×

Miramax hits Las Vegas for CES

Topper focuses on leveraging library

The Conrad Villa atop the LVH Hotel (formerly the Hilton) is a palatial, two story apartment that has been home to Barry Manilow. With its rococo decor and sweeping views of Las Vegas, it’s the kind of showplace venue you might expect to be the CES home of a multibillion-dollar tech giant.

But it’s Miramax, the indie film distributor with a staff of 60, that rented the villa and hosted a CES party there. It’s the kind of move previous Miramax management might have made — but not at CES.

Under CEO Mike Lang, however, Miramax is branching out in ways that are unconventional by Hollywood standards, at least for an indie distributor. That includes the just-announced Miramax-branded TV app that lets consumers purchase Miramax movies, not rent them.

Variety sat down Thursday with Lang in the villa as hotel staff busily replaced the furniture following Wednesday night’s bash. Lang said it makes sense for Miramax to build direct consumer relationships at events like CES because the brand still resonates with consumers.

“There’s very few brands in the film space that have that kind of recognition,” said Lang. “That’s an advantage for us. And for us not to at least try to find ways to use that brand to license our product, to build platforms around our product, would be an opportunity wasted. Now whether we’re able to do it in a significant way we don’t know yet. We’re trying.”

Consumers are so busy they look to brands to help guide them to what’s out there, Lang believes. “Even our licensing deals with people like Netflix and Hulu, they’ve taken our content and they’ve branded it as the Miramax films.”

Right now pictures purchased through the Miramax app are streamed. There’s no local download and no cloud storage. Lang says Miramax is a big believer in the cloud-based digital locker concept, and they’d like pics sold through their app to eventually be in the cloud, but they’re not participating in the existing UltraViolet platform.

“I’m not a big fan of industry consortiums or various organizations getting together and trying to dictate to third-party retailers what the rules of the road are,” he said. “I think we can have various conversations with individual people, and if UltraViolet ultimately becomes the format that the industry adopts I’m all in favor of it and we’ll support it. But I’m not going to be beholden to what the media industry says it’s going to be.

“If I had a choice today, I’m putting all my eggs in the Apple iCloud basket. I think they will figure it out, they will create a great cloud experience, and we are very excited about being a part of that.”

Land is confident UltraViolet and other platforms will emerge besides Apple’s iCloud. “We want to be on all those platforms but don’t want to be in one format until we know how the standard evolves.”

He disagrees with News Corp-chief digital officer Jonathan Miller’s warning that content companies must offer more video and more options to consumers, and not just focus on leveraging existing content. “I still believe there is a significant opportunity to take your existing library and find ways to exploit it around the world, because there are so many platforms. We’re fortunate in that regard because we don’t have existing businesses that get in the way of that. We’re maniacally focused on creating value off our existing library wherever we can.”

Lang is also a big believer in Apple leading the charge in how more content gets delivered in the future, especially TV shows.

“They will take the lead and many of the other great manufacturers will adapt to that but for a broader marketplace,” he said. “But for the actual product definition or experience, at our little company, we believe Apple will take the lead in this.”

More Digital

  • BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: (EDITORIAL

    Dax Shepard, Bobby Bones, 'Breakfast Club' Among iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Winners

    iHeartRadio launched its first ever Podcast Awards on Friday (January 18) in Los Angeles. Among the winners in 22 categories were “Whine Down with Jana Kramer” (Best Entertainment TV Podcast); “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (Breakout Podcast); “Bobbycast” (Music Podcast); and “The Breakfast Club” (Best Multicultural Podcast). The winners were determined by iHeartRadio listeners. Taking the top prize of Podcast [...]

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

  • The Beatles Eight Days a Week

    Imagine's Documentary Arm Sets First-Look Pact With Apple (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries has set a first-look pact with Apple to develop non-fiction features and series. The deal comes as Imagine is investing heavily in the premium non-fiction arena. The company in June recruited RadicalMedia veteran Justin Wilkes to head Imagine Documentaries as president. The deal suggests that Apple sees docu [...]

  • Walt Disney HQ LA

    Disney Unveils Financial Data for DTC Unit, Sets April 11 for Investor Presentation

    Disney has rejiggered its business segments for earnings reporting to make room for the new unit housing its global streaming operations. Disney on Friday released restated earnings for fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 to give investors and financial analysts better visibility into its spending on the launch of the Disney Plus, ESPN Plus and other [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Release of Docs to Reveal How Facebook Made Money Off Children

    Documents related to a 2012 lawsuit against Facebook in which children, sometimes unwittingly, spent their parents’ money on games via the social site will be unsealed, according to a Monday ruling from the United States District Court. The court gave Facebook ten days to file unredacted documents in accordance with the ruling. The 2012 lawsuit [...]

  • Facebook Logo

    Facebook Sets Up New Product Group for AR Glasses (Report)

    Facebook has restructured its augmented and virtual reality research division and set up a new group tasked with building augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to a new Business Insider report. Facebook acknowledged the move in a statement given to the publication, saying that the move affected “a few hundred people.” The group has already built [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content