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- 01/22/18--13:34: _Cryptocurrency mine...
- 01/22/18--13:40: _Netflix pops after ...
- 01/22/18--13:56: _Facebook invented a...
- 01/22/18--14:27: _Regular people went...
- 01/22/18--15:13: _One of North Korea'...
- 01/23/18--05:21: _Here's the complete...
- 01/23/18--05:56: _Kobe Bryant has bee...
- 01/23/18--06:00: _The Xbox One's Netf...
- 01/23/18--06:45: _Netflix is in most ...
- 01/23/18--08:16: _Netflix's programmi...
- 01/23/18--08:25: _Here are the 17 big...
- 01/23/18--08:33: _Fox investors shrug...
- 01/23/18--09:40: _The 12 worst movies...
- 01/23/18--10:20: _Google is laying th...
- 01/23/18--10:33: _'God of War,' the f...
- 01/23/18--13:16: _Netflix grabbed 8 O...
- 01/23/18--13:45: _Greta Gerwig is the...
- 01/23/18--17:19: _The good times are ...
- 01/24/18--05:57: _The filmmakers behi...
- 01/24/18--06:29: _Rapper 50 Cent says...
- Cryptocurrency miners are buying up all the high-end graphics cards usually reserved for PC gaming.
- As a result, the graphics cards are extremely difficult to find. Some are being sold for double or more their original price.
- The dearth of available graphics cards has become a meme among PC gaming enthusiasts.
- Nvidia is urging retailers to prioritize PC gaming buyers over cryptocurrency miners.
- 01/22/18--13:40: Netflix pops after beating earnings expectations (NFLX)
- Netflix reported earnings that beat expectations Monday afternoon, sending the stock up 8%
- The streaming giant posted modest growth at home in the US, and even more from abroad.
- 01/22/18--13:56: Facebook invented a new unit of time (FB)
- Facebook has revealed the "flick," a unit of time equivalent to precisely one 705,600,000th of a second.
- It's meant to be useful to special effects artists and anybody else working in film or virtual reality — "flicks" cleanly divide each frame in a movie, TV show, or video game in an easy-to-read, easy-to-use number.
- On A&E's "60 Days In," nine law-abiding citizens went undercover in Atlanta's Fulton County Jail.
- They found one of the scariest, and most dehumanizing, elements of life behind bars is raids by the guards, who are searching for weapons or contraband.
- The raids also serve as a demonstration of power — showing prisoners that they're at the institution's mercy.
- Hyon Song-wol is a popular former singer in North Korea and also one of the most powerful women in the country.
- Hyon led North Korea's delegation to South Korea over the weekend, garnering an outsized amount of attention.
- This response might be falling into the trap of North Korean propaganda.
- 01/23/18--05:21: Here's the complete list of the 2018 Oscar nominations
- The nominations for the 90th Oscars were announced on Tuesday and NBA legend Kobe Bryant was among the nominees.
- Bryant's short film, "Dear Basketball," was nominated for "Best Animated Short Film."
- The film is an animated version of the letter Bryant wrote to announce his retirement.
- Microsoft has a Netflix-style service for gaming on the Xbox platform, and it's getting a major update.
- The six-month old service will get new games at the same time as launch in the future, starting with "Sea of Thieves" in March.
- Microsoft says all upcoming games published by Microsoft will arrive at launch on the Game Pass service — a major change that makes Game Pass a much better value.
- 01/23/18--06:45: Netflix is in most American homes — and somehow still growing (NFLX)
- Netflix posted earnings that blew past Wall Street expectations, sending its stock skyrocketing.
- The company is continuing to invest heavily in new content, which in turn helps to keep driving subscriptions.
- Netflix's content boss, Ted Sarandos, singled out "Everything Sucks!" as a Netflix original series that "people should keep an eye" in an earnings call Monday.
- The 90s-set, coming-of-age comedy series premieres February 16 on Netflix.
- Watch the first trailer for the series below.
- 01/23/18--08:25: Here are the 17 biggest Oscar snubs of 2018
- 21st Century Fox's stock was flat on Tuesday morning after a UK regulator raised concerns over Fox's takeover bid of British satellite company, Sky.
- The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recommended that the government provisionally block the Fox-Sky deal because they feared media mogul Rupert Murdoch and his family had an outsized influence over British media.
- The regulator's final report on the Fox-Sky deal will be released in May.
- Watch 21st Century Fox's stock move in real time here.
- 01/23/18--09:40: The 12 worst movies to ever win Oscars
- 01/23/18--10:20: Google is laying the groundwork to make a big play in video games
- Video game industry veteran Phil Harrison is joining Google's consumer hardware division.
- Harrison's career was primarily spent at Sony, where he helped build the PlayStation brand across 15 years.
- His most recent gaming job was at Microsoft, representing the Xbox division as a corporate VP.
- His job at Google is a curious twist — he's directly reporting to Rick Osterloh, Google's hardware leader.
- The reboot to "God of War" launches on the PlayStation 4 on April 20, Sony said on Tuesday.
- The gorgeous new game puts Kratos in a new role: as a father.
- April 20 is starting to look busy for gaming, with Nintendo Labo launching the same day.
- Netflix netted eight Oscar nominations on Monday, surpassing its total haul from all previous years.
- RBC analyst Mark Mahaney spoke to Business Insider about how Oscar hauls will help Netflix, but "may not be critical" for its success moving forward.
- The Netflix documentary "Seeing Allred" gives viewers a look inside the life and career of attorney Gloria Allred.
- Filmmakers Roberta Grossman, Sophie Sartain, and executive producer Marta Kauffman told Business Insider how they worked in the #MeToo movement just before they had to hand the movie in.
- 01/24/18--06:29: Rapper 50 Cent says he made millions selling his album for bitcoin
- Rapper 50 Cent says he accepted bitcoin as payment for his 2014 album "Animal Ambition."
- The 700 bitcoin he raked in are now worth between $7 million and $8.5 million, and he reportedly hasn't offloaded his stake yet.
It's a terrible time to build a gaming PC.
The process of building one is actually easier than its ever been, and playing video games on a PC is a delight. The problem is that graphics cards (GPUs) — the crucial component that powers the visuals of a PC — are in extremely high demand, which makes them difficult to find at their intended prices. Many resellers are jacking up the price by double or more.
The demand, however, isn't due to a massive influx of new PC gaming enthusiasts. The demand is being driven by cryptocurrency mining.
Though the graphics cards from companies like Nvidia and AMD are capable of powering cutting-edge gaming visuals, they're also capable of mining cryptocurrency. More than just capable, they're one of the main tools used by cryptocurrency miners.
As such, they're sold out pretty much everywhere.
A quick check of retail websites from Amazon to Best Buy to Newegg reveals the same thing: Back-order options, or sold-out signs, or re-sellers with huge mark-ups.
Nvidia's flagship GPU, the GTX 1080 Ti, has a suggested retail price of $700.
The lowest price for one on Amazon starts around $1,100:
As such, PC gaming communities on Reddit are full of jokes about how hard it is to find a graphics card for a decent price. There's even a major thread dedicated to explaining the high prices of graphics cards— it's given prominent placement at the top of the "Build a PC" subreddit.
And then there are anecdotes like this one, from an Ethereum-mining Facebook group:
Both Nvidia and AMD declined to comment for this story.
German website Computer Base got in touch with Nvidia Germany public-relations manager Boris Böhles, who told the publication that Nvidia is actively encouraging retailers to "make the appropriate arrangements" so that graphics cards are available for the intended consumer.
Nvidia can't force its manufacturing partners to limit their sales, nor its retail partners to do the same. It's a problem of supply and demand.
The problem, of course, is that cryptocurrency mining is more popular than ever.
And as more people discover the concept, more people need hardware to power their new hobby. Without a swift increase in supply from graphics-card makers like Nvidia, AMD, Asus, and others, it's unlikely that this problem is going away anytime soon.
NOW WATCH: The coolest gadgets we saw at CES 2018
Netflix reported earnings of $0.41 per share after the bell Monday on revenue of $3.29 billion.
The streaming giant beat Wall Street expectations on both metrics, sending shares up as much as 8% in after-hours trading.
Netflix has been adding more subscribers internationally than in the US in recent quarters, and this period was no exception. Netflix added a total of 8.33 million subscribers — 2 million more than expected — with 1.45 million added from the US and 4.9 million internationally. Both measures were better than expected.
"We had a beautiful Q4, completing a great year as internet TV expands globally," the company said in a letter to shareholders. "In 2017, we grew streaming revenue 36% to over $11 billion, added 24 million new memberships (compared to 19 million in 2016), achieved for the first time a full-year positive international contribution profit, and more than doubled global operating income."
The growth has been fueled by mega-hits like "Stranger Things 2." UBS analysts predicted last week that new shows from the fourth quarter, namely "Ozark" and "Mindhunter," have generated just as much subscriber excitement as hits like "House of Cards" or "Narcos."
Netflix warned that its free cash flow will be between $-3 billion and $-4 billion in 2018 as it invests to take on competitors who are rapidly launching their own competing streaming services, the largest of which being Disney. "We are striving to make the right choices and investments to grow the value of the firm," the compay said "and that is what also ultimately secures our debt. High yield has rarely seen an equity cushion so thick."
So far, this strategy appears to be paying off, with smash hit originals like "Stranger Things" continuing to draw in new subscribers and offset any pushback from the price hike that went into effect in the fourth-quarter.
Shares of Netflix have gained 65% in the past year.
Facebook has invented a new unit of time: The "flick," equivalent to precisely one 705,600,000th of a second — larger than a nanosecond, and smaller than a microsecond.
It's short for "frame tick," hinting at its cinematic origins, writes original inventor Christopher Horvath on GitHub.
As for why Facebook needs a new unit of time, it goes back to the social network's Oculus VR subsidiary and its larger bet on virtual reality. And for Horvath, formerly of the cinematic world at firms like Pixar, Weta Digital, and Industrial Light & Magic, it seems to have been something of a passion project.
In film, video games, and any other kind of visual, screen-based medium, creators have to think in split-seconds. Most movies, for instance, are shot at 24 frames per second, which means that the film displays 24 still images every second in a rapid sequence to give the illusion of motion.
The problem, as described by Horvath, is that the math gets messy when you try to work on one frame at a time. At 24 frames per second, or FPS, each frame is approximately .04166666667 seconds long, or 41666666.669 nanoseconds. Those numbers are inelegant, with endlessly repeating decimals. In turn, that can make life difficult for programmers and artists who are trying to work precisely at these scales.
That's where the Facebook flick comes in. It can represent a single frame at a nice, even number, at a whole variety of framerates. For instance, at the 24 FPS of most movies, each frame is 29,400,000 flicks. At 60 FPS, seen as a desirable framerate for action-packed video games, each frame is 11,760,000 flicks long. It's a clean number that can easily be divided or added up, without worrying about decimal points.
Facebook has actually released its documentation for the creation and use of flicks as open source, meaning that anybody can download it and add support for the unit into their own software. That, in turn, means that flicks could become a standard unit of time — if not on your wristwatch, then in the visual arts.
At Atlanta's Fulton County Jail, inmates make weapons out of just about anything — plastic shards, e-cigarettes, even toothbrushes.
If word gets to jail staff that one of the inmates has a contraband item, it could prompt security guards to carry out a raid of their cells. During a raid, officers with the jail's Direct Action Response Team clear out inmates from sections of the jail, frisk them, and turn over their cells in search of the contraband.
Such a raid was depicted on "60 Days In," the A&E documentary series that follows nine law-abiding citizens who went undercover at Fulton County Jail for two months to expose problems from within the system.
While raids are often effective in rooting out deadly weapons, the participants said, they can leave inmates feeling dehumanized and demoralized.
"It was quite intimidating and disorienting to be reminded again that I am at this jail's mercy, that they can essentially do with me whatever they please," one participant, a student named Andrew, said on the show.
Here's how a raid goes down at Fulton County Jail:
Chief Jailer Mark Adger authorized a raid when he learned that one of the inmates had fashioned a shank out of shards from a plastic cup.
Raids happen without warning. Moments before the raid, officers with the Direct Action Response Team waited outside the section of the jail in question for the signal to proceed.
Inmates at Fulton County Jail spend 16 hours a day locked in their cells with their cellmates. The inmates only caught wind of the raid when the doors to their cells were suddenly unlocked.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Hyon Song-wol is one of the most influential women in North Korea.
The former singer directs the pop group Moranbong Band and, as an alternate member of the Workers' Party central committee, she is one of the most powerful people in North Korea.
She was also the leader of North Korea's advance team that inspected South Korean performance venues over the weekend. And her presence sent some South Koreans, and international media outlets, into a flurry.
Crowds of people tried to take photos of Hyon, newspapers clamored to analyze her clothes (a dark coat with a "fur muffler"), and TV stations dutifully offered live broadcasts of her every move.
International media released profiles of Hyon describing her as a glamorous megastar who exuded "an air of confident calm," a "beloved North Korean pop star," and as someone trying to "emulate the style of Melania Trump."
There were so many South Korean newspapers covering Hyon's visit that one publication simply ran the headline: "Weekend news dominated by Hyon Song-wol."
It's likely that all this attention is exactly what North Korea was hoping for.
So far during Olympic preparation, North Korea has not only offered to send its highly political art and orchestra troupes to the South Korea Olympics, but suggested their members walk en masse across the Korean border. The coverage of these troupes, and the iconic photos they could offer, are excellent propaganda opportunities or "winning hearts at home and minds abroad," according to Business Insider's David Choi.
It's a scenario that seems to have played out perfectly with Hyon over the weekend.
According to a Google search, more than 26,800 webpages referenced Hyon between Jan 20-22, local time.
This isn't the first time Hyon has generated international intrigue or changed the conversation around North Korea.
It's almost time for the biggest night of the year in Hollywood!
The nominees for the 90th Academy Awards ceremony were unveiled Tuesday morning by Tiffany Haddish ("Girls Trip") and Andy Serkis ("The Force Awakens").
2017 was a great year for film, leaving many of the categories open, and no clear frontrunners for best picture.
"Get Out" surprised with four nominations including best actor for Daniel Kaluuya, best original screenplay, and best director for Jordan Peele.
Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk" earned him his first nomination for directing, and has the second-most nominations (eight) next to "The Shape of Water" (13).
Greta Gerwig's "Lady Bird" made her the fifth woman ever to be nominated for best director, and got a few other nominations including best actress for Saoirse Ronan, best original screenplay, and best picture.
The ceremony itself will take place Sunday, March 4, on ABC, and be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
Here are all the nominees for the 2018 Oscars:
"Call Me by Your Name"
"The Shape of Water"
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Among the many accolades on Kobe Bryant's resume, he can now add another one — Academy Award nominee.
The nominations for the 90th Oscars were announced on Tuesday morning and Kobe Bryant's short film, "Dear Basketball," was among the nominees for "Best Animated Short Film."
The film is an animated version of the letter Bryant wrote for "The Players' Tribune" announcing his retirement from basketball.
Here is a trailer for the film. The entire film can be seen at go90:
Microsoft's version of Netflix for gaming, the subscription-based Xbox "Game Pass" service, is getting a major change: Going forward, all Xbox One games published by Microsoft Studios will be part of the Game Pass service at the same time that they're available in stores.
Put more simply: The Xbox Game Pass program is getting a major influx of upcoming new games, starting with "Sea of Thieves" on March 20.
The service, which costs $10/month, offers access to a library of games. Unlike Netflix, where users stream videos to their screen over the internet, Xbox Game Pass allows users to download and play full games. The difference is mostly in functionality — conceptually, Game Pass is very similar to services like Netflix and Hulu.
The concept is simple: You pay a flat monthly fee, and you're given access to "over 100" Xbox 360 and Xbox One games. The service debuted in June 2017, and Tuesday's announcement is its first major change since launch.
The first three games that will arrive on Game Pass at the same time as their global launch dates are "Sea of Thieves," "Crackdown 3," and "State of Decay 2" — all Xbox One exclusive games, published by Microsoft.
There are no exceptions for this policy, Microsoft's head of Xbox Phil Spencer told Business Insider in an interview on Monday — first-party Microsoft-owned franchises like "Halo," "Gears of War," and "Forza Motorsport" are all included.
No third-party publishers, like EA and Activision, have signed on to the new policy yet. Recently released first-party games, like "Forza Motorsport 7" and "Cuphead," are notoriously missing from the Game Pass service; despite today's announcement, Microsoft says it doesn't "have any other announcements at this time" regarding those titles.
It's unclear how many Xbox One owners are paying $10/month for the service, but enough have expressed interest that Microsoft will now offer a six-month version of the subscription for a one-time $60 fee. Microsoft says it's been "blown away" by the interest in Game Pass, but Xbox head Phil Spencer declined to share users numbers for the service in an interview ahead of Tuesday's announcement.
When "Sea of Thieves" arrives on March 20, it will be the first game to launch into the Game Pass service at the same time as launching in retail and digital stores.
NOW WATCH: You've never seen a bridge like this before
The streaming giant added a total of 8.34 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2017 — 2 million more than Wall Street was expecting, including a surprise increase in domestic consumers 34% higher than predicted.
“It was five years ago when we said we thought the market in the U.S. would be somewhere between 60 million and 90 million,” CEO Reed Hastings said on the company’s earnings call Monday. "We're still only at 55 million."
Morgan Stanley analyst Ben Swinburne estimated this month that Netflix's current subscriber base is roughly equal to half of all US homes — a proportion that will only continue to grow.
Hastings attributes the enduring subscriber growth to word-of-mouth sharing as more customers rave about Netflix’s blockbuster originals. Of course, a marketing budget akin to that of a major Hollywood movie studio probably doesn’t hurt either.
“'Grace and Frankie' launched its new season this week, which clearly reaches an older demographic, but it keeps getting broader and bigger every year, meaning that it's even though it was intended for a specific older demographic, young people love it as well,” he said on the call. “They're discovering it through word-of-mouth from a lot of new sources. So, I think back when we talked about that market size back then, that's a very fluid market in terms of what demographics of people are watching content on the Internet.”
Netflix is sticking to its planned $8 billion investment in original content, coupled with a high-profile price hike, both of which are being praised by Wall Street.
“The Netflix 'flywheel' is working brilliantly,” Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger said in a note to clients Tuesday after the earnings report. “Having the most subs means you can invest the most in content, which (if done well) gets more subs, which funds more content, leading to a company that will be massively bigger (especially internationally) and more profitable in the future than what the market is pricing in today.”
Juenger has raised his price target for Netflix to $302 — 22% above the record high $248 where shares opened Tuesday. Wall Street’s average target is $257, according to Bloomberg.
“Q4 proved (at least to us, and seemingly to Netflix management as well), that Netflix can successfully take that formula and kick it up a notch,“ Juenger said.
In an earnings call Monday, Netflix's head of content Ted Sarandos listed a few upcoming Netflix originals that audiences should look forward to, including the big-budget, sci-fi series "Altered Carbon," and the comedy series "Everything Sucks!"
Sarandos singled out "Everything Sucks!" as a "sleeper hit that people should keep an eye on."
"Everything Sucks!" is a coming-of-age comedy series that "follows two groups of high school misfits," an A/V club and a drama club, "who collide in 1996 Oregon," according to Netflix's description of the show.
Variety says the show's plot centers on two friends who "join forces to make a movie."
"Everything Sucks!" premieres February 16 on Netflix.
Netflix released the first trailer for the series last week (which you can find below), and it features a "Pop-Up Video"-themed view of a classroom, filled with 90s-related nostalgia and humor.
The series is led by the up-and-coming teen actors Peyton Kennedy and Jahi Winston.
The Oscar nominations are finally here.
2017 was a competitive year in film, with a lot of great movies and performances.
While some of the nominations were surprising in a good way — like Jordan Peele's directing nomination for "Get Out," and the best original screenplay nomination for "The Big Sick" — there were still some favorites left out.
Comedy and action movies are largely ignored by the Academy, and this year was no different.
"Wonder Woman," one of the best-reviewed movies of the year and a box-office hit, got zero nominations. The coming-of-age comedy "Lady Bird" secured five nominations and is a frontrunner in categories including best actress, best director, and best picture. But many comedies got much less recognition, including no nominations besides screenplay for "The Big Sick."
The Oscars ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air Sunday, March 4, on ABC.
So here are all the major Oscar snubs this year, from best picture and best director to best original song.
"Wonder Woman" was great, and a box-office hit. It was the ninth highest grossing film of 2017. Action movies need more recognition at awards shows, and we were hoping this one would make the cut.
This was obviously a long shot, but we have to include it in the snubs anyway. The third film in the "Thor" franchise was a tonal departure from the first two, and all the better for it. It was one of the most delightful movies of 2017, and one of the funniest comedies of the year. It deserves a little more respect than it's gotten.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Shares of 21st Century Fox were flat on Tuesday morning despite being dealt a blow by UK regulators that recommended a provisional block on its bid for a takeover of the British satellite company, Sky.
The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the Fox-Sky takeover would be "against the public interest," citing concerns that Rupert Murdoch and his family would have too much control over the UK news media. Murdoch's assets currently include Sky News — the television network arm of Sky — and Britain's largest newspapers: The Sun, The Times, and The Sunday Times.
The deal would "reduce the diversity of viewpoints available to and consumed by members of the public," the authority said.
Fox and Sky made brief statements acknowledging the verdict on Tuesday morning. Fox said it was disappointed by the authority's findings.
The UK's Culture Secretary Matt Hancock will release the authority's final report in May.
Fox's stock was trading at $37.28 per share. It was up 3.61% for the year.
The Oscars rule over the movie industry. But over the years, some stinkers get nominated and some stinkers actually manage to get a win.
The only really terrible movie up for an Oscar in 2018 is "The Boss Baby," which secured a nomination for best animated feature over "The Lego Batman Movie," which was actually watchable, and quite good.
Movie trends come and go, and while the Academy likes to award lesser-known indie darlings, it's also known to award cheesy hits that were specifically made to win Oscars (known as "Oscar bait"). And then there are the bad movies that manage to get wins for less competitive categories, like makeup and costumes.
In 2008, for example, "Norbit," one of the worst movies of all time, was nominated for best makeup. Though it didn't win, the same can't be said for some other movies that are just as terrible.
Here are the worst movies that actually won Oscars:
1. "Harry and the Hendersons" (1987)
Won: Best makeup
A family runs over a Bigfoot-like creature with their car. The family brings it home, thinking it's dead. But it comes back to life, and the family adopts him as a pet. This movie is abysmal and hard to watch, but it somehow managed to get an Oscar for best makeup, even though the makeup — even for 1987 — is bad. Maybe the fact that John Lithgow was in it made the Academy feel as if it had to give it something.
2. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" (2000)
Won: Best makeup.
Best makeup can go to some really, really, really, really bad movies. The Academy really has to reach sometimes to give an award out in this category. The live-action "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is a terrible movie. It's insulting to Dr. Seuss and to Christmas movies. Even kids hate it. And kids who love it will never acknowledge it when they're adults. The makeup on Jim Carrey's Grinch is OK, but did it deserve an award? No, it did not.
3. "Pearl Harbor" (2001)
Won: Best sound editing
Nominations: Best original song, best sound, best effects
Besides a catchy original song recorded by Faith Hill (which was nominated for best original song), this Michael Bay movie is a disaster and disrespectful to US history. Bay's war film uses Pearl Harbor as a catalyst for a self-indulgent love triangle involving self-indulgent, unlikable characters. It's offensive in many ways, and at over three hours long, it makes "Avatar" feel like a half-hour sitcom.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Why did Google just hire a long-time video game industry veteran for its hardware team?
That's the big question after the big Twitter announcement on Monday from Phil Harrison, the former Sony and Microsoft executive who joined Google recently as VP and GM in the hardware group.
In one sense, this is a logical move: Harrison is most well-known for his work at Sony, where he helped several iterations of the PlayStation game console become major consumer products. He was there during the PlayStation 2 years, when Sony enjoyed its highest-ever market share of the game-console market.
In another sense, it's a baffling move: Harrison is a long-term game industry veteran. Google's efforts in gaming are, at best, limited. There's no dedicated gaming hardware from the company, unless you consider Google's Daydream VR headset a dedicated gaming device (which even Google doesn't).
The closest Google gets to gaming is Google Play, the digital storefront for Android. And even then, most games on mobile come to Apple's iPhone first.
Moreover, Harrison's joining the consumer hardware group — the nascent group behind the Google Home smart speakers, and the Google Pixel phones, the Pixelbook laptops, and the Chromecast streaming devices (and, yes, the Daydream VR headset). This is the team headed by Rick Osterloh, and it's a bit of an anomaly for Google — a company that traditionally hasn't focused on first-party hardware.
But Google swears it's serious about turning hardware into more than just a "hobby." To that end, Google outright bought an engineering division from HTC for $1.1 billion. And now, it's got Phil Harrison.
So, why Harrison?
Phil Harrison isn't a hardware engineer.
His time at Sony's PlayStation division was spent in executive roles. Harrison's not the guy who draws out the architecture for the next big PlayStation console — he's the guy who orchestrates major game launches alongside that next big console.
With over 20 years experience running major gaming platforms, Harrison is a guy who knows people.
Perhaps most importantly for Google, Harrison is a guy who can get a meeting with whoever Google wants to speak with. Though it's unlikely Google will make a dedicated gaming device, it's entirely likely that the future of Google's hardware division will involve gaming. When augmented-reality headsets overtake smartphones, for instance, gaming will be a crucial component of that effort — and that's when Phil Harrison could be a perfect fit for Google's hardware team.
For now, though, Google and Harrison aren't saying.
The long-awaited reboot to the "God of War" series is nearly here: The game arrives on April 20, Sony revealed in a new trailer on Tuesday.
As you might expect, the game is exclusive to Sony's PlayStation 4 console — in fact, it's the first major exclusive game coming to Sony's outrageously popular game console in 2018.
In the previous "God of War" games, players controlled Kratos (the pale gentleman seen above) as he tore his way through thousands of humans and creatures in a bid to destroy the ancient gods who cursed him. In this new game, he's on a somber voyage with his son. Rather than starting from a place of vengeance, though, he's seemingly on a mission to overcome the things that come between him and his mission: to spread the ashes of his dead wife in a far away land.
As ever, the new "God of War" is full of giant monsters and bizarre creatures. Here's one such giant monster/bizarre creature:
Check out the new trailer right here:
Netflix grabbed a record eight Oscar nominations on Monday, signaling that the streaming service's film business has started to overcome what some critics have called an "anti-Netflix bias" in Hollywood and among Oscar voters.
Netflix's critically acclaimed original drama "Mudbound" earned four nominations for the company, including nods for best supporting actress (Mary J. Blige) and best adapted screenplay (writer-director Dee Rees). The streaming service also earned three nominations for its documentaries "Icarus," "Strong Island," and "Heroin(e)," and one nod for the foreign language film "On Body and Soul."
In previous years, Netflix earned a total of seven Oscar nominations, dating back to its first nod for the 2014 documentary "The Square." Last year, Netflix grabbed three nominations for documentaries and won its first-ever Oscar for the documentary short "The White Helmets."
Netflix makes a big push into film
But the Academy has taken a while to warm up to the streaming service.
In 2016, critics cited the Oscars' snub of Netflix's critically acclaimed drama "Beasts of No Nation" as evidence that the industry was "turned off" by Netflix's business model, which debuts films on the streaming service simultaneously with theatrical releases.
"Dunkirk" director Christopher Nolan, for instance, called Netflix's film strategy "mindless" last year, while praising Amazon Studios for instituting a 90-day theatrical release window for films that it will later stream.
Netflix's notable success with "Mudbound," however — its first non-documentary feature to earn an Oscar nod — comes amid a huge push for the company into the realm of original film. The streaming service has said it plans to release more than 80 original movies over the course of 2018.
But what do critical acclaim and awards season recognition really mean for the success of Netflix's original content moving forward?
RBC analyst Mark Mahaney spoke to Business Insider about how the streaming service will likely continue to prioritize audience numbers over critical acclaim as its barometer of success.
Critical success "may not be critical"
Mahaney pointed to the commercial success of Netflix's critically panned, Will Smith-led original movie "Bright" as an example of how critical reception may not mean too much to Netflix.
"Positive critical reviews and things like Oscar hauls I think are very helpful for the company," Mahaney said. "But I'm just struck by the fact that critical reviews may not be as critical as the market, and the evidence of that is the commercial success of 'Bright,' at least according to the company, versus the fact that it got relatively low ratings from the critics."
"Bright," a buddy-cop fantasy film, received a 26% "Rotten" rating from critics on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes after its December 22 premiere. By contrast, the film's audience score on the site sits at an impressive 86% — a figure that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings recently cited to suggest that critics of "Bright" were "pretty disconnected from the mass appeal."
Mahaney went on to predict that, despite Netflix's increased output of original films and the relative commercial success of "Bright," the streaming service will tend to prioritize original TV content over original movies.
"My guess is that they still spend more money on TV series versus film, because I think streaming lends itself so well to TV series," Mahaney said. "With TV series, it involves continuous watching, but over a period of time, and you can binge or not. But with film, there's just a two-hour installment, and that's it for a year or two. So it doesn't lend itself to some of the ease of use of streaming."
Though the Academy Awards has a rich history, it hasn't, until very recently, been particularly inclusive.
But there's still a long way to go. Since the first woman was nominated in 1977, only five women have been nominated for directing. And only one of them won, when Kathryn Bigelow won for directing "The Hurt Locker" in 2010.
Director, writer, and actress Greta Gerwig, who was nominated for "Lady Bird," is only the fifth woman to be nominated for an Oscar in the best director category at the Academy Awards, which has occurred annually since 1929.
Gerwig's critically acclaimed coming-of-age comedy earned her another nomination for best original screenplay. The movie's star Saoirse Ronan is up for best actress, and Laurie Metcalf for best supporting actress. A few weeks ago, Gerwig won best director in the comedy or musical category at the Golden Globes.
Here are all the women who have been nominated for best director at the Oscars:
Lina Wertmüller, "Seven Beauties" (1977)
In 1977, Wertmüller became the first woman ever to be nominated in the directing category at the 49th Academy Awards. She was also nominated for best original screenplay. Her film, "Seven Beauties," is an Italian-language movie about an Italian man who deserts the army during World War II, and is captured by Germans and sent to prison camp.
Wertmüller lost the directing category to John G. Avildsen for "Rocky." Other nominees in the category were Sidney Lumet ("Network"), Ingmar Bergman ("Face to Face") and Alan J. Pakula ("All the President's Men").
Jane Campion, "The Piano" (1994)
In 1994, Campion became the second woman to get nominated for directing a film. "The Piano," about a mute piano player and her daughter, stars Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, and Anna Paquin, who won best supporting actress at age 11.
At the 66th Academy Awards ceremony, Campion won for best original screenplay, but lost the directing category to Steven Spielberg, who won for "Schindler's List."
Sofia Coppola, "Lost in Translation" (2004)
Coppola's critically acclaimed comedy starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson was a favorite in the 2004 awards season, earning her a nomination for best director. The movie, about two lonely Americans who become friends after meeting at a Tokyo hotel, was also nominated for best picture. Though it didn't win in either of those categories, Coppola won the statue for best original screenplay. Coppola lost the directing category to Peter Jackson for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King." Other nominees in the category included Fernando Meirelles ("City of God"), Peter Weir ("Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World"), and Clint Eastwood ("Mystic River").
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Little more than five years ago, Netflix looked like a train wreck. The company had announced then quickly aborted a widely ridiculed effort to set up its profitable DVD business as a separate operation and rename it Qwikster. Customers were incensed by a big price hike. And investors were none too happy about the company's overseas expansion efforts, which were weighing on its profits.
Boy, how things have changed. Netflix dominates the streaming media market and its DVD business is an afterthought. Its stock price has doubled in the last 13 months. And, as this chart from Statista shows, its profit is now more than double what it was in the good old days before the Qwikster debacle. Of course, it's still borrowing billions of dollars to keep its library of videos well stocked and it faces a potentially dangerous threat in the form of an upcoming streaming service from Disney, but those seems like minor quibbles when everything else is going so well.
Women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred has spent a good chunk of her four-decade career getting in front of the camera. Her fight for women’s equality has often seen her in the spotlight, holding press conferences with her female clients who, over the years, have alleged sexual assault by some of the biggest names in entertainment, politics, sports, and business.
But when filmmakers Roberta Grossman and Sophie Sartain approached Allred about making a documentary about her life and career, the media-savvy attorney wasn’t very interested.
“We were persistent,” Sartain told Business Insider at the Sundance Film Festival, where the movie is having its world premiere, on how they pulled it off. “After about three years she agreed.”
During that time, Grossman and Sartain began to build a friendship with Allred’s law partners, who relayed to her that the filmmakers were sincere about doing a legacy piece on her. Grossman and Sartain had also brought on veteran TV producer Marta Kauffman (co-creator of “Friends”) to executive produce.
Kauffman’s involvement helped land Netflix (the streaming service will release the movie on February 9). The streaming giant agreed to take on the movie after seeing some of the footage the filmmakers had shot in 2014, the most striking of which shows Allred holding press conferences with women alleging Bill Cosby sexually assaulted them after spiking their drinks. This news would become a huge media story around the world.
Along with looking at Allred’s life, “Seeing Allred” also highlights the landmark moments leading up to the current #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. Before the bombshell stories emerged about Harvey Weinstein, Allred was representing women willing to go on the record and allege they had been sexually abused by Cosby — and soon after, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump.
The movie also looks back on Allred's history as a dogged advocate. In the 1970s, Allred, who had begun practicing law, was suddenly on talk shows and rallies being a vocal leader on women's issues like sexual harassment in the workplace and the wage gap. Women had someone they could turn to at a time when few lawyers would take on these issues.
The emergence of #MeToo
The challenge for the filmmakers came when the Weinstein allegations surfaced and the #MeToo movement went viral. Or when, as Kauffman put it, “The world changed.”
“We thought the film was done,” Grossman said.
“I had a day of panic,” Sartain said, in response to a question of how the filmmakers approached the idea of including the #MeToo movement in the movie.
“We knew we had to get this moment in as we felt [Allred] in part is responsible for it,” Grossman said. “It just reframed everything.”
But with a deadline looming and knowing that Allred's constant work meant the film would have to end while she was still in the middle of cases — Allred represents numerous women who have come forward saying Weinstein assaulted them — they couldn’t delve too heavily into #MeToo.
Then there’s the fact that Allred’s daughter, attorney Lisa Bloom, was an advisor to Weinstein when the story in The New York Times came out (Bloom resigned soon after the story ran), something that is touched on very briefly in the movie.
“That was all happening right as we were finishing, we didn’t want it to hijack the film,” Grossman said of Bloom's involvement with Weinstein.
The filmmakers ended up using the post-Weinstein allegations as a way to close out the movie, with Allred simply saying in a voiceover, "The fight has just begun."
What the movie does drive home is the shift in how Allred is portrayed now in the media. The lawyer, once the butt of jokes by late-night hosts and even portrayed on an episode of “South Park,” is now being championed for her work.
“Gloria Allred is a metaphor for the entire movement,” Kauffman said of #MeToo and Time’s Up. “People look at her as strident, a loud mouth, you can list the adjectives, but people said the same thing about feminists. I think in the film, by deepening her it deepens the movement, and it lets you see beyond what most people think is a brashness. Also, if she was a man fighting for something she'd be portrayed as an incredible leader.”
50 Cent has figured out a way to make a killing in the struggling music industry, and it involves everyone's favorite cryptocurrency.
The rapper, best known for his string of chart-topping hits in the early 2000s, says that he accepted bitcoin as payment for his 2014 album "Animal Ambition," according to a report from TMZ. It was worth roughly $662 a coin back then, and TMZ sources say 50 Cent was able to rake in a total of 700 bitcoin.
Now that the red-hot cryptocurrency has exploded higher, trading around $11,300, his 700-bitcoin stash is worth somewhere between $7 million and $8.5 million, TMZ calculates.
This isn't the first time 50 Cent has found himself in a lucrative investment situation. About a decade ago, he became a minority shareholder and celebrity spokesperson for VitaminWater, only to make a whopping $100 million after taxes after its parent company was purchased for $4.1 billion, according to Forbes.
While 50 Cent was certainly ahead of the curve in terms of transacting bitcoin, he's not alone. In a recent op-ed for Business Insider, Seattle Seahawks superstar Richard Sherman said that his online store started accepting the cryptocurrency "long before people were campaigning for Amazon to allow virtual currencies as a payment method."