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Where and When to Look

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Mark Harris’ riveting and revealing 2014 book Five Came Back recounts the experience of five legendary American film directors—Frank Capra, John Ford, John Huston, George Stevens, and William Wyler—who joined the military following Pearl Harbor to produce propaganda films to support the war effort. The films they created included both astonishingly powerful work and some significant misfires.

One particularly telling misfire moment occurred when Huston was trying to capture re-enacted bombing attack sequences for the ill-fated and misbegotten Tunisian Victory. “My camera crew was utterly bewildered by it all,” Huston later wrote in his autobiography. “I remember shouting to my first cameraman, ‘They’re coming in at two o’clock!’ and seeing him look at his watch.”

Viewers need look no further than Netflix to find Five Came Back in streaming form, via a brilliant three-part documentary (plus 12 “reference films”) that premiered in 2017. When it comes to knowing where to look to stay on top of the most meaningful developments in the streaming world, one simple maxim is not to always be tracking Netflix’s stock price or churn rate to the exclusion of everything else, and at Streaming Media, we try to direct your gaze to the right places.

In the September/October issue, we highlighted 50 North American companies worth keeping an eye on in the annual Streaming Media 50. In January, StreamingMediaGlobal.com will do the same for the rest of the world in the Streaming Media International 51. In this issue, we’ve handed off the camera to you in the Readers’ Choice Awards and come away with a fascinating snapshot of today’s hottest solutions, services, and innovations.

And if staying alert for what’s “coming in at two o’clock” refers to direction, not time, sometimes knowing when to look is just as important as knowing where. For that, I’m reminded of a watch my old cross-country coach once gave me so I’d know when it was time to pick up the pace in a race. The three-letter word he’d taped over the clock face applies just as well to knowing when to tune in to stay on top of streaming’s latest tectonic shifts. The word is now.

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