BSkyB Opens Its Sky Store Rentals To All Broadband Users
BSkyB set a challenge today to streaming providers in the UK such as Netflix and LoveFilm by announcing it has opened its Sky Store movie rental service to anyone with a broadband connection. The service does not require a Sky subscription, meaning all users in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will have access. Sky, which is controlled by 21st Century Fox, says new films including Man Of Steel and Despicable Me 2 are available from today with other fresh titles available at the same time as they drop on DVD. Those will rent for £3.49 ($5.70) each. Library titles will go for 99p-£1.99. There are already about 1,200 movies online which can be streamed through SkyStore.com, or via NOW TV, Roku and YouView. Sky’s had success with renting movies to its existing customers with 2.1 million rentals in the third quarter.
Report: Netflix Mulls Expansion Into France
Netflix has been a long time coming to France, Europe’s third-largest market, but is the tide about to turn? According to Reuters, executives from Netflix met with the staff of French President François Hollande this week to discuss the move. Netflix is available in 41 countries including France’s neighbors to the north such as the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic region. A French launch has been rumored over the years, but moving into the fiercely protected territory is ornery for the streaming service given a complex film-windows chronology. There is no such protection for TV series, but many U.S. shows air as much as a year later than they do in the U.S. on traditional networks like TF1. TF1 has a VOD service that offers first-run U.S. series on a one-day delay and pay-TV leader Canal Plus airs first-run series within a few days; it even launched a new channel this year on which to showcase them. But movies are hampered by rules that prohibit films from appearing on monthly SVOD services until three years after a theatrical release. Rentals via a set-top box are permissible four months after theatrical. The windows issue has long been a thorny one in France, with industry opinions divided, but discussions are ongoing. A Hollande rep told Reuters, “Netflix wanted information about the legal conditions that would affect its potential arrival in France.”
Revolver Entertainment Acquires ’1976: Hunt v Lauda’
North American distributor Revolver Entertainment has acquired documentary 1976: Hunt v Lauda which recently aired on the BBC. The timely subject matter, given Ron Howard’s feature drama Rush, explores the rivalry between Formula One legends James Hunt and Niki Lauda. Directed by Matthew Whiteman, it features interviews with those close to the drivers including Hunt’s McLaren F1 team manager Alastair Caldwell and Lauda’s F1 team manager Daniele Audetto. Revolver has taken all rights save broadcast on the film and says it’s looking forward to building on relationships with exhibitors such as DirecTV and AT&T.
Shine International To Sell Will.i.am Docu At NATPE
Shine International has entered a deal with Update Productions that will give Elisabeth Murdoch’s company international rights to On The Road With will.i.am. The documentary is currently in production and sales will launch at NATPE in 2014. The film follows will.i.am as he preps for his debut solo world tour. Update CEO Alex Fighter is exec producer with will.i.am and Eileen Bastianelli. The one-hour special will feature first-person accounts, guest interviews, access to the music artist’s life in Los Angeles and live performances.
Jerry Bruckheimer may have his TV deal at Warner Bros, but sources say a feature deal at the studio for the producer is no longer in play. Bruckheimer now is looking to set up his lucrative production deal at Paramount. Sources close to the negotiation tell Deadline that they hope to seal a deal in the coming week but would not elaborate on the specifics — for instance, whether Bruckheimer would be given any special incentives or what the length of term might be.
Bruckheimer is one of the few brand-name producers in town, having worked for years to establish himself as such and making a mint for Disney with the Pirates of the Caribbean series. He also is one of the most expensive producer deals in town, pulling in hefty producing fees and backend deals. He has also made a name for himself in television with such successful franchises as CSI and The Amazing Race.
The producer previously had a long run at Paramount with his former producing partner, the late Don Simpson, where they churned out Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop and Flashdance in their heyday.
Bruckheimer would go back to the studio that launched his feature career after his deal with Disney ends early next year. He and Simpson left Paramount after 1990′s Days Of Thunder and started off small initially with The Ref, but it wasn’t long before he began producing hit after hit for Disney under the Jeffrey Katzenberg regime, beginning with Crimson Tide and The Rock later the National Treasure and Pirates series.
After The Lone Ranger, which Disney took a major hit on, cracks in Disney’s and Bruckheimer’s relationship came to the fore, and the producer began looking to set up shop elsewhere. Their split was made official in September.