NABET 700-M UNIFOR represents over 3000 Film, Television and New Media Technicians in the province of Ontario.

100 Lombard Street
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Toronto, ON
M5C 1M3
Tel: 416-536-4827
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January 26, 2018

January 26th News Report from your Los Angeles Representative

Happy Friday everyone,

The Oscar nominations were announced this week and it was great news for Ontario stakeholders, many of whom were nominated for their work on The Shape of Water, which received an incredible 13 nominations. The Breadwinner - an OMDC-supported film - was also nominated for best animated feature. Congratulations to everyone!

As reported in the Los Angeles Times, Fox scored 27 Academy Award nominations, the most of any Hollywood studio, while Universal had a strong showing with 18 nods.

In addition to Oscar coverage, the trades were also full of Sundance Film Festival news this week, and not all of it was celebratory. Many complained that movies in this year’s lineup were chronically weak, leaving buyers underwhelmed and frequently annoyed. As detailed in Variety below, that combined with the stark economic realities of the independent film business — where even great movies struggle to sell enough tickets to break even — made for a festival some described as the weakest ever.

The 2017 stats on film and television production activity in California were released by film permitting and advocacy group Film LA this week and they showed a 3% drop from 2016. It was interesting to see the spin that different trades put on the 2017 numbers, which were still the second-highest on record and showed an L.A.-area soundstage occupancy above 92 percent. The Hollywood Reporter story below was quite positive, while other publications decried the stats as a "nosedive" for production that occurred in spite of tax credits.

Netflix released its fourth quarter earning for 2017 this week and its stock soared on news that it had added 8.3 million subscribers globally, beating both analysts and its own expectations. As detailed in the LA Times below, for the year, Netflix said it added 24 million new memberships, compared with 19 million in 2016.

And now for the cynics out there, Bloomberg was one of the few news outlets that dug a little deeper on the Netflix numbers and cautioned that there was also cause for concern. As detailed below, cash costs for Netflix's streaming programming reached $8.9 billion in 2017, about double the costs from two years earlier and the number of Netflix streaming customers hasn't increased as much, at about 60 percent, over that period.

Finally this week, here's another cynical take on the much-ballyhooed employee bonuses that Disney recently announced were made possible by President Trump's recently-passed tax bill. In a conversation between two columnists in Deadline below, one asks "Isn’t is possible that Disney gave the president a victory so he’ll smile kindly on the Fox acquisition? AT&T did roughly the same thing back in December, right after the tax overhaul was passed, when CEO Randall Stephenson announced it would give $1,000 bonuses to 200,000 employees, and invest $1 billion in the U.S. in the next year".

Warmest regards,

Kelly Graham-Scherer
Los Angeles Representative
Toronto/ Ontario Film Office

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