from sony entertainment

How Sony deals with fandoms

I’ve been to an international in-house PR summit hosted by one of my clients this week and nearly fell off my chair when one of the guest speakers was a VERY important person from Sony Music Entertainment. Let’s call him John. I won’t disclose his function and real name because I don’t want to reveal where I was, but based on his title he definitely knows what he‘s saying and has a lot of industry experience.

His speech was mainly  about how to engage with a variety of different target audiences. Of bloody course one of the first slides he showed was a picture of 1D engaging with fans which was supposed to drive the point home that there are some audiences who are more passionate about a brand than others.He mentioned then that he’s worked with 1D on their albums which drove me into a bit of a freeze.

Because I’m embarrassing, I recorded parts of his speech on my phone and wrote the most important things down to share some interesting insights he gave about how Sony manages their artists’ target audiences, crafts their artists’ social media actions and deals with the fact that at the end of the day they always need to get people to buy music.

 

HOW DOES SONY UNDERSTAND AND MONITOR AUDIENCES (like fandoms for instance)?

According to John, they have their very own data-driven digital tool that helps them identify and manage different target groups for an artist (it’s not perfected yet but has been rolled out a lot of countries, I think he said 50?) and see where there might be connections to other artists, who the influencers are, what the specific target groups are or will be interested in and to identify collaboration opportunities.

Target groups are being split into four categories: Fanatics, enthusiasts, casuals, indifferents. These segments are being broken down into even smaller groups defined by age, genre preference, gender and country. They found that the older you get, the less likely you’ll be a fanatic or enthusiast.

How does Sony find this stuff out? Well, they survey polled music audiences of every age in a way that covers either nationally representatives or represent one of the major top tier cities. People shared their music preferences, consumption habits, lifestyle, media habits etc. Sony gathered all that information, analysed the insights and created their own audience understanding tool.

According to John, that way everyone at Sony has access to an interactive map of the world of Sony that looks into segmentations and audiences for every artist while being searchable in a number of different ways. The tool is pulling from real data, but they are also adding to that „with things like analytics of platforms like Spotify where we are able to gather lots of informations about user behaviours and reference that against things that we do“.

 

HOW SONY STRATEGICALLY SHAPES PR STORIES

John gave the example of Snoop Doggy Dog who had launched a new album (song? Idk) around that time: „There was a week-long debate in parliament around the legalization of Marihuana, so we just jumped on this conversation and did lots of social marketing around Snoop with his rolling papers and his spliffs… so maybe that’s bad taste, I’ll allow you to judge that for yourselves. The point is though that you are also marketing into a wider cultural context. [You need] an understanding how that works and where you can have a conversation that is seamless and not fake, genuineness is quite important.

“The way you can get people to connect is: You’ve got a lot of stuff that you want to say. Start under the assumption that people actually don’t give a shit about 95 percent of it. And then see which are the bits that might overlap. This is where the understanding of the audience really comes into its own. It forces us to think before we jump to execution. The quest for relevance is vitally important.”

Why are people to connect with a brand/band though? John thinks this is one of the most underused questions when planning an approach. Why is it that they do specific things? He gave an example: „We would normally take a record to radio because we always believe that radio is the thing that breaks the record. But if my core audience, my phase one audience – the people that are gonna give that band its first lift – are on Spotify, what am I doing on radio??“


ENGAGEMENT AROUND ARTIST IS KEY

„The thing is that you don’t start with a conversation around a product. The consumption of the product is the end point of a journey where you built an engagement and a fan. So again, for us that means that when we sit down and do our plan around our next Robbie Williams album, we start with „How are we gonna maximize the engagement around Robbie Williams“? because that will then sell us albums. Not „Okay, we’ll be releasing in a week in November, eight weeks out we need to be here, here and here“. So we’re not doing product launches anymore unless [it is suitable for the target demographic]. We have to built a tension and an engagement around an artist.“

 

ABOUT THEIR ARTISTS‘ SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS

„We run most of our artists social media channels or at least their official  pages, so we are involved in all of those conversations.“


Shocking, I know.

Based on the situation we face in this fandom,with this band, feel free to draw your own conclusions about what this information means.

HERE ARE MY KEY TAKEAWAYS:

1.       It’s not news at all, but the existence of their own audience understandig tool confirms it: the 1D fandom is being monitored, segmented and analyzed. Sony’s strategies are tightly tied to that fact. Collaborations or artist interactions such as Louis/James Arthur or One Direction/ Little Mix are most likely the result of a data-driven analysis of whose fan groups are similar and whose are likely to be open towards that particular other artist too.

2.       Again no news, but the example of Snoop Doggy Dog shows that there are strategies behind even the most random photos. Often placements of specific pictures or stories serve a wider purpose. Hello pap walks, hello b**ygate, hello Louis Twitter, hello Liam visibly being linked to L.A.‘s cool singer/songwriter crowd before his first album drop.  

3.       The decision to not promote Louis‘ song could very well have been a logical outcome of the team asking themselves the question „Why?“: Why should we promote his song with huge effort when we KNOW his own fans are going to do it passionately, especially if they think  we don’t give a shit? Why not playing that game in order to make them promo it the hardest way they can?“ Why indeed??

4.       One Direction is a huge deal for Sony. John was talking about a lot of bands during his speech but whenever he was talking about major acts, he always listed One Direction amongst them (along with gems like Beyonce, David Bowie, Adele). He name-dropped them at least 5 -6 times in a 60 minute speech. He really didn’t have to because the audience was in no way whatsoever a target audience. So yes, they clearly have been and are a very huge deal for them.

5.       The part about social media? Well :))))))

The strange life of video game voice actor Ashly Burch

It took two years for Ashly Burch to record all of Aloy’s dialogue in Horizon Zero Dawn.

This was after about a year of auditioning for a mysterious new project from the creators of the Killzone series – Burch had no idea what this new game was or even which role she was auditioning for. She had no idea it was the beginning of a new mainstream, multi-million dollar franchise from Sony Interactive Entertainment, and she didn’t even realize she was reading for the lead role.

“I think I’m just extremely lucky,” Burch says. “I had no idea what Life is Strange was going to be when I auditioned. I had no idea what Horizon was going to be when I auditioned.”


Read the entire interview here: www.engadget.com

Crossing Borders: Boris Kaufman

After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Boris Kaufman moved with his family to newly independent Poland. He later went to Paris to study, fought in the French Army, and, when France fell to Germany, left for Canada and eventually the US. Director Elia Kazan chose Kaufman as Director of Photography for “On the Waterfront,” which won eight Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography. Learn about Kaufman and other immigrant artists: mo.ma/crossingborders.
….
Our digital exhibition “Crossing Borders,” presented as part of our #CitizensBorders initiative, showcases works from MoMA’s collection by artists who immigrated to the U.S., often as refugees in search of safe haven. Explore all the works at mo.ma/crossingborders

[Elia Kazan. “On the Waterfront.” c.1954. 35mm film (black and white, sound). Acquired from Columbia Pictures. Restored with funding from the Sony Pictures Entertainment/Columbia Pictures preservation program.]

deadline.com
Enrique Murciano Joins Cast Of ‘The Blacklist’ On NBC In Major Role
EXCLUSIVE: Enrique Murciano has been tapped as a major new cast addition on NBC’s drama series The Blacklist, from Sony TV and Davis Entertainment. The Without a Trace alum has joined the thr…
By Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Enrique Murciano has been tapped as a major new cast addition on NBC’s drama series The Blacklist, from Sony TV and Davis Entertainment. The Without a Trace alum has joined the thriller drama for the last five episodes of the current fourth season with an option to be a series regular next season, pending renewal.

Marciano will play Julian Gale, an FBI investigator and Ressler’s (Diego Klattenhoff) former colleague, whose obsessive tendencies make him both a valuable agent and a potential liability.  Dedicated, driven and possessed of a quiet charisma, he can command a room or a crime scene without uttering a word. And yet, his new assignment puts him in danger of losing himself.

The Blacklist could use some cast reinforcement as one of the original series regulars, Ryan Eggold, is transitioning to topline spinoff series The Blacklist: Redemption.

The Blacklist’s casting keeps Murciano in the Sony TV family, coming off a co-starring role on the studio’s Netflix drama series Bloodline.

Murciano also recently recurred on Starz’s Power and did features Bright for Netflix and David Ayer and Rock that Body for Columbia. He is repped by Gersh and Management 360.

(Thank you @2redpyewackets!  Ressler’s former colleague!?! I like the sound of this!)

Mariah Carey Announces Partnership With Epic Records, New Album for Later This Year

If you’re one of the many Lambs who have been waiting for a new Mariah Carey album, your wait will be over by the end of 2017.

It was announced Monday (April 10) that the 47-year-old singer that her Butterfly MC Records is teaming up with Epic Records. Terms of the partnership have not been disclosed, but it will include a new album to come “later this year.”

“To continue working with Mariah Carey at Epic has been another rewarding chapter of my career,” Epic Records chairman-CEO L.A. Reid said in a statement. “Mariah’s incomparable talents as a singer, with her vocal range that is nothing short of legendary, are matched by her brilliance as a songwriter, producer, and performer par excellence. Mariah’s chart records have established her enduring place in music history, a position that is cherished and supported by her loyal fans worldwide. I look forward to building upon all of Mariah’s success for years to come.”

After a rather tumultuous exit from Sony Music Entertainment (where she started her career in 1990) in 2000, Carey returned to Sony Music in 2015 when Reid personally signed her to Epic. The two had previously worked together on her 2005 album The Emancipation of Mimi, which was recorded/released while Reid was at Universal Music label Island Def Jam.

No further details regarding Carey’s forthcoming album were given, but with a summer tour lined up (with Lionel Richie) and the return of her Las Vegas residency set for July, it could be sooner than later.

“I am putting my heart and soul into making more new music,” Carey said in a press release. “I am so thrilled for this next chapter and to continue working with, and for, everyone that I love.”


// billboard.com //

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Breaking Bad - the Barrel

Format: 17 blu ray discs

Release Date: Dec 2013

Original Price: RRP £110, bought for £88 due to damaged packaging, last sold at £295 on eBay. And £599.95 on Amazon UK! 

Rating: ★★★★☆ Unobtanium 

This is a lovely set. In the same way The OC photobook suits that series perfectly, Walter Whites’ greedy barrel forms the basis of this stunningly realised set from Sony Home Entertainment. Who, you ask? Well exactly. I’m not familiar with Sony’s releases, and when they said ‘Amazon Exclusive Limited Edition’ I wasn’t going to chance waiting around for a sale on it. Thank god I didn’t, because this thing was gone before it was even released.

It was my main Christmas present in 2013 and I still don’t regret it. Now - a confession. The first time I pre-ordered it, I paid full price, £110. The demand for the item totally outstripped supply, (being a ‘limited edition’, the series having only recently ended and still being red hot) and it wasn’t long before the box set hit new levels of value. I sold my first set for £220, exactly double what I paid for it. I figured if it mattered that much to someone else, who was I to keep it from them (I was pretty poor at the time). Somehow I managed to keep an eye glued to the product page on Amazon (it was their exclusive whereas it was more plentiful in America, though more expensive!) and a Christmas miracle occurred when they sporadically added small quantities (cancelled orders perhaps) and I snagged another set right before the big Christmas day! 

That arrived with far less fanfare than the set I’d sold and shipped, without the protective bag, the barrel had most definitely rolled and accumulated scuffing to the case (see top pic). I asked Amazon what I could do, as the item was long gone again. They offered me £22 to keep it, which I wasn’t going to turn down. Like channeling Walter White, buying this boxset has actually made me money $$$. 

And isn’t that the spirit of Breaking Bad? All 5.5 seasons of the show are here, along with the exclusive bonus disc that I just couldn’t be without that contains a feature-length documentary of the making of the final half-season, winningly titled ‘No Half Measures.’ 

Fun anecdote about that final year; I’d been obsessively attached to it while in America that very summer,

  • mostly on an iPhone 5 screen through the summer camp Wi-Fi at 1am when I should have been in bed, 
  • seeing the ‘showdown’ episode in a cramped Midtown Manhattan ‘Holiday Inn’ and having to turn the TV set away from my friends who hadn’t watched it yet but would, my shocked face and desperation to talk to someone about it getting too much, 
  • and cumulating in watching the penultimate episode in a Williamsburg bar with a 200-strong crowd of fans, and 2 new Australian friends we’d met that week at Book of Mormon. This show was truly global, and everyone’s reaction to the episode were just as epic as the beats the show was hitting.)

I’m digressing, but you get the idea; this show was dynamite. It deserved the best collection it could get, and that’s what you get in this set. 

The discs get ported over from their individual releases, and they’re pretty good editions, with lots of commentaries and featurettes I’ve worked through. The thing I was worried about buying this set was losing the sumptuous artwork from each season. Luckily, this has all been retained on the double page spreads in the series guide booklet. I LOVE THAT THEY DID THIS and the artwork looks even better given landscape room to breathe here. 

Plus - magnets. MAGNETS! They used magnets to seal the barrel, and to encase the discs in their plastic holders. Not only that, but each plastic slide contains a cryptic illustration, which when combined with all slides from that season, forms an iconic image from that season. Place it in front of the disc art, and you have it’s original background too. Genius. 

Onto extra trinkets, Vince Gilligan’s opening letter was a nice touch, it was kind of what I and other fans needed going into the Breaking Bad-less world of 2014. The challenge coin is a nice weighty feature, and has an origin in them doing it annually for the cast and crew who made the show. There’s also a Los Pollos Hermanos apron which I’ve kept sealed in its money-branded container (the money is what you see when you take the lid off the barrel). 

I’m proud of Sony Entertainment for making this barrel. Only a show at the height of it’s powers could pull something like this off, and make it work. My first one might have been sold, but this one’s not going anywhere.

SMURFY NEWS FLASH!!

I’m happy to report that I’ve gotten confirmation from Sony Pictures Entertainment that my UNTITLED SMURFS MOVIE has a new release date: it will be coming out internationally in July 2016 and in the USA on August 5, 2016, one year later than originally planned when this project was initially conceived as a live action / animation hybrid SMURFS 3. This is a great thing for my team and me, since we are performing such a major re-imagining of the Smurf universe into a more Peyo look. We have lots of story, visual development, character designs and rigs, environments, assets, props…everything…and we need this added new production time to “get all our Smurfs in a row” and make the best movie possible.

Remember, this is not a sequel nor a prequel. It’s a whole NEW Smurf adventure! As a director, I’m very grateful to be given the proper time to make the movie I want to make and not have to compromise the quality on any front. Most all animated features, especially those from major studios, require at least 3 - 4 years to make (some far longer), and while this Smurfs movie will still be on a faster track than most, I’m really happy Sony has made this important decision. Quality is a huge priority and it is no small task to achieve, especially on an animated feature.

This all new Smurfs movie deserves the best, and Sony obviously knows and respects that.

So onward and Smurfward to summer 2016!

- KA

PlayStation Original POWERS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON Available on Blu-ray & DVD July 14

CULVER CITY, Calif. (May 26, 2015) - POWERS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON, a PlayStation Original series, is the first scripted series for PlayStation Network. The series will be available on Blu-ray and DVD July 14 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Based on the 2004 comic book series of the same name from artist Michael Avon Oeming and writer Brian Michael Bendis (TV’s “Ultimate Spider-Man”), the series stars Sharlto Copley (District 9), Susan Heyward (TV’s “The Following”), Noah Taylor (TV’s “Game of Thrones”), Olesya Rulin, Adam Godley, Max Fowler, with Michelle Forbes (TV’s “Orphan Black”) and British actor and comedian Eddie Izzard (TV’s “United States of Tara”). Set amidst today’s celebrity-obsessed culture, POWERS asks the question, what if the world was full of superheroes who aren’t actually heroic at all?

POWERS follows LAPD “Powers Division” detectives Christian Walker (Copley) and Deena Pilgrim (Heyward) as they investigate homicide cases involving people with superhuman abilities. Walker, once operating as a power until he lost his abilities to the super villain Wolfe (Izzard), now operates with just a gun and a badge to take down the formidable foes plaguing Los Angeles. The POWERS cast also includes Logan Browning (TV’s “Hit the Floor”).

POWERS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON will be available on both Blu-ray and DVD as a three-disc set with all 10 episodes. Both the Blu-ray and DVD will include the featurette “Policing the All Powerful: Envisioning and Filming Powers”; exclusive to the Blu-ray will be an additional featurette, “From One Visual Medium to Another: The Art and Adaptation of Powers,” as well as deleted scenes and outtakes.

What if the world was full of superheroes who aren’t actually heroic at all? What if all their “powers” were just one more excuse for mischief, mayhem, murder, and endorsement deals? Enter the men and women of the Powers Division, the brave people in charge of protecting humans like us and keeping the peace over commercialized, god-like men and women who glide through the sky imposing their power over the mortals who both worship and fear them. Based on the graphic novel by Michael Avon Oeming and Brian Michael Bendis, the edgy and dramatic POWERS follows the lives of two homicide detectives, Christian Walker (Sharlto Copley) and Deena Pilgrim (Susan Heyward), who are assigned to investigate these cases.

DVD/Blu-ray Special Features:
“Policing the All Powerful: Envisioning and Filming Powers”

Blu-ray Exclusive Special Features:
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes
“From One Visual Medium to Another:The Art and Adaptation of Powers”

POWERS: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON has a running time of approximately 437 minutes and is not rated.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00XVJ3LUI?tag=tvshowsondvdcom&link_code=as3&creativeASIN=B00XVJ3LUI&creative=373489&camp=211189

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From Variety:

Sony Pictures Entertainment has chosen to stand down for “The Interview,” deciding against releasing the Seth Rogen-James Franco comedy in any form — including VOD or DVD, as U.S. officials reportedly link Sony’s massive cyber attack to North Korea.

“Sony Pictures has no further release plans for the film,” a spokesman said Wednesday.

The studio issued the statement a few hours after pulling the planned Christmas Day release of “The Interview” in the U.S. in response to the hackers who threatened a 9/11-style attack against U.S. theaters and moviegoers if the comedy were released.

By late Wednesday afternoon, the studio had removed any mention of “The Interview” from its official web site. 

The move could open the door for Sony to sell the rights to a rival distributor — though Hollywood is still reeling from Tuesday’s invocation of a possible terrorist attack on exhibitors if they screened “The Interview.”

Prior to the decision to pull the controversial movie, a Sony Pictures insider had told Variety that the studio was weighing releasing the film on premium video-on-demand. Such a move would have allowed the studio to recoup some of the film’s $42 million budget and tens of millions in promotion and advertising expenditures.

deadline.com
'The Blacklist' Spinoff starring Famke Janssen in the works at NBC
After successfully spinning off its Chicago franchise, NBC is looking to do the same with its drama The Blacklist, from Sony TV and Davis Entertainment.
By Nellie Andreeva

After successfully spinning off its Chicago franchise, NBC is looking to do the same with its drama The Blacklist, from Sony TV and Davis Entertainment. The network is pursuing a potential offshoot series toplined by X-Men star Famke Janssen. Like with the Chicago series, the network is taking a planted spinoff approach, with Episode 322 of The Blacklist, which airs May 12, serving as a pilot for the potential new series. It will be directed by Michael Dinner (Justified, Masters of Sex).

Janssen will be introduced in the episode before the planted spinoff, Episode 321 airing on May 5. She will play Susan “Scottie” Halsted. It will be the female lead if NBC proceeds with the series, a decision which will likely be made in the next month and a half. 

No details are being provided on Janssen’s character or the storyline for the spinoff but I hear that Susan “Scottie” Halsted was conceived to be to Tom (Ryan Eggold) what Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader) is to Liz (Megan Boone). Both actresses in their 60s and 50s were considered for the role. Making Episode 322 a planted spinoff was contingent on finding a star name to play Scottie, with the contingency lifted by the casting of Janssen. 

The Blacklist, now in its third season, was a breakout hit for NBC when it launched in fall 2013. The drama has been dinged in the ratings since it was moved from its lofty Monday 10 PM perch to anchor NBC’s struggling Thursday lineup at 9 PM but it has done a respectable job in its challenging new slot and continues to be very strong in delayed viewing.

In addition to The Blacklist offshoot, NBC has Episode 21 of Chicago PD, which serves as a planted spinoff for a fourth Chicago series, Chicago Justice.

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Could Microsoft be buying not only the license for silent hills, but the entire silent hill franchise from konami??? Id honestly rather see the IP be purchased from Sony Computer Entertainment, but I guess you cant really do much worse than Konami… Or can you? Lets hope Sony will catch wind and save what was once their game, though they may not be able to financially compete with microsoft.