It's the biggest night on the industry's calendar and the annual BVA Awards, held on Thursday May 1, didn't disappoint when it came to drama. Biggest winners of the night were Universal, with the major picking up three gongs, and, outside of the studios, Lionsgate, which also celebrated a hat-trick of awards. Warner and Fox each went home with a brace of awards while, on the retail side, Amazon, iTunes and LOVEFiLM shared the spoils, with a resurgent HMV also picking up one and Sainsbury's retaining its grip on the prestigious retail store group award.
We'll have a full list of the winners up on our website, with pictures, when we’ve shaken off our hangover, but here are the highlights: Universal already had the Retail Distributor Of The Year award in the bag for its impressive sales performance in 2013, it added to those with Specialist Marketing Initiative Of The Year for Jack Dee So What Live and Children’s Marketing Initiative for Barbie In The Pink Shoes.
In what is becoming something of a tradition, Lionsgate had another strong awards performance, its gongs were for Film Marketing Initiative (Non-theatrical), aka the DTV award (by our reckoning, this is one of the most prestigious, given that it is for films which start with little or no pre-awareness generated by theatrical teams), for Green Street 3: Never Back Down. Its other Marketing award came for films in the £1 million to £3 million bracket, for Texas Chainsaw (we covered some of its work here), while it also picked up the prestigious Best British Authored Disc gong, shared jointly with Icon and Sony DADC for its work on the Hammer classic Dracula. Lionsgate’s Kaz Mills said: “We are exceptionally proud of our wins at the BVAs last night - and we are very grateful to have received this recognition from the judges. The team at Lionsgate have worked tirelessly over the past 12 months to achieve stunning results and last night is testament to the incredible talent and hard work of a fantastic team."
Fox’s awards came for Retail Title, for the bestselling performance of Skyfall (3 million plus units in 2013 alone), while its Skyfall train initiative (see here) won the Creative Initiative award. Warner picked up a brace, for Marketing Initiative for films with a box office of between £3 million and £10 million for Pacific Rim, as well as the catalogue campaign Marketing Initiative award for its work on its 90th anniversary celebrations. Paramount won what is effectively the blockbuster category – Marketing Initiative for films with a box office of more than £10 million, for Star Trek Into Darkness.
Other winners included Kaleidoscope for Marketing Initiative for films with a box office of up to £1 million for Much Ado About Nothing. Studiocanal picked up the catalogue product award for The Wicker Man – The Final Cut, while the non-film awards went to Eagle Rock for music (The Rolling Stones Sweet Summer Sun) and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (for Breaking Bad The Final Season).
Retail-wise, Sainsbury’s was, as noted above, Retail Store Group, LOVEFiLM won the Rental Service award, amazon.co.uk was the Online Retailer, iTunes the Online Digital Service. Taylor Herring won the Supplier/Agency. HMV won the Retail Marketing Initiative for its Decades campaign.
And a coveted BVA Special Award was given to Eddie Cunningham, recently promoted to president, worldwide home entertainment for Universal, relocating to LA. The popular Cunningham, who crossed over the divide from retail, starting at Woolworths before heading to PolyGram, which in turn became part of Universal. Presenting him with his award, his old Woolies pal and former flatmate Charlie McAuley said: “Eddie has been a lifelong friend of mine since we were both at Woolworths at the start of our careers. Eddie's talent and contribution to the development of a hugely successful non-film business (as well as the overall video business) has been recognised with a promotion, from President International Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, based in London, to President Worldwide, Home Entertainment at Universal Pictures in Los Angeles, so that he can work his magic in the global market as he has in London. It gives me great pleasure to present him with this special BVA award in recognition of his great impact on the entire industry and we wish him all the best in his new role in LA."
Commenting on the awards in general, BVA director general Lavinia Carey said of the last awards in the role she has filled for more than 20 years, said: “This is an amazingly creative industry and shows it has the ability to innovate year after year to reach audiences in clever new ways, harnessing technology and inventing inspiring marketing tactics to make the most of the video business.” The BVA further thanked its assorted sponsors, who were (deep breath) 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Amaray (an ASG Company), Once Upon A Time (formerly the BGroup London), Cinram, Creo, CSG International, Delga Press, EDC, exertise MSE, Handle Recruitment, Koch Media, Lionsgate, Official Charts Company, Paramount Home Media Distribution UK, Premier (who were also the event organiser) Publicitymedia, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Universal Pictures (UK) Ltd, The Walt Disney Company and Warner Home Entertainment. Oh, and another fine DJ set from Neil Harrington at Go Entertain…
We'll have more on our website soon and more reaction and comment on next week's newsletter. Also on our website: we've got a look at 12 Years A Slave, more on Network's first feature film production, with plenty more going up over the weekend…
It was World IP Day this week and the event has coincided with a raft of activity, with PR thrusts from the Alliance For Intellectual Property, the Industry Trust, the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit and more. Let’s start with the Alliance and the organization has launched its own manifesto ahead of next year’s general election. The UK In 2020: A Vision For Growth For IP-rich Businesses calls on the next government to create an enforcement framework that works in a digital world, to ensure IP is recognised and to promote and protect businesses that depend on IP on an international level. Alliance chair Richard Mollet said: “The UK’ s creative and design industries and branded goods are global success stories which contribute to exports, help rebalance the economy and provide the public with brilliant, and much loved, music, books, films, TV programmes, videogames, products and services. However, whilst this and previous governments have taken some measures which promote our IP businesses, it is vital that this is continued and that the importance of the sector is understood and recognized by all the main parties and reflected in government policy. The next government, whatever party is in charge, must maintain incentives to invest, provide stability in our IP framework, and fight harder for our interests abroad. If it does this, creativity and innovation will continue to thrive and the UK will remain competitive in global markets while, providing consumers with the content, goods and services they love.”
The Industry Trust has teamed up with FACT to warn parents of the dangers of visiting illegal websites, issuing a study that showed many of them were rife with malware and credit card scams. The PR initiative was supported by mum and actress Zoe Lucker, who said: “As a parent I know how much my daughter loves to watch her favourite films and TV shows online, but I was shocked to find out just how easy it is to put your online safety and security at risk without even knowing. It’s why I’m urging parents to learn how to access film and TV content online safely and legally, and check out the tools and help that are available, such as FindAnyFilm.com.” FACT’s Kieron Sharp said: ““There’s a lot of work being done to block and take down these sites but it’s important to have your wits about you when watching film and TV online. You could end up getting far more than you bargained for when clicking on a link to watch a film or TV programme if it’s from an unauthorised site. Not only are you putting your personal security at risk, by using pirate websites you could be helping fund the organised criminal gangs who run these sites as a front for other cyber scams.” The Trusts Liz Bales added: ““We know parents are very concerned about online security. The majority of people do the right thing and access film and TV online legally from the wealth of official services, but our research shows it’s easy to be misled by sites posing as the real deal. It’s why the industry is committed to guiding parents and young people to sites where they can watch their favourite content safely and legally.”
Meanwhile, the City of London’s PIPCU marked the event by announcing that it had seen thousands of copyright infringing websites closed down and suspended since its inception less than a year ago. PIPCU head DCI Andy Fyfe said: “The fact PIPCU can announce on World IP Day that in the eight months since launching we have suspended more than 2,500 infringing websites is further evidence of the expertise of our officers and the level of their commitment to clamp down on IP crime. Behind many of these websites lies an organised crime gang funnelling off the money spent by unsuspecting customers on what they think are quality products. Consumers also need to be aware that by accessing websites like this they are running the risk of their personal details being compromised and being used for other fraudulent scams, as well as the exposing their computer to malicious malware.”
And Mike Weatherley MP, the prime minister’s IP advisor who is fast becoming the poster boy for the anti-piracy effort has also been busy. On the day itself, April 26, he won the support of PM David Cameron for the event. Cameron himself said: “World IP Day is a great opportunity for us all to think about what more we need to do to encourage and support that innovation and creativity. Helping UK business develop its IP has been a top priority for the government and we have made some good progress with new funding, new tax incentives and improved enforcement when things do go wrong. I want us to continue that journey.” Weatherley himself added: “Intellectual Property is so important to our country. The creative industries alone add over £70 billion to our economy, which is why we must protect that asset. I am pleased that the Prime Minister has marked the importance of Intellectual Property on World IP Day and will continue to champion the significance of IP in my role as his adviser.”
Weatherley was busy again later in the week, calling on advertisers to stop their spots appearing on copyright infringing websites. He is currently finalising a report with officers from PIPCU and the Intellectual Property Office looking at the thorny issue, with the aim of setting up a voluntary code of conduct for advertisers. Weatherley said: “Following the money is central to my campaign to tackle IP crime. It’s quite straightforward in that the primary driver for individuals hosting websites with illegal content is money. By cutting off this significant revenue stream, it is inevitable that thousands of websites will simply close down. While the music and film industries have been slow to adapt to the digital market, there are now a plethora of cheap and simple ways to get content legally.”
Meanwhile, back at the Alliance For Intellectual Property, the organization has announced that Eddy Leviten will become its new director general, officially taking over the role from Susie Winter who is leaving to join the Publishers Association. Leviten, who has spent the past eight years at FACT as director of communications, starts in June. Alliance chair Richard Mollet said: “I am delighted that Eddy will be taking on the role of director general, steering the Alliance and supporting the work of all its members. Eddy has been involved with the Alliance through FACT’s membership and has a great understanding of the value of intellectual property and how it underpins the UK’s economy. I also want to thank Susie for her hard work and achievements in the past eight years.” Leviten added: “I am very excited to be taking on this role promoting IP and working with Alliance members across the design, creative, manufacturing and retail sectors as they continue to innovate, support employment and drive growth. The launch of the Alliance Manifesto sets out a clear agenda for government that would help drive further growth and ensure the UK remains a world leader in innovation and creativity.”
Some sales news now and congratulations to indie label Soda Pictures which has just enjoyed one of its most successful first week sales performances ever with The Patrol. Commenting on its success, the company’s Louise Rae said: “The Patrol DVD has followed through on strong retailer momentum, pulling in a great first week and selling out in some grocery locations. It sold more than 6,000 units, reaching number 30 in the chart.”
Studiocanal, which picked up a BVA award for its catalogue work on The Wicker Man is certainly not resting on its laurels in 2014, with a whole raft of classic films, many celebrating landmark anniversaries, being lovingly restored and brought to the market in sparkling new editions under its Vintage Classics banner. Commenting on the titles, the company’s Alison Arber said: “Vintage Classics is a quality sub-brand from Studiocanal celebrating true film classics, digitally restored and released on special edition DVD, and for the first time on Blu-ray. The range includes much-loved Ealing comedies, Hammer Horror, British film noir and many more of the most iconic titles from film history. Recent additions to the collection include 60TH Anniversary editions of The Belles of St Trinian's, Hobson's Choice and An Inspector Calls. With stunning new artwork and an impressive array of brand new extra content, the Vintage Classics brand is a must for discerning film fans. We are extremely lucky and proud to have one of the country's largest and most prestigious British film libraries in the UK and we look forward to continue to grow the Vintage Classics branding over the coming years.”
Congratulations to our pals at TheHorrorShow.TV, who this week racked up another landmark as it added its 150th film to the service, as the burgeoning genre video on demand channel continues to go from strength to strength. “The physical market for genre titles remains phenomenally strong," commented co-founder David Hughes, "but there is a growing demand for horror on demand, and dedicated fans are not necessarily being catered to by the mainstream VOD outlets – they just don't care that much about horror, unless it's a triple-A title like The Conjuring or The Woman in Black. This gives TheHorrorSHow.TV an obvious and enviable niche to fill. Thanks to a growing number of t-vod deals with prominent genre distributors and aggregators means we've no shortage of new titles being added – we now have 150 films available to stream and/or download – and we've recently switched to a much bigger server, allowing us to offer hundreds more films with state-of-the-art streaming across a wide variety of platforms." The VOD outlet recently struck an investment partnership with independent producer and entrepreneur Jack Bowyer, which has meant an injection of new funds into the growing VOD concern. "With our new investment partner on board, we've been able to realise some of our ambitions as far as advertising, marketing and publicity is concerned," Hughes added, "and in the medium to long term, bring more titles to TheHorrorShow.TV as exclusives and digital early releases."
Beware of bogus websites – we’ve been alerted by a new phenomenon this week, as rental dealer Dave Wain, of Snips Video in the Wirral, noticed quotes appearing on sleeves for some independent releases from assorted websites. So he did a bit of digging – and discovered that it appears as if the websites that the quotes came from didn’t actually exist. We’re not going to name the guilty culprits, but retailers should keep an eye on DTV sleeves… Wain said: “It's a handful of companies at the moment, but it's beginning to be a regular occurrence with one of next weeks titles falling foul as well. I see my own customers reading these quotes and I find myself having to interject to say they're not actually credible. For an industry that is finding home entertainment a challenging proposition, surely the last thing these small companies want to do is damage their credibility? Personally I find it quite abhorrent.”
“On the whole, we are very encouraged by the ongoing trends toward digital.”
Time Warner cfo Howard Averill, announcing that there are now 17 million registered UltraViolet accounts, up 2 million since the end of 2013.
AT THE MOVIES
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 held off the challenge of new release The Other Woman, which took £2.6 million in its opening frame, to remain number one, the latest web-slinger’s adventures have now taken £16.5 million. Transcendence was the only other new entry, with £1.2 million in receipts.
Big comic book news of the week is that Zack Snyder, the man behind last year’s Man Of Steel, has signed up to helm another DC adaptation, Justice League. The film will follow the Batman Vs Superman flick currently in the works, and may arrive at cinemas as early as 2018…
Anyone who knows us well will know how much we love Dad’s Army 0 the BBC Worldwide complete box set is one of our most prized possessions – so we’re a bit uncertain how to take the news that the Home Guard sitcom is being revived for a new feature. Toby Jones is set to star as Captain Mainwaring, while Bill Nighy will play Sergeant Wilson. We’re just hoping it’s not as bad as Steve Martin’s take on another of our favourites, Bilko.
The other big news of the week – Star Wars casting aside, which, seeing as it’s been every on the Internet all week, we won’t patronise you by repeating – is that Steven Spielberg is set to direct a new adaptation of the much-loved children’s classic The BFG. He will begin filming the Roald Dahl adaptation next year…
SITE OF THE WEEK
TWEET OF THE WEEK
TRAILERS OF THE WEEK
The Simpsons. In Lego. Wow.
There’s a bit of buzz about this film, rated by those in the know
A trailer. For a trailer.
Another week, another Godzilla trailer…
Forthcoming from Artificial Eye…