Showbiz Sandbox 263: A Review of the Entertainment Industry’s Annus Horribilis

There’s no getting around the fact that 2014 was a financially dismal year for the entertainment business. Movie box office, home video revenue and music sales were all down significantly in most territories. The only bright spot might be television ad sales which grew slightly, albeit at lower level than originally forecast.

Statistically speaking the numbers don’t look good. Movie attendance plummeted to the lowest levels since 1995. Home video returns decreased nearly 2%, despite a rise in digital downloads. Music sales continued their global decline as more consumers turn to streaming services.

Industry-watchers are predicting that, except for box office, 2015 could produce the same mixed results for entertainment companies as digital technologies keep disrupting longstanding business models.

Of course, we also cover the week’s top entertainment news stories including the most pirated TV shows and movies of 2014, how One Direction became the year’s top concert draw and an update on the Sony Pictures cyber attack.

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Box Office: 2014 to End Down Sharply Despite Holiday Highs
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-2014-end-down-760445

Box Office 2014: Moviegoing Hits Two-Decade Low
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-2014-moviegoing-hits-760766

China’s Box Office Surges 36 Percent in 2014 to $4.76 Billion
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/chinas-box-office-surges-36-760889

France’s Box Office Rises 8% – But Thanks to France not Hollywood
http://variety.com/2015/film/news/frances-box-office-rises-8-but-thanks-to-france-not-hollywood-1201390901/

What We Can Learn from 2014 Record Box-Office in France
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-we-can-learn-from-2014-record-box-office-france-julien-marcel

Digital Downloads Top $1.5 Billion for First Time for Home Entertainment Industry in 2014
http://variety.com/2015/digital/news/digital-downloads-top-1-5-billion-for-first-time-for-home-entertainment-industry-in-2014-1201393613/

‘Godzilla,’ Warner Bros. Lead the Year’s Top TV Ad Spend for Movies
http://variety.com/2015/data/news/godzilla-warner-bros-lead-the-years-top-tv-ad-spend-for-movies-1201389114/

Sony Will Stream ‘The Interview’ Through YouTube, Google, Xbox, Sony Site
http://variety.com/2014/digital/news/youtube-sony-in-tentative-deal-to-stream-the-interview-report-1201386859/

A Lot of Smart People Think North Korea Didn’t Hack Sony
http://gawker.com/a-lot-of-smart-people-think-north-korea-didnt-hack-sony-1672899940

Sony Hack: FBI Stands by Conclusion That North Korea Was Behind Attack
http://variety.com/2014/biz/news/security-experts-doubt-north-korea-role-in-sony-hack-attack-1201389525/

Sony Expands ‘The Interview’ to Pay-TV Providers, PlayStation Network, Vudu and 580-Plus Theaters
http://variety.com/2014/digital/news/sony-expands-the-interview-to-pay-tv-providers-playstation-network-vudu-and-580-plus-theaters-1201390091/

Sony Hack: Obama Authorizes Sanctions Against North Korea
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sony-hack-obama-authorizes-sanctions-760920

Sony Hack Reveals That MPAA’s Big ‘$80 Million’ Settlement With Hotfile Was A Lie
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20141224/06321429517/sony-hack-reveals-that-mpaas-big-80-million-settlement-with-hotfile-was-lie.shtml

Selma’ Misses PGA Nomination After Another Screener Lapse
http://variety.com/2015/film/awards/selma-misses-pga-nomination-after-another-screener-lapse-1201392728/

Producers Guild’s Film Nominees Go Indie From ‘Boyhood’ to ‘Whiplash’
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/producers-guilds-film-nominees-go-761108

Producers Guild Nominations Snub Two Films Directed by Women
http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/producers-guild-nominations-snub-two-films-directed-by-women-20150105

Mamma Mia Becomes Broadway’s Eighth Longest-Running Show
http://www.broadwayworld.com/article/MAMMA-MIA-Becomes-Broadways-Eighth-Longest-Running-Show-20141230

One Direction heads to top of list in concert ticket sales in 2014
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/music/la-et-ms-top20-tours-20150102-story.html

‘Foxcatcher’ Wrestler Mark Schultz Slams Movie, Director
http://variety.com/2014/film/news/foxcatcher-wrestler-mark-schultz-slams-movie-director-i-hate-bennett-miller-1201390101/

Ratings Bounce for Radio Stations That Turned to Classic Hip-Hop
http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/25/ratings-bounce-for-radio-stations-that-turned-to-classic-hip-hop/?_r=0

CNBC’s Business Day to End Nielsen Measurement
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/cnbcs-business-day-end-nielsen-761330

Vinyl’s Revival Is Now A Phenomenon on Both Sides of the Atlantic
http://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/vinyls-revival-is-now-a-phenomenon-on-both-sides-of-the-atlantic/

Mark Zuckerberg Starts A Book Club, Becomes This Generation’s Oprah
http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/04/mark-zuckerberg-starts-a-book-club-becomes-this-generations-oprah/

Game of Thrones Most Pirated TV Show of 2014
https://torrentfreak.com/most-pirated-tv-show-of-2014-141225/

‘Game of Thrones’ to Screen in IMAX Theaters
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/game-thrones-screen-imax-theaters-761282

‘Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Frozen’ Top List of 2014’s Most Pirated Films
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/wolf-wall-street-frozen-top-760440

Netflix Cracks Down on VPN and Proxy Pirates
http://torrentfreak.com/netflix-cracks-down-on-vpn-and-proxy-pirates-150103/

Bono: ‘I May Never Play Guitar Again’
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/bono-i-may-never-play-guitar-again-20150102

Nielsen Music’s Year-End: Streaming Is Not Killing the Record Business
http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/6429355/nielsen-music-soundscan-year-end-streaming-taylor-swift-vinyl

How ‘1989’ Edged Out ‘Frozen’ as the No. 1 Album of 2014, and Vice Versa
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/05/business/media/how-1989-edged-out-frozen-as-the-no-1-album-of-2014-and-vice-versa.html