Connect with us

New Movie Articles

Wondery wants to become Hollywoods podcast dream factory

Charmaine Blake

Published

on

When Hernan Lopez, the former chief executive of Fox International, started the podcast network Wondery roughly two years ago with a seed investment from his former bosses at Fox Networks Group, podcasting was still emerging as a media platform.

Now, with voice ascendant, and podcasting proving to be a breeding ground for new narratives that other storytelling mediums can latch onto — the move into the reinvention of radio for the 21st century seems prescient.

It’s not just Fox that is now backing the podcast business; new investors led by storied venture capital and private equity investor Alan Patricof’s Greycroft Partners are coming aboard with a $5 million commitment to expand the scope of Wondery’s wonder factory. Additional investors include Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Advancit Capital — the investment vehicle for Shari Redstone (daughter of billionaire media mogul Sumner Redstone).

Previous investors BAM Ventures, Watertower Ventures, Fox Networks Group and BDMI also participated in the round.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Wondery intends to add new shows to its stable, including American Innovations, Dr. Death and I, Survivor, and has optioned Sward and Scale and Tides of History as projects for movies and television.

While traditional media companies are being forced to join forces and combine assets to protect their market from new competitors like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Hulu and Netflix coming from the tech industry, new media platforms like podcasting are opening up opportunities for different kinds of studios to emerge. 

“I believe there’s a huge opportunity in audio,” Lopez says. “There isn’t anywhere close to enough quality audio content being produced.”

On average, the modern consumer listens to four hours of audio per day, according to Lopez. Even though most of that is music, an increasing number of Americans are turning to podcasts as a new form of entertainment. And podcasts are beginning to attract more advertising dollars.

“In the podcast world the ads seem to work. They’re native, they’re integrated into the shows. The listeners are welcoming,” says Wondery’s chief executive. That in itself would be a welcome change for media companies hungry for new ways to maintain their ad-supported business models. 

Netflix, Amazon and Hulu have trained a generation of consumers on subscription models that eschew advertising altogether — but podcasts still hold out promise, says Lopez.

Demographics are another key reason that advertisers are moving to podcasts, he says, and Comscore research (funded by Wondery) seems to back up his assertions.

According to Comscore, nearly one in five Americans aged 18-49 said they’d listened to podcasts at least once a month — a number that increases when it’s restricted to the highly coveted demographic of men between the ages of 18 and 34, while nearly one in three men 18-34 do so. Podcast listeners are also more likely to have a college degree, make more than $100,000 and be early adopters of electronics, consumer goods and entertainment.

Advertisers are beginning to take notice, with $119 million spent on podcast advertising in 2016 and an estimated $220 million spent on podcast ads last year (according to estimated figures in a survey underwritten by major podcast networks).

Some of Wondery’s podcasts have already racked up impressive numbers. Dirty John has been dowloaded more than 20 million times; American History Tellers has been downloaded more than 3 million times; and Business Wars more than 2 million times, says Lopez. 

Wondery is also bucking the media trend of serving up micro-content to audiences.

“We don’t produce much micro-content — if any,” says Lopez. “The stories that we tend to gravitate towards tend to work better in long-form. We have to keep their attention for as long as possible.”

Lopez’s Wondery isn’t the only company to rake in money from institutional investors for building a podcasting empire.

On the other side of the country in the borough of Brooklyn stands Gimlet Media, the $20 million king of the podcast market these days. Gimlet raised from a slew of investors, including WPP, Betaworks, Stripes Group, Lowercase Capital, LionTree Parters, Emerson Collective, Cross Culture Ventures and music manager turned investor Troy Carter.

Success among podcasts is also translating into options in other formats. As The New York Times noted yesterday, podcasts are getting “the Hollywood treatment.”

Wondery’s own “Dirty John” is being turned into a series for two networks — true crime stories on Oxygen and as the basis for a scripted series on Bravo. Meanwhile, “Welcome to Night Vale,” “Alice Isn’t Dead,” “Up and Vanished” and “Crimetown” are all being turned into series by different production companies.

“In the last year or so, podcasts have been the thing,” Matt Tarses, the creator of “Alex, Inc.” (a new ABC show based off of Gimlet Media’s “Startup” podcast) told The New York Times.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2018/03/29/wondery-wants-to-become-hollywoods-podcast-dream-factory/

New Movie Articles

Lady Gaga shares the devastating personal story behind the final song in ‘A Star is Born’

Charmaine Blake

Published

on

 

Warning: Contains *huge* spoilers for the ending of A Star is Born.

“Anyone’s who seen A Star is Born will know that the final song in the movie is by far the most gut-wrenching and emotional moment.

Lady Gaga sings “I’ll Never Love Again” — a song written about her by her late husband Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) — in tribute to him. It’s a powerfully moving moment that reduces you — and everyone else in the cinema — to a sobbing wreck.

Lady Gaga has shared a personal story about the day that scene was filmed and the reason that scene was so important to her. Right before filming the scene, Gaga received a phone call that her best friend Sonja Durham was about to pass away from stage IV cancer.

“On that day my friend Sonja — who had been battling cancer for years — her friend called me and I could hear her moaning in the background and she said she’s not doing well,” Gaga told Zane Lowe. “And I thought she was dying so I left the set……………………….”

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/lady-gaga-a-star-is-born-ill-never-love-again/

Continue Reading

New Movie Articles

Juicing, workouts and monetised self-obsession acting aint what it used to be

Charmaine Blake

Published

on

Hollywood was once all about tradecraft. But not any more, as Mark Wahlbergs ridiculously brilliant daily schedule makes all too clear

“When the famously dissolute movie star John Barrymore died, having spent much of the last year of his life passed out at Errol Flynns house, the brilliant character actor Peter Lorre bribed the funeral homes director to loan him the corpse for a night. Lorre, Humphrey Bogart and a couple of others sneaked into Flynns Mulholland Drive home while he was shooting late, arranged the body in a chair near the bar, then hid and waited. When Flynn returned home from set, he nodded at Barrymore, and continued to walk over to fix himself a drink. After a few steps, Flynn froze. He went back to the chair, touched Barrymores ice-cold body, then shouted: All right, you bastards, come on out!

I know what youre thinking. This is all very well; but did any of these ill-disciplined men make Daddys Home 2, Mark Wahlbergs highly called-for sequel to his turn in Daddys Home? Alas not. At the time of this late-night incident, Bogart was shooting a picture called Casablanca, and though well probably never know his workout schedule for the movie, I guess we can say for sure that he could bench-press at least a quarter of John Barrymore. But only after tipping-out time at the Cocoanut Grove.

And so to the much-remarked-upon daily routine of Wahlberg, which is here reproduced in full:

2.30am wake up
2.45am prayer time
3.15am breakfast
3:40-5.15am workout
5:30am post-workout meal
6:00am shower
7:30am golf
8:00am snack
9:30am cryo chamber recovery
10.30am snack
11:00am family time/meetings/work calls
1:00pm lunch
2:00pm meetings/work calls
3:00pm pick up kids @ school
3.30pm snack
4:00pm workout #2
5:00pm shower
5:30pm dinner/family time
7:30pm bedtime

Hey, dont knock it. Its called acting.

Or is it? Is that what this life is? For many, Marks schedule is the equivalent of letting daylight in on tragic. Once the inspiration for Entourage indeed, that comfortingly silly………………………..”

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/lostinshowbiz/2018/sep/13/juicing-work-outs-monetsising-self-obsession-acting-mark-wahlberg

Continue Reading

New Movie Articles

Assassination Nation wants to get under your skin

Published

on

“Assassination Nation” is trying to make you uncomfortable. The film even starts out with about a dozen “trigger warnings” previewing the horror that is to come in this internet age Salem witch trial about four teenage girls who become the enemies of an entire town when a hacker stars leaking individuals’ information.

Morality, sexuality, female nudity, homophobia, misogyny, pornography, pedophilia, mob mentality and gun violence are just a few of the subjects and taboos addressed in writer-director Sam Levinson’s purposefully insane film…………………..”

Read More Here: https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/assassination-nation-skin-57972864

 

Continue Reading

Trending