Vid-Biz: Redbox, Canoe, Dr. Horrible

Fox Goes to War with Redbox; studio orders wholesalers to stop supplying discs to the DVD rental kiosk company for 30 days after a film is released. Fox says the $1 rental diminishes rental revenue and cannibalizes DVD sales. (The Hollywood Reporter)
Comcast: Canoe will Generate Revenue Next Year; cable co. says Canoe is waiting on EBIF technology to roll out to allow for TV activity. (The Business Insider)
Dark Horse to Create a Dr. Horrible Print Comic; the one-shot will be written by Joss Whedon’s brother, Zack. (Comics Alliance)
Will the Rumored Netflix iPhone App Use Downloads? Theory suggests it would be one way to get around the need to be constantly connected. (Epicenter Blog) But before we get to a wireless Netflix future, learn how the company gets those red envelopes to your mailbox so fast. (Chicago Tribune)
Elgato Video Capturing Software Reviewed; bring memories trapped on VHS tapes into the digital world. (The Apple Blog)
Chad Hurley Invests in U.S. Formula 1 Racing Team; will a YouTube-sponsored car ever cross the finish line? (TechCrunch)

Dr. Horrible, Motherlover, Feylin Up for Emmys

NBC Universal (s GE) is nearly guaranteed to bring home a pile of online-video related Emmy Awards this year. It simply dominates the nominations, which were announced today. Meantime, the one and only independent web production to be honored with a nomination is Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible.

Here are the NewTeeVee-relevant nominees:


Dr. Horrible
is up in the “Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Programs” category, against 30 Rock’s Kenneth the Web Page on NBC.com, Battlestar Galactica: The Face Of The Enemy from SyFy, The Daily Show Correspondents On Jon Stewart from Comedy Central, as well as the Super Bowl half-time show. Jay Leno’s Garage is up for best short-format non-fiction program, against only one other nominee, Writer’s Draft from Fox Movie Channel, which I haven’t been able to find more information about online.

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High School Performs Dr. Horrible Live on Stage Tonight

Right about now, someone’s handing someone else the keys to a shiny new Australia. Tonight is the opening performance of the first authorized high school production of Joss Whedon’s web spectacular Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

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Dayton, Ohio-based Miami Valley School students came up with the idea themselves and adapted the web musical’s script, according to a report in the local newspaper. Whoever’s manning the Dr. Horrible Twitter account is apparently flying in to see a live show tomorrow night.

The high school students most likely didn’t pay for the rights (though we have emails in to ask about that), but they just may have kick-started something bigger. This just screams awesome alternate revenue stream. After all, do we really want to see another amateur interpretation of Annie?

Check out the poster above. I particularly love the young Captain Hammer, who looks just like I imagine Nathan Fillion did before all the protein shakes and personal trainers.

This American Life Beamed Live to Thousands; Joss Whedon Performs

Public radio program This American Life expanded its second-annual live theater simulcast to a full episode broadcast to more than 400 theaters nationwide last week. While the radio program itself will be aired May 1, the Fathom Events-produced evening was so popular that even out-of-the-loop nerds like me who didn’t partake can buy tickets to an encore of the same show on May 7.

The This American Life–Live! line-up included regular TAL contributors Dan Savage, Starlee Kine and Mike Birbiglia telling stories aloud accompanied by clips from the TAL TV show and other visuals and illustrations. I don’t see any reports of attendance numbers but many showings were sold out. One reviewer attests that nearly everyone who showed up to the actual live show at the Skirball Center at NYU was wearing glasses and was primed to love TAL host and hipster hero Ira Glass.
As a special bonus for the show, Joss Whedon, in his first-ever big live musical performance, played an alternate version of Heart, Broken from the musical commentary for Dr. Horrible. Could that be too esoteric even for This American Life‘s obsession with lovingly expressed oddity? Alternate lyrics for a song about the making of a musical parody that was only released online? Nah — It’s Joss Whedon; it’ll find its sliver of passionate audience. A bootleg video of Whedon’s performance is embedded above.
Fathom Events is the same company that live-broadcasts shows from the Metropolitan Opera (as well as other cultural touchstones, like Dr. Laura) to audiences in theaters nationwide.

Joss Whedon, Felicia Day and a Pile of Streamys

nphstreamysThe first annual Streamy Awards ceremony, held last night in Los Angeles, was a star-studded and high-energy event. (Pictured here: our iPhone paparazzi shot of Neil Patrick Harris. Update: Below are nice photos from TheBuiBrothers.com. ) As Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog and The Guild were two of the evening’s biggest winners, it’s no surprise that Joss Whedon and Felicia Day provided two of the best and most memorable acceptance speeches.
Accepting the award for Best Female Actor in a Comedy Series for The Guild, series creator Day drew thunderous applause from the crowd when she said,
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“As an actor, I want to thank all the casting directors and directors and producers who rejected me horribly.  And never hired me.  And didn’t like the way I looked…. Because without them beating me down into the ground and making me depressed, I never would have picked up a pen and written my own thing and did it and gone around [all of them].”

Day went on to say, “I’m a square peg and I’ve been trying to fit into a round Hollywood hole for a very long time,” and said she hoped her success with The Guild would inspire others to create their own opportunities for their art.
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Dr. Horrible DVD: Yes, It’s Worth Your Money

drhorribleamazonLet’s face it — by now, the hardcore fans of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog have watched the series more than once on Hulu, downloaded and memorized the soundtrack thanks to iTunes, and maybe even bought themselves a Captain Hammer t-shirt. Of course, that won’t stop them from buying a copy of the DVD — but what do they get for this latest show of devotion? And what about the less-fanatical, who enjoyed the series but aren’t sure about dropping $10 on something they’ve already seen for free? In short: In these tough economic times, is the Dr. Horrible DVD worth your money?

Thanks to Dr. Horrible‘s minions (OK, the very nice person who sent me an advance copy), I had a chance to explore the disc this week, and I’m happy to report that, no matter who you are, the answer is yes. The devoted fan who’s already pre-ordered four copies (one for themselves, three for the loved ones who are getting it for Christmas) will be more than satisfied. The online video enthusiast, seeking to better understand this year’s undisputed king of web series, will find plenty of insight in the special features. And newcomers to the phenomenon, looking to enjoy a funny media experience, will also walk away happy — because the DVD presents Dr. Horrible in the best possible light. Read More about Dr. Horrible DVD: Yes, It’s Worth Your Money

Check Into to Corddry’s Hospital Comedy

Hollywood might just be getting the hang of this whole web series thing. If the new trailer for Rob Corddry’s (The Daily Show) star-studded Children’s Hospital is any indication, this new series from TheWB.com could become must-see web TV.

Vid-Biz: Hard Times, AT&T, The Office

Washington Post Launches Economic Web Series; Hard Times examines the financial hardships hitting people across the country. (WashingtonPost)
AT&T Partnering with Retail Chains; telco to sell its U-verse service through 600 Circuit City and Wal-Mart retail stores. (GigaOM)
The Office Inspires New Chocolate Rain; in last week’s episode, Steve Carrell’s character talked about being obsessed with a video of Cookie Monster singing Tay Zonday’s viral hit. That particular mashup didn’t exist — until now. (Videogum)

LCD Sales to Reach $110 Billion by 2012; LCD TVs to become the largest consumer electronics market by that time, according to iSuppli. (release)
Dr. Horrible‘s Evil League Applicants Online; fans of the web series post videos detailing all their eeee-vil attributes. (io9)
Verizon FiOS TV Gets Casual Games; customers get a raft of new video services including games like Chess and Sudoku. (release)

Rick Astley in HD, PG Porn: NTV Station Today

Today’s video to check out is actually four videos that aim to create a low-tech HD experience — while embedding won’t work for this pretty cool experiment using YouTube embeds and a rarely-seen Rick Astley track, it’s definitely worth your time to click this link or the screengrab below.

And the newest web video project to star Nathan Fillion is much more risque than Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog — but also much more of a disappointment. What’s the fundamental flaw of James Gunn’s PG Porn? Find out at NewTeeVee Station!

Dr. Horrible Soundtrack Now Available on iTunes

OK, Joss Whedon superfans — time to replace your MP3 bootlegs with the official Dr. Horrible soundtrack, now available via iTunes. With studio-quality production value and no sound effects, it’s a fantastic chance to catch all the lyrics you might have missed the first time — “But her tears will dry when I hand her the keys to her new shiny Australia” is a gem from Brand New Day. And it also gives all those planning to ambush Felicia Day with a serenade better research materials.

In its first day of release, the soundtrack is the No. 2 downloaded album on iTunes in the U.S., and Young Jezzy’s The Recession may not hold the top slot for much longer. The album is also No. 1 in Canada and Australia.

Between the soundtrack and the Dark Horse web comics written by Zach Whedon, the Dr. Horrible franchise is still going strong. The DVD (featuring fan-created applications to join the Evil League of Evil) should be out by December — meaning that the hardcore fanatic will have spent at least $35 on the series (iTunes season pass for original airing + soundtrack + estimated $20 for the DVD). That right there, that’s what I call monetization.