research study of the mobile TV and video market has found that by 2017, revenues from streaming and download services on mobile and tablet devices will reach $9.5 billion, up from $4.5 billion this year. This will be as a result of the maturation of the market for streaming subscription services and pay-per-title content, which will see new business models develop for smartphone and tablet users.

THE BBC is to take a three-year holiday from the development of 3D programming with the corporation's head of 3D admitting the UK public had not taken to the format. This weekend's Wimbledon tennis finals and the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special in the autumn will be the BBC's last stereoscopic productions. Last month, football's governing body FIFA said it was reconsidering plans to video the next World Cup in the 3D format and US sports broadcaster ESPN said it would shutter its own 3D channel later this year.

WARNER BROS. and exhibition firm Cineplex Entertainment in Canada introduced a SuperTicket for the new sci-fi epic Pacific Rim that combines a movie ticket and a voucher for an early release of the film on UltraViolet. The pre-ordered digital version will be available before the DVD and Blu-ray release date, and Cineplex SuperTicket purchasers will be the first to receive their UltraViolet version. A Pacific Rim SuperTicket will cost $19.99 for a standard definition digital download, or $24.99 for a HD digital download, plus the cost of the theatrical movie ticket.

GERMANY-based replicator Entertainment Distribution Company said it has appointed former Arvato sales executive Bob Nichol as its UK Country Manager.

ULTRAVIOLET is set to launch in Germany and France beginning 30 September 30. Speaking to Handelsblatt, David Bishop, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, said the introduction campaign will be spearheaded by the James Bond title Skyfall and other blockbusters from the studios that are backing UltraViolet. Further UV launches in Luxembourg, Holland and Belgium are planned, but there is as yet no timetable. At the moment, UV is available in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zeeland.

THE forthcoming film release, A Field in England, is coming out simultaneously 5 July in the cinema, on DVD, Freeview and Video on Demand, the first British film to do so. The English Civil War-set film was commissioned by Film4.0, with Film4, Picturehouse Entertainment, 4DVD and Film4 Channel partnering for this 'watch-it-where-you-want' experiment. Director Ben Wheatley said the partners had tried to innovate with the film, in production and distribution.