Rupert Murdoch Encourages Media Industry To Fight Streaming

The growth of streaming platforms such as Amazon Instant, Hulu, and Netflix is one that is providing viewers with more options than ever before when it comes to consuming content, the only potential downside for those with access possibly being that the industry is losing a little of its tradition, but those that think that and also dislike the Rupert Murdoch media empire may rethink the first point a little.

rupert_murdochThe 84-year-old leader of News Corp./21st Century Fox, who run well-known TV brands such as Fox and Sky along with many news publications, has spoken out about his company’s need to launch a competitor to the likes of Amazon and Netflix in order to get back parts of the market lost.

Speaking at a the Wall Street Journal’s WSK.D technology conference in Laguna Beach (USA) on Wednesday (29 October), Murdoch called on ‘the industry’, presumably everyone not yet on-board with a service of this on-demand streaming thing, to unite and provide a challenge on broadband.

He noted: “As an industry, we need a competitor – a serious competitor – to Netflix and Amazon. I think we’re all on the same page.”

Speaking of HBO’s decision to launch a dedicated stand-alone online subscription service to consumers, he said of what he believed their targets are at present: “They don’t want to get into conflict with them [the cable companies that host the HBO network], so they’re really only aiming at the moment at the 10 million people who don’t get cable.”

He summarised of how that could have been him in charge of HBO’s operations, by way of purchasing parent company Time Warner, in what eventually amounted to a failed bid: “We felt that we needed more critical mass and content and this was a wonderful marriage and fit.”

Murdoch also noted that News Corp. could have been in the streaming game ahead of every other major competitor, noting that their purchase of social media site MySpace (bought for $580m in July 2005, but sold in 2011 for $35m after what Murdoch claimed to be a series of management mistakes, preventing them from realising a video service, one which he claims was in development three months prior to YouTube’s launch.

And it is fortunate it panned out that way, otherwise the whole internet could have had to treat Murdoch with this level of respect:

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Richie Rich TV Series Bankrolled By Netflix

Netflix‘s latest move in their incredibly busy run of picking up new content is to head back into the ‘adapt a classic franchise‘ school of thought, with their brand of choice being one of the wealthiest to ever be featured on a comic book or movie screen, this brand, of course, being… Richie Rich.

richie_rich_netflixRather than the 1994 movie the franchise is perhaps more famous for in recent times (which going by the promotional material might be referred to as Ri¢hie Ri¢h), Richie Rich on Netflix will be a rebooted version of the classic comic book series that began in 1953, to initially run over the course of a 21-episode half-hour comedy season, starring Jake Brennan, Joshua Carlon, Jenna Ortega, Lauren Taylor, Kiff VandenHeuvel and Brooke Wexler.

Executive production on the format will come from Brian Robbins (Awesomeness TV), and Tim Pollock and Jeff Hodsden (both The Suite Life of Zack and Cody). The current premiere date is penciled in as ‘early 2015′.

One key change being made to the format is that rather than the titular character having hereditary wealth from his wealthy industrialist father, Richie will in this show be a self-made man after his invention of a “cool new green technology” earns him $1 trillion.

So whether or not this idea will take off amongst critics considering the slight distance they are putting between themselves and the original source material, will Netflix be able to draw many families to this adaptation and form a new generation of Richie Rich fans? ‘Moral guardians’ of TV shows out there might be pleased at the message the Netflix show will get across about entrepreneurship, just as long as the child isn’t left home alone at any point along the way:

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Hulu Take On Casual New Series

While Netflix’s recent surge of content acquisition has been comparatively frantic when put against past industry developments, one of their closest rivals, Hulu have been decidedly more relaxed over the idea of original content, stopping off only the odd few times to pick up something new that they like, such as Casual.

jason_reitmanFollowing on from a pick-up of an adaptation to Stephen King time-travel novel 11/23/63, the planned new single-camera comedy is to begin production this year with their new full season order commissioned this week.

The series comes from the mind of Jason Reitman (Juno, Men Women & Children), who has laid out a story that looks to delve into ‘the complications of the family dynamic’. The premise will see a bachelor and his divorced sister living under the same roof whilst raising the latter’s teenage child, with the pair offering each other support and guidance in re-entering the dating game after their respective troubles.

Viewers in 2015 will be able to see 10 episodes of the show when it is launched, with Reitman confirmed as the director of the pilot. He will be teaming up with Zander Lehmann as a co-writer for the format. Lionsgate TV will produce the series, following on from their work on Hulu breakout series Deadbeat.

Reitman summarised the project, stating, “I’ve long looked for the right first step into episodic storytelling. In Zander Lehmann, I have found the perfect collaborator. His writing is hilarious and provocative.”

Head of content for Hulu who have just renewed a content deal with Viacom, Craig Erwich said, “Jason Reitman uniquely blends comedy and drama in a way that touches the human spirit. We are honored to work with him to bring the next distinctive voice, Zander Lehmann, to television.”

Well not quite television, but definitions don’t really matter all that much when the show itself has a name like, well…

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Hulu to Stream Classic Nickelodeon Cartoons In Renewed Viacom Agreement

Hulu have teamed up with Viacom to bring thousands of classic cartoons from the 1990’s. Hulu Kids can now enjoy watching shows such as The Ren & Stimpy Show, Drake & Josh, Invader Zim, Hey Arnold!, amongst others.

ren-stimpy-huluThe ongoing deal which started back in 2012 will also offer programming from other Viacom networks such as Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, TVLand, Spike, BET, and Logo bringing shows such as Catfish, Key & Peele, Drunk History, Inside Amy Schumer, 16 & Pregnant, Snooki & JWoww, Workaholics, Hot in Cleavland, and Faking It amongst others.

Speaking for Hulu, senior vice president and head of content, Craig Erwich said, “Today, I am excited to share the news that we are extending our partnership with Viacom—to continue bringing thousands of episodes from some of Viacom’s most popular series and a selection of kids content to Hulu.”

Hulu will also be offering a number of Latino kid’s content available in the Spanish language such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.




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Better Call Saul Will Be Mainly Dramatic

With plenty of the comedic elements offsetting the dramatic black comedy coming from the character of “Saul Goodman” in AMC series Breaking Bad, it should have stood to reason that its upcoming spin-off show Better Call Saul would be a slightly dramatic comedy rather than a slightly comedic drama, but recent comments from its lead actor have laid that widespread opinion to rest.

better_call_saul_billboardBob Odenkirk, who played recurring character “Saul” over Breaking Bad‘s 5 seasons, has stated that his upcoming role is in fact one of “total drama”, or at least 85%.

Creators of the series Vince Gilligan & Peter Gould are noted as having strongly considered making Better Call Saul as a half-hour comedy show, but it will now be an hour-long drama show in the manner of its parent.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Odenkirk said of the content in the series, to be set primarily in 2002 but jumping between various pre-Breaking Bad periods: “It’s total drama, man. It’s 85% drama, 15% comedy. One of the cool things about playing Saul now is that I get to have those moments [of depth]. I’ve certainly gotten a chance to dig deep in Better Call Saul.”

Already commissioned for two seasons in spite of not premiering until February 2015, will Better Call Saul be a success in its choice of format, or will those involve wish that they just called it all comedy instead?

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Netflix Release First Marco Polo Trailer

Netflix‘s newest original TV series coming to ‘air’ is one that will be at the top end of its expenses list, with $90m reportedly invested in making the first season of historical drama Marco Polo, and ahead of a full season release in mid-December, the streaming service have released the first little display of how that production budget was spent.

marco_polo_bannerYesterday (29 October) saw Netflix reveal an official first trailer for their newest show, which has already been compared to HBO hit Game of Thrones purely on its vast medieval landscapes and themes introduced in the clip, though Netflix’s show will have firm origins within a true story.

The Marco Polo series is based around the famed 13th-century explorer of the same name, who will be played by Italian actor Lorenzo Richelmy, as he makes his well-known expedition down the ‘Silk Road’ to travel between what is modern-day Italy and China. Whilst on the path, he ends up in the court of Kublai Khan (played by Benedict Wong), adding to the adventure and intrigue of his trip.

The series was a creation of John Fusco (who will be a writer on the upcoming Netflix-exclusive movie sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend), supported by directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (both Kon-Tiki) directing over the first two episodes and being executive producers for the season as a whole. Further behind-the-scenes support comes from executive producers Dan Minahan (Game of Thrones) and Harvey Weinstein of The Weinstein Co., whilst the cast is completed with Joan Chen, Olivia Cheng, Remy Hii, Claudia Kim, Uli Latukefu, Tom Wu, and Zhu Zhu (Cloud Atlas).

The official blurb of the show notes: “Intrigue. Deception. Bloodshed. These are just some of the obstacles awaiting legendary explorer Marco Polo as he navigates the inner court of 13th century ruler, Kublai Khan. From the back alleys of Venice to the perilous Silk Road, from the opulence of the Imperial City to the battlefields of China, Marco Polo is an epic action-adventure, where cultures clash, blood is spilled, and lies are told…”

Set to be premiered on Netflix at one minute past midnight (PT) on Friday 12 December, will Marco Polo travel quickly to the top of the list of most talked-about current TV shows? Critics have called the trailer a promising sign: