Archive for April 8th, 2009

Sony in Talks with YouTube

8th April 2009 by Maura McHugh

According to a news article on CNN YouTube is in negotiations with Sony Pictures to acquire licensing rights to full-length content. Last week Disney agreed to licence short-form content to YouTube. To compete in the burgeoning online video market YouTube must obtain more long-form drama.

Sony Pictures’ Web video property, called Crackle, could result in a boost to YouTube’s ambitions to become a player in Hollywood.

Sony acquired Crackle in 2006, a year before Google bought YouTube. It’s a multi-platform next-generation video entertainment network that distributes digital content including original short form series and full-length traditional programming from Sony Pictures’ library of television series and feature films.

YouTube and Google can’t be too choosy. The truth is that two years ago they miscalculated how much they needed Hollywood. YouTube frustrated some studio and TV executives by saying “we’re not responsible for the actions of our users.”

Since then, YouTube managers have changed their attitude and have focused on making the site more appealing to big entertainment companies, such as offering better-quality streams, and filtering for pirated content. Still, what was true two years ago is true now: none of the big entertainment companies is going to allow Google to build YouTube’s business on their content without getting something in return.

There’s also the question of what the studios intend to do with the traditional distribution model. Hollywood has long had agreements in place to release films through a complex assortment of channels, including theatrical release, DVD sales, and cable, premium, and broadcast outlets. For example, film-industry sources say the money Hollywood earns from the Web is a trickle compared with the ocean of cash it receives each year from cable providers.

Nonetheless, more and more people are canceling their cable subscriptions and turning to the Web for entertainment. Even execs from the cable companies have acknowledged this. Last week, after Disney announced the agreement with YouTube, I asked Jordan Hoffner, YouTube’s chief of content partnerships, whether YouTube, Hulu, and the other Web video services can convince Hollywood to wean itself off these other distribution channels.

“I think that what we’re doing is we’re dealing with a fragmented world,” Hoffner said. “You can’t just say you’re going to count out any distribution channel and focus on one because audiences are moving to other places. We’re one of the places they’re moving to.”

Turned on in Aspen

8th April 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Irish Examiner reports that the Irish short film, “Whatever Turns You On”, written and directed by Declan Cassidy, won the Best Short Short Award at the Aspen Shortsfest in the United States.

“I’m really thrilled,” said Mr Cassidy, who is en route from the US to Cairo in Egypt where the film has also made the finals for Best Short Film in the Egypt Film Festival. “It’s a very simple little story about a homeless guy who doesn’t let the system get him down and I think it’s striking a chord with audiences in these troubled times.”

Aspen Shortfest, an old and prestigious festival, is considered as one of the Oscar Qualifiers festivals.

The film has scooped seven awards and has been officially selected into 15 festivals since its premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh.

Surviving Cannes

8th April 2009 by Maura McHugh

Filmbase and Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board (IFB) are jointly hosting an information session aimed at Irish filmmakers who plan on attending this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The information session is intended to be a practical guide to understanding and maximising the opportunities presented by the festival. It will concentrate in particular on the festival market, networking opportunities, and the services available from the IFB at the Irish Pavilion.

The session will take place at Filmbase on Friday 24rd April from 11am – 1pm. The session is free, but places must be reserved. Please note that while the session is open to all, priority will be given to filmmakers who are intending to travel to the festival this year.

Information on how to apply is available on the Filmbase web site.