Netflix profits double to $71m

Posted by MereNews On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Netflix headquarterseNetflix says it now has 50 million users in over 40 countries worldwide

Online video service Netflix reported profits of $71m (£42m) in the second quarter, more than double compared with the same period a year ago.

The company said revenue from its streaming content service rose nearly 50% to $1.2bn, compared to $837m a year earlier.

Netflix said it added 1.69 million users during the period from March to June.

The streaming video firm now has 50 million users in over 40 countries.

Netflix has sought to upend the television industry by commissioning original content for its streaming-video platform and taking on established brands like HBO.

Viewers have reacted positively to shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

Last year, the company’s original programming was nominated for 14 Emmy TV awards, winning three, and this year its programming garnered a record 31 nominations.

However, the company has recently suffered some setbacks in the US, as it has battled with internet service providers (ISPs) such as Verizon over who must pay for the increasing pressure that streaming video puts on download speeds.

Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings has been a vocal opponent of Comcast’s proposed $45bn purchase of Time Warner Cable, fearing it would lead to too much consolidation in the industry.

In a letter to shareholders announcing the earnings, Mr Hastings wrote, “Our focus on strong net neutrality, including interconnection, is about preventing large ISPs from holding our joint customers hostage with poor performance to extract payments from us.”

Shares in Netflix – which are already up 22% for the year – rose nearly 2% in trading after US stock markets had closed.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-28409604#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Fight Club sequel due in 2015

Posted by MereNews On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Promotional illustration for Fight Club 2A promotional illustration for Fight Club, due to be published in 2015

The author of the novel Fight Club has confirmed he will publish a sequel in May 2015.

Chuck Palahniuk’s follow up, Fight Club 2, will appear as a series of 10 comic books.

The story continues a decade after the first instalment, which concludes with the unnamed narrator realising his manipulative and aggressive companion, Tyler Durden, is his own alter-ego.

The original novel became a film starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton.

Palahniuk accidentally revealed that he was working on a Fight Club sequel at a convention in New York last year.

“I messed up and said I was doing the sequel in front of 1,500 geeks with telephones”, the author said.

“Suddenly, there was this big scramble to honour my word”.

Brad Pitt promoting his film Fight Club in 1999Palahniuk’s first Fight Club book was adapted into a film starring Brad Pitt

The publisher, Dark Horse Comics, said Fight Club 2 would be set alternately in the past and the future.

In the story, the protagonist is married to con artist Marla Singer, and has a nine-year-old son named Junior.

Palahniuk said readers would also get an idea of Tyler’s true origins: “Tyler is something that maybe has been around for centuries and is not just this aberration that’s popped into his mind.”

The comics will be illustrated by Cameron Stewart.

Palahniuk says the approach will be more “cartoony” because it was better suited to the “density of the story and for some of its more absurdly comical moments”.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28419862#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Fargo gets second series with new cast

Posted by MereNews On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

By Anna Collinson
Newsbeat reporter

22 July 2014 Last updated at 16:21

Martin Freeman

Fargo has been renewed for a second series but Martin Freeman will not return

US TV drama Fargo is set to return for a second series, but it will have a brand new cast.

The first season of the show received 18 Emmy nominations, including best TV mini-series and best actor for both Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman.

Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks are up for best supporting actress and actor.

However, FX Network has confirmed none of the original cast will be returning for the next series, which is due on air in 2015.

“It is a new cast of actors, which is kind of heartbreaking from my standpoint given how much I loved the actors,” said the network’s chief executive, John Landgraf.

Billy Bob Thornton

The TV version of Fargo is a remake of the black comedy film by brothers Joel and Ethan Coen.

The 10 episodes are unrelated to the plot of the film, depicting a different “true” crime story based in Minnesota.

The Coen brothers are producers but remained largely in the background of the production run by Noah Hawley.

Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks

Allison Tolman and Colin Hanks have received Emmy nominations for their roles in Fargo

FX Network predicts the second season will air later in 2015, at the earliest, and says it hopes filming will take place in Canada again.

“We haven’t worked out the timing of production, but the scripts are already well in progress,” said John Landgraf.

Fargo had the second highest number of nominations at this year’s Emmys, beaten only by Game of Thrones.

The Emmys will take place on 25 August.

Follow @BBCNewsbeat on Twitter and Radio1Newsbeat on YouTube

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/28425893#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

YouTube star sued in copyright case

Posted by MereNews On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Michelle PhanMs Phan has been accused of nearly 50 infringements and faces a bill of £88,000 for each

A leading YouTube entrepreneur is facing legal action for alleged copyright infringement in her videos.

Ultra Records, which has musicians Kaskade, deadmau5 and Calvin Harris on its books, is suing Michelle Phan.

The label and its publishing arm claim she has used about 50 of their songs without permission in her YouTube videos and on her own website.

But one of the artists whose work she is alleged to have used has said he supports Ms Phan.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

Copyright law is a dinosaur, ill-suited for the landscape of today’s media.”

End Quote
DJ on the Ultra label

Kaskade, whose work features most prominently in the record label’s complaint, said: “Copyright law is a dinosaur, ill-suited for the landscape of today’s media.”

He expressed his disbelief on Twitter that his own record label was suing Ms Phan for copyright infringement. “And the kicker… they’re citing her using my songs for the suit. Come. On,” he wrote on the site.

But Kaskade, who was nominated for a Grammy award last year, said there was little he could do to stop the label pursuing the case.

In response, Ms Phan thanked him and wrote: “Your music inspired not just myself, but millions of my followers to dance and dream on.”

Kaskade on Twitter

Michelle Phan Twitter

Michelle Phan found success posting make-up tutorial videos, attracting more than six million subscribers to her channel since she started it in 2007. She is a member of a group of YouTube stars whose popularity rivals that of many mainstream pop stars.

One of her YouTube videos, Barbie Transformation Tutorial, has been viewed more than 50 million times. Her tutorial on how to reproduce Lady Gaga’s look has been watched more than 45 million times.

British YouTube tutorial stars such as Sprinkle of Glitter have signed deals with major brands. Others include Tanya Burr, Lily Pebbles and Pixiwoo.

Michelle PhanMs Phan has more than six million subscribers on YouTube

According to court documents filed in California, the label and its associated publisher, Ultra International Music Publishing LLC, claim Ms Phan makes money from advertising attached to her YouTube channel and website.

The label also said she “has been featured in a high-profile and multi-platform advertising campaign for YouTube, which features some of YouTube’s most popular personalities”.

“[Ms] Phan has also been featured in national advertising for Dr Pepper,” it said.

The label said that, while its complaint “includes nearly 50 examples of blatant copyright infringement, plaintiffs’ analysis is still preliminary, and the full extent of [Ms] Phan’s infringement has not yet been determined”.

‘Substantial and irreparable injury’

The parties have asked for $150,000 (£88,000) for each proven copyright infringement.

The publishing arm has also demanded an injunction, claiming that it has “sustained and will continue to sustain substantial, immediate and irreparable injury” as a result of Ms Phan’s use of its copyrighted material.

Ms Phan’s videos have become increasingly sophisticated, showing her in different locales, with some even resembling music videos themselves.

They continue to offer make-up advice, and are often accompanied by music.

The record label and music publisher claimed Ms Phan had profited from the use of their artists’ tracks and compilations.

Her Night Life Favorites video, advising what to carry for a night on the town, used Kaskade’s song 4AM, they alleged.

Her internet fame has also led to a book deal and the design of a make-up line, according to the complaint.

The plaintiffs said Ms Phan had been informed she did not possess a licence “and yet continues to wilfully infringe in blatant disregard of plaintiffs’ rights of ownership”.

The publisher said it believed Ms Phan would continue the alleged infringement unless ordered to stop by the court.

A spokesman for Ms Phan said the lawsuit “lacks any merit”. She said: “Ultra agreed to allow Michelle to use the music and Michelle intends to fight this lawsuit and bring her own claims against Ultra.

“Michelle’s intention has always been to promote other artists, creating a platform for their work to be showcased to an international audience. Kaskade, whose music has been featured in Michelle’s videos, has publicly defended Michelle against Ultra’s claims and acknowledges the success he’s gained from her support.”

The BBC was unable to verify the claim that Ultra granted Ms Phan permission to use the music. A lawyer for the label and publisher did not respond to a request for comment.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-28418449#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

British films to premiere at Toronto

Posted by MereNews On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The Riot ClubThe Riot Club is an adaptation of Laura Wade’s play Posh, telling of the exclusive Oxford University dining club where reputations can be made or destroyed in a single evening

A trio of major British films are to receive their world premieres at this year’s Toronto Film Festival (TIFF).

Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything, starring Eddie Redmayne as the celebrated physicist, has been given a gala premiere.

Oxford University-set thriller The Riot Club, a big screen adaptation of the hit play Posh, will also debut at the event.

Alan Rickman’s period drama A Little Chaos will also close the festival.

The film – Rickman’s second directorial effort – sees Kate Winslet play a landscaper invited to design one of the fountains at the Palace of Versailles.

Rickman also stars as King Louis XIV, with support from The Devil Wears Prada actor Stanley Tucci.

Kate Winslet in A Little ChaosKate Winslet stars as a landscape gardener in Alan Rickman’s historical drama A Little Chaos

Denzel Washington in The EqualizerDenzel Washington stars in the big screen adaption of 1980s cult TV show The Equalizer

The movies were the first of a host of titles announced by festival organisers on Tuesday, which include 13 gala and 46 special presentations.

Other films to receive world premieres at the festival include the film adaptation of 1980s TV show The Equalizer, starring Denzel Washington in the lead role, and Reese Witherspoon drama Wild, directed by Dallas Buyer’s Club’s Jean-Marc Vallee.

Two other biopics will premier – Love Mercy, about The Beach Boys frontman Brian Wilson starring Paul Dano, and Pawn Sacrifice, which stars Tobey Maguire as chess legend Bobby Fischer.

The Theory of EverythingEddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star in Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything

A number of male-led dramas featuring Hollywood veterans will also screen, including Richard Gere in homeless drama Time Out of Mind, Michael Douglas in thriller The Reach and Kevin Costner in racial drama Black and White.

British films Mr Turner – which premiered at Cannes – and Alan Turing film The Imitation Game will also receive their Canadian premieres.

“Toronto can anticipate another remarkable line-up of films,” Piers Handling, chief executive officer and director of TIFF said.

“Cinema’s collective and transformative experience lives at the heart of our festival – a sentiment that inspires the global dialogue rippling throughout the selections revealed today.”

In recent years, TIFF has gained a reputation for being a key indicator of Oscar success.

Previous winners of its audience award have gone on to win best picture including last year’s 12 Years a Slave, and in previous years, A Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech.

The 39th edition of TIFF runs from 4 – 14 September.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28427904#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Little Big Man author Berger dies

Posted by MereNews On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Dustin Hoffman in Little Big ManDustin Hoffman starred in the big screen version of Thomas Berger’s novel Little Big Man

US author Thomas Berger, whose novel Little Big Man reimagined the American West, has died at the age of 89.

His book, turned into a 1970 Hollywood movie starring Dustin Hoffman, was published in 1964 and proved to be his biggest commercial success.

A writer of 20 novels, Berger’s The Feud, about a warring Mid-west community, was recommended for the Pulitzer Prize for literature.

The novelist died in New York state, 13 days short of his 90th birthday.

His literary agent Christina Concepcion said he had been in failing health for a considerable period.

Berger, whose work also ranged a number of literary genres from detective fiction to humour, saw two other books turned into films.

His 1980 bestseller Neighbours was adapted the following year and starred John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd.

Meeting Evil (2012) was brought to the screen 20 years after Berger wrote the novel, and featured Samuel L Jackson and Luke Wilson. It recounts the tale of a family man who is sucked into a nightmare by a stranger.

Berger was born in Cincinnati and served in the US army from 1943-46, with some of his experiences in Europe being ploughed into his debut novel Crazy in Berlin, which was published in 1958.

His most popularly acclaimed work, Little Big Man, is told through the eyes of its 111-year-old protagonist Jack Crabb, who claims to have been abducted by Native Americans and later fights on their side in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

Hoffman’s performance in the movie version landed him a Bafta award for best actor.

Berger shrugged off claims he was a comic novelist, saying: “[I] have never thought of my work as being funny except incidentally. I write as I do because that’s the way I instinctively look at things.”

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28416026#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Conflict forces TV show from Israel

Posted by MereNews On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Fares Fares and Adam Rayner in an episode of TyrantBritish actor Adam Rayner (right) stars in the drama about a family who return home to the Middle East after living in the US for 20 years

US TV drama Tyrant has stopped filming in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv because of the current conflict in Gaza.

“Tel Aviv was under missile fire and people were running into bomb shelters,” producer Howard Gordon said.

“I don’t think anybody felt physically threatened, but it was not conducive to shooting,” he added.

Production on the show has been moved to Istanbul in Turkey, where the remaining two episodes of the first season will be filmed.

Cable channel FX, which makes the show, said “although we have been assured that Tel Aviv continues to be a safe location, we felt the cast and crew would be more comfortable being outside of Israel”.

Palestinian militants have fired hundreds of rockets at Israeli cities as airstrikes have pounded Gaza.

British actor Adam Rayner stars in the drama as the son of a fictional Middle East dictator who returns after living in the US for 20 years.

Other cast members have used social media to air their feelings about working in Tel Aviv during the conflict.

Actress Jennifer Finnigan tweeted: “Please pray for peace tonight… it is so eye-opening and heart-breaking (and scary) to witness this firsthand.”

Tyrant’s producers said they were monitoring the situation and hoped to return to Israel to continue working there in future.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28418360#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Indigenous actor joins Neighbours

Posted by MereNews On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Meyne WyattWyatt became interested in acting while at boarding school in Perth

Australian soap Neighbours has cast an indigenous actor in a leading role for the first time.

Meyne Wyatt, 24, will make his debut as Nate Kinski on 13 August. The episode will be shown on 27 August in the UK on Channel 5.

The soap has featured indigenous actors before but not in the main cast.

The show, based in a fictional suburb outside Melbourne, has been accused of not reflecting ethnic diversity during its 29-year history.

Previous indigenous actors who have appeared in the soap include Tony Briggs in the late 1980s.

He was the first Aboriginal actor to appear on the show.

In 2012, a South Asian family, called the Kapoors, moved into Ramsay Street, but they were written out of the soap a year later.

‘Best people’

Actor Sachin Joab, who played Ajay Kapoor, told Digital Spy last year: “It was more of a shock to us knowing that it wasn’t just one multicultural actor who was being written out, it was every single multicultural full-time actor on the show.

“All four of us were written out in the first year of our full-time contracts, which felt like a massive step backwards in terms of cultural diversity on the show.

“Australia is stuck in some sort of time capsule… For some reason when it’s fiction over here, the industry chooses to exclude non-whites and include whites only. It’s very unrealistic given that Australia is a very multicultural country,” he added.

But speaking to the Guardian about casting Wyatt, Neighbours’ series producer Jason Herbison said: “While cultural diversity is definitely important, in cases where we don’t need a specific ethnic background, our brief to agents is to put forward their best people and that was the case for this character.”

Born in the remote town of Kalgoolie in western Australia, Wyatt’s passion for acting emerged when he attended boarding school in Perth.

He graduated from the country’s National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA), and was named best newcomer in the 2011 Sydney theatre awards.

He recently completed the feature film Strangerland starring Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes and Guy Pearce, due for release in 2015.

His Neighbours character already has a connection with two of Ramsay Street’s long-term residents, Susan and Karl Kennedy. Susan was previously married to Nate’s uncle.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28417336#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Weir named as Master of the Queen’s Music

Posted by MereNews On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Judith WeirWeir was appointed a CBE in 1995

Composer Judith Weir CBE is to become the first female Master of the Queen’s Music.

Weir, who succeeds Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, will be appointed for a fixed term of 10 years.

The Queen will receive Weir when she takes up her appointment on Tuesday. Her Majesty will also receive Sir Peter as he relinquishes the position.

The Master of the Queen’s Music is an honorary position conferred on an eminent musician.

There are no fixed duties involved although the Master may compose pieces for Royal or State occasions.

Weir said: “It is a great honour to take up the position of Master of the Queen’s Music, in succession to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who has given his musical and personal gifts so freely to this unusual national role.

The Queen and Sir Peter Maxwell DaviesSir Peter Maxwell Davies took up the role in 2004

“I hope to encourage everyone in the UK who sings, plays or writes music, and to hear as many of them as possible in action over the next 10 years,” she added.

“Listening is also a skill, and I intend to uphold our rights to quietness and even silence, where appropriate. Above all, our children deserve the best we can give them, and that includes access to live music, whether as learners, performers or listeners.”

BBC Singers

Weir was born to Scottish parents in 1954 and grew up in London. She played the oboe and spent several years working in education, culminating in a teaching post at Glasgow University and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now called the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland).

She was resident composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s, where she wrote several works for orchestra and chorus which were premiered by the then music director, Sir Simon Rattle.

She has also written a series of operas. The latest, titled Miss Fortune, was staged at the Royal Opera House in London in 2012.

The BBC Singers have also announced that Weir is to become its new associate composer starting from 2015, a tenure which will run until 2018.

Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor will premiere her new work Day Break Shadows Flee for solo piano on 1 September at Cadogan Hall as part of the 2014 BBC Proms.

The Master of The Queen’s Music is paid an honorary stipend for his or her work.

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies was appointed in March 2004. On the appointment of Sir Peter, the term of the position was changed from life tenure to 10 years, giving more composers the opportunity to take up this honorary position.

The post of Master of the King or Queen’s Music has a long history. Kings and queens dating back to the Middle Ages and earlier would employ a band of musicians as part of their households.

Other previous holders of the post include Edward Elgar and Malcolm Williamson.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28408319#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Reporter ‘made error’ at crash site

Posted by MereNews On July - 22 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Sky reporter Colin BrazierSky reporter Colin Brazier said the circumstances of the Ukraine crash are unique

Sky News reporter Colin Brazier has admitted he was wrong to handle victims’ belongings at the MH17 crash site in Ukraine.

Writing in The Guardian, the journalist said the site was unchecked and he was “free to walk around at will”.

But he called his “gaffe” a “serious error of judgement” and said he cried on-air after seeing a child’s flask.

More than 100 people complained to media watchdog Ofcom after Brazier’s live Sunday lunchtime broadcast.

The complaints are currently being assessed before the broadcasting regulator decides whether to launch an investigation.

The report showed Brazier pick up items from an open suitcase.

He dropped them back into the luggage saying “we shouldn’t really be doing this I suppose, really”.

A Sky news spokesperson said both Brazier and Sky News “apologise profusely for any offence caused”.

Writing his version of events following a vociferous backlash on social media, Brazier said other journalists were acting on the freedom they had on the crash site, and “foolishly took that as a precedent”.

He said the moment he realised he was doing something wrong “came too late” and just after the moment when he began crying, which was not picked up on poor quality replays of his report on the internet.

“At the weekend I got things wrong. If there was someone to apologise to in person, I would,” he wrote in his article.

Belongings of passengers on MH17Belongings of passengers on MH17, including books and toiletries

Brazier added his on-air apology was “only selectively quoted by those determined to see what I did as a powerful example of journalistic vulturism”.

He said in a live and open-ended item from Ukraine, there was “no obvious frame of reference” but the crew chose “to avoid pointing a live camera anywhere a corpse might be seen”.

Brazier described how he reported from the site of another air disaster at Lake Constance in 2004, where “within hours police had sealed off a sterile area and no journalists were allowed in, while forensic investigators and recovery teams went in”.

He described the Ukraine site as a lawless warzone where journalists where not kept at bay.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crashed over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine on 17 July.

All 298 people on board were killed.

The crash left bodies strewn across several kilometres, as well as plane wreckage and passengers’ belongings.

The Ukrainian government and pro-Russian rebels have accused each other of shooting down the passenger jet.

Ukrainian authorities have released a recording they claimed was a conversation between pro-Russian militants admitting to firing the missile.

However, separatist leader Alexander Borodai accused the Ukrainian government of attacking the airliner itself.

The US and other nations say there is growing evidence of Russian complicity in the crash.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-28416029#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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