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India’s largest video streaming service, owned by Disney, breaks Safari compatibility to fix security flaw

Hotstar, India’s largest video streaming service with more than 300 million users, disabled support for Apple’s Safari web browser on Friday to mitigate a security flaw that allowed unauthorized usage of its platform, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The incident comes at a time when the streaming service — operated by Star India, part of 20th Century Fox that Disney acquired — enjoys peak attention as millions of people watch the ongoing ICC World Cup cricket tournament on its platform.

As users began to complain about not being able to use Hotstar on Safari, the company’s official support account asserted that “technical limitations” on Apple’s part were the bottleneck. “These limitations have been from Safari; there is very little we can do on this,” the account tweeted Friday evening.

Sources at Hotstar told TechCrunch that this was not an accurate description of the event. Instead, company’s engineers had identified a security hole that was being exploited by unauthorized users to access Hotstar’s content, they said.

Hotstar intends to work on patching the flaw soon and then reinstate support for Safari, the sources said.

The security flaw can only be exploited through Safari’s desktop and mobile browsers. On its website, the company recommends users to try Chrome and Firefox, or its mobile apps, to access the service. Hotstar did not respond to requests for comment.

Hotstar, which rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in India, maintains a strong lead in the local video streaming market (based on number of users and engagement). Last month, it claimed to set a new global record by drawing more than 18 million viewers to a live cricket match.

India’s largest video streaming service, owned by Disney, breaks Safari compatibility to fix security flaw

Hotstar, India’s largest video streaming service with more than 300 million users, disabled support for Apple’s Safari web browser on Friday to mitigate a security flaw that allowed unauthorized usage of its platform, two sources familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.

The incident comes at a time when the streaming service — operated by Star India, part of 20th Century Fox that Disney acquired — enjoys peak attention as millions of people watch the ongoing ICC World Cup cricket tournament on its platform.

As users began to complain about not being able to use Hotstar on Safari, the company’s official support account asserted that “technical limitations” on Apple’s part were the bottleneck. “These limitations have been from Safari; there is very little we can do on this,” the account tweeted Friday evening.

Sources at Hotstar told TechCrunch that this was not an accurate description of the event. Instead, company’s engineers had identified a security hole that was being exploited by unauthorized users to access Hotstar’s content, they said.

Hotstar intends to work on patching the flaw soon and then reinstate support for Safari, the sources said.

The security flaw can only be exploited through Safari’s desktop and mobile browsers. On its website, the company recommends users to try Chrome and Firefox, or its mobile apps, to access the service. Hotstar did not respond to requests for comment.

Hotstar, which rivals Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in India, maintains a strong lead in the local video streaming market (based on number of users and engagement). Last month, it claimed to set a new global record by drawing more than 18 million viewers to a live cricket match.

‘Dead to Me’ lives, gets renewed for second season

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Netflix’s Dead to Me will live on to Season 2.

The addictive dark comedy starring Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini has been renewed for a second season, Deadline reports.

The return of 2 Broke Girls creator Liz Feldman’s twist-filled series was announced on Monday, although a premiere date is yet to be revealed. 

The series’ first season follows Jen (Applegate) who scrambles to solve her husband’s hit-and-run murder. In the meantime, she befriends Judy (Cardellini), who’s dealing with her own loss. 

But guys, there’s a big secret afoot, all leading to that crazy Season 1 finale.

More about Netflix, Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, Dead To Me, and Entertainment

Apple TV+ makes Facebook Watch look like a joke

Apple flexed its wallet today in a way Facebook has been scared to do. Tech giants make money by the billions, not the millions, which should give them an easy way to break into premium video distribution: buy some must-see content. That’s the strategy I’ve been advocating for Facebook but that Apple actually took to heart. Tim Cook wrote lines of zeros on some checks, and suddenly Steven Spielberg, JJ Abrams, Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Oprah became the well-known faces of Apple TV+.

Facebook Watch has…MTV’s The Real World? The other Olsen sister? Re-runs of Buffy The Vampire Slayer? Actually, Facebook Watch is dominated by the kind of low-quality viral video memes the social network announced it would kick out of its News Feed for wasting people’s time.

And so while Apple TV+ at least has a solid base camp from which to make the uphill climb to compete with Netflix, Facebook Watch feels like it’s tripping over its own feet.

Today, Apple gave a preview of its new video subscription service that will launch in fall offering unlimited access to old favorites and new exclusives for a monthly fee. Yet even without any screenshots or pricing info, Apple still got people excited by dangling its big-name content.

Spielberg is making short films out of the Amazing Stories anthology that inspired him as a child. Abrams is spinning a tale of a musician’s rise called Little Voice Witherspoon and Aniston star in The Morning Show about anchoring a news program. Oprah is bringing documentaries about workplace harassment and mental health. Apple even has the Seasame Street gang teaching kids how to code.

This tentpole tactic will see Apple try to draw users into a free trial of Apple TV+ with this must-see content and then convince them to stay. And a compelling, exclusive reason to watch is exactly what’s been missing from…Facebook Watch. Instead, it chose to fund a wide array of often unscripted reality and documentary shorts that never felt special or any better than what else was openly available on the Internet, let alone what you could get from a subscription. It now claims to have 75 million people Watching at least one minute per day, but it’s failed to spawn a zeitgeist moment. Even as Facebook has scrambled to add syndicated TV cult favorites like Firefly or soccer matches to free, ad-supported video service, it’s failed to sign on anything truly newsworthy.

That’s just not going to fly anymore. Tech has evolved past the days when media products could win just based on their design, theoretical virality, or the massive audiences they’re cross-promoted to. We’re anything but starved for things to watch or listen to. And if you want us to frequent one more app or sign up for one more subscription, you’ll need A-List talent that makes us take notice. Netflix has Stranger Things. HBO has Game Of Thrones. Amazon has the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Disney+ has…Marvel, Star Wars, and the princesses. And now Apple has the world’s top directors and actresses.

Video has become a battle of the rich. Apple didn’t pull any punches. Facebook will need to buy some new fighters if Watch is ever going to deserve a place in the ring.

Netflix’s ‘Roma’ wins three Oscars, including Best Director (but not Best Picture)

“Roma” took home three Academy Awards tonight — though not Best Picture, which went to “Green Book.”

Alfonso Cuarón did win an Oscar for directing the film. It was his second victory in the category, following his previous award for “Gravity.” And it marks the fifth time in six years that Best Director has gone to one of the “Three Amigos,” a trio of acclaimed Mexican directors that also includes Guillermo del Toro and Alejandro Iñárritu.

“Roma” is based on Cuarón’s childhood in Mexico City, as told through the eyes of the family’s maid Cleo. It went into the night with 10 nominations, tying “The Favourite” for the most nods, so it seemed well-positioned to bring home the first Best Picture award for a streaming film (it would also have been the first for a foreign language film).

Despite losing out on the biggest prize, it won the awards for Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Film and Best Director.

“Being up here doesn’t get old,” Cuarón said as he took the stage for the third time. He went on to thank the Academy for recognizing “a film centered around an indigenous woman — one of the 70 million domestic workers in the world without work rights, a character that had been historically relegated to the background in cinema.”

Netflix spent an estimated $25 to $30 million to campaign for “Roma” — a particularly impressive sum since the film cost $15 million to make. The company also dropped its previous insistence on simultaneously releasing films on streaming and in theaters. (Giving theaters just a few weeks of exclusivity still wasn’t enough to win over the major chains.)

While “Roma” was the big streaming success story for the night, Netflix’s “Period. End of Sentence.” won for Best Documentary (Short Subject). The streamer’s “Ballad of Buster Scruggs” also received three nominations, and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings took the stage to perform the movie’s Best Song contender “When The Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” though it didn’t win in any category.

Meanwhile, Hulu’s “Minding the Gap” was nominated for Best Documentary Feature, but lost to “Free Solo.”

Beyond the streaming news, “Black Panther” was the first superhero movie to be nominated for Best Picture. Ultimately, it took home the awards for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design and Best Original Score. Also on the superhero front: “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” won for Best Animated Feature.

And since I’ve written about “First Man” — hey, it won for Best Visual Effects!

The awards were given out at a ceremony without a host, for only the second time in Oscar history. Instead of a monologue, there was a performance by Queen, then a montage highlighting all kinds of movies from the past year, then Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Maya Rudolph came out to make a few host-style jokes before presenting the first award.

And how did I feel about the results? Well …

If Green Book wins Best Picture I’m going to set this television on fire

— Anthony Ha (@anthonyha) February 25, 2019

Hulu unexpectedly releases “Fyre Fraud” days before Netflix’s competing documentary

Not since the literary biopic showdown between “Capote” and “Infamous” has there been such an intense battle for the attention of viewers. This time, the fight is between Hulu and Netflix’s competing documentaries about the disastrous Fyre Festival, a 2017 music festival whose failure led to eight lawsuits and a six-year prison sentence for co-founder Billy McFarland. Hulu unexpectedly released its film, “Fyre Fraud” today, just four days before Netflix’s “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” was scheduled to premiere. Both films are helmed by award-winning filmmakers.

Entertainment Today reports that Hulu hopes its documentary, directed by Emmy-nominated, Peabody-winning filmmaking team Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason “will provide enlightening context ahead of [co-executive producer Elliot] Tebele’s Netflix documentary.”

“Fyre Fraud” contains exclusive interviews with McFarland, who co-founded Fyre with rapper Ja Rule, and people who used to work for Tebele’s marketing agency FuckJerry, one of the festival’s promoters. Some of Tebele’s former employees claim in “Fyre Fraud” that Tebele asked them to cover up early warning signs about the festival.

McFarland was later sentenced six years to jail in for defrauding investors, while Ja Rule is fighting to be removed as a defendant from a $100 million class action lawsuit. Attendees paid thousands of dollars for tickets, expecting a luxury music festival in the Bahamas, but instead found themselves staying in tents, no Internet service, no water, and food like processed cheese sandwiches. Delayed flights made the experience even more nightmarish, as guests were forced to wait hours in the heat for their charter flights back to Miami.

In response, the makers of Netflix’s “Frye,” directed by Chris Smith (whose “American Movie” won the Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999), told Entertainment Weekly that even though they worked with Tebele and Jerry Media (a FuckJerry brand), “at no time did they, or any others we worked with, request favorable coverage in our film, which would be against our ethics. We stand behind our film, believe it is an unbiased and illuminating look at what happened, and look forward to sharing it with audiences around the world.”

Smith told Entertainment Weekly earlier this week that McFarland wasn’t included in the documentary because he “wanted to get paid” for appearing and “we didn’t feel comfortable with him benefitting after so many people were hurt as a consequence of his actions.”

TechCrunch has contacted Netflix and Hulu for comment.

No, Netflix isn’t making fake teen accounts to spread ‘Bird Box’ memes

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Even in a year that gave us peak Q Anon, this may be the most 2018 conspiracy theory ever. There are people online who believe Netflix used bot accounts to spread viral memes about its record hit movie Bird Box

The over-the-top apocalyptic thriller, which features a family making the perilous journey down a river in hopes of finding a community safe from invisible monsters that have taken over the world, is ripe with meme potential. The monsters inexplicably make victims commit suicide, which plays perfectly into the younger generation’s grimdark sense of humor.

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‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ doesn’t work on Apple TV and users are furious

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It may be a groundbreaking high-tech piece of TV entertainment, but the interactive Black Mirror movie Bandersnatch is off limits if you happen to be using the highest-rated high-tech TV setup.

That would be the Apple TV, the 4K model of which we recently rated not only the most essential set-top box but also the most ahead-of-the-pack product Apple currently makes. (Many users agreed.) 

Bandersnatch is also unavailable on Google’s Chromecast and Amazon’s Fire Stick. Try to watch it on these platforms and what you’ll get instead of the two-plus hour storyline is a 2-minute supercut of Black Mirror characters from other episodes saying “sorry.” And if you thought you could stream it from other devices to these set-top boxes: Sorry, that won’t work either.  Read more…

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Netflix is testing a new feature that lets you instantly replay scenes (for some reason)

Netflix loves to test new ideas, and its latest experiment is an odd new feature that lets viewers watch a scene again.

A selection of Netflix subscribers noticed the new addition, which serves a pop-up asking if they want to “watch this scene again” after certain ‘highlight’ scenes in a show.

The streaming giant confirmed the pilot to the Los Angeles Times, adding:

We’re trying out a feature which gives Netflix members the ability to rewatch favorite scenes and memorable moments with the click of a button. Right now we’re just looking to learn from it and may or may not roll it out more broadly in the future.

I can’t say I’ve ever had the urge to watch a scene again — and I spend a considerable amount of time on Netflix, often with kids — so this is a pretty curious test.

As you might imagine, early users haven’t been too impressed either. One anonymous subscriber took to Reddit to bemoan how it “devalued” the film they were watching. That person was watching ‘Dumplin,’ but even still it isn’t hard to imagine how frustrating multiple popups would be.

Other Netflix tests from the past have included video promos between episodes, and showing shows on the log-in screen. On the business side, it has experimented with bypassing in-app subscriptions and also a new mobile-only package to make its service more affordable in emerging markets.

But experimentation and thinking differently is often a key part of what makes a business successful and Netflix certainly knows a lot about the latter.

The company just broke new records on consumer spending in its mobile apps during November, according to data from app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. It is said to have grossed $86.6 million during the month, a whopping 77 percent annual rise, with increasing revenue coming to Netflix from its international markets.

“Daredevil” will not be renewed for a fourth season, the latest Marvel series cancelled by Netflix

Despite strong reviews and a fan petition, Netflix said today that it is cancelling “Daredevil” after three seasons. This is the latest Marvel series, after “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist,” that Netflix has cancelled recently, and is a sign that Marvel TV and Netflix’s multi-series agreement, signed in 2013, may be hitting some bumps.

Centered around a blind lawyer-turned-superhero in New York City, played by Charlie Cox, “Daredevil” was the first series released as part of the Marvel -Netflix deal in 2015. This leaves “Jessica Jones” and “The Punisher” as the two remaining Marvel series on Netflix.

Netflix said in a statement sent to Deadline, which first broke the news, that “we are tremendously proud of the show’s last and final season and although it’s painful for the fans, we feel it best to close this chapter on a high note. We are thankful to our partners at Marvel, showrunner Erik Oleson, the show’s writers, stellar crew, and incredible cast including Charlie Cox as Daredevil himself, and we’re grateful to the fans who have supported the show over the years.”

The streaming service added that the three seasons will remain on Netflix for years, while “the Daredevil will live on in future projects for Marvel,” leaving open the possibility that the character might appear in “Jessica Jones” or “The Punisher.” Another possibility is the series moving to Disney’s upcoming streaming service, Disney+, expected to launch late next year (the Walt Disney Company owns Marvel Entertainment).

The abrupt cancellations of three Marvel series over the last new months may point to hiccups in the partnership between Netflix and Marvel TV. Potential conflicts between the two include the cost of producing Marvel-Netflix shows, the success of Netflix’s own original content, and disagreements about the length of seasons. The Marvel seasons had 13 episodes each, but newer Netflix shows are only 10 episodes per season.

Original Content podcast: We can’t resist the thoughtful glamour of ‘The Crown’

We weren’t expecting to like “The Crown.”

Yes, there are talented actors and fancy costumes on-screen, and yes, there’s an acclaimed writer at the helm who specializes in dramatizing real history. But did we really need to watch another 20 hours of serious, scripted drama about England’s royal family?

Well, we were convinced to give the show a shot after it took home multiple awards at this year’s Emmys, and we were absolutely won over. It turns out that some of the questions that made us uncertain about the concept (such as: What’s the point of a monarchy in modern society?) are exactly what the show is trying to explore.

And it would be hard to overpraise those actors — not just Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, but also Matt Smith as her husband Prince Philip, Vanessa Kirby as Pricness Margaret, John Lithgow as Winston Churchill and Jared Harris as Elizabeth’s father, King George VI.

On the latest episode of the Original Content podcast, we’re joined by Catherine Shu to discuss the first two seasons of “The Crown,” and what we’re hoping to see in season three (with Foy and Smith replaced by older actors to play Elizabeth and Philip in middle age). We also discuss recently-revealed details about the upcoming Star Wars streaming series “The Mandalorian” and plans for an interactive episode of “Black Mirror.”

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You also can send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

Millie Bobby Brown is so into a Joyce-Hopper romance in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 3

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Look, we’re all hoping there’s some truth to the possibility of romance between two main characters in Stranger Things Season 3 — and so is Millie Bobby Brown.

Brown, who plays Eleven in the beloved Netflix series, fully supports co-star David Harbour’s teased idea of characters Chief Jim Hopper and Joyce Byers falling in love, telling Variety she “would love for them to get together.”

Talking to the publisher at an Emmy nomination event for Stranger Things in New York on Tuesday, Brown said she was in full support of a love story between her onscreen counterpart’s guardian, Hopper, and friend Will’s mum, Joyce.   Read more…

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Big tech companies are looking at Hollywood as the next stage in their play for the cloud

This week, both Microsoft and Google made moves to woo Hollywood to their cloud computing platforms in the latest act of the unfolding drama over who will win the multi-billion dollar business of the entertainment industry as it moves to the cloud.

Google raised the curtain with a splashy announcement that they’d be setting up their fifth cloud region in the U.S. in Los Angeles. Keeping the focus squarely on tools for artists and designers the company talked up its tools like Zync Render, which Google acquired back in 2014, and Anvato, a video streaming and monetization platform it acquired in 2016.

While Google just launched its LA hub, Microsoft has operated a cloud region in Southern California for a while, and started wooing Hollywood last year at the National Association of Broadcasters conference, according to Tad Brockway, a general manager for Azure’s storage and media business.

Now Microsoft has responded with a play of its own, partnering with the provider of a suite of hosted graphic design and animation software tools called Nimble Collective.

Founded by a former Pixar and DreamWorks animator, Rex Grignon, Nimble launched in 2014 and has raised just under $10 million from investors including the UCLA VC Fund and New Enterprise Associates, according to Crunchbase.

“Microsoft is committed to helping content creators achieve more using the cloud with a partner-focused approach to this industries transformation,” said Tad Brockway, General Manager, Azure Storage, Media and Edge at Microsoft, in a statement. “We’re excited to work with innovators like Nimble Collective to help them transform how animated content is produced, managed and delivered.”

There’s a lot at stake for Microsoft, Google and Amazon as entertainment companies look to migrate to managed computing services. Tech firms like IBM have been pitching the advantages of cloud computing for Hollywood since 2010, but it’s only recently that companies have begun courting the entertainment industry in earnest.

While leaders like Netflix migrated to cloud services in 2012 and 21st Century Fox worked with HP to get its infrastructure on cloud computing, other companies have lagged. Now companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are competing for their business as more companies wake up to the pressures and demands for more flexible technology architectures.

As broadcasters face more demanding consumers, fragmented audiences, and greater time pressures to produce and distribute more content more quickly, cloud architectures for technology infrastructure can provide a solution, tech vendors argue.

Stepping into the breach, cloud computing and technology service providers like Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are trying to buy up startups servicing the entertainment market specifically, or lock in vendors like Nimble through exclusive partnerships that they can leverage to win new customers. For instance, Microsoft bought Avere Systems in January, and Google picked up Anvato in 2016 to woo entertainment companies.

The result should be lower cost tools for a broader swath of the market, and promote more cross-pollination across different geographies, according to Grignon, Nimble’s chief executive.

“That worldwide reach is very important,” Grignon said. “In media and entertainment there are lots of isolated studios around the world. We afford this pathway between the studio in LA and the studio in Bangalore. We open these doorways.”

There are other, more obvious advantages as well. Streaming — exemplified by the relationship between Amazon and Netflix is well understood — but the possibility to bring costs down by moving to cloud architectures holds several other distribution advantages as well as simplifying processes across pre- and post-production, insiders said.

 

Here are all 47 artists featured in Netflix’s ad highlighting black representation

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Netflix recreated a legendary photo for its new ad showcasing black artists who create original content with the streaming giant.

Aired during Sunday’s BET Awards broadcast, the ad dubbed “A Great Day in Hollywood” features 47 black actors, writers, showrunners, and producers from over 20 Netflix original shows, films and documentaries.

Notably, the ad comes just days after Netflix fired its top communications chief Jonathan Friedland for “insensitive” remarks, which included repeated use of the N-word.

Directed by Lacey Duke (who also did Janelle Monae’s “I Like That” music video), the ad directly references Art Kane’s infamous 1958 Esquire photograph, “A Great Day in Harlem,” which featured 57 jazz legends sitting on the steps of a brownstone in Harlem, New York, including Thelonious Monk, Count Basie, and Charles Mingus. Read more…

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Baidu’s streaming video service iQiyi falls 13.6% in Nasdaq debut

The streaming video service iQiyi, a business owned by China’s online search giant Baidu, dropped 13.6% in its first day of trading on the Nasdaq — closing at $15.55, or down $2.45 from its opening price of $18.

The company still managed to pull off one of the largest public offerings by a Chinese tech company in the past two years raising $2.25 billion — the only Chinese technology company to make a larger splash in U.S. markets is Alibaba — the commercial technology juggernaut which raised $21.5 billion in its public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014.

“It’s a special day and an exciting day for iQiyi, and I will say it’s also an exciting day for the Chinese internet,” said Baidu chief executive Robin Li of the iQiyi public offering.”Eight years ago, when we got started, we were not the first one, we were not the largest one, but we gradually worked our way up, and caught up and surpassed everyone. It has been not an easy journey, but finally we are public. We surpassed everyone. That’s because we have a very strong team. I have a full confidence on Gong Yu and on the whole iQiyi Team.”

Over its eight year history there’s no doubt that iQiyi has gone from laggardly to lustrous in the Chinese streaming video market. Baidu’s offering and Tencent’s video service have both managed to overtake the previous market leader Youku Tudou, which was acquired by Alibaba in 2016.

Tencent leveraged its 980 million monthly active users on the WeChat mobile messaging app, the 653 million monthly active users on its older QQ messaging platform and the company’s attendant social network (think Facebook) to juice growth of its video streaming offering, according to analysis from The Motley Fool.

For Baidu, the company’s pole position for online search became critical to the growth of iQiyi — along with a partnership to China’s ubiquitous hardware manufacturer and technology developer Xiaomi . The company also locked in early content licensing deals with big Hollywood studios like Lions Gate and Paramount — and a deal with Netflix to juice its subscriber base in China. By the end of 2017, Baidu was claiming more than 487 million monthly active users for the service.

The former leader in China’s video streaming market, Youku Tudou, seems to have wilted under the weight of its acquirer’s platform. Alibaba’s ecommerce was never a natural fit with online video streaming.

For all of their massive user bases each of China’s leading video streaming services face a profitability problem. For its part, iQiyi went to market with substantial losses of $574.4 million for the last fiscal year.

 

 

Netflix’s ‘Icarus’ wins the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature

Icarus It was a quiet Oscar ceremony for the big streaming services, but Netflix’s doping film Icarus (directed by Bryan Fogel) did win the award for best documentary feature. The Big Sick, distributed by Amazon Studios, was nominated for best original screenplay, while Netflix’s Mudbound was nominated for best adapted screenplay, cinematography (amazingly, Rachel Morrison is the first… Read More

Dave Chappelle just dropped two Netflix specials, but there’s a problem

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Dave Chappelle is widely considered to be a comedic genius. So when Netflix announced it had released two Chappelle stand-up specials, people freaked. A little comedy to wrap up this bitter year has to be a good thing, right?

Well, maybe. But maybe not. The specials just dropped, but there’s already some pushback when it comes to Chappelle’s thoughts on the transgender community. 

Of the two videos, “The Bird Revelation” and “Equanimity,” it’s the latter that is once again bringing Chappelle’s controversial views into the spotlight. In it, he reflects on past jokes of his that critics have called transphobic.  Read more…

More about Netflix, Comedy, Transgender, Transgender Rights, and Dave Chappelle

Please stop applauding Louis C.K. for doing the bare minimum

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Well, it looks like the Louis C.K. apologists have at least pivoted to a different tactic than simply labeling accusers liars, after the comedian finally admitted to the sexual misconduct he’s been disparaging as mere “rumor” for five years (and as recently as two months ago).

Within mere hours of C.K. issuing his statement, the internet fell over itself to commend him for the brave act of finally admitting he is, in fact, a sexual harasser and feels bad about it — now that there’s a New York Times story about it, anyway.

And as C.K. fans (and even some of his critics) pat him on the back for doing the literal least he could by not lying anymore, some conservatives continue to make excuses for Roy Moore, the former Alabama judge and U.S. Senate candidate accused of initiating a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl when he was 32. Read more…

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7 things that will 100% maybe happen in ‘Stranger Things’ Season 2

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It’s been over a year since we rampantly binged our way through the sweet ’80s nostalgia of Stranger Things Season 1, and now — finally — the sequel is less than 10 days away.

The final trailer is out, a clip of Eleven has been released, and the Upside Down is so close you can practically smell it.

Still, we’ve got to find some way of killing time until those nine beautiful episodes glide their way into our hungry, hungry Netflix accounts.

In a desperate attempt to guess some of the things that might happen in Stranger Things Season 2, I’ve combed through as many clues as I could find in the trailers and promotional material. Read more…

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Crunch Report | David Letterman Is Coming to Netflix

David Letterman is coming to Netflix, Didi Chuxing backs Careem in the Middle East, Crusie is running an autonomous ride-hailing service and Andrew Ng launches Deeplearning.ai. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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After canceling Sense8, Netflix is giving the show a two-hour finale

 Netflix, it had seemed, was the place where shows go to live again, not to die. Even though you can argue about whether those shows should have been brought back, and about whether or not fans’ fixation on complete stories is all that healthy or realistic, today’s announcement that Sense8 will get a two-hour finale feels like a very welcome gesture. Read More

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After canceling Sense8, Netflix is giving the show a two-hour finale

 Netflix, it had seemed, was the place where shows go to live again, not to die. Even though you can argue about whether those shows should have been brought back, and about whether or not fans’ fixation on complete stories is all that healthy or realistic, today’s announcement that Sense8 will get a two-hour finale feels like a very welcome gesture. Read More

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After canceling Sense8, Netflix is giving the show a two-hour finale

 Netflix, it had seemed, was the place where shows go to live again, not to die. Even though you can argue about whether those shows should have been brought back, and about whether or not fans’ fixation on complete stories is all that healthy or realistic, today’s announcement that Sense8 will get a two-hour finale feels like a very welcome gesture. Read More

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After canceling Sense8, Netflix is giving the show a two-hour finale

 Netflix, it had seemed, was the place where shows go to live again, not to die. Even though you can argue about whether those shows should have been brought back, and about whether or not fans’ fixation on complete stories is all that healthy or realistic, today’s announcement that Sense8 will get a two-hour finale feels like a very welcome gesture. Read More

Powered by WPeMatico

After canceling Sense8, Netflix is giving the show a two-hour finale

 Netflix, it had seemed, was the place where shows go to live again, not to die. Even though you can argue about whether those shows should have been brought back, and about whether or not fans’ fixation on complete stories is all that healthy or realistic, today’s announcement that Sense8 will get a two-hour finale feels like a very welcome gesture. Read More

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Netflix is testing a price surge on your weekend binge

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That weekend Netflix binge you have been daydreaming about could soon cost you some extra dough. 

That’s if Netflix rolls out its evil plan to surge price your weekend viewing. You heard that right: Netflix is thinking about charging you more to sign up in prime binge-watching hours. 

The streaming giant is currently testing its devastating strategy on the poor ol’ folks in Australia. It isn’t enough that the company provides Australians with much less content than U.S. audiences, now it wants to send them broke too. 

As first pointed out by The Australian, Netflix is running a test that would see customers pay up to 20 percent more when they sign up to the service on the weekend. For users seeing the test, it reportedly increased the basic service from $8.99 to $9.99 a month, the standard service from $11.99 to $13.99 a month and the premium service from $14.99 to $17.99 a month.  Read more…

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Netflix is playing down the significance of its first major distribution deal in China

 Netflix has played down the significance of its first major licensing deal in China, news of which was announced this week. The company’s share price surged nearly six percent after it announced that it had agreed to a distribution deal with iQiyi, one of China’s largest video portals which was started by internet giant Baidu. The news was first revealed at the APOS 2017 event… Read More

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Netflix rival iFlix reveals its first original content series for emerging markets

 Fresh from raising $90 million from investors in March, iFlix, a Netflix-like service for emerging markets, has announced its first slate of original content. The Malaysia-headquartered business claims five million registered users across 10 countries — it recently branched out into Africa and the Middle East — for its service which costs around $3 per month. Beyond cheaper… Read More

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Lazada, Uber and Netflix team up ahead of Amazon’s expected entry into Southeast Asia

 Amazon isn’t in Southeast Asia yet — the e-commerce giant pushed back plans to enter early this year — but that isn’t stopping future rival Lazada teaming up with a range of companies to offer an Amazon Prime-style membership package in advance of the U.S. e-commerce giant’s arrival. Lazada, the e-commerce firm that is majority owned by China’s Alibaba,… Read More

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Amazon launches Fire TV Stick in India

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Now that Amazon has put its content catalog in place for Prime Video users in India, the company is ready to expand its ecosystem.

On Wednesday, the company announced that it is bringing the Fire TV Stick to India, only the fifth market for the miniature streaming device.

The company is offering the Fire TV Stick at a price point of Rs 3,999 ($60), with Prime subscribers getting an additional $7.5 discount. 

The Chromecast rival, the Fire TV Stick, offers a range of additional services including built-in apps. Amazon says users can find entertainment apps such as EROS TV, Netflix, Gaana on the device.  Read more…

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Jake Johnson wants you to watch 'Win It All,' but only if it makes you happy

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“I love this movie,” Jake Johnson tells Mashable in a phone interview about his upcoming Netflix feature Win It All. “I’m not positive everyone’s gonna love it because we all have different tastes…but if I sat down to watch a Netflix movie and I watched this movie, I would be happy I clicked on it.”

It may seem like a no-brainer for the co-writer of a movie to give it his endorsement, but it’s rarer than you’d think in Hollywood and important to Johnson and director Joe Swanberg.

“I don’t want to have a thing where I go ‘I’m selling this movie trying to get people to watch it and I think it’s dog shit, and I just want people to watch it so a studio can make a lot of money,’” Johnson adds. “Fuck, pass.” Read more…

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Netflix is replacing five-star ratings with thumbs up or down

 Netflix announced today that it would ditch its standard five-star rating scheme in favor of a much more simple thumbs up or down option. The streaming service said it had been testing thumbs up and down ratings “with hundreds of thousands of members” in 2016 – and it led to 200% more ratings being given. This makes sense – giving a five-star rating takes some… Read More

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You will soon be able to pay for Netflix using Paytm

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Netflix is about to make it much more convenient for Indians to pay for its monthly subscription. 

The on-demand video streaming service will soon integrate the Paytm mobile wallet service as a payment method, according to two sources familiar with the matter. 

Right now, the company only supports credit cards for payments, the penetration of which remains very low in India. This has been among one of the chief factors in limiting the company’s reach in the country.

The California-based company recently met with several Indian wallet companies who presented their offerings and it has finalised its talks with Paytm, said one source, who requested anonymity.  Read more…

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Netflix teases Dave Chappelle's return

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It’s almost time.

Netflix on Thursday uploaded a very short teaser to promote comedian Dave Chappelle’s upcoming specials for the streaming service, his first in 12 years.

The first special will be an original produced by Chappelle and director Stan Lathan.

Netflix said in November that two more never-before-seen episodes will come directly from Chappelle’s “personal comedy vault.”

The comedian’s specials drops March 21. Read more…

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Netflix teases Dave Chappelle's return

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It’s almost time.

Netflix on Thursday uploaded a very short teaser to promote comedian Dave Chappelle’s upcoming specials for the streaming service, his first in 12 years.

The first special will be an original produced by Chappelle and director Stan Lathan.

Netflix said in November that two more never-before-seen episodes will come directly from Chappelle’s “personal comedy vault.”

The comedian’s specials drops March 21. Read more…

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'The OA' will return for a trippy Season 2

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Netflix has renewed its latest bingeable thriller, The OA, for Season 2 — and it has the cryptic teaser trailer to prove it.

Created by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, The OA stars Marling as Prairie Johnson, a blind girl who went missing for seven years and returned to her hometown with her sight restored. Prairie refuses to talk about her time away with anyone except four teenage boys whom she tells her story to in order to recruit them for a mission.

No release date has been announced for Season 2 yet but it’s a safe bet that the new installments will feature plenty more mind-bending mysteries to unravel.  Read more…

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Ricky Gervais says he's packing on the pounds and gives zero f*cks about it

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During a Tonight Show interview, Ricky Gervais called bullsh*t on Jimmy Fallon’s polite compliment about Gervais’ physical appearance and it’s hilarious.

“Look at me! Of course I don’t look great,” said Gervais.

In the video, Gervais says he’s packing on the pounds. He then went on a comedic diatribe about why he can’t be bothered to stop the impending weight gain.

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Netflix engineers hacked a brain-controlled interface

screen-shot-2017-01-30-at-7-11-27-pm This is pretty much the definition unnecessary, but then, that’s part of the fun of hack days. A quartet of Netflix designers have given the world “MindFlix,” by way of a short video, highlighting the hack’s use of a the Muse headband to control the movie streaming site’s familiar interface. “Instead of implanting chips in our brain for Hack Day,”… Read More

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Eleven from 'Stranger Things' just landed her first film role, and it's huge

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LOS ANGELES — Millie Bobby Brown, who played the enigmatic Eleven from Stranger Things, is going to be a movie star. That much was always a given.

And for her first feature role, the Demogorgon slayer herself is taking on a far, far bigger monster. The King of Monsters, in fact.

Brown has closed a deal for a role in Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the studios announced on Friday evening. Her role wasn’t immediately disclosed.

We’ll have to wait a bit to see Brown on the bigscreen, thoughGodzilla: King of the Monsters, directed by Michael Dougherty (Krampus), is expected to hit theaters on March 22, 2019. Read more…

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'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy' is getting a red state makeover for Netflix

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Netflix is launching another reboot. 

Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy will be reimagined in an eight-episode season, the streaming giant said Tuesday.

“In a time when America stands divided and the future seems uncertain, a team of five brave men will try to bring us closer together with laughter, heart, and just the right amount of moisturizer,” Netflix said in the show’s logline. “The Emmy Award-winning Queer Eye is back and ready to Make America Fabulous Again. With a new Fab 5 and the show’s toughest missions to date, Queer Eye moves from the Big Apple to turn the red states pink … one makeover at a time.” Read more…

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