Архив рубрики: Media & Entertainment

Автоматически добавленное в WPeMatico

Amazon is developing a Lord of the Rings MMO

Amazon has reached a deal with Embracer Group, the company that holds the IP rights for “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit,” to release a massively multiplayer online (MMO) game based on the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. The upcoming game will be an open-world MMO adventure set in Middle-earth, featuring the stories of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” literary trilogy.
The game is in early stages of production with the Amazon Games Orange County studio, which is the same studio behind the MMO New World. Amazon Games will publish the game globally for PC and consoles. Amazon says it will reveal additional details, including launch timing, at a later date.
Although Amazon Studios produces “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” for Prime Video, Amazon says the show is unrelated to this upcoming MMO game in development with Amazon Games.
“We’re committed to bringing players high-quality games, whether through original IPs or long-beloved ones like The Lord of the Rings,” said Christoph Hartmann, the vice president of Amazon Games, in a press release. “Bringing players a fresh take on The Lord of the Rings has long been an aspiration for our team, and we’re honored and grateful that Middle-earth Enterprises is entrusting us with this iconic world. We’re also pleased to be expanding our relationship with Embracer Group following our Tomb Raider deal last year, as they’ve proven to be excellent collaborators.”
It’s worth noting that the upcoming game will be Amazon’s second go at a Lord of the Rings MMO. The company’s first attempt was announced in 2019 and then canceled in 2021. The game was being co-developed by Amazon, Athlon Games and Leyou. The project was shelved after a disagreement between Amazon and Tencent, which acquired Leyou in 2020.
The news of the upcoming game comes as Amazon is furthering its push into video games and reworking its strategy. Earlier this year, the company laid off around 100 employees across its video games division. The layoffs included employees in the Game Growth group, Amazon’s San Diego gaming studio and Prime Gaming.
Amazon Games’ lineup includes the internally developed MMO New World and action role-playing game Lost Ark. The company is also developing a new multiplatform “Tomb Raider” title. Launched in 2013, Amazon Games has yet to produce a major hit despite several published projects. The company is now looking to cook up a success with a major fantasy franchise title that will likely garner attention.

Amazon to license original series and movies to other media companies

Amazon is developing a Lord of the Rings MMO by Aisha Malik originally published on TechCrunch
Amazon is developing a Lord of the Rings MMO

Netflix reportedly plans to cut spending by $300 million this year

Netflix is planning to cut its spending by $300 million this year, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. The report indicates that part of the reason the streaming giant is looking to cut costs is because it delayed its plans to crack down on password sharing in the U.S. and elsewhere from the first quarter of the year to the second quarter, which means that revenue from the move is now expected to come in toward the second half of the year.
The company urged staff earlier this month to be sensible with their spending, including in relation to hiring, but noted that there would not be a hiring freeze or additional layoffs.
A Netflix spokesperson declined to comment.
It’s worth noting that although Netflix plans to cut costs by $300 million this year, this number represents a small fraction of the company’s overall expenses. For instance, Netflix’s operating expenses last year were about $26 billion.
The streaming giant beat estimates for the first quarter of the year but reported a lighter-than-expected forecast last month. Netflix raised its estimate for the amount of free cash flow it aims to generate in 2023 to at least $3.5 billion, up from $3 billion.
Netflix has been exploring new ways to generate revenue. The company launched its crackdown on password sharing in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain earlier this year. In these countries, Netflix requires paying users to set a primary location for their account. If someone they don’t live with uses their account, Netflix alerts them to “buy an extra member.” Netflix allows up to two extra members per account for a fee, which varies from country to country.
In addition, the company launched a new ad-supported plan called “Basic with Ads” last November. The tier costs $6.99 per month, which is $13 less than Netflix’s Premium plan, nearly $9 less than the Standard plan and $3 less than the Basic plan. With this plan, Netflix is competing with other major streaming services that offer ad-supported options, including Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount+ and Peacock.
In an effort to lower costs, Netflix conducted a series of job cuts last year. In May 2022, the company laid off approximately 150 staffers. A month after that, the company laid off 300 more people, which represented about 3% of its workforce at the time. Netflix then laid off another 30 employees in September who were part of its animation department.
Netflix’s password sharing crackdown is expected to hit the U.S. on or before June 30.

Netflix will crack down on password sharing this summer

Netflix reportedly plans to cut spending by $300 million this year by Aisha Malik originally published on TechCrunch
Netflix reportedly plans to cut spending by $300 million this year

Dungeons & Dragons gets its very own streaming channel

After the film “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” became a hit, topping $200 million at the worldwide box office, Hasbro wants more. Hasbro-owned production company eOne announced Thursday that it is launching a new free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channel dedicated to the widely popular role-playing tabletop game. Variety was the first to cover the announcement.
The Dungeons & Dragons Adventures is a 24-hour FAST channel set to launch this summer. It will feature original programming based on campaigns played by content creators, third-party content from top influencers, as well as older stuff like the 1983 animated Dungeons & Dragons series.
Shows coming to the new channel include:
Encounter Party: Based on the podcast of the same name, the show features six members, including “The Walking Dead” star Khary Payton. The campaign occurs in the Forgotten Realms, a common setting in the game.
Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!: Variety improv show where special guests and celebrities act out as first-level players in battles against high-level monsters and beasts. The series was co-created by actor Matthew Lillard, mainly known for his role as Shaggy in the 2002 live-action “Scooby-Doo” movie.
Heroes’ Feast: cooking competition/talk show based on the recipes of the bestselling cookbook, “Heroes’ Feast.” The show is co-hosted by “Insecure” actress Sujata Day and chef and internet personality Mike Haracz.
Hasbro said the Dungeons & Dragons Adventures FAST channel will live on several platforms, but the company hasn’t established any deals yet for which specifically, reported Variety.

Paramount+ orders a live-action ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ series

Dungeons & Dragons made a massive comeback in recent years and is more mainstream nowadays. This is thanks to the many content creators that host livestreams featuring creative storytelling and impressive dice rolls.
For instance, “Critical Role,” a weekly show featuring a group of voice actors, has gone on to make millions, signing multiyear deals with Amazon to produce TV series based on its two campaigns, Vox Machina and Mighty Nein.
It’s nice to see more content creators — like Encounter Party, which arguably has less recognition than a high-paying show like “Critical Role”– get a platform to showcase their collaborative stories. However, we’re curious whether the shows will draw a large audience.
The FAST market may be booming, but viewers mainly use the services to watch old movies and shows, like episodes of “The Twilight Zone” or “Teen Mom.” Is the FAST space an optimal place for Dungeons & Dragons content? We’re not sure.
Also, it will be interesting to see what other content creators appear on the new channel, given the backlash from fans earlier this year.
In January, Dungeons & Dragons publisher Wizards of the Coast (WoTC) received backlash for updating its Open Gaming License, which appeared to threaten creators’ livelihoods.
Shortly after the protests, however, WoTC announced that it is licensing the game’s core mechanics under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license, allowing everyone to publish and sell works based on Dungeons & Dragons. (Hooray!)
While the issue has been resolved, content creators may still be wary of partnering with WoTC.
Either way, the Dungeons & Dragons Adventures FAST channel is certainly a fascinating move on WoTC’s part, and it might be a pleasant surprise for fans.
Or it could flop. Who knows?

Dungeons & Dragons’ publisher will put the game under a Creative Commons license

Dungeons & Dragons gets its very own streaming channel by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
Dungeons & Dragons gets its very own streaming channel

Disney+ and Hulu content to combine into one streaming app

In a significant move made by Disney, the company announced Wednesday that U.S. customers are getting a new app that combines Disney+ and Hulu content.
The company also announced that it is raising the price of the Disney+ ad-free tier later in the year.
During Disney’s quarterly earnings call, CEO Bob Iger revealed that the new streaming option will launch later this year. However, the company also plans to keep Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ as standalone platforms.
The news comes after Disney+ lost 4 million subscribers in the second quarter of 2023. Hulu gained 200,000 subs.
“While we continue to offer Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ as standalone options, this is a logical progression of our [direct-to-consumer] offerings that will provide greater opportunities for advertisers while giving subscribers access to more robust and streamlined content, resulting in greater audience engagement and ultimately leading to a more unified streaming experience,” Iger stated during the earnings call.
Many of us saw this announcement coming since former Disney CEO Bob Chapek hinted at the plans in September 2022.
“Right now, if you want to go from Hulu to ESPN+ to Disney+, you have to go out of one app to another app. In the future, we may have less friction,” Chapek told Variety in an interview last year.
This also appears to support the reports that Disney is planning to buy Comcast’s stake in Hulu by 2024. Currently, Comcast owns 33% and Disney owns 66%.
The integration follows other moves made by competitors, such as Paramount+ combining with Showtime, as well as Warner Bros. Discovery announcing its new streaming service, Max, which merges HBO Max and Discovery+ into one platform.
Subscribers in select countries outside of the U.S. already have Hulu content bundled with Disney+.
When the streamer launched its ad-supported plan in December, the cost of its premium tier went up to $10.99/month, compared to $7.99. Disney+ will get yet another price hike for its ad-free subscription. Soon, subscribers will have to pay even more to get content with no ads.
“The pricing changes we’ve already implemented [have] proven successful, and we plan to set a higher price for our ad-free tier later this year to better reflect the value of our content offerings,” Iger added. “As we look to the future, we will continue optimizing our pricing model to reward loyalty and reduce churn to increase subscriber revenue for the premium ad-free tier and drive growth of subscribers…”

Disney+ loses subscribers for second quarter in a row, drops 4M subs

Disney+ and Hulu content to combine into one streaming app by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
Disney+ and Hulu content to combine into one streaming app

Amazon to license original series and movies to other media companies

Amazon announced Monday the launch of its new unit Amazon MGM Studios Distribution, which will allow the company to license Amazon Originals and other titles to third-party media companies, which could include streaming services (free, ad-supported or subscription) and cable TV.
For the first time, titles such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “Coming 2 America,” “Goliath,” “Hunters,” “The Tender Bar,” “The Tomorrow War,” “The Voyeurs” and “Without Remorse,” among others, will be sold to other media outlets following their initial run on Prime Video.
While the company has distributed shows before, this new venture will be on a much larger scale. Plus, Amazon Originals are mainly exclusive to Prime Video, making it an enticing sale for companies looking to have popular titles on their platforms.
Warner Bros. Discovery made a similar move in January when it struck deals with Roku and Tubi to license 2,000 hours of content, bringing titles like “Westworld,” “The Bachelor” and “Cake Boss” to free ad-supported (FAST) streaming services.
The launch of Amazon MGM Studios Distribution will also allow the company to handle sales of MGM-owned franchises James Bond, Rocky and Creed, as well as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Fargo” and “Vikings.” Last year, Amazon acquired MGM for $8.5 billion, giving the company access to more than 4,000 films and 17,000 TV series.
“The launch of Amazon MGM Studios Distribution reinforces our commitment to bringing the very best content to audiences everywhere worldwide,” Jen Salke, Amazon Studios head, said in a statement. “With the integration of MGM, we wanted to take advantage of the existing team to expand our business in ways that will greatly benefit our customers around the world.”
Later this month, buyers will be introduced to Amazon MGM Studios Distribution at the L.A. Screenings, an international TV marketplace.
According to Chris Ottinger, who will lead Amazon MGM Studios Distribution, the unit will offer flexible bundles, reported Deadline, so sellers can create bundled content packages that work for them. This strategy will likely allow the company to stand out from competitors.
The news comes a week after Amazon announced plans to bring hundreds of Amazon Original titles — including “Reacher,” “The Terminal List” and “Goliath” — to its ad-supported free streaming service Amazon Freevee.
Amazon also introduced new Fire TV Channels, which will allow users to access more FAST channels, like NHL, Tastemade Travel, TMZ and more.

Amazon will juice its Freevee free streaming service with 100+ Amazon Originals in 2023

Amazon debuts free, ad-supported streaming channels just for Fire TV

Amazon to license original series and movies to other media companies by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch
Amazon to license original series and movies to other media companies