Growing Digital Purchases in Home Entertainment – According to the mid-year report from Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) members tracking sources and retail input, the home entertainment sector remains stable for the first half of this year. There was double digit growth in key digital categories, with studios reaping the higher margins that come from digital sales. Overall electronic sell thru spending rose 20% in the first half of the year, and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) grew nearly 25%. UltraViolet has over 23 million accounts with 140 million movies and TV shows, and total U.S. home entertainment spending was $8.75 billion for the first half and outpaced the box office value on video release by nearly three percentage points.
Miyazaki Reissues from Disney Coming in November – The Collected Works of Hayao Miyazki will include 11 of his feature-length animated films in one 12-disc Blu-ray collection, with many bonus features. His Studio Ghibli, founded in 1985, produced 21 feature-length films, and many were No. 1 at the box office in Japan in the year in which they were released. In 2014 Miyazaki was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Classical News – Scott Cantrell is leaving the Dallas Morning News as their distinguished classical music critic, making his final exit at the end of the 2015-16 season. He earned much respect from fellow journalists, musicians and readers. The village people in Britten’s Peter Grimes are hard-hearted but not as nearly as bad as the villagers in Ethel Smyth’s The Wreckers, who make their living luring ships to founder on their rocky waters, kill those aboard, and plunder the contents of the ships. The opera is being staged at The Bard. Chicago’s famous classical station, WFMT-FM will lose its announcer Suzanne Nance, who will become program director and on-air host at All Classical KQAC in Portland, OR. She had previously been at MPBN in Maine, where the Portland Press Herald called her the “Queen of Classical.” Cellist Matt Haimovitz started the movement of classical musicians performing at alternative venues. He talks about being a musicians in the 21st century on the video blog Noted Endeavors. The annual Lincoln Center Festival in NYC takes chances, and has just presented the Harry Partch opera Delusion of the Fury, which hadn’t been mounted since 1969. Partch, one of the 20th-century American mavericks, built 27 of his own instruments, many producing sounds of fractional intervals. He invented a 43-tone scale, and wandered America, collecting indigenous public inscriptions on walls for the texts in his productions.