Wednesday Links: Cinematical, Blockbuster, Harry Met Sally 2

Shifting back into project mode, but first, here are some links:

  • There has been quite a bit of discussion today about the “implosion” taking place at Cinematical. Until this morning, I’d missed the story, but Movie City News brought my attention to the fact that Erik Davis, a longtime writer and editor for the site, had tendered his resignation. Meanwhile Mary Ann Johanson offers a more detailed explanation of why Cinematical, a long-running film blog that dates back to 2005, may be seeing its last days as a prominent source for film news: the Huffington Post-AOL merger. As Johanson reports, the new management at AOL/HuffPo sent out an email to their freelancers telling them, “You will be invited to contribute as part of our non-paid blogger system.” That’s awfully kind of them, isn’t it? I am sad to see Cinematical coming apart like this. When I was writing my book and for many years since, it has been a major go-to site for impassioned coverage of the film industry, but I think it also shows the fragility of the professional film and media blogosphere.
  • New Tee Vee asks a really interesting question: why is Dish TV willing to pay $320 million dollars to take over Blockbuster Video? They don’t really come up with a clear answer, but one partial answer might be that Blockbuster owns streaming rights to a number of movie titles.
  • Speaking of rights issues, the MPAA is planning to urge Congress to take up legislation banning “rogue” websites that are pirating Hollywood films. With former Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd now leading the MPAA, it will be interesting to see what happens with this kind of lobbying.
  • One reason why piracy is so important: Convergence Consulting Group is estimating that streaming TV will be an $800 million business within two years. Tech Crunch has a pointer to some recent reports they have produced, including “Battle for the North American Couch Potato.”
  • Home Media Magazine is speculating that Redbox may partner with Hulu in its effort to launch a streaming video service.
  • Ted Striphas explores the implications of the latest Wired jargon, Culturomics, comparing it to his own attempts to read what he calls “algorithmic culture.” Wired’s Jonathon Keats discusses the term here and Brandon Keim mentions it in this blog post on the data-crunching possibilities found on Google books.
  • Finally, just for fun, the very amusing Funny or Die video, When Harry Met Sally 2. I don’t want to give anything away, but stick with the video. It gets much funnier about 2 minutes in.

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