By Mike Snider
The 10-day South By Southwest Festival has always been a mashup of movies, music and technology. This year, there's a growing focus on the rise of entertainment apps to help you better enjoy those and other pursuits.
Movie news and ticketing site Fandango is showing a new movie buzz indicator "Fanticipation" at the Austin festival. By tracking moviegoer interest in new movies on its mobile and Web platform - and early ticket sales - Fandango hopes to provide an early take on weekend box-office performance with the new ranking.
"There is some degree of excitement that people generate from looking at the results of the box office after the weekend," says Fandango president Paul Yanover. "This allows people to get that same kind of interest without waiting for the box office."
The new feature will appear onFandango.comand in a new weekly video series, "Weekend Ticket," in which host Dave Karger will use the Fanticipation data to inform moviegoers of the weekend's most anticipated movies and, subsequently, help pair viewers with the best choice among the new releases. The first episode, to be filmed at SXSW, will include interviews with the cast ofThe Incredible Burt Wonderstone(including Jim Carrey, Steve Carell and Olivia Wilde). The film has its U.S. premiere Friday night at the festival.
An upcoming update to Fandango's mobile app will allow the video to play on mobile devices.
AMC Networks, which owns several cable networks including AMC and Sundance Channel, is announcing Yeah!, a new video streaming service, at the festival. The small start-up-style venture within the company launches with a library of 14 pay-per-rental films ($4.99 for a rental that lasts 30 days, though once you start watching you must finish within 48 hours), each enhanced with cast and filmmaker interviews, trivia and quizzes.
Initially, the offerings target young male audiences with films such asNatural Born KillersandReservoir Dogs, but the library will expand with a movie each week. On the way:CaddyshackandOcean's Eleven.
Movie lovers can watch now onwww.yeahtv.com; the iPad app is due this summer. Additions toNatural Born Killersinclude new hour-plus interviews with cast members Juliette Lewis and Tom Sizemore. Viewers can go back and forth between the interviews and movie.
New facts about the movie pop up constantly below the film video. (OneKillersexample: Some actors and crew ate hallucinogenic mushrooms on the set where the characters do in the film.) Users can share their activity on social networks as well. "We look at this as being an innovative new way to experience the movies that you love and already have a relationship with," says Lisa Judson, general manager of Yeah TV!
SXSW is "an intersection of entertainment and interactive, but more importantly it's a statement of innovation," Judson says. "It is the perfect place for us."