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Oscars to again allow movies on streaming platforms to compete for honors, Amazon brings James Bond, Rocky to fight Netflix with $8.5 bln MGM buy, and other top news.

Oscars to again allow movies on streaming platforms to compete for honors, Amazon brings James Bond, Rocky to fight Netflix with $8.5 bln MGM buy, and other top news.

Few key things happened around the Ad Tech & Media Tech world this week.

Oscars to again allow movies on streaming platforms to compete for honors

The organizers of the Oscars on Thursday moved the date of the 2022 ceremony to late March, a month later than originally planned, and said that films released on streaming services would again qualify for Academy Awards consideration. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement that the Oscars ceremony would take place on March 27, 2022 at the show’s traditional home in Hollywood. The ceremony was originally scheduled for February 27. No reason was given for the date change. The Academy added that due to the coronavirus pandemic, it will for the second time allow movies made primarily for release in theaters that were shifted to a streaming platform to be eligible for Oscar consideration. Dozens of movies have been released on streaming services such as Disney+, HBO Max, Netflix and Amazon in the past 15 months while movie theaters around the world have been shuttered because of the pandemic.The 2021 Oscars were delayed from February to late April because of the pandemic and took place for the first time at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles…More

Amazon brings James Bond, Rocky to fight Netflix with $8.5 bln MGM buy

Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O)will buy MGM, the fabled U.S. movie studio home to the James Bond franchise, for $8.45 billion, giving it a huge library of films and TV shows and ramping up competition with streaming rivals led by Netflix and Disney+. The deal aims to bolster Amazon’s television-focused studio with new and historic filmmaking from MGM, which has snapped up lucrative series including “Rocky” and “Tomb Raider” since its founding in 1924. Streaming video helps the world’s largest online retailer draw people to subscribe to Prime, a club with fast shipping, and to shop more once they’re members. Privately-held MGM, or Metro Goldwyn Mayer, also owns the Epix cable channel and makes popular TV shows including “Fargo,” “Vikings” and “Shark Tank.” Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, laid out the rationale for the deal at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday. “MGM has a vast, deep catalog of much beloved intellectual property,” he said. “With the talented people at MGM and the talented people at Amazon Studios, we can reimagine and develop that IP for the 21st century.” Bezos said it was “premature” to name Amazon Studios as the fourth pillar of the company after its seller marketplace, cloud division and Prime, but it was working toward that milestone. More than 175 million Prime members watched content on Amazon in the past year, and streaming hours were up 70%, he said…More

Lionsgate Grows Starz Streaming Subscribers to 16.7M

Lionsgate on Thursday posted a smaller fourth quarter loss on lower overall revenue as the Hollywood studio continues to drive into the streaming space with Starz. The studio saw its global streaming subscriber base for Starz grow year-over-year to 16.7 million, with the domestic streaming subscriber base hitting 10 million. With Starz global subscribers standing at 29.5 million at the end of the fourth quarter, Lionsgate now has more over-the-top digital Starz subscribers than the 12.8 million traditional linear TV subscribers it had at the end of the fourth quarter. “Operationally, it was a year of strong subscriber growth, great new television series, record library sales and a successful pivot to alternative release strategies for many of our films,” Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts during a conference call as he recalled the last pandemic-impacted fiscal year. And as industry consolidation gathers pace, including a recent $43 billion deal for AT&T to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery to create a global streaming giant, Feltheimer wouldn’t be drawn when asked how Lionsgate might be eyeing possible mergers and acqusitions on the horizon that included Starz. “We’re going to keep our head down and just keep executing on our plan. We don’t want to get distracted frankly by this concept of scale,” he told analysts…More

Philo TV Raising Monthly Rate To $25 For New Subscribers, Streaming Bundle’s First Price Hike Since 2017

Streaming bundle provider Philo TV is raising its monthly price to $25 from the $20 level where it has remained since launching commercially nearly four years ago. The 25% increase takes effect on June 8 for all new customers, but current subscribers will be grandfathered in at $20 as long as they stay in the fold. Philo said last fall it had surpassed 800,000 total subscribers. Along with the new pricing, the company is adding an incentive for current subscribers to upgrade and pay the extra $5 a month. It is expanding the duration of DVR storage to one year from the present limit of 30 days. “This is something we have thought a lot about,” CEO Andrew McCollum said of the pricing change in an interview with Deadline. “We’re trying to do it in a way that’s as fair to our existing customers as possible.” McCollum, who was a co-founder of Facebook before taking the helm at Philo, cited higher programming costs as the culprit. He said the company has sought to keep its overhead low. “We build most of our technology ourselves, we use very few outside vendors. We build on the cloud and optimize resources,” he said. “Those kinds of measures have allowed us to keep our price the same.”…More

Graduations live! Local live-streaming business booming

Pomp and circumstance streaming live is something the pros say has exploded in popularity since the start of the pandemic. With health concerns, streaming events like graduations became the thing to do. Things are opening back up this year compared to last, but even so, streaming is still a big request. “We’re doing all kinds of stuff, the high school graduations, I mean the demand is just going kind of through the roof,” said Jonathan Edwards, owner of 570 Drone, which is based in Plymouth. Jonathan Edwards said he has been very busy. Not just with high school and college graduations but concerts and recitals, weddings, boat shows, and more. “I’ve live-streamed a couple wedding now, which were pretty cool because of that exact reason, people couldn’t fly in or were uncomfortable to coming in with the wedding, so we live streamed it with big multi-cam set-ups.” Jonathan Edwards said live-streaming is definitely the future. It is something he’s been doing and investing in for years, but he said as more and more people realize it’s an option, they are choosing it and have been grateful for it. “These one-time special events people are really grateful they can see it, so I’ve gotten a lot of messages and emails and phone calls telling me how wonderful it was, they loved it, so I appreciate that,” said Edwards…More

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