The venerable studio names we know today — Universal, Paramount, 20th Century Fox — began life in the early decades of the 20th Century not as studios but as theater chains. Those chains later created distribution operations to ensure an adequate supply of product for their screens. When that wasn’t enough, they got into producing movies themselves and relocated from East Coast to West. It was only after the Justice Department forced the companies to spin-off their theater chains in a series of antitrust actions that they became the studios we know today. The TV networks followed a similar trajectory, evolving from broadcasters to distributors and, eventually, to producing their own shows after the government did away with the rules barring them from owning their own show. Today, online video providers seem to be following that well-trod path. Netflix began licensing original shows last year, and now Amazon is getting into the game. YouTube last year committed $100 million to support new, original “channels” of web-original programming, and yesterday committed $200 million more to promoting them. Just like Hollywood.
Apple turned on streaming of purchased TV shows on the Apple TV for customers in the UK, Canada and Australia on Wednesday night. The change doesn’t even require a user-initiated update, and it should be available on all current Apple TVs in those countries right now.
Frontier Communications is trying to find new ways to provide value to subscribers and is rolling out one of the most comprehensive video portals online. With TumTiki, Frontier is bringing together more than 700,000 video assets from a combination of traditional broadcast TV and online sources.
SyFy shows, I love you so hard. Which is why I was thrilled to see the release of an official Farnsworth app tied to Warehouse 13. The app is actually made by the same special effects wizards that create some of the show’s prop-based magic.
Netflix is bidding for the rights to an upcoming Arrested Development TV comeback: The cult show will return to the TV screen for ten more episodes, and Netflix wants to outbid Showtime and others to show it exclusively to its subscribers.
In a somewhat uncharacteristic move, Fox has released one of its new fall shows early on the iTunes Store. You can now download the full pilot episode of Fox’s New Girl, a half-hour comedy starring Zooey Deschanel, for free with a U.S. iTunes account.
Despite its role as a major selling point of the revamped Apple TV last fall, Apple confirmed Friday that it has done away with TV show rentals for iTunes and Apple TV. The company said the decision was based on lack of interest from customers.
For Solo creator Jonathan Nail, producing his own web series was an opportunity to create a showcase for his acting. But after two years of hard work and thousands of dollars, he found that the rewards of independent production are not universal.
A service called iTunes Replay, first rumored back in 2009, could arrive any day from Apple, according to a new report. It would allow users to re-download and possibly stream video content purchased on iTunes to multiple devices, something for which the time is ripe.
The search for a Hulu buyer continues, as it’s being pitched to a wide range of media and technology companies. While much of the press has been focused on the possibility of a tech giant buying Hulu, an acquisition by Verizon might be its best bet.