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Pinewood Studios has launched a full service production company in Ireland

Pinewood Productions Ireland Limited is a full service production company based in the Irish Republic focusing on physical production administration.

Services will range from pre-production budgeting and location scouting, through facilities rentals and talent and crew sourcing for international clients shooting film and high end TV drama projects.

Pinewood is planning to hire a head of production to service the company.

Pinewood said that the move had been made in part in response to improvements in Irish tax breaks.

The social analytics company will add insight to Pandora's massive trove of data

Digital music continues to invest in big data. Pandora announced Tuesday it has agreed to acquire Next Big Sound, a music analytics company that tracks social and streaming activity. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The combination of Pandora’s listening data and Next Big Sound’s analytical capabilities will create a vital source of data,” said Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews.

The deal comes roughly seven months after Pandora debuted its Artist Marketing Platform, or AMP, a tool built in-house that provides artists with information on streams of their recordings. Next Big Sound will complement AMP and provide additional analysis on the listening activities and feedback -- the Pandora thumbs -- of 80 million monthly active users. Pandora also plans to use Next Big Sound to help brands choose artists with which to partner and analyze the results.

Other music companies have made similar moves. Apple acquired Semetric, the company behind Musicmetric, in January and Acnu in 2013. Both deals suggest Apple will provide analytics to artists and labels as has been done by Pandora and Spotify, which purchased The Echo Nest -- an audio analytics company similar to Pandora's home-grown Music Genome Project -- last year. Live Nation used its acquisition of BigChampagne in 2011 to form Live Nation Labs, which was dismantled in December.

Next Big Sound became an official data provider for Billboard in December of 2010, aggregating social metrics into a formula which makes the Social 50 chart. As of July 2014, Next Big Sound has also contributed to the Artist 100, Billboard’s artist-level ranking which mixes sales, airplay and streaming data from the Hot 100 and Billboard 200 with fan interactions across social media, as measured by Next Big Sound.

The need for analytics -- often to provide better tools for advertisers -- has been greater outside of music. Verizon's acquisition of AOL last week, widely seen as an ad play; Yahoo's acquisition of mobile analytics company Flurry and Twitter's deal for social analytics companies Bluefin Labs and Trendrr are another two analytics acquisitions in recent memory. Next Big Sound had raised $7.9 million of funding since its founding in 2009 from the likes of Foundry Group, SoftTech VC and TechStars, the startup incubator that provided the company its seed funding.

BBC and PBS team on Big Blue Live event

The BBC and PBS have commissioned a three part special from the BBC Natural History Unit that will see scientists, filmmakers and photographers and animal behaviorists come together for two weeks in late August and early September to document the rejuvenation of the once endangered and now thriving ecosystem of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in California.

Matt Baker, Liz Bonnin, Steve Backshall and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will present the three-part series live from Monterey Bay, California.

The special has been ordered for the BBC by Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One and Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History & Specialist Factual Formats.

Charlotte Moore says: "In this ambitious television first, BBC One will take viewers on an extraordinary oceanic journey and get up close and personal with marine life above and beneath the water. It promises to be an unmissable live TV event showcasing a spectacular display of sea creatures rarely seen in such close proximity."

Tom McDonald says: “I’m thrilled to be commissioning the Natural History Unit to produce this ambitious live series for BBC One. With a fantastic line-up of presenters in a unique location on the California coast, we will bring the UK audience closer than ever before to some of our most extraordinary marine life, giving them a ringside seat over a week in August to one of the greatest animal gatherings on Earth.”

James Honeyborne, Executive Producer, says: “The giants are returning. Join us live, as we celebrate the unique gathering of sea creatures at Monterey Bay - one of the most exciting and inspiring places on the planet."

Each year, marine animals, including blue whales, humpback whales, elephant seals, dolphins, sea otters and great white sharks gather off the coast of Monterey Bay. Many of the animals were once hunted to the brink of extinction. Now, along the Californian Coast, the hunting has stopped and the seas are protected; the team will investigate this success story and find out possible ways to safeguard the future of all seas.

Big Blue Live, 3x60, a BBC Production with PBS distributed by BBC Worldwide, will be executive produced by James Honeyborne and series produced by Adam White for the BBC’s Natural History Unit. Craig Hunter is the commissioning editor. It will transmit on BBC One later this year.

In addition, presenters and crew will be posting news, photos and clips of the action as it happens for Big Blue Live Digital – Never Miss A Moment. They will be joined by scientists and experts from around the bay and up and down the coast.

This is one of the first projects under a new multi-year co-production partnership between BBC and PBS, with the two public service broadcasters working together on new factual programming.

“PBS is excited to work with the BBC to break new ground in science and nature programming with Big Blue Live,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “Viewers can experience and participate in the drama of the ultimate reality show as it unfolds in the natural world.”

Vice President of Programming and Development Bill Gardner and Sr Director of Programming and Development Bill Margol will oversee the project for PBS.

Chinese government funds TV series coming soon to The Discovery Channel

A new three-part TV series on China by The Discovery Channel, co-funded and edited by the Chinese government, was announced in Beijing earlier this week.

Felicia Sonmez, in an entry for Agence France-Presse, said that the documentary titled "How China Works" was the latest effort by the Chinese government to project its soft power abroad.

In the words of presenter Danny Forster, the show will bring "cameras and questions to places outsiders are rarely permitted, to investigate the aspirations of the world's fastest-growing middle class."

The documentary, created with the "support and guidance" of The State Council Information Office (SCIO), the propaganda arm of China's Politburo, is part of a three-year deal in which Discovery will air an hour of Beijing-approved, China-themed programming each week. Enrique Martinez, acting president of Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, said that the programme was a collaboration between SCIO and Discovery. "Obviously, we have to pass certain filters editorially within our organisation as well as from a regulatory standpoint," he said.

When asked whether the documentary amounted to nothing more than an "advertorial" funded by the Chinese government, he replied: "I'd say just watch the shows. They're incredible, insightful, and just extremely deep analyses of what is transpiring." Jeremy Goldkorn, founder of Beijing-based Danwei which tracks Chinese media and internet, said that the SCIO's role was "to present the Chinese government point of view."

"What's quite funny is that Discovery Channel is saying it's a documentary," he said. "If Discovery Channel think there's no politics involved in this, they are kidding themselves."

For those readers who just can't wait for their latest dose of Chinese government programming, we recommend you watch their latest three-minute promotional video "The CPC is with you along with way" here.

By Dominic Jackson

Multimedia outfit Vice has launched Vice News: a new video-driven online channel aimed at a youth audience.

The new channel will feature new Vice hosts, international reporting, recurring franchises, and feature-length documentaries.

Vice said the new channel aimed to “fill a void left by mainstream media and news aggregation websites struggling to engage youth audiences and offer high-quality compelling digital programming.”

VICE News currently has reports from the Crimea and Caracas. VICE News documentaries at launch include “Killing Time in Kandahar,” an investigation into the first Spring fighting season between the Taliban and the Afghan National Army (ANA) without the presence of U.S. troops. Content will live on vicenews.com and a dedicated Vice News YouTube channel.

Viacom to rebrand C5 this year

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is to carry out a rebrand of Channel 5 this year.

Viacom has appointed Kerry Taylor as its first ever chief marketing officer (CMO) for its operations managed out of the UK, with an immediate brief to oversee the creative rebranding of C5.

The company has also confirmed the appointment of Jo Bacon, MTV UK’s VP, Marketing and Communications, to take on additional responsibility for marketing at C5, and lead the planning and execution of the rebrand reporting to Taylor.

Joint has been appointed as strategic agency for the rebrand of C5.

Taylor and Bacon will work with C5’s chief operating officer, Paul Dunthorne, and programme director, Ben Frow, on the rebrand.

It follows the completion of VIMN’s takeover of C5 and is scheduled to be delivered by the end of the year.

David Lynn, President of VIMN UK, Australia and Central and Eastern Europe, said the aim of the rebrand will be “to capture changing perceptions about the brand amongst lighter viewers as Channel 5 continues to improve programme range and quality and its ratings performance under Ben’s direction.”

Taylor will additionally have marketing oversight of VIMN’s pay TV brands – Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Channel, Spike and BET – in more than 30 countries, including the UK and Ireland, Russia, Hungary and Australia.

From http://www.televisual.com/ news

The Guitar Talent competition begins with Sky Arts ...

Axe attack! We’re delighted to say that our friends at Sky Arts have commissioned us to make a major news series called Guitar Star. It’s a search for a brand new star player of the UK’s favourite instrument. We’re opening the competition to anyone and everyone who thinks they’ve got what it takes to play in front of 30,000 people on the main stage at the Latitude Festival – because that’s the ultimate prize!

We’re looking for players of all ages and all styles – classical, jazz, rock, folk or country. Along the way our players will get to be mentored by some of the biggest guitar stars in the world and play at music’s most iconic venues.

At Somethin’ Else a passion for music runs from the taps, so this is a truly wonderful project to be involved with. We’re also excited to be working for the first time with co-production partners Group M Entertainment.

To find out more about Guitar Star click here

To apply and enter the competition click here

ABBEY ROAD LAUNCHES WORLDWIDE MUSIC PRODUCTION DIPLOMA

London’s Abbey Road Studios has moved into education by launching a 12-month Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering course for students around the world.

Abbey Road Institute will welcome students over the age 18 in locations around the world including the UK, Germany and Australia.

The syllabus has been developed by audio educational specialists in conjunction with Abbey Road Studios engineers, featuring a mix of theoretical and practical modules.

The course also covers other areas of the music industry, including studio management and music business administration. Universal-owned Abbey Road said the Institute’s lessons will be taught by qualified lecturers and recognised music industry experts including producers and label execs alongside guest lectures from Abbey Road engineers.

Peter Cobbin, Senior Director of Engineering at Abbey Road Studios said: “Abbey Road Institute benefits from the studios’ 80 years of audio expertise, distilling some of our knowledge into a curriculum of classroom learning and practical studio experience. I’m delighted that the Institute will nurture and inspire a new generation of audio professionals.”

The London Institute will be housed in Abbey Road’s north London studio complex and will provide students with access to brand new, purpose-built classroom and studio facilities. Students will also have the opportunity to use Abbey Road’s hallowed recording spaces, control rooms and equipment.

Luca Barassi, a qualified audio engineer with 12 years experience in audio education will head up Abbey Road Institute, London. He said,”Synonymous with excellence in recorded music for more than 80 years, Abbey Road’s continued success is largely due to its staff and their knowledge. Now we will be able to share some of this expertise in a course which will provide first-class vocational training for people interested in forging a career in the music industry.” Additional Abbey Road Institutes will launch in Berlin, Munich, Melbourne and Sydney for September 2015 intake with more locations to be announced shortly.

Students at these institutes will also have the opportunity to visit and learn at Abbey Road Studios in London – which have played host to recording artists including The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Kanye West, Elton John, Frank Ocean, Elbow, Lady Gaga and Adele.

By Music Business Worldwide

GoPro gets more action

Mark Burnett, five-time Emmy award winner and avid GoPro customer, said in a previous statement, “ we have used GoPro cameras in some of our biggest productions like Survivor and The Bible. GoPro has allowed us to capture and share fascinating new perspectives that previously weren’t possible or were too costly, which in the end makes for better story telling. We are always excited to see what GoPro is working on next.”

GoPro’s latest announcement is the launch of a video channel on streaming service Roku this spring.

Adam Dornbusch, GoPro’s head of programming, says: “The GoPro channel will make it simple for Roku customers to watch GoPro originally-produced and ‘best-of’ user-generated content on their televisions at home.”

GoPro’s YouTube channel already shows a mix of professional and user-made videos and has amassed 2.7m subscribers, so it is perhaps unsurprising GoPro wants to turn itself into a recognisable media brand.

https://gopro.com/channel/

Avid Announces Free Version of Pro Tools, Opening Music Production to Everyone

Avid® (Nasdaq: AVID) today unveiled Pro Tools® | First, a free version of the industry-standardPro Tools that offers many of the same music creation capabilities used by top artists and recording studios worldwide. Delivering on Avid Everywhere™ and built upon the Avid MediaCentral Platform, Pro Tools | First is simple enough for beginners to learn, yet sophisticated enough for the experienced musician. Pro Tools | First enables anyone to experience the industry’s most trusted digital audio workstation at no cost, so they can turn their musical ideas into fully realized, professional productions that stand out from the crowd.

“Pro Tools is the audio workstation that redefined the music and post-production industries, providing everything needed to create high-caliber audio mixes,” said Chris Gahagan, senior vice president of Products and Technology at Avid. “With Pro Tools | First, we’ve taken the most powerful, proven, and trusted DAW and streamlined it into a version that’s available to everyone for free, whether they dream of a career in music and are just starting out, or are more experienced and want to give Pro Tools a try. Now users of all levels can start off their musical journey on the right path.”

With Pro Tools | First, artists can quickly turn ideas into professional-sounding songs by recording, using software instruments, and applying audio effects. To expand their creative toolset further, the integrated Avid App Store provides a world of affordable AAX plug-ins and “First” bundles on the Avid Marketplace that make creating, shaping, and enhancing sounds quick and easy.

To accommodate the mobile lifestyle of artists and aspiring pros, Pro Tools | First saves and manages sessions securely in the cloud, enabled by the Avid MediaCentral Platform. This allows users to log into an Avid account and access and work on music from any Mac or PC with Pro Tools | First installed. Anytime changes are made, the project syncs with the cloud as soon as it’s saved. As a special introductory offer, artists can work on and store up to three Pro Tools | First projects in the cloud for free.

In addition, Pro Tools | First will be compatible with Avid Cloud Collaboration when it becomes available, helping artists collaborate together from wherever they are in the world.

Availability

Avid Pro Tools | First will be available in Q1 2015 as a free download through Avid.com. For more information, please visit avid.com/protoolsfirst.

http://www.avid.com/us/press-room/freeversionofprotools

Former YouTube exec: don't alienate fans by leaving the streaming service

Patrick Walker, boss of multi-platform network Rightster, sees potential on Facebook, Vessel, Snapchat and other platforms – if creators are careful

YouTube may have more than one billion monthly viewers, but in 2015 it’s facing the prospect of real competition.

Facebook videos are now being watched 3bn times a day with persistent rumours that the social network is encouraging popular YouTube stars to start uploading videos directly to their Facebook pages.

Vine and Snapchat have emerged as new platforms for shortform videos – including the latter’s Discover section, which launched in January – while startup Vessel is trying to convince YouTubers that it can make them much more money than YouTube if they grant it 72-hour exclusives on their new videos.

Unsurprisingly, Patrick Walker has been watching closely. Once YouTube’s senior director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, he’s since worked at multi-channel network Base79, which was subsequently bought by another MCN, Rightster. In January 2015, Walker became chief executive of that company.

“I am still very bullish on YouTube, and still today it is absolutely critical to our plans. But now due to the increase in broadband and the dollars flowing in to online video, there are more people investing deeply in the space,” says Walker.

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/mar/16/youtube-patrick-walker-facebook-vessel-rightster

The Music+Sound Awards 2015

The Music+Sound Awards are the World’s first and only awards programme to recognise and celebrate the indispensable role and outstanding contribution that music and sound design plays in the world of visual media.

Aimed at professionals working in advertising, film, television (branding and programming) and gaming, the awards are open to anyone who is or has been involved in the creation, composition, sourcing, licensing, briefing and / or production of music and sound design for any visual media.

http://www.masawards.com/international/