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Jan 9, 2015

Pay TV revamps clunky guides in battle with Internet services

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – U.S. cable and satellite TV providers are rolling out new services to solve a problem that drives customers crazy – which channel is HBO? And how do I find the latest episode of “The Walking Dead?”

Faced with competition from Internet upstarts with graphical guides that are relatively painless to use, traditional media companies are adding voice control to remotes, cutting the number of buttons, and reducing clutter from screens.

Jan 8, 2015

Media embracing digital TV with strings attached

NEW YORK/LAS VEGAS Jan 8 (Reuters) – Media companies that
are starting to allow their programs onto Internet-delivered TV
and mobile devices are putting limits on digital rights as a
safety hatch if problems arise with the new distribution
systems, executives say.

The debate over digital rights that determine how and when
content is consumed is adding a new layer of complexity to
negotiations between media companies and distributors, leading
to drawn-out wrangling and programming blackouts in some cases.

Jan 7, 2015

Off to the races! Disney park runs mix fitness, fantasy

ANAHEIM, California, Jan 7 (Reuters) – At 5 a.m. on a
Sunday, thousands of people stream down Disneyland Drive dressed
in a mix of running gear, homemade costumes and face paint as
Captain America, Thor or The Hulk.

It’s the first Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon, a
13.1-mile contest that is part of an expanding slate of sold-out
races at Walt Disney’s theme parks in California and
Florida.

Jan 5, 2015

Dish unveils Sling TV video streaming service

Jan 5 (Reuters) – Dish Network Corp on Monday took
the wraps off its long-anticipated video streaming service,
named Sling TV, targeted to younger consumers who shun pricey
cable and satellite subscriptions.

The $20 a month service, the first from a distributor, will
be available through Internet-connected devices such as Amazon
Fire TV, Roku and Google Nexus Player for TVs, tablets,
computers and smartphones. It will include television
programming and sports events from Walt Disney’s ABC,
ESPN and Maker Studios, Time Warner’s TNT, CNN, TBS,
Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, and Food Network, HGTV and
Travel Channel.

Dec 31, 2014

Sony’s ‘Interview’ lands on pay TV and in 580 theaters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Sony Pictures Entertainment added more viewing options for its provocative comedy “The Interview,” making the film available through U.S. pay television operators and nearly doubling the number of independent theaters that will show the movie.

The film, blamed for triggering a massive cyberattack on Sony’s movie studio, will also be sold through Wal-Mart Stores Inc’s digital on-demand service, Vudu, and on Sony’s PlayStation Network, Sony said in a statement on Wednesday.

Dec 30, 2014

As ‘Interview’ takes streaming plunge, Hollywood tests waters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Consumers paid $15 million in just four days to watch “The Interview” from the comfort of their couches, building expectations that other hot, new films might also make their debut online.

But Hollywood is not quite ready to give that to viewers, experts say. Even so, Sony Pictures’ initial success streaming its controversial comedy will add momentum to the industry’s slow adoption of same-day theater and video-on-demand (VOD) release.

Dec 21, 2014

Final ‘Hobbit’ film draws holiday season crowds at box office

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The last movie of Peter Jackson’s three “Hobbit” films rode to the top of U.S. and Canadian weekend box office charts, selling an estimated $56.2 million worth of tickets and boosting the holiday movie season that is crucial to Hollywood.

“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” grabbed another $34.4 million from Wednesday and Thursday screenings for a combined debut of $90.6 million over its first five days, distributor Warner Bros. said on Sunday.

Dec 17, 2014

Lions Gate tried to discuss merger with Sony, leaked emails show

LOS ANGELES, Dec 16 (Reuters) – Movie maker Lions Gate
Entertainment Corp executives last summer tried to meet
with Sony Corp CEO Kazuo Hirai to discuss a possible
merger or acquisition, according to emails found in documents
stolen by hackers.

Hirai eventually declined a meeting although he expressed
interest in possible cooperation on operational matters, the
documents showed.

Dec 15, 2014

Sony demands halt to reporting from leaked documents, some media outlets say

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Sony Pictures Entertainment told certain news organizations on Sunday to stop publishing information contained in documents stolen by hackers who attacked the movie studio’s computer network last month, three media groups reported.

    The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety published stories reporting that they had each received a letter from David Boies, an attorney for Sony, demanding that the outlets stop reporting information contained in the documents and immediately destroy them.

Dec 14, 2014

Biblical epic ‘Exodus’ leads U.S., Canada box office

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – “Exodus: Gods and Kings”, an action-filled epic starring Christian Bale as Biblical leader Moses, marched to the top of U.S. and Canadian movie charts collecting $24.5 million in ticket sales over the weekend.

The flock of moviegoers for “Exodus” knocked “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1″ to second place, according to estimates from tracking firm Rentrak. The third film in the dystopian thriller series starring Jennifer Lawrence earned $13.2 million at domestic theaters, bringing its total to $277.4 million.