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News in Brief - november 2013


THE BRITISH Video Association confirmed that the BVA Awards will return to the Old Billingsgate venue in London next year on Thursday, 1st May 2014. The B Group London, Creo, Delga Print, the Official Charts Company and Paramount Home Media Distribution UK have already signed up as sponsors. Anyone wishing to pursue one of the many opportunities to be an award or entertainment sponsor should contact Julie Harriss on julie.harriss@gmail.com.

ZAC EFRON, Gerard Butler, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Al Pacino can all draw sizeable audiences, but Australians won't see their most recent movies in cinemas. Distributors increasingly are opting to release films straight to home video because it's tough to recoup theatrical release costs while DVD and Blu-ray sales continue to fall. Roadshow pulled the cinema release of Parkland, about President John F. Kennedy's assassination, which was scheduled for 28 November, after the docudrama bombed in the US in October. Ditto for eOne Hopscotch's Escape Plan. The action-thriller was due to open on 28 November, but was pulled from big screens after it took a meagre $9 million in its first weekend in the US in October.

SONY, which just released its next-gen console PlayStation 4, is looking to make $250M worth of cuts to its entertainment business. Company CEO Kaz Hirai stated, according to Bloomberg News, "I know that the whole of Sony is greater than the sum of its parts." Pointing at the PlayStation 4 and Blu-ray, he added, "Sony Entertainment is a core part of Sony and is crucial to our future growth. However, Michael Lynton, CEO of the the entertainment division, stated that "no cost is too sacred to cut".

THE PLANET still has some 23,182 channels broadcasting in Standard Definition. Of this total, says Northern Sky Research, 73% are still transmitting in MPEG-2 or similar SD systems. In other words, MPEG-4, a newer compression system, has yet to make any progress in some key markets. Even amongst markets considered to be classified as 'developed,' such as North America, Europe and the MENA region, MPEG-2 still dominates. Some 80% of channels in North America are in MPEG-2, while 90% of Western European channels are in MPEG-2. Sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand, has about half of all channels broadcasting in MPEG-4.

EDC GmbH has signed new multi-year manufacturing and distribution agreements covering multiple European territories with the Universal Music Group, extending their long term partnership with the global music leader until mid 2018. EDC is the largest, fully integrated optical disc manufacturing and distribution site in Europe. It was established in 2005 following the acquisition of the manufacturing and distribution facilities of the Universal Music Group.

BOOTLEG DVDs are at present the only way to purchase films in Cambodia. Not a single shop in the Kingdom sells legitimate DVDs, and it was not until Legend Cinema and Platinum Cineplex opened in 2011 that foreign movies even had a legal avenue of distribution in the Kingdom. However, Ung Nareth, president of the Motion Picture Association of Cambodia (MPAC), which he founded in June, hopes that the Kingdom will soon see its first licensed DVDs go on sale. If things work his way, he said, bootleg DVD shops will be forced to legalise their operations or be shut down by the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.

PANASONIC has confirmed in an investor relations press release that it will be ending production of plasma display panels (PDPs) in December 2013. Furthermore, the company will discontinue sales of all plasma TVs and PDP related products, and stop all business operations at its last remaining plasma factories by the end of March 2014. These developments have not been surprising considering the competitive pressure PDP TVs have been facing from LCD TVs, whose cost efficiency and display technology have improved substantially over the last few years.

DISH Network Corporation has confirmed that its home movie and video game rental services subsidiary, Blockbuster, will end its retail and by mail DVD distribution operations by early January 2014. The company will close its approximately 300 remaining US-based retail stores, as well as its distribution centres. DISH will retain licensing rights to the Blockbuster brand, and key assets, including the company?s significant video library.