Anjali Ramachandran, Head of Innovation, on recent notable events in the industry:
The entertainment and media industry has seen some interesting experiments this week. Sony Pictures Television is the first big Hollywood studio to strike a production deal with Netflix. Production will start early next year on a psychological thriller from the people who made ‘Damages’; Sony Pictures Television’s president has said that they are ‘willing to do things differently and bet on the future’. Apparently they handled international sales for ‘House of Cards’ and saw enough success to give them confidence to officially produce a series. The second interesting bit of news is that Universal Pictures have entered into a partnership to release the first movie based on the immensely successful kids’ online entertainment brand Moshi Monsters; the movie will be out by this December. This is great news for British startup Mind Candy, already one of the biggest UK startup success stories. After their success last year with Sony Music on a record deal, it looks like a film was a natural progression. For anyone who’s been worried about the dearth of original film content lately (Parts 5, 6 or 7 of your favourite superhero/heroine franchise will no doubt be out soon), these are all interesting avenues to be considered. Investing in tried-and-tested scriptwriters is almost an old model now.
Keeping with the cinema focus, Korea is debuting a 270-degree wide screen in theatres soon. Manufacturers of ScreenX technology have already set up 40 screens in the country. It will enable you to see a movie not just from the front, but the sides as well. 3D screens and films are already much more common than they were a couple of years ago, and ScreenX now adds a whole new meaning to the word ‘immersive’. If I’m taking time out to go and see a film in the theatre rather than on Netflix from the comfort of my home, then ScreenX is a technology that will definitely drag me out. The tech-obsessed amongst you might recall similarities to Microsoft’s IllumiRoom technology for games, which transforms your room into an almost-360-degree experience in a similar way, but ScreenX requires films to be shot with 3 cameras to give this effect.
Reddit’s Ask-Me-Anything sessions have seen people from President Obama to actor Benedict Cumberbatch answering questions from fans in the past. On November 29th, on the occasion of Black Friday in the US, Reddit are going to livestream an entire Black Friday shopping marathon for 12 hours through what they’re calling the Redditgifts Shopping Network. It will run on their YouTube channel and will also channel traffic through to a site that originally started as a Secret Santa project, Redditgifts. The livestream will include AMA sessions with popular celebrities as well as product demos. Non-profits will also get the chance to deliver PSAs. This is completely unprecedented and a campaign that is both smart (leverages their expertise in content that is already likely to be very popular, timed around the biggest shopping event of the US calendar), revenue-generating (they provide a platform for curated merchants to sell their wares and accept advertising) and well-intentioned (some of their exchange programmes are for charity, last year they raised $38,000 for Donors Choose). And at the end of the day, what is Reddit? At its simplest, a platform for users to share URLs. I wouldn’t have guessed they’d do something this cool, but that’s what it’s all about!