US 2019 digital media entertainment spending top $25BN

The Year-End 2019 Digital Media Entertainment Report showed that throughout the year US consumers continued viewing and collecting their favourite films across multiple formats. It also showed that electronic sell through and online video-on-demand (VOD) services also benefited from consumers’ growing embrace of digital transactions. As well as all of the year being a strong year for the industry, 2019’s fourth quarter showed notable gains increasing revenues year-on-year 9% to $6.8 billion. In detail, overall electronic sell-through (EST) spending rose 5% for the year. Theatrical EST sales were up more than 7% for the year, offsetting a full year flattening in sales of TV products.

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Sphere studios and stmicroelectronics reveal new details on the world's largest cinema image sensor

PR Newswire | January 12, 2024

Sphere Entertainment Co. revealed new details on its work with STMicroelectronics a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, to create the world's largest image sensor for Sphere's Big Sky camera system. Big Sky is the groundbreaking, ultra-high-resolution camera system being used to capture content for Sphere, the next-generation entertainment medium in Las Vegas. Inside the venue, Sphere features the world's largest, high-resolution LED screen which wraps up, over, and around the audience to create a fully immersive visual environment. To capture content for this 160,000 sq. ft., 16K x 16K display, the Big Sky camera system was designed by the team at Sphere Studios – the in-house content studio developing original live entertainment experiences for Sphere. Working with Sphere Studios, ST manufactured a first-of-its-kind, 18K sensor capable of capturing images at the scale and fidelity necessary for Sphere's display. Big Sky's sensor – now the world's largest cinema camera sensor in commercial use – works with the world's sharpest cinematic lenses to capture detailed, large-format images in a way never before possible. "Big Sky significantly advances cinematic camera technology, with each element representing a leap in design and manufacturing innovation," said Deanan DaSilva, lead architect of Big Sky at Sphere Studios. "The sensor on any camera is critical to image quality, but given the size and resolution of Sphere's display, Big Sky's sensor had to go beyond any existing capability. ST, working closely with Sphere Studios, leveraged their extensive expertise to manufacture a groundbreaking sensor that not only expands the possibilities for immersive content at Sphere, but also across the entertainment industry." "ST has been on the cutting edge of imaging technology, IP, and tools to create unique solutions with advanced features and performance for almost 25 years," said Alexandre Balmefrezol, Executive Vice President and Imaging Sub-Group General Manager, STMicroelectronics. "Building a custom sensor of this size, resolution, and speed, with low noise, high dynamic range, and seemingly impossible yield requirements, presented a truly novel challenge for ST – one that we successfully met from the very first wafer out of our 12" (300mm) wafer fab in Crolles, France." As a leader in the development and manufacturing of image sensors, ST's imaging technologies and foundry services cater to a wide range of markets, including professional photography and cinematography. Big Sky's 316-megapixel sensor is almost 7x larger and 40x higher resolution than the full-frame sensors found in high-end commercial cameras. The die, which measures 9.92cm x 8.31cm (82.4 cm2), is twice as large as a wallet-sized photograph, and only four full die fit on a 300mm wafer. The system is also capable of capturing images at 120 fps and transferring data at 60 gigabytes per second. Big Sky also allows filmmakers to capture large-format images from a single camera without having to stitch content together from multiple cameras – avoiding issues common to stitching including near distance limitations and seams between images. Ten patents and counting have been filed by Sphere Studios in association with Big Sky's technology. Darren Aronofsky's Postcard from Earth, currently showing at Sphere as part of The Sphere Experience, is the first cinematic production to utilize Big Sky. Since its debut, Postcard from Earth has transported audiences, taking them on a journey spanning all seven continents, and featuring stunning visuals captured with Big Sky that make them feel like they have traveled to new worlds without leaving their seats in Las Vegas. More information about The Sphere Experience is available at thesphere.com. For visual assets, please click here. About Sphere Entertainment Co. Sphere Entertainment Co. (NYSE: SPHR) is a premier live entertainment and media company. The Company includes Sphere, a next-generation entertainment medium powered by cutting-edge technologies to redefine the future of entertainment. The first Sphere venue opened in Las Vegas in September 2023. In addition, the Company includes MSG Networks, which operates two regional sports and entertainment networks, MSG Network and MSG Sportsnet, as well as a direct-to-consumer and authenticated streaming product, MSG+, delivering a wide range of live sports content and other programming. More information is available at sphereentertainmentco.com. About STMicroelectronics: At ST, we are over 50,000 creators and makers of semiconductor technologies mastering the semiconductor supply chain with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. An integrated device manufacturer, we work with more than 200,000 customers and thousands of partners to design and build products, solutions, and ecosystems that address their challenges and opportunities, and the need to support a more sustainable world. Our technologies enable smarter mobility, more efficient power and energy management, and the wide-scale deployment of cloud-connected autonomous things. We are committed to achieving our goal to become carbon neutral on scope 1 and 2 and partially scope 3 by 2027.

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Applications

TelevisaUnivision and Charter Communications Announce Strategic Renewal, Expanding Distribution of Linear Networks

Charter Communications | January 25, 2024

TelevisaUnivision and Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) today announced a multi-year agreement to extend and expand their partnership. This agreement provides Spectrum customers with continued access to the most-watched Spanish-language news, sports and entertainment programming in the country. The modern deal framework is designed to enhance Spectrum's ability to serve the massive U.S. Hispanic audience with expanded access to an unprecedented amount of Spanish-language content. As part of the arrangement, TelevisaUnivision will create a new ad-supported premium subscription version of ViX, set to launch later this year. It will be available at no additional cost to Spectrum customers who receive TelevisaUnivision channels as part of their Spectrum TV Select or Mi Plan Latino packages. ViX's "Premium with Ads" offering will give viewers access to the entire ViX Premium content offering, including exclusive original series, novelas, comedies, movies, thousands of live exclusive soccer matches and tens of thousands of hours of library content with a moderate advertising load. The combination of ViX's premium streaming programming with TelevisaUnivision's market leading linear channels will create an unmatched Spanish-language content offering available to Spectrum customers at no incremental cost. In addition to giving Spectrum customers access to the forthcoming ad-supported premium version of ViX, the agreement enhances Charter's flexibility to offer its video customers high-value linear and over-the-top TV packages. TelevisaUnivision's U.S. channels will be included as an integral launch partner in a new, innovative, low-cost Spanish-language internet-delivered video package that Spectrum will launch in the coming months. "We're pleased to enter into an innovative deal with Charter that underscores a shared commitment to the growing Hispanic market and prioritizes their needs and interests, ensuring TelevisaUnivision's leading content remains available to viewers for years to come," said Mike Angus, Executive Vice President, Global Distribution and Streaming Partnerships at TelevisaUnivision. "This deal demonstrates the value we can deliver to our partners and consumers by continuing to invest in both the linear and streaming platforms to create a complementary Spanish-language content ecosystem." "We appreciate TelevisaUnivision's willingness to fully support our new distribution framework, which is good for customers and a significant step forward for the video ecosystem," said Tom Montemagno, Executive Vice President, Programming Acquisition for Charter. "With this agreement, our customers will continue to enjoy access to TelevisaUnivision's extensive Spanish-language programming, including entertainment and live sports, across multiple platforms. This furthers our goal of providing value to customers by including streaming apps with Spectrum services." Spectrum provides customers with access to TelevisaUnivision's networks, including Univision, UniMás, Galavisión, TL Novelas, TUDN, FOROtv, Bandamax, De Película, De Película Clasico, Telehit and Telehit Música. About TelevisaUnivision TelevisaUnivision is the world's leading Spanish-language media company. Powered by the largest library of owned Spanish-language content and a prolific production capability, TelevisaUnivision is the top producer of original content in Spanish across news, sports and entertainment verticals. This original content powers all of TelevisaUnivision's platforms, which include market-leading broadcast networks Univision, Las Estrellas, Canal 5 and UniMás, and a portfolio of 38 cable networks, which include TUDN, Galavisión, Distrito Comedia and TL Novelas. The company also operates the leading Mexican movie studio, Videocine, and owns and operates the largest Spanish-language audio platform in the U.S. across 35 terrestrial stations and the Uforia digital platform. TelevisaUnivision is also the owner of ViX, the largest Spanish-language streaming platform in the world. For more information, please visit televisaunivision.com. About Charter Communications Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR) is a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving more than 32 million customers in 41 states through its Spectrum brand. Over an advanced communications network, the Company offers a full range of state-of-the-art residential and business services including Spectrum Internet®, TV, Mobile and Voice. For small and medium-sized companies, Spectrum Business® delivers the same suite of broadband products and services coupled with special features and applications to enhance productivity, while for larger businesses and government entities, Spectrum Enterprise provides highly customized, fiber-based solutions. Spectrum Reach® delivers tailored advertising and production for the modern media landscape. The Company also distributes award-winning news coverage and sports programming to its customers through Spectrum Networks.

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Technologies

ARound and Immersal Team Up to Revolutionize Augmented Reality in Sports and Live Entertainment

PR Newswire | January 04, 2024

ARound, the pioneering shared augmented reality (AR) platform, part of Stagwell, is excited to announce a groundbreaking partnership with Immersal, leaders in spatial computing and AR localization technology, and part of Hexagon. By creating a turn-key WebAR solution for stadium AR, this partnership facilitates easier integration of shared AR experiences for teams, venues, and events, broadening the scope of interactive fan engagement. ARound and Immersal are poised to announce their inaugural collaboration with a major sports league next month, marking a significant milestone in bringing this innovative vision to life. This partnership combines ARound's connected, shared AR technology that has transformed live fan experiences for professional sports teams across three professional leagues – MLB, NBA, NFL – including the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Royals, and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Immersal's visual positioning system (VPS) that creates centimeter-accurate, large-scale indoor and outdoor AR experiences. "This partnership is a game-changer in the world of sports and live entertainment as we collaborate to make stadium AR experiences more accessible and ubiquitous to all fans and types of events," said Josh Beatty, founder and CEO, ARound. "By integrating our fan engagement platform with Immersal's robust localization technology, we can seamlessly create dynamic digital experiences that put fans at the center of the action while scaling to new audiences around the world." The integration of ARound and Immersal technologies yields greater access and broader use cases of AR experiences through WebAR, enhancing the overall quality and ease of integration for in-stadium entertainment. Fans can interact with live events in real-time, participating in AR games, accessing real-time game content, and enjoying shared experiences with fellow attendees, all from their smartphones without the need for a standalone app. Brands and sponsors will also now be able to connect with audiences in innovative, meaningful ways, enhancing their marketing mix and creating new avenues for engagement. "We're committed to innovating and enhancing AR experiences at live events and our technology, combined with ARound's exciting platform, will set a new benchmark in how fans interact with live sports and entertainment, offering them an engaging and memorable experience like never before," Matias Koski, CEO, Immersal. This groundbreaking partnership heralds a new era in fan engagement, offering sports teams, venues, and brands an unparalleled platform to connect with audiences. Combining ARound's interactive fan experiences with Immersal's precision technology, the stage is now set for a revolution in live entertainment. About ARound ARound is a first-of-its-kind stadium-level shared augmented reality platform and is part of the Stagwell Marketing Cloud, a proprietary suite of SaaS solutions built for the modern marketer. ARound keeps audiences engaged by capturing their attention through immersive, interactive and shared experiences with fellow fans across the venue. Where other AR products offer isolating, singular experiences, ARound's massive multi-user AR – which uses 3D spatial computing to localize content – redefines what it means to be part of a connected fan experience. It was the winner of Stagwell's annual innovation competition which invests in new product ideas proposed by the network's 13,000+ employees. ARound and the Stagwell Marketing Cloud are a part of Stagwell (NASDAQ: STGW), the challenger network built to transform marketing. About Immersal Immersal, part of Hexagon, is building world-leading spatial mapping and visual positioning tools — the foundation of the metaverse. Founded in 2015, Immersal's team is based in Helsinki, Finland, and working with partners, developers and creators across the globe to reimagine how we explore, interact and create. Immersal also has sales offices in Hong Kong and in Silicon Valley, California, and is expanding its presence and partner networks globally. The company was acquired by Hexagon in 2021 and continues to pursue the vision of a metaverse built and experienced by everyone on any device. Hexagon (Nasdaq Stockholm: HEXA B) has approximately 24,000 employees in 50 countries and net sales of approximately 5.2bn EUR.

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Media and Broadcasting

SONY MUSIC MASTERWORKS LAUNCHES NEW JOINT VENTURE WITH UK-BASED LIVE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY, ROAST PRODUCTIONS

PR Newswire | January 11, 2024

Sony Music Masterworks, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, today announced a new strategic venture with Roast Productions, a live entertainment company founded by Bonnie Royal and Michael Stevens. Based in London and operating internationally, Roast Productions focuses on producing theatre, concerts, and family entertainment events. Royal and Stevens will continue to lead the company's day-to-day operations and collaborate with Masterworks on the development of a range of new productions, working in close partnership with both Masterworks President Mark Cavell and Ollie Rosenblatt, founder and CEO of Senbla, a UK producer/promoter. Recent and current shows include MACBETH starring Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma playing in Liverpool, Edinburgh, London and Washington DC; 2:22 A GHOST STORY in the West End (Apollo Theatre), touring in the UK and Australia; CHRISTMAS ACTUALLY, a Christmas variety show curated by "Love Actually" filmmaker Richard Curtis and produced in partnership with Senbla; the highly acclaimed West End run of VANYA starring Andrew Scott; and the new musical COWBOY BOB at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX; as well as the 2024 UK tour of THE 13-STOREY TREEHOUSE based on the best-selling book by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. The company will also offer production, general management, and marketing services in the West End and beyond. At the same time, Roast Productions is pleased to announce strategic agreements with National Theatre Productions and Various Productions, as co-producer for STANDING AT THE SKY'S EDGE at the Gillian Lynne Theatre opening in February, and with the Ambassador Theatre Group, as Creative Producer of the inaugural WIMBLEDON CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL at the New Wimbledon Theatre, launching in Summer 2024. Mark Cavell, President of Sony Music Masterworks, said, "I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Bonnie and Michael to the Sony Music Masterworks family. Their creativity and expertise will further support our endeavours in securing and creating new quality and original live productions that will captivate and entertain audiences across the globe, and provide first-class content for our other partners to promote and market." Bonnie Royal and Michael Stevens, Producers and Co-Managing Directors of Roast, commented, "It is an absolute honour to join Sony Music Masterworks and develop new work and new markets together. The strength of its vision and values makes it the ideal partner for us as we develop a diverse body of work in the UK and internationally." Sony Music Masterworks' agreement with Roast Productions is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships and acquisitions advancing its growth as a multi-faceted worldwide entertainment business operating in more than 30 countries. The network of companies includes Black Ink Presents, a Los Angeles-based creative design and production services company; Culture Creative, a production and project management team specialising in developing site-specific and bespoke projects in unique heritage and landscape settings; Netherlands-based GEA Live, which designs, represents and produces shows and experiences based on prominent IP in music, film, television, anime and gaming; The Luna Entertainment Group, the UK market-leader of open-air, drive-in and pop-up cinema experiences which also stages high quality location-based entertainment experiences, exhibitions and events; MAC Global, an award-winning, pan-regional concert promotion, talent management, events and production company based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Proactiv Entertainment, the live event producer and promoter based in Barcelona, Spain; Raymond Gubbay Ltd., the music, dance & Light Trail/Lightscape promoter; RoadCo Entertainment, the New York-based producing and distribution agency specialising in live entertainment experiences; Seaview, the Tony and Olivier award-winning media company with theatre, film, TV, and digital verticals; Senbla, the London-based producer/promoter of quality music, theatre and immersive events, shows and festivals and Terrapin Station Entertainment, an artist management, tour production and sports/stadium consultancy company which specialises in family-friendly and brand-led events, immersive exhibits, game shows and charity concerts. ABOUT BONNIE ROYAL Over her career, Bonnie Royal has headed up an extensive and diverse portfolio of productions. Previously as Commercial Director of Fierylight, she worked with global brands including the children's entertainment icon PEPPA PIG for over 10 years (including 11 seasons in London's West End), and led the development and production of family titles such as Julia Donaldson's THE SMARTEST GIANT IN TOWN with Little Angel Theatre in 2020, which went on to have a sell-out UK tour and played an Olivier Award-nominated West End season. As Marketing Director, Royal's credits include The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company: PLAYS AT THE GARRICK season (which included THE WINTER'S TALE starring Dame Judi Dench and ROMEO AND JULIET starring Lily James and Richard Madden) to HAIRSPRAY (London Coliseum), CIRCUS 1903 (Southbank Centre), THE 39 STEPS (West End) and FLEABAG (West End), as well as the West End transfers of The Almeida's MARY STUART and the National Theatre's HOME, I'M DARLING. Most recent projects include Rodgers and Hammerstein's OKLAHOMA! (West End) and THE PADDINGTON BEAR EXPERIENCE (County Hall). ABOUT MICHAEL STEVENS With over more than 20 years in the performing arts industry, Michael Stevens has focused on creative collaboration, with a sustained commitment to the commissioning and production of new works. His work in an Executive Producer role with organisations – including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Festival and Arts Centre Melbourne – led to dozens of new (and many award-winning) creations across theatre, musical theatre, dance, opera, circus, classical and contemporary music, film, visual arts and in the digital arena. Returning in 2016 to London, Stevens co-founded Fiery Angel Entertainment, with which he introduced CIRCUS 1903 to London for four seasons at Royal Festival Hall and Hammersmith Apollo and BARRY HUMPHRIES' WEIMAR CABARET at the Barbican Theatre. New productions have included GUYS AND DOLLS at the Royal Albert Hall, directed by Stephen Mear with an all-star cast, and the European premiere of DOLLY PARTON'S SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Southbank Centre, as well as touring projects such as ROB BRYDON – A NIGHT OF SONGS AND LAUGHTER (80 shows at London Palladium and on tour around UK/Australia/New Zealand); PEPPA PIG – MY FIRST CONCERT (Royal Festival Hall, London Coliseum, & 90+ UK dates); BLACK BLUES BROTHERS (UK regional tour) and TUBULAR BELLS – THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION (50 shows at Royal Festival Hall and on UK tour). ABOUT SENBLA A leading producer and promoter of hundreds of live shows around the world annually, Senbla provides a wide range of services in support of performing arts productions, artist tours, large scale artist concerts, and concept-based shows, as well as theatrical and family entertainment events. Its extensive capabilities includes licensing and production, plus management of all aspects of global Intellectual Property rights. The company has worked on numerous recent productions including the 'Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse' concert with live orchestra which played 85 dates globally; Michael Bublé at the Bath Royal Crescent; a run of Lionel Richie UK shows; Diana Ross's recent UK Arena Tour; concert with live orchestra dates from Ennio Morricone, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Joss Stone, The Holiday, Love Actually, and A Muppets' Christmas Carol; opera events, the Disney 100 UK Arena Tour, and Circus 1903. Senbla also is an investor in theatrical shows including "Six" on Broadway and its US Tour, and is a co-promoter and producer of shows internationally.

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