Thursday News: Amazon v. Netflix, changes at DC Comics, new Steven Universe book, and museum maintenance
Amazon Ups the Ante on Streaming Video, Challenging Netflix – Amazon is undertaking two new monthly programs – an $8.99 video streaming service (a dollar less than Netflix) and $10.99 Prime (for which a yearly subscription saves you about three months at this rate). As someone who pays for, well, more than one cable/video service, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the prospect of choosing between these services. Although Amazon Prime does have the brilliant Catastrophe to recommend it.
Amazon has been offering its video service as a perk for subscribers of its $99 annual Prime shipping service. Prime membership also will be offered monthly for the first time to all U.S. customers for $10.99, Amazon said Sunday.
An Amazon spokeswoman said the new monthly option could be turned off or on as customers wished, a possible benefit for shoppers during the busy holiday season.
The move to offer a stand-alone video service suggests Amazon is confident it has the robust programming needed to go head-to-head with Netflix. Amazon has snapped up deals for HBO’s older content, as well as with premium TV network Epix, whose catalog includes “Hunger Games: Catching Fire” and “World War Z.” More recently, Amazon has signed director Woody Allen for an exclusive TV series, and has become an aggressive buyer of independent movies, battling Netflix for film festival favorites. – Washington Post (h/t The Digital Reader)
DC COMICS ‘RESTRUCTURING’ VERTIGO IMPRINT, ANNOUNCES SHELLY BOND’S DEPARTURE – DC’s Vertigo imprint, home to series like The Sandman, The Invisibles, and iZombie, among others, is “restructuring,” which includes the elimination of Shelly Bond’s position. Bond, who has been with Vertigo since its inception in 1993, became executive editor in 2012. According to CBR, “the imprint has ceded serious ground in that territory in recent years, mainly to Image Comics, which offers a purely creator-owned deal where the publisher doesn’t own any of the material, nor control film or TV rights.” DC Comics has this to say:
DC Entertainment is reexamining the direction and focus of the Vertigo imprint of comic books and graphic novels. The goal is to keep competitive and stay relevant in the changing marketplace, and to set the business up for future success.
The updated business structure will result for some employees in a change of reporting relationship, new job descriptions, and expanded roles and responsibilities.
Unfortunately, as part of the restructuring, the position of Vice President & Executive Editor has been eliminated. This was a very challenging process, and we made every effort to ensure all decisions were made with great care and consideration. – Comic Book Resources
Steven Universe‘s Greatest Love Story Is Becoming an Adorable Children’s Book – Cartoon Network’s groundbreaking series Steven Universe is crossing media formats. One episode, The Answer, is being adapted to book form, and the announcement was made no long after the network announced that the series has been renewed for two more seasons, and that new episodes would air in June. As i09 pointed out, having two female-coded characters fall in love and get a “fairytale storybook” aimed at a young audience is powerfully positive.
As announced by Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar on her Tumblr, The Answer will be a storybook retelling of the episode of the same name, which revealed how the two young gems Ruby and Sapphire met, fell in love, and fused into Garnet, a living recreation of their love for each other.
According to Sugar, who will be writing the book, the story will be expanded on to take advantage of the longer format (after all, it doesn’t need to be squeezed into an 11-minute cartoon episode), while Steven Universe season 1 art director Elle Michalka and storyboard artist Tiffany Ford will provide art work. – i09
The Story Behind Those Jaw-Dropping Photos of the Collections at the Natural History Museum – A remarkable group of photos from the Smithsonian has been making the rounds online, a demonstration of how few exhibits you actually get to see when you got to a museum. Animal specimen upon animal specimen, document upon document, fossil upon fossil – millions of artifacts carefully stored out of sight. And the underlying research mission of museum work is revealed beautifully in these photos. Carol Butler from the Natural History Museum talks about the photos and the images they capture.
Museums are an important resource for many scientific studies, but the public doesn’t often get to see this side of the collections. Could you tell us a little bit about how these collections are used?
Museums document what we observe about the natural world and how our connectedness with it changes through time. So in a sense, portions of the collection are a snapshot of what was living in a certain place at a certain time.
They can help us reconstruct the environment, the ecosystem, look at how animals and plants interacted and help us think about how the climate influenced the existing plants and animals.
Just as we wouldn’t want to say one human being represents all of humanity, one bird doesn’t represent all of the birds of a certain species. We need lots of individual birds because part of what we are looking at in understanding a species is its’ variability.
[The collections allow] you to ask detailed questions, ask broad questions, ask comparative questions—and it’s that good science that museums are here to support. – Smithsonian Magazine