- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences just boosted ad revenues at at the LA Times, Variety and other trade pubs. The group is encouraging member studios to stop sending so much swag and crap to voters as they lobby for Oscar votes.
- The fact that people in 2006 spent more time with paid media than with free, ad-supported media is probably as big a bit of news you could imagine. Let’s be clear – people are willing to pay for a premium, ad-free experience. That bit of knowledge should inform just about everything you do from here on out.
- Warner Bros. has decided to publish a video game to coincide with the big screen Speed Racer movie itself. The game will be for portable devices and the PS2 but not for PS3 or Xbox 360, which is a little surprising, but apparently no one there realized the movie was coming out until just yesterday so things are a little rushed.
- Russell Schwartz is out (actually he’s still under the bus he was thrown under) as the president of domestic marketing at New Line and Chris Carlisle, formerly of Fox Broadcasting and FX, is in.
- Studios are turning to fancy boxes and other packaging to try and keep the DVD cash cow churning. Sales of higher-end box sets are up whereas overall DVD sales have flattened out recently. Cause the last thing you want to do is think of something new. Just put it in a new box.
Movie rental company Blockbuster has purchased online downloading service Movielink for somewhere in the $50 million range. Movielinks’s operations will not immediately be integrated into Blockbuster’s online offerings all at once, but features will be brought over as deemed appropriate. In the meantime Movielink will continue to operate as an independent site.
Movielink has distribution deals with all five of the major studios; MGM, Universal, Warner Bros., Sony and Paramount. Blockbuster initially tried to buy the site last year for $70 million but was turned down. Netflix, Blockbuster’s primary competitor in the DVD-by-mail market, started rolling out their “Watch it Now” service, delivering streaming movies online, earlier this year.
The purchase of Movielink, which has never achieved the adoption some thought it would, signals more than a little desperation on the part of Blockbuster. Despite having the backing of the studios from the get-go it has watched Netflix, Amazon, Wal-Mart and iTunes gain higher prominence. Blockbuster is pretty much admitting they’ve been unable (unwilling?) to develop a home-grown service and so shelled out a bunch of cash (which they don’t have) to buy their way into the game.
This announcement comes just shortly after Blockbuster announced they were considering opening smaller urban locations that would just stock new releases, since that’s where the majority of their income comes from, at least in regards to their bricks-and-mortar stores.