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China to Create $800 Million Tax-Free Entertainment, Culture Hub in Beijing


China Hollywood Studio - P 2013

The tax-free "culture zone" will include TV and film facilities and is modeled after the "special economic zones" that made the country a manufacturing super-power.

A Chinese state-backed media conglomerate is planning to create a new $800 million, tax-free arts and entertainment hub in Beijing in the hopes of giving the country’s gradually-growing culture industries a jolt.

The so-called “Beijing Freeport of Culture” is the creation of Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group, a company owned by the Beijing municipal government. Located next to Beijing Capital Airport, the culture zone will include film and television production facilities, fine arts storage and offices for companies involved in a range of creative businesses – from luxury goods to software design, according to a report.

PHOTOS: 10 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time at the China Box Office

Gehua’s ambition is to plant the seeds for a culture industry hot-bed in the Chinese capital that boasts elements of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and New York’s Chelsea District all in one commercial compound, said the . The company hopes to attract upwards of 50 companies – half of them foreign, half domestic – to do $8 billion (50 billion yuan) worth of business at the Freeport by 2016.

Such specially designated tax-free economic zones were integral to China’s opening to global capitalism in the 1980s and 1990s when demarcated business districts were set up in the Southern city of Shenzhen and the Pudong section of Shanghai to foster the country’s then-nascent manufacturing sector. But this will be the first time China is attempting to implement the tax-free, infrastructure investment model of "economic zones" to facilitate growth in the less predictable arts and culture sector.

Boosting cultural influence abroad has been a key policy initiative of the Chinese government for years as the country looks to bring its “soft power” more in-line with its newfound economic might.

China’s film market surpassed Japan last year to become the world’s second largest with box-office sales of $2.7 billion. But foreign films — largely led by Hollywood blockbusters — accounted for more than 50 percent of the annual revenue haul for the first time in 2012. Chinese domestic films have made a stronger showing in recent months — road comedy and Stephen Chow’s both pulled in more than $200 million domestically — but exports continue to flounder internationally. After setting an all-time domestic box-office record of $202.6 million, earned just $57,000 during its limited run in North America.

PHOTOS: Cut, Censored, Changed: 10 Hollywood Films Tweaked for International Release

Gehua, which is closely linked to China’s culture ministry, is hoping the new economic zone will both lure creative talent from abroad into the Chinese capital and create the conditions conducive to stronger cultural exports for the international market.

"The government and our group had the idea to export culture to the world," Wang Yudong, general manager of Gehua, told the at the company’s headquarters in Beijing. "Already, there’s a government policy for free-trade areas. We’re just applying it to culture."

Gehua’s ambitions have not been received without some skepticism in Beijing though.

Ji Tao, a researcher with the Auction Research Institute of Central University of Finance and Economy in Beijing, told the that he thinks it is foolish to assume creative industries will sprout the same way low-cost manufacturing did in China’s special economic zones in the 1990s.

"This is a new concept made up out of nothing," Ji said. "A Freeport is for industrial products, which need to be processed with raw material inputs. But culture isn’t like this."

STORY: James Cameron May Add Chinese Na’vi to ‘Avatar’ Sequels

Gehua is major player in various areas of Chinese media and entertainment. The brand is best known to Chinese consumers for its cable and home Internet subsidiary, which is the dominant web service provider in Beijing. The company also has a TV and animation production businesses and helps manage major events for the government, such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Beijing Design Week.

In 2012, Gehua secured Sotheby’s as its first foreign partner at the cultural Freeport. Sotheby’s was given an 80 percent stake in a new, jointly-held auction company that will operate out of the facility, according to the . The Sotheby’s China deal marks the first time a foreign auction house has been given an opportunity to co-own its own operations in China.

So far no foreign film and TV companies have been linked to the project, but it’s understood Gehua will be actively recruiting new partners throughout the year ahead.
 

Twitter Faces Criminal Complaint Over Hate Speech Hashtags in France


Twitter CEO Dick Costolo

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is named in a $50 million suit claiming the microblogging service has made no effort to hand over user data as ordered by French courts.

PARIS – Twitter has been hit with a $50 million (€38 million) criminal suit in the latest stage of an ongoing legal battle over a series of hatespeech hashtags in France.  

The company is being charged with failing to comply with a Jan. 24  ruling to hand over the identifying information of France-based users who participated in a series of anti-Semitic and racist trending topics during several days last October. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is also named in the suit.

STORY: BBC Twitter Accounts Hacked by Syrian Regime Supporters

The French Jewish Student Union (UEJF) and anti-racism organization J’Accuse/International Action for Justice (AIPJ) are seeking $50 million (€38 million), an amount the groups say they will donate to the Shoah Memorial Fund. UEJF has repeatedly sought to get the California tech company to reveal personal details of French users who have violated the country’s strict anti-hate speech laws.

The filing follows a months-long fight over incendiary hashtags here. Last October, after the hashtag #AGoodJew resulted in posts such as “a good Jew is a dead Jew” and spawned several copycat topics such as #ADeadJew, the UEJF requested that Twitter release identifying information of France-based users so that they could be prosecuted under anti-hate speech laws. The UEJF and Twitter entered into negotiations aimed at staving off legal action. Twitter agreed to remove the offending France-based tweets but refused to turn over the requested user information.

STORY: Twitter Tops 200 Million Users as Company Celebrates 7th Birthday

The UEJF quickly filed a suit to force Twitter to hand over the information, and a ruling in favor of the group was handed down Jan. 24. At the time, Twitter was given two weeks to comply, or face fines of $1300 (€1000) per day. Twitter said it would review the decision, but has made no move to hand over the data. 

On Wednesday night, French President Francois Hollande discussed the case at a dinner hosted by the Representative Council of Jewish Institutions in France (CRIF), stating that he believed the posters should be revealed and charged. “They must know that they will be prosecuted and punished for their actions,” he said.

Twitter now has fifteen days to respond to the criminal complaint, and indicated late Thursday they will appeal the Jan. 24 decision. The California-based company has maintained that it will not hand over the user information unless ordered to do so by a U.S. court.

China to Create Major Entertainment, Culture Hub in Beijing


China Hollywood Studio - P 2013

The tax-free "culture zone" is modeled on the "special economic zones" that made the country a manufacturing super-power in the 1980s and 90s, and will include TV and film facilities.

A Chinese state-backed media conglomerate is planning to create a new $800-million, tax-free arts and entertainment facility in Beijing, in the hopes of giving the country’s gradually-growing culture industries a jolt.

The new, so-called “Beijing Freeport of Culture” is the creation of Beijing Gehua Cultural Development Group, a conglomerate owned by the Beijing municipal government. Located next to Beijing Capital Airport, the Freeport culture zone will include film and television production facilities, fine art storage, and offices for companies involved in a range of creative businesses, from luxury goods to software design, according to a report.

PHOTOS: 10 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time at the China Box Office

Gehua’s ambition is to plant the seeds for a culture industry hot bed in the Chinese capital that boasts elements of Hollywood, Silicon Valley and New York’s Chelsea District all in integrated in one commercial compound, said the . The company hopes to attract upwards of 50 companies – half foreign, half domestic – to do $8 billion (50 billion yuan) worth of business at the Freeport by 2016.

Such specially designated tax-free economic zones were integral to China’s opening to global capitalism in the 1980s and 90s, when demarcated business districts were set up in the southern city of Shenzhen and the Pudong section of Shanghai, to foster the country’s then nascent manufacturing sector. But this will be the first time China is attempting to implement the tax-free, infrastructure investment model of "economic zones" to the facilitate growth in the slipperier, and less predictable arts and culture sector.

Boosting cultural influence abroad has been a pillar policy initiative of the Chinese government for years, as the country looks to bring its “soft power” more in-line with its newfound economic might.

While China’s film market surpassed Japan last year to become the world’s second largest, with box-office sales of $2.7 billion, foreign films — largely led by Hollywood blockbusters — accounted for more than 50 percent of the yearly revenue haul for the first time. Chinese domestic films have made a stronger showing in recent months — road comedy and Stephen Chow’s both pulled in more than $200 million domestically — but exports continue to flounder internationally. After setting an all-time domestic box-office record of $202.6 million, earned just $57,000 during its limited run in North America.

PHOTOS: Cut, Censored, Changed: 10 Hollywood Films Tweaked for International Release

Guahau, which is closely linked to China’s culture ministry, is hoping the new economic zone will both lure creative talent from abroad into the Chinese capital and create the conditions conducive to stronger cultural exports for the international market.

"The government and our group had the idea to export culture to the world," Wang Yudong, general manager of Gehua told the at the company’s headquarters in Beijing. "Already, there’s a government policy for free-trade areas. We’re just applying it to culture."

Guahau’s ambitions have not been received without some skepticism in Beijing though.

Ji Tao, a researcher with the Auction Research Institute of Central University of Finance and Economy in Beijing, told the that he thinks it is foolish to assume creative industries will sprout the same way low-cost manufacturing did in China’s special economic zones in the 1990s.

"This is a new concept made up out of nothing," Mr. Ji said. "A Freeport is for industrial products, which need to be processed with raw material inputs. But culture isn’t like this."

STORY: James Cameron May Add Chinese Na’vi to ‘Avatar’ Sequels

Guahau is major player in various areas of Chinese media and entertainment. The brand is best known to Chinese consumers for its cable and home Internet subsidiary, which is the dominant web service provider in Beijing. The company also has a TV and animation production businesses and helps manage major events for the government, such as the 2008 Beijing Olympics and Beijing Design Week.

In 2012, Guahau secured Sotheby’s as its first foreign partner at the cultural Freeport. Sotheby’s was given an 80 percent stake in a new, jointly-held auction company that will operate out of the facility, according to the . The Sotheby’s China deal marks the first time a foreign auction house has been given an opportunity to co-own its own operations in China.

So far no foreign film and TV companies have been linked to the project, but it’s understood Guahau will be actively recruiting new partners throughout the year ahead.
 

Christie to Debut Laser Projection so 3D Doesn’t Look ‘Too Dark’


G.I. Joe Retaliation Bruce Willis Adrianne Palicki - H 2013

The projector maker’s new technology will be used to screen "G.I. Joe: Retaliation" in 3D for paying audiences at AMC’s Burbank 16.

To address complaints that digital 3D can look too dark, digital cinema insiders have been exploring the potential of laser projection as a way to get more light onto screens.

Next week projector marker Christie’s laser technology will be used to screen Paramount’s March 28 release at AMC Theatre’s Burbank 16 ETX theater. This is believed to be the first time laser projection has been made available for paying audiences.

VIDEO: ‘G.I. Joe: Retaliation’: New Trailer Features Worldwide Destruction

will play in 3D at brightness levels of 14 foot lamberts (ft-L)—along the lines of what is used for 2D—on a 65-foot wide screen. It is estimated that typical 3D brightness levels only reach 3-4 ft-L.

Noting that 14 ft-Ls 3D is “much brighter than what current technology produces on most screens,” Don Shaw, Christie’s senior director of product management, said, “this test of our laser technology will demonstrate how spectacularly a moviemaker’s vision can be realized when shown at light levels normally only possible for 2D movies.”

Christie developed its own laser projection engine, which uses laser devices from supplier Necsel. The demonstration will use a 4K-ready projector, though  will be played from a 2K Digital Cinema Package, with a version that was specially mastered for 14ft-L 3D.

“We fully support the advancement of cutting edge technologies to further enhance the theatrical presentation for moviegoers. Laser projection provides incredible brightness, making each film look all the greater, but its impact on 3D is startling,” said Mark Christiansen, executive vp of worldwide operations for Paramount.

A number of vendors are recommending developing laser illuminated projection technology to make the screens brighter. Proponents say laser light offers additional advantages, including lower operating costs, reduced power consumption compared to the xenon lamps currently in use, and increased system life spans.

STORY: Industry Addresses Complaints About Dark Screens With Laser Light

Still, regulatory issues remain an issue for the technology, because the FDA monitors the use of lasers. Acknowledging this point, Christie’s Shaw told THR that "FDA regulations remain on the radar, however we have gone beyond due diligence here to make sure our test satisfies all applicable regulations and safety concerns. No one will need to sign a waiver."

The Laser Illuminated Projection Association is urging the FDA to lower the requirements for laser use, arguing that such light sources are “no more dangerous” that today’s Xenon lamps. 

The technology test at AMC will last for two-weeks. “We are delighted to work with Christie to host this technical demonstration that could equate to a major advancement in movie-illumination levels,” said Dan Huerta, AMC’s vp of digital systems.

Laser projection has previously been demonstrated at industry events including IBC, where in 2012 Christie used laser projection to screen in its entirety for the professional audience.

Julius Genachowski to Announce Resignation as FCC Head (Report)


Julius Genachowski

The Democrat appointed in 2009 would be the second commissioner this week to reveal plans to step down.

Julius Genachowski will step down as head of the FCC, the agency that regulates cable, broadcast and telephone companies, and will announce his departure as early as Friday, according to reports from Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, and Reuters.

The resignation of Chairman Genachowski, a Democrat appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, would mark the second FCC commissioner this week to say he would leave the agency, as Robert McDowell, a Republican first appointed in 2006, said Wednesday he was quitting.

Replacements for both commissioners would need to be appointed by Obama and approved by the Senate. Obama could elevate one of the remaining three members to replace Genachowski as chairman, or one of his new appointees could assume the role.

Genachowski’s reign as chairman marked a contrast with previous FCC panels, as he focused on technologies and regulations designed to promote access to broadband while de-emphasizing broadcast indecency and the loosening of media-ownership rules, which were priorities when Republicans ruled the FCC under President George W. Bush.

The FCC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hollywood Studios Win IsoHunt Appeal

Hollywood Studios Win IsoHunt Appeal

An appeals court addresses how a tech service that indexes torrent files can induce users to infringe copyrights.


Hollywood Sign

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has given Hollywood studios a big copyright win by affirming the liability of isoHunt, a BitTorrent indexer.

In a ruling on Thursday, the appeals judges also described why isoHunt and its founder Gary Fung are not eligible for safe harbor.

The ruling, following battles over P2P services like Napster and Grokster, represents a reaffirmation that tech services can induce copyright infringement. Additionally, after Hollywood studios suffered a setback last week at the Ninth Circuit in a case concerning user-generated website, Veoh, the latest decision offers hope for copyright owners that courts are ready to punish those who are aware of "red flags."

STORY: U.S. Congressmen Told About ‘Next Great Copyright Act’ at Hearing

IsoHunt was one of the larger BitTorrent indexers, handling several million torrents for some 7.5 million unique visitors at the height of its popularity.

In the ruling today (read in full here), Ninth Circuit judge Marsha Berzon notes that isoHunt did more than merely collect and organize torrent files. "Each time a torrent file is added to isoHunt, the website automatically modifies the torrent file by adding additional backup trackers to it," she notes, adding that the service regularly updated a list of popular movies and TV shows and also had an electronic message board.

The lawsuit was brought by several studios led by Columbia Pictures. At district court held Fung liable for contributory infringement, for inducing others to infringe Plaintiffs’ copyrighted material, and issued a broad injunction, telling him to disengage from activities that facilitated copyright infringement of the plaintiff’s works — some 21,000 works including , , and .

Fung argued that unlike the Grokster case, he wasn’t being accused of distributing a "device" — software or technology used for downloading — that his service was really just indexing what was out there. He believed he couldn’t be held liable for inducement.

"We cannot agree," responds Judge Berzon. "Unlike patents, copyrights protect expression, not products or devices. Inducement liability is not limited, either logically or as articulated in , to those who distribute a ‘device.’"

Still, it the studios still needed to demonstrate that Fung had intent and took steps to actively induce users to infringe copyrights. The appeals court says that the plaintiffs have met that burden, pointing to its list of the 20 highest-grossing movies then playing in U.S. theaters, which when users clicked on it, would invite a user to “upload [a] torrent” file for that movie. Additionally, Fung’s message board postings are also cited.

"Like Grokster’s advertisements—indeed, even more so—Fung’s posts were explicitly ‘designed to stimulate others to commit [copyright] violations,’ and so are highly probative of an unlawful intent," writes the judge.

The judge accepts the studios’ view of the precedent of that "if one provides a service that could be used to infringe copyrights, with the manifested intent that the service actually be used in that manner, that person is liable for the infringement that occurs through the use of the service."

Judge Berzon notes she is mindful "of the potential severity of a loose causation theory for inducement liability," especially in the digital age, but says there are limits because plaintiffs need to show proper proof of the defendant’s intent, and that a defendant who does something at one particular time doesn’t necessarily have bad intent for something that happens later on.

Fung is also unable to gain statutory safe harbor from copyright liability because the Ninth Circuit looks at the indexing technology and doesn’t believe that trackers fit the definition of a “service provider” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Perhaps even more encouraging to Hollywood studios, it is determined that Fung had “red flag” knowledge of a broad range of infringing activity. In cases like , copyright holders have been pushing for recognition of the ways in which website operators can get into copyright trouble without direct notice of infringements.

Here, seemingly connecting red flag knowledge with the inducement actions of the appellant, Judge Berzon notes "the record is replete with instances of Fung actively encouraging infringement, by urging his users to both upload and download particular copyrighted works, providing assistance to those seeking to watch copyrighted films, and helping his users burn copyrighted material onto DVDs. The material in question was sufficiently current and well-known that it would have been objectively obvious to a reasonable person that the material solicited and assisted was both copyrighted and not licensed to random members of the public, and that the induced use was therefore infringing."

STORY: Supreme Court Rules Against Entertainment Industry in Landmark Copyright Case

The only victory for Fung comes from his argument that the injunction that was issued was so unduly burdensome as to be "interpreted to prevent Fung from ever working for any technology company whose services others might use to infringe copyright."

The appeals court tells the lower court to modify the breadth so as to rectify that issue.

In reaction to the ruling, Henry Hoberman, global general counsel for the Motion Picture Association of America, says, "This ruling affirms a core principle of copyright law: Those who build businesses around encouraging, enabling, and helping others to commit copyright infringement are themselves infringers, and will be held accountable for their illegal actions.  It also strikes an important blow in the fight to preserve the jobs of millions of workers in the creative industries, whose hard work and investments are exploited by rogue websites for their own profit."

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com; Twitter: @eriqgardner

Twitter Tops 200 Million Users as Company Celebrates 7th Birthday


Jack Dorsey

The micro-blogging service says its users send more than 400 million tweets per day, up from 340 million a year ago.

Twitter now has "well over 200 million" active users who send more than 400 million tweets per day, the micro-blogging service said Thursday in celebrating its seventh birthday.

At its sixth anniversary last year, the company had touted more than 140 million active users and 340 million tweets a day.

The user update came a day after Google-owned online video site YouTube said that more than 1 billion people now visit it every month.

"There’s an old English saying, ‘Keep a thing seven years, and you’ll always find a use for it’," Karen Wickre, the company’s editorial director, wrote in a blog post entitled Twitter Blog "Celebrating #Twitter7" on Thursday. "Today is Twitter’s 7th birthday… We’ve seen breathtaking velocity in Twitter’s growth, which is due entirely to your many uses of it."

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey posted the first-ever tweet on March 21 of 2006, and usage has since exploded. Celebrities – from Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga to Snooki– have taken to the service as have media moguls, such as News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch.

Earlier this month, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, a big media investor, who holds stakes in the likes of Twitter and News Corp., also joined the micro-blogging service.

As a business, meanwhile, the privately held company has been focusing on developing revenue streams to make money from its popular service. Twitter was recently valued at about $9 billion.

"As we’ve grown, Twitter has become a true global town square – a public place to hear the latest news, exchange ideas and connect with people all in real time," the company said in its blog post. "This is where you come to connect with the world at large. Get on your soapbox to critique elected officials, or go sotto voce to the neighbor next to you."

Twitter also made the video below to celebrate "some of the many moments on Twitter so far."

Said Wickre: "Here’s to your creativity, curiosity and experimentation on our platform. And again, thank you for making Twitter everything it is today."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

China’s Largest Internet Company Tencent Sees Big Stock Drop

A slew of analysts cut their forecasts for the company, one of the world’s largest Internet firms by market value, amid rising competition.

Tencent Holdings, China’s largest Internet company, took a plunge on the Hong Kong stock exchange Thursday, falling the most in 17 months after a slew of analysts cut their forecasts for the company after its latest earnings report.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Piper Jaffray, CIMB Group Holdings, OSK Securities Hong Kong, and Bocom International Securities all dropped their share forecasts for Tencent, citing higher spending, lower profit margins and slowing growth in game sales — a key business area for the company — amid rising competition.

PHOTOS: China Box Office: 10 Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time

Tencent shares fell 8.7 percent in Hong Kong Thursday morning, before making a slight rebound. The company was the worst performer of the day in the territory’s benchmark Hang Seng Index, which ended up slightly, according to .

“The operating margins decline due to higher sales and marketing spend was a bit worrying,” Alicia Yap, an analyst at Barclays told Bloomberg.

Tencent, often ranked the world’s third-largest Internet company by market capitalization behind Google and Amazon, according to Bloomberg, has a wide variety of holdings. They include a Twitter-like microblogging service, the “QQ” instant messaging and social media platform, multiplayer video games, e-commerce sites and WeChat, a popular instant messaging utility.

PHOTOS: Cut, Censored, Changed: 10 Hollywood Films Tweaked for International Release

The company is Google-esque in influence and scale, but notably lags in the online search field behind competitor Baidu, which is estimated to have 70-80 percent market share in Chinese search.

Tencent has a 4.6 percent share of Huayi Brothers Media, the China’s biggest non-state film company. And in January the company announced it would be partnering with Hollywood film companies Warner Bros., Universal Studios, Miramax Films and Lionsgate for a new online video venture called Hollywood VIP. The service will involve online distribution of the U.S. studios’ copyrighted films and content via Tencent’s various online video channels and social media platforms in China. It is understood that the venture is currently in a test phase. 

Tencent’s growing spending comes at a time of increased competition as it moves more aggressively into e-commerce to face off against Alibaba Group, which maintains an eBay-like dominance of the lucrative online shopping sector as more Chinese consumers continue to move into the middle class. The company is also looking to begin monetizing its WeChat messaging service, which is similar to Western counterpart WhatsApp and is now the most popular of its kind among young, urban Chinese.

Net income at Tencent grew 37 percent to $557 million (3.46 billion yuan) and sales climbed 53 percent to $1.96 billion (12.2 billion yuan), the company reported at a press conference in Hong Kong yesterday. 

Tencent is headed by Chinese billionaire Pony Ma and located in the Southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong.
 

YouTube: 1 Billion Monthly Visitors Reached

The company made the announcement at an extravagant L.A. event in which it previewed its upfronts presentation in front of advertisers.

More than 1 billion people a month now visit YouTube, the Google asset said Wednesday at an event designed to convince advertisers that Internet video deserves a bigger slice of their budget.

The event was a preview of what YouTube has in store for a presentation it plans in May when it appears for the second straight year at the upfronts in New York, where TV executives show programming to advertisers.

PHOTOS: Top Grads of YouTube U

Wednesday’s preview was at YouTube Space, its 41,000-square-foot production studio in Los Angeles, and it followed a similar event in Chicago a few weeks ago.

YouTube has been actively wooing advertisers to the roughly 150 “channels” in which it has invested about $300 million into. The company splits the ad revenue with the content creators who run the channels, and many of them use YouTube Space to create their videos.

At the event Wednesday, YouTube vp and global head of content Robert Kynclalso discussed with reporters the possibility of letting content creators charge a fee to those who wish to view their content, though he acknowledged it will take time and experimentation to figure out a successful model.

Wednesday’s extravagant event included live performances by YouTube sensations whose videos have been viewed tens of millions of times, such as dancer Marquese Scott and the band Run River North. The presentation included video of other YouTube stars, some of whom are well-known beyond the Internet, like Justin Bieber and Neil Patrick Harris, star of YouTube series Neil’s Puppet Dreams.

Many traditional performers, of course, have been migrating to YouTube. Simon Cowell of said this week he’ll launch a YouTube channel, for example, and director Ridley Scott said a few weeks ago he’ll make short films for a network of YouTube channels run by Machinima. Plus, producer Mike Medavoy visited YouTube Space a few weeks ago for an initiative he is considering.

After YouTube announced it had passed the 1 billion milestone, it followed up with a blog entry boasting of the achievement.

“Nearly one out of every two people on the Internet visits YouTube,” it said on the blog. “Our monthly viewership is the equivalent of roughly 10 Super Bowl audiences. If YouTube were a country we’d be the third largest in the world after China and India.”

‘Guardians’ Tops ‘Life of Pi’ on Home Entertainment Charts


Rise of the Guardians - H 2012

"Wreck-It Ralph" falls to No. 3 after a chart-topping debut the previous week.

Two newly released theatrical features slugged it out for the top spot on the national home video sales charts the week ending March 17, with DreamWorks’ – the studio’s last title to be distributed by Paramount Home Media Distribution – topping 20th Century Fox’s by a healthy margin, despite the latter’s higher box office earnings.

, which earned $103 million in U.S. theaters, debuted at No. 1 on both Nielsen Video’s First Alert sales chart, which tracks overall disc sales, and Nielsen’s dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart. , with a $121.6 million theatrical pedigree, bowed at No. 2 on both charts.

PHOTOS: The Making of ‘Life of Pi’

The two new releases pushed Walt Disney’s , No. 1 the prior week, to the No. 3 spot.

Nielsen data shows that sold 69.2% as many discs as , which also mustered a No. 2 debut on ‘s video rental chart for the week, just behind MGM’s the James Bond megahit that just came off the 28-day holdback distributor 20th Century Fox imposes on Netflix and Redbox.

finished at No. 3 for the second consecutive week.

The prior week’s top rental, Lionsgate’s , finished the week at No. 4 on the rental chart.

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