movies

Wattpad’s latest deal will turn its stories into TV shows and movies in Korea

Posted by | Apps, Asia, films, kids, korea, Media, Mobile, movies, Publishing, Teens, tv, wattpad | No Comments

Wattpad’s ambitions to grow beyond a storytelling community for young adults took another leap forward today with the announcement of a new partnership that will help expand its reach in Asia. The company has teamed up with Huayi Brothers in Korea, which will now be Wattpad’s exclusive entertainment partner in the region. The two companies will co-produce content sourced from Wattpad’s community as it’s adapted for film, TV and other digital media projects in the country.

Development deals like this are not new to Wattpad at this point.

In the U.S., the storytelling app made headlines for bringing to Netflix the teen hit “The Kissing Booth,” which shot up to become the No. 4 movie on IMDb for a time.

Wattpad also recently announced a second season for “Light as a Feather,” which it produces with AwesomenessTV and Grammnet for Hulu.

It additionally works with eOne, Sony, SYFY, Universal Cable Productions (a division of NBCUniversal) and Germany’s Bavaria Fiction.

Outside the U.S., Wattpad has 26 films in development with iflix in Indonesia.

And WattPad’s feature film “After,” based on Anna Todd’s novel, will arrive in theaters on April 12.

Key to these deals is Wattpad’s ability to source the best content from the 565 million stories on its platform. Do to so, it uses something it calls its “Story DNA Machine Learning technology,” which helps to deconstruct stories by analyzing things like sentence structure, word use, grammar and more in order to help identify the next big hits using more than just readership numbers alone.

The stories it identifies as promising are then sent over to content specialists (aka human editors) for further review.

This same combination of tech and human curation has been used in the past to help source its writing award winners and is now being used to find the next stories to be turned into novels for its new U.S. publishing arm, Wattpad Books.

In addition to its hit-finding technology, studios working with Wattpad also have a way to reach younger users who today are often out of touch with traditional media, as much of youth culture has shifted online.

These days, teens and young adults are more likely to know YouTube stars than Hollywood actors. They’re consuming content online in communities like Reddit, TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and elsewhere. And when it comes to reading, they’re doing more of that online, too — whether that’s through chat fiction apps like Hooked or by reading Wattpad’s longer stories.

Wattpad says it now has 70 million users worldwide, who now spend 22 billion combined minutes per month engaged with its website and app.

With the Korean deal, Wattpad is further growing its international footprint after several other moves focused on its international expansions.

For example, today’s news follows Wattpad’s raise of $51 million in funding from Tencent; its appointment of its first Head of Asia for Wattpad Studios, Dexter Ong, last year; and its hiring of its first GM of India, Devashish Sharma, who is working with local partners to turn its stories into movies, TV, digital and print in the region.

Huayi Brothers Korea hasn’t announced any specific projects from the Wattpad deal at this point, but those will follow.

“Wattpad’s model is the future of entertainment, using technology to find great storytellers and bring them to an international audience,” said, Jay Ji, CEO, Huayi Brothers Korea, in a statement. “In an era of entertainment abundance, working with Wattpad means access to the most important things in the industry: a data-backed approach to development, and powerful, proven stories that audiences have already fall in love with,” he said.

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Google rolls out a better way to search for movies

Posted by | android apps, Apps, Google, Google+ App, Mobile, movies, Search, showtimes | No Comments

Google is rolling out a new feature today that will help you better plan your night at the movies. While the company has supported displaying movie showtimes within Google Search results following the closure of its standalone movie site in 2016, this update will help you narrow down your options more efficiently, thanks to the additions of drop-down filters in the Movies Showtimes interface that appears at the top of Google’s search results.

After you perform a search for “showtimes” and are directed to Google’s Movies Showtimes screen as usual, you’ll notice a new set of drop-down filters at the top.

You can use these to filter the movies near you by a number of factors, including screen type (e.g. 3D or IMAX), the movie’s genre, ratings, the critic scores, language, and preferred chains. That way you could click a few buttons to do a very specific search for something like “Family” movies rated “PG” or “G” at Cobb or AMC theaters in the afternoon on Sunday, for example. Or “R” rated “Dramas” with a critics’ score of 70% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Critics’ Score filter supports reviews from Metacritic and IMDb, as well.

Once the filters are applied, you’ll be shown all the matching results that meet your exact criteria. When you’re ready to go, you can then click on the showtime you want to purchase your ticket using Fandango, MovieTickets.com, Atom Tickets, or the theaters directly. (Those supported on Google include AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and others.)

In addition to the showtime search filters, you can also now tap over to the “Theaters” tab to see what’s playing at your favorite theaters, that also matches your requirements.

Google says the update is rolling out to the Google Search app on Android in the U.S. and India in Hindi and English, as well as in mobile search in the browser, and soon, the Google Search app for iOS.

 

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Google Play Movies & TV becomes a one-stop shop for nearly everything that streams

Posted by | Apps, Google, Google Play, google play movies & tv, Media, Mobile, movies, streaming, streaming services, television, tv | No Comments

With the explosion of streaming services now available, it’s becoming more difficult to figure out not just what movie or TV show to watch next, but where you can actually watch it. Google today is rolling out its solution to this problem with a significant revamp of its Google Play Movies & TV app and an update to the Google Play Store itself that will show you which streaming services have the content available, in addition to whether it’s available for rent or purchase, as before.

The end result is something that’s similar to Apple’s own TV app, which combines users’ own library of movies and TV with the ability to seek out what’s trending and available in the world of online video.

In the updated Google Play Movies & TV app, you’ll now find three tabs in the new bottom navigation bar which will direct you to your Home, Library or your Watchlist. The watchlist is a feature the app recently gained as well, but now it has a much more prominent position.

As you browse through the app, you can click on titles to read more about them, as before, but now you’re also able to see where the item can be streamed.

At launch, Google is working with 28 streaming services whose content libraries are now integrated in Google Play Movies & TV. That’s fewer than Apple’s TV app supports, which is currently over 60.

But it will find content even if it’s an exclusive to the streaming provider, and not necessarily something Google has for rent or sale. That means you can find original programming – like Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle” – and then start watching it on the streaming service that hosts it.

“We deeplink right into playback for that [third-party streaming] app,” explains Ben Serridge, the product manager for the Movies & TV app at Google. “So if I wanted to start watching ‘The Good Doctor’ pilot, I press the play button and it goes into the ABC app and start playback.”

Beyond the big names, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, the app also pulls in content from ABC, CBS, FOX NOW, NBC, HBO NOW, HBO Go, Showtime, Showtime Anytime, Max Go, Starz, Disney Now, HGTV, BET Now, Comedy Central, A&E, Cooking Channel, Crackle, DIY Network, Food Network, History, Lifetime, MTV, The CW, Travel Channel, Tubi TV and VH1.

Notably missing is Netflix, whose content is searchable in Apple’s TV app.

Serridge didn’t comment on why it’s missing, saying only that “we would very much like to have all the apps that distribute this kind of content on Play participating” –  effectively tossing the ball back to Netflix’s court.

Even without Netflix, the feature is useful if not comprehensive. It will show you the services hosting the content, whether it’s freely available to stream, if you need a subscription (as with HBO Now), the associated costs, or if you need to login with pay TV credentials to watch.

This is especially helpful because some of the network TV apps offer a teaser of a show with a few free episodes, but not complete seasons. The Google Play Movies & TV app will help you track down the rest elsewhere, if need be.

The app will also now help you narrow down searches thanks to a robust filtering system that lets you click on tags by genre, mood, decade, and more. For example, you could click on “Family,” “Drama,” Award winning,” Highly rated,” Comedy,” and other filters.

In addition to helping you find content, stream it, or add it to your Watchlist, the app includes personalized recommendations. These will be partly based on items you’ve previously watched, but you can also explicitly signal your interest or distaste as well, by clicking on the thumbs up or thumbs down button. The thumbs down will remove the item from your suggestions entirely.

Outside the app itself, the Play Store is being updated to show you the same information about content availability.

Solutions like the new Google Play Movies & TV app and Apple’s TV app are handy in the cord cutting era where content is spread out across networks, services, and other over-the-top offerings. But even these apps aren’t enough. Not only is Netflix missing from Google’s app, so is its own YouTube original content – and that’s the same company!

Also not addressed by either Apple or Google’s app are which shows may be available to stream or record via live TV services like YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, and Sling TV. (Although, to be fair, that’s not only a different set of services, it’s also a much larger challenge given that broadcast network availability varies by market. A dedicated solution like Suppose.tv or Fomopop’s live TV finder may work better.)

Meanwhile, there are other tools for finding and tracking favorite shows, like Reelgood or TV Time (or a jailbroken Fire TV stick we should admit), but they don’t have the benefit of matching content from a rent-and-buy marketplace like Google Play, or being available across phone, tablet, and desktop web, like Google Play.

Google says the new features will roll out to Android phones and tablets in the U.S. over the next few days.

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MoviePass drops pricing to under $7 per month, if you opt for the annual plan

Posted by | Media, Mobile, moviepass, movies, Startups, subscription, TC, theaters | No Comments

movie theater MoviePass, the subscription service that lets consumers pay a monthly fee to see unlimited movies in theaters across the U.S., is slashing its prices yet again. The company announced today it’s now offering its service for $6.95 per month, down from the current price of $9.95 per month, when customers commit to a one-year subscription plan. That works out to a flat fee of $89.95… Read More

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Fandango is acquiring rival online ticketer MovieTickets.com

Posted by | Apps, Fandango, Fundings & Exits, M&A, Media, Mobile, movies, movietickets.com, online ticketing, TC, theater, ticketing | No Comments

 A consolidation in the advance movie ticketing space is happening today, with Fandango’s announcement that it’s acquiring rival MovieTickets.com for an undisclosed sum. The deal, which is expected to close before year-end, will help Fandango expand its international footprint, particularly in Latin America, as well as bring new cinemas to its ticketing platform. Read More

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Free streaming service Tubi TV grabs $20 million in new funding

Posted by | Apps, films, Fundings & Exits, Media, Mobile, movies, Startups, streaming, streaming service, streaming TV, streaming video, TC, television, tubi tv, tv, Video | No Comments

 San Francisco-based Tubi TV has raised an additional $20 million for its advertising-supported streaming service for TV and movies. Investors in the round are betting on the fact that the next big streaming competitor won’t be a direct rival to Netflix and others with a subscription-based business model, but rather a free service that offers a wide variety of titles for free viewing. Read More

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You can now watch a ton of Lionsgate movies on Steam if you so choose

Posted by | Entertainment, Gaming, lionsgate, Media, movies, Steam, streaming, TC, Valve | No Comments

lionsgate Lionsgate has just added more than 100 movies, including the Hunger Games films and Kill Bill (both volumes) to, of all things, Steam. That’s Valve’s digital content delivery platform, of course, used by millions of PC gamers. Why did Lionsgate add more than 100 movies to a gaming platform? Hard to say. Read More

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Fandango Buys Flixster And Rotten Tomatoes

Posted by | Apps, eCommerce, Fandango, Flixster, Media, Mobile, movies, Rotten Tomatoes, TC | No Comments

movie theater NBCUniversal-owned Fandango continues to expand beyond movie ticketing, announcing today that it has acquired Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes from Warner Bros. Entertainment. Flixster allows users to learn more about movies, while Rotten Tomatoes is the best-known aggregator of movie reviews — it’s ubiquitous enough that people complain about its effect on film criticism. Both… Read More

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Google Adds More Music, TV And Movie Content To Mobile Search, Including Recommendations

Posted by | Google, google search, Mobile, movies, Music, TC, tv | No Comments

google-search-android-phone-hand An update to Google search rolling out to mobile users is putting a greater emphasis on music and media, including recommendations on songs, TV shows, movies, and more. Now, when searching for things like singers, actors, films and other related items, Google will return enhanced results that provide information like lyrics, covers, or song recommendations for music searches, as well as details… Read More

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EPIX Becomes First Network To Offer Offline Video Downloads On Mobile Devices

Posted by | Apps, epix, Mobile, movies, Netflix, offline video, streaming video, TC, television, tv | No Comments

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 1.18.51 PM Amazon may have made waves earlier this month with news that it would now allow users to watch Prime Instant Video titles while offline, but now other video service providers are beginning to follow suit. The latest to introduce offline viewing on mobile devices is EPIX, the premium cable channel that’s a joint venture between Viacom, Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and MGM.
The… Read More

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