NAB Show to Require Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination

The NAB Show scheduled for Oct. 9-13 in Las Vegas and associated co-located events will require attendees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, Chris Brown, EVP and managing director of global connections and events for the National Association of Broadcasters, wrote in an email to the community.

“While the enthusiasm is building, we are keenly aware of health and safety concerns tied to the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and want to assure you that we are putting in place a comprehensive, data-driven plan that prioritizes safety and creates a productive environment at these events,” he wrote. “We have worked for the past several weeks to finalize protocols that will maximize the experience and safety of all members of the NAB Show community. This process has involved extensive consultation with health and safety experts, gathering feedback from a range of exhibitors and attendees, and review of the safety measures recommended by national and local health authorities, including Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s important announcement this week regarding large events.”

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The show floor will feature major brands such as Amazon Web Services, AJA, B&H, Canon, Grass Valley, MediaKind, Panasonic, Ross, Sony, Verizon and more, he wrote.

Major industry events, such as the Radio Show, Sales and Management Television Exchange and AES Show, will co-locate in Las Vegas.

Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination Required to Attend CES 2022

The Consumer Technology Association has announced that CES 2022  will require in-person attendees to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

CES 2022 will take place in Las Vegas Jan. 5-8, 2022, with media days Jan. 3-4.

CTA will again create a digital event that will run in parallel with the in-person program.

“Based on today’s science, we understand vaccines offer us the best hope for stopping the spread of COVID-19,” Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the CTA, said in a statement. “We all play a part in ending the pandemic through encouraging vaccinations and implementing the right safety protocols. We are taking on our responsibility by requiring proof of vaccination to attend CES 2022 in Las Vegas.”

The CTA is also assessing the acceptance of proof of a positive antibody test as an alternative requirement and will share more details on this later, according to a CTA press release.

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“Safety, security and health are always a priority at CES, and we will follow state and local guidelines and recommendations by the CDC,” read the press release. “CTA will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and will announce additional protocols closer to the show.”

Some 2,000 companies including major brands and start-ups will be in Las Vegas, according to the CTA. CES 2022 will feature new categories showcasing how the industry is evolving, including space tech, food tech and NFTs. The show will highlight advancements in AI, AR/VR, gaming and computing, digital health, automotive and transportation, home entertainment, smart home, and more, according to the CTA. Audiences will hear from industry leaders during live keynotes, including General Motors chair and CEO Mary Barra and T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert.

Visit CES.tech for CES 2022 updates.

Amazon Studios to Aid Efforts to Boost Vaccinations in L.A. County

Amazon Studios and healthtech provider Carbon Health are teaming up to bring pop-up mobile vaccination sites to communities across Los Angeles. On Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18, and continuing across the summer, multiple vaccination sites will offer first and second dose vaccinations. This collaboration is designed to help make vaccines more accessible to underserved populations during a pivotal moment in the pandemic.

The first pop-up opened July 8 at Brooklyn’s Bread & Life. This initiative will continue in Los Angeles on July 17 at Maywood Riverfront Park Health and Wellness Fair and at American Family Funding and on July 18 at the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center. Second doses will be administered four weeks later. It is estimated Amazon Studios and Carbon Health will administer up to 150 COVID-19 vaccinations per day.

Cinedigm Gets $2.2 Million PPP Loan Forgiveness

Cinedigm announced that it has received forgiveness of approximately $2.2 million of loan proceeds and accrued interest previously carried under the federal Paycheck Protection Program established by the government to help small businesses affected by shutdowns during the pandemic.

On July 7, Cinedigm received notice from East West Bank PPP, the lender of its loan, that the U.S. Small Business Administration approved the forgiveness in its entirety, and that East West Bank has applied the funds and paid off the principal and interest of the loan in full.

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“We are very pleased to receive the notice of forgiveness,” Gary Loffredo, chief operating officer and general counsel of Cinedigm, said in a statement.

Loffredo said not having to pay back the loan (including interest) helped Cinedigm move into a “very solid position” now financially with virtually no debt and a fast-growing streaming business.

“We remain grateful for the financial support that the CARES Act provided in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Comscore: Nearly 90% of Movie Theater Locations Open Globally

The latest box office figures from Comscore show nearly 90% of movie theater locations are now open globally for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“At Comscore, we´ve been privileged to witness firsthand how our partners in the global exhibition community have fought daily against the adversity of the pandemic and recovery has been remarkable,” Arturo Guillén, EVP and global managing director for Comscore Movies, said in a statement. “The latest box office openings and revenue show that throughout the world, consumers are clamoring to be back at the movies in their preferred theaters.”

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Films such as Universal’s F9, which has thus far generated more than $500 million worldwide, along with Paramount’s with A Quiet Place Part II, Disney’s Cruella, Warner Bros.’ The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, Sony’s Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway and Lionsgate’s The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, have collectively generated more than $1.3 billion in global box office revenue, according to Comscore.

“As the studios continue to ramp up the rollout of their most-anticipated films, audiences are showing up at their local cinemas to enjoy the big screen experience,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst, Comscore, said in a statement. “Blockbuster films shown in a movie theater become ‘must see’ events that no matter where you live, speak the international language of cinema to like-minded movie fans around the world.”

Discovery+ Launches Doc Series ‘Surge at Mount Sinai’ July 1

The non-fiction streaming service Discovery+ will exclusively bow the documentary series The Surge at Mount Sinai globally July 1.

The series, narrated by Jon Bon Jovi, with a track from Billie Eilish, follows three healthcare workers, two intimate patient journeys and experts from across the hospital in one of the world’s largest healthcare systems in the United States during an unprecedented global pandemic. With intimate access to those on the front lines, the film chronicles the race against time as New York City became the global epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak and New York was experiencing more than 350 deaths per day.

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“We are honored to shine a light on the heroes who came to the world’s rescue during an unprecedented global pandemic,” Lisa Holme, group SVP of content and commercial strategy at Discovery, said in a statement. “At Discovery+, we take pride in bringing our subscribers the best real-life stories and there is no more important story from the past year than following the trials of our healthcare workers.”

“This film explores the emotional journey of individuals who responded to the pandemic in unimaginable ways,” stated David A. Feinberg, SVP, chief marketing and communications officer at Mount Sinai Health System, dean of marketing and communications at Icahn School of Medicine, and co-executive producer on the documentary. “The heroism and innovative spirit by the scientific and medical community is awe-inspiring. The unprecedented challenges that we faced, the many lives that we saved, and the scientific breakthroughs that were identified gives the viewer a unique view of how we found our way through one of our darkest periods. We hope audiences will be moved and inspired by the bold actions taken by the heroes in this film and will come away understanding who we are as an organization. We are forever changed by this period, and our relentless pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and answers to the world’s most complex health challenges continues.”

“Our purpose for this film was to give the world a glimpse into what life was like for the heroic frontline workers during the height of the pandemic,” Peter Maiden, founder and CEO of production studio Convicts and executive producer on the documentary, said in a statement. “These individuals went above and beyond and dedicated an extraordinary amount of time and energy to saving the lives of NYC residents. Capturing their perseverance through the pandemic felt like the most important story that could be told during this time. We are grateful for Mount Sinai for the opportunity to engage with their staff and excited to partner with discovery+ to bring these stories to the forefront. We hope the film will inspire audiences to find the goodness in humanity, even in the dark, and to keep purpose at the heart of all they do.”

Study: One-Third of Consumers Believe Entertainment Habits Forever Changed by Pandemic

One-third of consumers believe entertainment habits will be forever changed by the pandemic, according to a new study.

The United Talent Agency study, “Forever Changed: Covid-19’s Lasting Impact on the Entertainment Industry,” also found 84% of consumers spent more time with entertainment during the pandemic with more than two-thirds (67%) saying they intend to spend more time with entertainment post COVID-19 than they did prior.

During the pandemic, seven in 10 became “Entertainment Explorers,” turning to new formats, platforms or genres, while half became “Fervent Fans,” more engaged with entertainment and strengthening their fandom.

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Compared to pre-pandemic behavior, one-third plan to subscribe to or use more entertainment platforms, a quarter plan to consume more genres/types of stories and a third plan to consume more international content or stories with diverse voices.

During the pandemic, a quarter started consuming an entertainment format that they didn’t prior and a third subscribed to or used more entertainment platforms than they would have otherwise.

Post-COVID, 71% said they plan to use multiple SVOD platforms, compared with 70% during the pandemic. More than half (56%) added at least one SVOD platform during the pandemic.

Among subscriptions started during the pandemic, Apple TV+ was the leader (48%) with Netflix (46%), Disney+ (46%), Hulu (39%) and Amazon Prime (34%) following, respectively. Among subscriptions used during the pandemic, Netflix led at 72% followed by Amazon Prime (54%), Disney+ (51%), Hulu (47%), HBO Max (36%), Apple TV+ (30%), Discovery+ (23%), Peacock (17%) and Paramount+ (12%), respectively.

The UTA-fielded study polled 1,000 U.S. consumers ages 18-54 in partnership with automated research company SightX.

Report: 83% of Consumers Plan to Maintain, Increase Home Entertainment Spending

More than a year after the start of the  COVID-19 crisis, a majority of consumers are beginning to turn the page on the pandemic as vaccinations increase and a sense of normalcy returns, according to new data from Tremor Video.

Conducted in March and comprised of surveys with a nationally representative sample of 893 respondents in the United States, the research found that 56% of consumers feel optimistic about the year ahead and 60% predict a return toward normality within the year.

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According to the data, 83% of consumers plan to either maintain or increase their current spend levels when returning to a more normal life, on average across categories. Consumers report that they plan to either maintain or increase their spending at the highest rates for the following categories: groceries (92%), beauty & personal care (86%), consumer electronics (84%), home & garden (84%) and home entertainment (83%).

With this likely increase in spending comes promising news for brands with brick-and-mortar dimensions of their businesses, as 84% of consumers plan on shopping in-person during the year, with 29% reporting that they will do all of their shopping in-person and 23% reporting that they will do most of their shopping in-person with some online shopping.

Although the research suggests that consumers are eager to resume their pre-COVID activities, their enthusiasm for this return to more normal lifestyles does not necessarily mean that their rates of TV engagement will decline as a result. In fact, most consumers are likely to engage with connected TVs at comparable or higher rates as the pandemic dissipates. Over the next six months, 86% of consumers plan to watch live TV at the same or increased rates, 88% plan to watch the same or higher amounts subscription-based VOD, and 81% plan to maintain or increase their viewing of ad-supported VOD.

“After a long period of being homebound, consumers are feeling positive about the future, as they look to resume activities like dining out, traveling and in-store shopping, all of which should give advertisers a renewed sense of confidence in the months ahead,” Terence Scroope, VP of media insights and analytics at Tremor Video, said in a statement. “In parallel, our study suggests that consumers plan to increase their time with CTV content, reinforcing just how essential the medium will continue to be for advertisers as they look to fine-tune their 2021 media strategies.”

Report findings include that since March 2020, TV viewing has spiked considerably, with 61% of consumers saying they have watched more TV than before the outbreak of the pandemic. Over the next six months, increased engagement with both paid and free TV streaming will be most pronounced among younger age demos (18-44s) and higher income ($100,000 or more, annually) demos

Consumers report that they will be more supportive of local businesses with most (59%) planning to continue shopping locally. Most (58%) consumers have adopted new behaviors thanks to increased time shopping online during COVID; this is especially prevalent among the 18-34 age group.

 

Imax Corp. Posts Record-Breaking Weekend Box Office — in China

While U.S. movie exhibitors continue to languish from government-mandated closures and wary moviegoers due to the pandemic, Imax just recorded its best-ever weekend box office in China — where the coronavirus outbreak began.

The 3D exhibitor soared to its best-ever opening weekend for the Chinese New Year holiday, grossing $25 million through Feb. 14 as the country kicked off its pinnacle box office period. Despite a continued capacity limitation of at least 75% across China, Imax grew opening weekend box office 45% over its record-breaking 2019, when Chinese cinemas were last open for the holiday.

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Shot entirely with Imax cameras, the comedy franchise film Detective Chinatown 3 led the way with $23.5 million — Imax’s biggest three-day opening weekend ever for a Chinese film. Imax captured 6% of the film’s weekend box office, despite accounting for only 1% of overall screens. Friday, Feb. 12 marked the first time Imax generated more than 1 million admissions in a single day in any global market — China or otherwise.

In a strategic effort to embrace local-language filmmaking, grow its network, and strengthen its brand in China, Imax continues to make a significant comeback at the Chinese box office. The exhibitor has grossed $126 million since theaters first reopened in China last July — with box office up 28% in December and 140% in January — despite continued capacity limitations across the country and a lack of new Hollywood movies in the market.

The tally represents 44% of the comparable U.S. weekend box office total of $286.7 million from July 2020 through January 2021.

“Given our recent success at the Chinese box office, we suspected our fans would turn out for Chinese New Year in a big way, but these early returns have blown away even our most optimistic projections,” CEO Rich Gelfond said in a statement. “With record-breaking box office, strong market share, and multiple releases filmed in Imax, this is an important milestone on our road to recovery at the global box office and our long, successful history in China.”

For the first time, the Chinese New Year slate featured an additional two Imax releases, including A Writer’s Odyssey, which includes more than an hour of exclusive and expanded aspect ratio content. New Gods: Nezha Reborn” marked the debut of a new animated franchise. All three films scored high with audiences, with Maoyan scores exceeding 8.8.

“Imax is on the leading edge of the strong box office recovery in China, with audiences emerging from the pandemic and seeking out the most immersive theatrical experience in the world,” said Edwin Tan, CEO of Imax China.

AMC Theatres Says It Will Be Out of Cash After January

AMC Entertainment, parent to the world’s largest theatrical chain, AMC Theatres, said it has received $100 million in stopgap funding to remain afloat financially. The deal with Mudrick Capital Management, disclosed in a Dec. 11 regulatory filing, pays the investment firm 15% in annual interest in exchange for 13.7 million AMC shares.

With coronavirus infections and deaths spiking across the country, movie theaters remain either shuttered (Regal Cinemas) or operating under limited capacity such as AMC and Cinemark. AMC said theatrical attendance has declined 92% since the previous-year period.

The chain said that in the absence of additional liquidity, it anticipates that its cash resources will be depleted in January 2021. To remain viable through next year, AMC estimates its needs approximately $750 million of additional liquidity to fund cash requirements, which include $400 million in deferred rent obligations. The chain is burning through $125 million monthly to maintain operations.

In addition to the pandemic, AMC blamed its fiscal situation and future on delayed studio releases and Warner Bros.’ decision to release all movies concurrently in theaters and on the HBO Max streaming service.

“[The] delays of major movie releases, or the direct or simultaneous release of movie titles to the home video or streaming markets in lieu of theater exhibition, have led to theater closures, prevented the opening of theaters in major markets and have had, and are expected to continue to have in the future, a material adverse impact on theater attendance levels and our business,” AMC said in the filing. “These challenges have been exacerbated by the announcement by Warner Bros. that its entire studio film slate for 2021 will move to simultaneous release, which may result in other studios adopting a similar strategy.”

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As of Nov. 30, AMC was operating at 404 of its 594 U.S. theaters, with limited seating capacities and during limited opening hours. The company’s shuttered domestic screens include theaters in some of its major markets, such as New York City and in California. AMC is operating at 108 of its 359 leased and partnership international theaters, with limited seating capacities and during limited opening hours. Through Nov. 30, AMC said it has seen an 86% decline in international moviegoers compared to last year.

“Our current cash burn rates are not sustainable,” AMC said. We currently estimate that if our attendance levels do not significantly improve during … 2021, then we believe the liquidity shortfall would be greater than the estimated $750 million minimum shortfall, which if not addressed would prevent us from continuing as a going concern.”