Killer cast building for HBO Rock ‘N’ Roll drama

The cast for HBO’s untitled Rock ‘n’ Roll drama being created by Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter and Mick Jagger is picking up some great names despite not being officially given the green light yet (how could it not?!).  Olivia Wilde will co-star opposite Bobby Cannavale in the drama set in 1970s New York and explores the drug- and sex-fueled music business as punk and disco were breaking out, all through the eyes of record executive Richie Finestra (Cannavale) who is trying to resurrect his label and find the next new sound. Richie is undergoing a crisis of character when confronted with a life-altering decision.

SyFy returning to space Continue reading »

Oscars draw largest audience in 10 year

Perhaps it’s the pulling power of Ellen DeGeneres but the 86th Academy Awards, hosted by the daytime talk show host, drew their largest audience in 10 years for the ABC in the US with 43 million viewers.  In recent years, only NFL playoff games have fared better in the ratings.

The broadcast is also being touted as having the best Oscars host since Billy Crystal.

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netflix-logoApproximately 3,500 jobs will be created over a three year period in a US$200m spend by The Walt Disney Company who will be filming four new series based on Marvel’s street heroes characters for Netflix.

The Marvel Defenders production will begin filming in NYC in July 2014 starting with the series based on Daredevil, followed by Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. Each of those characters — less well known than those in Marvel’s Avengers franchise — is set in Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

The series is being produced by Marvel Television, in association with ABC Television Studios, exclusively for Netflix. The deal encompasses 13 hourlong episodes per series for each character, plus a miniseries of four to eight episodes with all four of the Defenders heroes. The Defenders series are expected to debut on Netflix sometime in 2015. Continue reading »

Does anyone foresee this happening in New Zealand?

In the last week, the MPAA joined the WC3, web standards organisation.  This has a number of people spooked.

Try as I might, I can’t shake the feeling that 2014 is the year we lose the Web. The W3C push for DRM in all browsers is going to ensure that all interfaces built in HTML5 (which will be pretty much everything) will be opaque to users, and it will be illegal to report on security flaws in them (because reporting a security flaw in DRM exposes you to risk of prosecution for making a circumvention device), so they will be riddled with holes that creeps, RATters, spooks, authoritarians and crooks will be able to use to take over your computer and fuck you in every possible way. Continue reading »

Stan Lee to cameo on Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The legendary comics writer has let slip that he’ll be appearing in an upcoming episode of Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., describing his part as a “big role” in an episode likely to air in February as part of the USA sweeps period. His appearance on S.H.I.E.L.D. comes at the right time: the show is struggling in the ratings, amid poor reviews from critics and low engagement with fans – a fear voiced by some analysts who worried that viewers would reject a product that was not at the level of the existing cinematic universe. Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuts on TV2 soon, as part of their new season lineup. Continue reading »

netflix-logoHBO has long been seen as the premiere content provider in the US bringing us shows like The Soprano’s, Entourage and Game of Thrones to name a few.  However, as we know, the landscape is changing and there is a real battle for dominance in the digital space.  News out today has it that Netflix, the online streaming service, has now surpassed HBO in subscriber numbers after they announced to shareholders that they had 29.93 million people paying them $7.99 a month for movies, documentaries and TV shows.  It is believed that HBO has 28.7 million.

While initially providing an on demand service, Netflix has now branched out and is producing its own content with shows like Orange is the New Black and the Emmy Nominated House of Cards.

I love this quote from Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer. “Neflix’s goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us”.  I seriously hope this can happen. Continue reading »

You may have seen the edited version of Kevin Spacey’s James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture. This is the full thing and well worth watching.

In my other life as a forensic computer specialist for the GCSB, I get to see that the majority of people now download movies and TV programmes from the Internet.  It shows there is a growing need for audiences to watch what they want to watch and when they want to watch it.

And although this doesn’t have national security implications, it does indicate the growing pressure on traditional broadcast channels to adapt.

In the US, House of Cards is having a tilt at a new distribution model:  The whole show is released at the same time.  Viewers can choose to watch one episode at a time, or gorge themselves with back to back marathons.

Its main star, Kevin Spacey, explains their journey

Double Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey has challenged TV channels to give “control” to their audiences or risk losing them at his address at the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture at the Edinburgh Television Festival.

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Netflix won’t be coming to New Zealand anytime soon says the on-demand TV and movies service.

Poor broadband penetration, internet infrastructure and regional distribution difficulties are stopping any plans for the service to be available in this country in the near future says Brent Ayrey, vice president of product innovation at Netflix.

“There are no current plans to launch Netflix in New Zealand,” Ayrey said in a recent presentation. “The way we think about our international opportunities is that it’s a little bit tactical in terms of the content we can access, and then it’s about broadband connectivity.”

He believes that New Zealand’s current broadband infrastructure would struggle to cope with the amount of data the service requires. In the US alone 33 per cent of all downstream internet traffic is from Netflix.

“It’s really a function of do people watch TV? Do we have the content? Does the internet infrastructure work? The answer for at least the last question for New Zealanders is no,” Ayrey said.

He also noted that the service would struggle to compete for distribution rights with the likes of iSky and Fatso, a DVD mail service. 

“The dream for us is to get to scale and buy some of that content globally, but today the structure is very much geographically determined. Different markets have different sets of rules, different structures, different players and different distributors. It’s fairly complicated.”