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In what must be a public relations nightmare for the government in Pyongyang, a growing number of North Koreans are not only aware of Sony Pictures' "The Interview" - but want to view the movie. The North Korean State Security Department and The Ministry of People's Security collaborated in a meeting to try to limit how the movie is able to enter the country.
There are reports of North Korean citizens interested in paying upwards of $50 for a copy of "The Interview," a significantly higher price than other movies available on the black market. North Korean officials have increased border security, and have instructed handlers of black market materials to avoid US material.
"Think of the movie as Chernobyl for the digital age," wrote Rich Klein, from the McLarty Associates advisory firm, in a Washington Post statement. "Just as the nuclear catastrophe in the Soviet Union and the dangerously clumsy efforts to hide it exposed the Kremlin's leadership as inept and morally bankrupt, overseeing a superpower rusting from the inside, so does 'The Interview' risk eroding the myths, fabrications and bluster that keep the Kim dynasty in power."
Popular HBO show "Game of Thrones" maintained its spot as the most pirated TV show of the year, topping the list for the third consecutive year. The shows was downloaded an estimated 8.1 million times throughout the year via BitTorrent, and has topped "The Sopranos" as the most-watched HBO show ever made.
"Game of Thrones" also set a record when 254,114 users downloaded and shared the same torrent file.
"The Walking Dead" had an estimated 4.2 million downloads while "Breaking Bad" rounded out the No. 3 spot as the most pirated TV show, collecting 3.6 million downloads.
Sony Pictures originally pulled "The Interview" from theaters, bowing to terrorist threats issued by the Guardians of Peace, but is looking for different online methods to distribute the controversial movie. It's possible Sony could release the movie on the Crackle online streaming video service, as a way for interested fans to watch the movie.
"Sony has been fighting to get this picture distributed," said David Boies, Sony attorney. "How it's going to be distributed, I don't think anybody knows quite yet. But it's going to be distributed."
The entire Sony Pictures drama has taken many peculiar turns, and CEO Michael Lynton admitted the company has struggled to find streaming or video-on-demand distribution partners. However, BitTorrent is willing to help Sony Pictures share The Interview, though sharing it on Crackle could also be extremely effective - as social media will certainly help drive viewers to the movie.
If Sony Pictures truly doesn't want to release "The Interview" into theaters, BitTorrent would be more than happy to help the studio share its controversial movie. BitTorrent says its BitTorrent Bundle service would be a legal method for the movie to be distributed, instead of releasing the film to online video sites and via pirated torrenting.
"Though we normally would not offer commentary during such a trying time for another company, the answer is yes," BitTorrent officials said in a statement. "BitTorrent Bundle is in fact the very best way for Sony to take back control of their film, to not acquiescence to terrorist threats, and to ensure a wide audience can view the film safely. It would also strike a strong note for free speech."
After Sony decided to pull the movie - a decision which it is second-guessing, while considering still releasing the movie - there has been a large amount of criticism. Pres. Obama said Sony made the wrong decision, while Hollywood actors also heavily criticized the decision.
AMC Theatres has partnered with MoviePass to launch a pilot theater subscription service that will allow subscribers to see movies for a monthly fee, instead of per screening. The standard MoviePass subscription allows for one movie per day in 2D for $35 per month, while the MoviePass Premium costs $45 per month and allows for one movie per day in any presentation format.
The trial will launch in Boston and Denver starting in early 2015, the companies said in a press release.
"This is the first time a premium level subscription service has been launched in the U.S. and marks a significant step forward by offering passionate movie lovers the premium sight and sound experiences available in movie theatres," said Stacy Spikes, MoviePass CEO and co-founder, in a press statement.
The HBO Go app is now available on the Amazon Fire TV, with support for the Fire TV Stick expected next spring. Until HBO launches a standalone streaming service, interested users will still need to authenticate their cable or satellite subscription.
"Given our longstanding relationship with Amazon, we're delighted to bring HBO Go to Amazon's Fire TV - offering our vast collection of award-winning TV series and movies to Fire TV users," said Jeff Dallesandro, HBO VP of Digital Domestic Network Distribution, in a press statement. "We're thrilled to add this platform to the suite of HBO Go viewing options, offering our subscribers compelling new experiences like Amazon's unified voice search."
The Amazon Fire TV is available for $79, $20 cheaper than normal, until December 28, as Amazon and HBO celebrate the adoption of HBO Go.
Half of US American adults binge-watch their favorite TV shows, watching episodes back-to-back, a new PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey discovered. The survey also found that 60 percent of Americans watch at least three or more episodes of a TV show once per month or more, with younger generations binge-watching content on a more frequent basis.
"They are binge-viewing just to keep up," said Matt Lieberman, PwC entertainment, media and communications director, in a statement to The Huffington Post. "We heard stories of consumers filling up their DVRs with their favorite series and also starting/stopping online subscription services just to get to their favorite content."
It would make sense that consumers binge-watch TV, as many broadcasters show multiple episodes - or marathons - of popular TV content. Not surprisingly, Netflix has helped video viewers evolve into binge-watchers, unveiling entire seasons of popular TV shows - if not the entire TV series - at once.
HBO reportedly will push its standalone video service live in April, just in time for the Game of Thrones season premiere, according to unconfirmed reports. It would be great timing for HBO, as Game of Thrones averages 18.4 million viewers per episode, and could attract users to the service.
HBO has remained silent about the report, but the memo was issued by Mark Thomas, HBO SVP of technology program management, along with Drew Angeloff, HBO SVP of digital products.
HBO and other broadcasters want to embrace streaming video - utilizing standalone Internet-based services - as a way to attract customers interested in cord cutting. There has been some resistance to the effort, especially from cable and satellite providers, but premium subscription companies must adjust based on changing customer demands.
The use of live video broadcasting could potentially transition itself to become the new "selfie" by 2017, according to the Gartner research group. Business workers and home users will transition from traditional static photos to video, and live video will become even more popular. It's not uncommon for workers to use Skype, Microsoft Lync, and other services to conduct video calls and conferences - and that trend should only accelerate further.
"The next generation of consumer services and products has one main theme in common and that is video," said Brian Blau, Gartner research director. "This means incorporating live video or other real-time technologies into products to engage users in live events and enable more personalized communications, providing better customer support, and offering best-of-breed video and TV experiences to connected homes."
Live video technology will become more accessible and will become commonly used on smartphones and tablets to desktop applications used for customer support services.
Psy took the world by storm with his "Gangnam Style" music video in 2012, and it remains so popular that it broke the YouTube original view counter. Based on a 32-bit integer, the YouTube original view counter effectively maxed out at 2,147,483,647, and Google has now transitioned to a 64-bit view counter.
The new view counter can track a figure as high as 9 quintillion views, Google noted. "We never thought a video would be watched in numbers greater than a 32-bit integer (=2,147,483,647 views), but that was before we met Psy," a Google blog post reported. "'Gangnam Style' has been viewed so many times we have to upgrade!"
Gangnam Style still has a healthy lead in the top 10 most watched YouTube videos, and surpassed 2,152,512,000 video views as of late Wednesday morning.