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Six Questions: Michael Meadows, New Wave Entertainment President

17 Jan, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey

Michael Meadows

As a production, marketing and creative services agency, New Wave Entertainment sports an extensive portfolio of marketing, production, design, interactive media, music and talent management services.

In the home entertainment arena, the company produces behind-the-scenes specials, TV specials, TV spots, documentaries, online and interactive content, and Blu-ray Disc and DVD bonuses, most recently for Inception, Despicable Me and Shrek Forever After.

Michael Meadows, president of home entertainment for New Wave, chatted with Home Media Magazine about the future of bonus features for disc, mobile and VOD.

HM: New Wave has contributed to the bonus features for some of the industry’s latest and greatest Blu-ray Discs. Can you point to a few recent BD features that New Wave is especially proud of and how they’re unique?

Meadows: We’ve created a lot of in-movie experiences that are unique in the large amount of exclusive content they offer and the variety of ways in which to view the featurettes.

For Warner Home Video’s release of Inception we created a feature called “Extraction Mode,” an in-movie experience that weaves 14 featurettes (90 minutes of content) into the run of the movie as it plays. The viewer can also select and play any of them individually in full screen, pausing the action instead of going picture-in-picture.

And for Universal Studios Home Entertainment’s release of Despicable Me, we created a fun BD feature called “Gru-Control.” It’s unique because the characters interact with the movie. When the viewer activates this feature, at certain times during the film the animated characters like Gru and Vector or the Minions will pop on-screen and interact or comment or “mess” with the movie via use of a PIP window.

HM: In New Wave’s opinion, what bonus opportunities does BD Live present, and what can we offer to consumers that they haven’t seen yet?

Meadows: While it’s an obvious benefit that BD Live allows the user to download short chunks of special features directly to the user’s player, in SD or HD, BD Live is about more than content delivery. It’s also about expanding engagement of the title: people linking the content to their social networking, having fun with it, and spreading the conversation about the film or TV show.

For example, for Inception we produced a feature called “Project Somnacin.” The feature is initiated through BD Live then moves to an e-mail and Web platform, where the user receives e-mails with links that takes them deeper into the science of the movie’s dream-share technology. Most BD Live is direct download; we created this unique feature to take the user outside the player, extending the life of the disc into an e-mail and Web experience.

HM: New Wave has delved into the mobile side of content bonuses. What are the unique challenges to offering mobile bonuses, and, for that matter, mobile feature-length content?

Meadows: One particular challenge is that when we create bonus material for mobile devices, we are creating content for a much smaller screen. So as someone views it on his or her mobile device, we don’t want the material to lose impact. That’s also the reason the content is much shorter, usually not more than five minutes. The advantage is that people can view the bonus material on more than just their home theater screen.

HM: Where has New Wave worked in the social networking arena, and what opportunities do sites such as Facebook offer for the home entertainment industry?

Meadows: We have created several promotional games that tie into social networking. For example, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s Percy Jackson, Tooth Fairy and “The Cleveland Show” all let the user post their progress and activities on their social networks. For Universal’s Fast and Furious, we created a “Virtual Car Garage” where people could share their own custom-made cars.

We have also produced some fun viral marketing videos to promote home entertainment releases such as the recent release of Fox’s Machete called “Machete Don’t Text.”

HM: In New Wave’s view, what’s the biggest obstacle to offering bonus content in the VOD space?

Meadows: There are many platforms and delivery mechanisms for VOD which means the content needs to couple with those delivery systems, i.e. iPad, iPhone, PC, home theater. It’s not necessarily an obstacle, but does widen the challenge to make sure all of the bonus content works on those platforms.

HM: New Wave has its own production arm as well. What are some of the company’s proudest moments on the production side, and where are they best reflected on the home entertainment side?

Meadows: We have crews all over the world capturing exclusive behind-the-scenes content that we use in TV specials, documentaries and bonus features. Through the home entertainment division, we produced several television specials last year including the two-hour “Battle for Late Night” which aired on A&E, and “Starz Inside: Comics on Screen.” In addition to many behind-the-scenes specials for TV, many of our documentaries produced as bonus content have also aired on TV and in movie theaters.

New Wave produced an eight-part documentary series about the creation of “Harry Potter,” which is airing on the Bio Channel. The first four, one-hour episodes have aired so far. Extended versions of these specials are included in the special Ultimate Edition Blu-ray releases of each “Harry Potter” film.

New Wave also has a TV series in production with Discovery ID, five network shows set up, three unscripted cable pilots, and a half dozen stand-up comedy specials in the works.

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