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dreaming of broadband
A special report on the issues facing Hollywood as it contemplates a broadband revolution; excerpts from FRONTLINE's interviews with industry insiders on Hollywood's digital future; and links & readings on broadband and digital filmmaking.
Hollywood Goes Digital, Like It or Not

In this Web-exclusive report, The Atlantic Monthly's Charles C. Mann, an award-winning writer on technology and the culture industry, explains what the Hollywood studios have learned from the music industry's battle with Napster. It turns out they've learned quite a lot -- though perhaps not enough.
Is This the Future of Movies?

We hear that digital technology and the Internet are transforming Hollywood, or soon will. It goes like this: technology will level the playing field and break the bottleneck for low-budget independents, while broadband video-on-demand, soon to be available from major studios (and not just on your PC but on your television screen), will create a bonanza for the media conglomerates that control the movie business. Yet, no matter how the business changes, some things will stay the same. Here are excerpts from FRONTLINE's interviews with filmmaker Allison Anders; Variety's editor, Peter Bart; producer Lucy Fisher; industry analyst Larry Gerbrandt; Mandalay Pictures' chairman, Peter Guber; New York Times critic Elvis Mitchell; filmmaker Kevin Smith; and Sony Corporation of America's chairman and CEO, Howard Stringer.

links & readings
Broadband, the Internet, and Video-on-Demand
"Whither the Broadband Revolution?"

"A slowdown in consumer broadband use could throttle new subscription services just as the future of digital entertainment appears on the horizon. ... While consumers initially flocked to receive broadband access, only 10 percent of the United States population has signed on, and growth now is leveling off, according to the Federal Communications Commission."
(Wired News, Nov. 5, 2001)

"Has Hollywood Met Its Napster?"

"Thousands of films are illegally distributed over the internet free. But the big studios are fighting back in the belief that consumers prefer to pay for the privilege."
(The Guardian, Oct. 29, 2001)

"Video-on-Demand, Hollywood Style"

"In a bid to thwart Napster-style upstarts, five of Tinseltown's top players have struck a deal to standardize distribution over the Web."
(Business Week Online, Aug. 21, 2001)

"Net-to-Set Convergence Is a Story Currently in Development"

"Sonicblue, maker of the precedent-setting Rio MP3 players, said it would release in November the first digital video recorder that links the Net to the TV. The new ReplayTV model is part of a coming wave of devices that could be used to download and view the studios' online films, or any other digital media, on a television. ..."
(Los Angeles Times, Sept. 13, 2001)

"Is Hollywood Net-Ready?"

"As the major Hollywood studios embark on the most ambitious Internet film distribution project to date, experts warn that delivering huge multimedia files to potentially millions of consumers will be a daunting and costly task."
(InternetWeek, Aug. 23, 2001)

"Securing the Broadband Revolution"

"Last week, five movie studios announced a joint venture that would provide video-on-demand services over the Internet encoded with Sony's 'Moviefly' digital rights management technology. They're hoping this will fend off Napster-like file-swapping services that have plagued the music industry."
(Wired News, Aug. 22, 2001)

"Picture the Future"

"The Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, run by Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.'s Panasonic Technologies Inc. subsidiary, was set up in April to help an industry that lives and breathes in celluloid evolve into a digital medium."
(Broadband Week, July 9, 2001)

"Broadband's Coming Attractions"

"The hype is that broadband will transform entertainment, changing everything from how we watch movies to the video games that we play. The reality doesn't exactly match up."
(Technology Review, June 2001)

Digital Filmmaking
"Digital Deluge"

"Low-budget digital film-making is here to stay and some directors love it. But what are the consequences for British cultural films if DV is the only option? Nick James asks five film-makers, one writer and a Film Council funder if it really is 'Digital or Die?'"
(Sight and Sound [UK], October 2001)

"Richard Linklater, 'Slacker' for the New Millennium"

"While I was shooting 'Tape,' I didn't think it was cutting edge, I thought it was probably the end of a certain look. We're going to look back at this period and say, 'Yeah, late 20th century, early 21st century, films looked like this and then it quickly evolved into something else.'"
(indieWIRE, Jan. 9, 2001)

"The Auteur as Gearhead"

"Notes on the digital video revolution, part one."
(LA Weekly, Nov. 5-11, 1999)

"Pixel This"

"Digital filmmaking, part two."
(LA Weekly, Nov. 12-18, 1999)


"Multiply 'The Blair Witch Project' by a thousand, then turbocharge it with the marketing, distribution, and screening power of the Net."
(Wired, October 1999)

"Independents Day"

"Digital video is smashing the celluloid ceiling."
(Wired, October 1999)

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