Hollywood misses key tech ally

October 8th, 2011 - 11:13 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Oct 8 (IANS) In the death of Apple’s visionary co-founder Steve Jobs, US entertainment industry has lost a key technology envoy who helped push the film, TV and music industries into the digital age.

In the 25 years after he bought George Lucas’ digital animation business and renamed it Pixar Animation Studios, Jobs charmed, angered and cajoled Hollywood executives as he pursued his vision for digital entertainment, media reports from California said.

Jobs relentlessly challenged the industry to change - ushering in the age of digital animation with “Toy Story,” upending record labels with the iPod and the iTunes store, and negotiating to sell TV shows and films online. Disney’s ABC was the first to sign on, the San Francisco Chronicle said.

“Steve and I were talking for months about delivering TV shows on iTunes, which is when he shows me the video iPod, and I said, ‘We’re in!’” Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger was quoted as telling the paper.

With the 2006 sale of Emeryville’s Pixar, Jobs became Disney’s biggest investor, with a stake worth $4.35 billion.

Hollywood executives resisted putting shows online. But Jobs was determined to get the studios onboard, Jim Gianopulos, co-chairman of News Corp.’s Fox Filmed Entertainment was quoted as saying.

Today, iTunes is the top seller of online movies, with 66 percent of the market for electronic sales and Web video on demand, researcher IHS said in August. Its share of U.S. music retailing was 70 percent last year, according to NPD, the Chronicle said.

Disney, the pioneer in animation and theme parks, became a lab for Jobs. The studio served as distributor of Pixar movies starting in 1995.

Later, after Jobs sold the animation studio to Disney for $8.06 billion in stock, the company became an Internet trailblazer as well - becoming the first of its peers to offer films and TV shows on iTunes.

Pixar’s 12 movies have generated $5.73 billion in worldwide box office sales for Disney and theater operators, according to Box Office Mojo, a movie-tracking service.

They’ve become theme-park attractions and a “Cars” attraction will open at Disney’s California Adventure next year, the Chronicle noted.

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