Indie Video Store Tries to Fill Netflix DVD-by-Mail Rental Role

With Netflix ceasing DVD rent-by-mail operations as of September 29, a market opportunity has been identified by Seattle, Washington-based independent Scarecrow Video, which wants to step into the role vacated by the streaming giant. Described as the largest remaining video retailer in the U.S., Scarecrow began experimenting with a rent-by-mail program in 2019, offering DVDs and Blu-ray Discs delivered to mailboxes across the country. While rare titles are excepted from the rent-by-mail program, and applications to participate in the program must be individually approved, Scarecrow has proclaimed the program a success. Continue reading Indie Video Store Tries to Fill Netflix DVD-by-Mail Rental Role

Crackle Using Amazon Tech to Test Interactive Shopping Ads

Free video streaming service Crackle has become one of the first third-party publishers to support Amazon Interactive Video Ads. The integration via the Crackle Connex sales arm will let consumers learn more about a product or add a product to their Amazon shopping cart directly from the screen during an ad break. Crackle parent company Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment is expected to add Amazon ads to its Chicken Soup for the Soul and Redbox VOD apps in the future. The agreement also allows Amazon Fire TV customers to watch free movies and TV shows via Redbox. Continue reading Crackle Using Amazon Tech to Test Interactive Shopping Ads

Netflix Delays Password-Sharing Fees, Cancels DVD Rentals

Netflix followed its triumphant Q4 with mixed results for Q1, the first quarter under new co-CEOs Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters. The period ending March 31 produced profit of $1.31 billion, down 18 percent year over year. Revenue was up 3.6 percent to $8.16 billion from $7.87 billion in Q1 2022. Paid sharing was launched in four countries in Q1, but the company delayed the broader rollout that was to come with a global crackdown on password piggy-backers, which was originally scheduled for Q1. The wider initiative, which includes the U.S., is now set for Q2. In addition, Netflix announced it would shutter its DVD rent-by-mail program. Continue reading Netflix Delays Password-Sharing Fees, Cancels DVD Rentals

Netflix Restructures Film Units, Cuts Back on Original Content

Netflix has decided to focus on fewer, but higher quality, originals, and has restructured its film group to accommodate the change. Fifteen-year Netflix veteran Lisa Nishimura, who oversaw low-budget features and original documentaries is exiting, along with film group VP Ian Bricke, who logged more than 10 years at the company. Live-action films will now be the purview of a trio of execs: Kira Goldberg, Ori Marmur and Niija Kuykendall. Goldberg and Marmur, who joined Netflix in 2021, were tasked with developing high-end commercial projects. Kuykendall, who joined later that year from Warner Bros., was assigned mid-budget films. Continue reading Netflix Restructures Film Units, Cuts Back on Original Content

Netflix Is ‘Shifting Gears, and Fast’ to Roll Out Its New Ad Tier

As Netflix pivots to add a lower-priced ad-supported tier, it is taking on its biggest challenge since shifting to streaming from its DVD-by-mail model, observers say, noting that the move to integrate advertising puts Netflix, once a disruptor, in the position of playing catch-up with rivals that have already adapted their business models to include less expensive, ad-supported options for consumers. Netflix hasn’t disclosed pricing for its ad-supported tier, but it will presumably be below the $9.99 fee for its least expensive ad-free tier. Reports are beginning to surface, however, as to ad rates, and they’re not cheap. Continue reading Netflix Is ‘Shifting Gears, and Fast’ to Roll Out Its New Ad Tier

Chicken Soup for the Soul to Acquire Redbox for $375 Million

Streaming company Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment has initiated a $375 million acquisition of Redbox Entertainment, which operates roughly 38,000 DVD rental kiosks located in retail locations throughout the nation. The deal includes $50 million in Chicken Soup stock and assumption of Redbox’s $325 million in debt. Redbox has about 40 million customers enrolled in its loyalty program (Redbox Perks), offers more than 130 FAST digital channels on a Free Live TV platform, and has a content library that spans TVOD and PVOD platforms, in addition to physical and digital distribution channels. Continue reading Chicken Soup for the Soul to Acquire Redbox for $375 Million

Netflix Considers Advertising Model as Subscribers Dip in Q1

Netflix has confirmed it is considering an ad-supported tier. The news follows speculation at SXSW, and coincides with a quarterly subscriber loss, the company’s first in more than a decade. As a result, “revenue growth has slowed considerably,” reads its Q1 shareholder letter, attributing the lag to “relatively high household penetration” that includes a “large number of households sharing accounts.” Combined with a COVID-induced streaming bubble followed by exploding competition and costs, the landscape has changed, and Netflix is contemplating how to change with it. Continue reading Netflix Considers Advertising Model as Subscribers Dip in Q1

Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Warner Bros. announced that its entire 2021 slate, comprised of 17 movies, will be distributed simultaneously via movie theaters and on its streaming service HBO Max where new titles will remain for one month. Warner Bros. made the decision that, despite coronavirus vaccines on track to be widely deployed, the movie-going audiences won’t return to theaters until next fall. The move is also intended to boost interest in HBO Max, which debuted in May for $15 per month as a new competitor to Netflix and other streaming services. Continue reading Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Netflix Raises Monthly Prices of Its Standard, Premium Plans

As Netflix faces a growing collection of competing video services, the company is raising the monthly subscription cost of its most popular standard plan from $12.99 per month to $13.99, its first increase since January of last year. While the entry-level basic plan will remain $8.99 per month, the premium plan will increase from $15.99 to $17.99 per month. Yesterday, the company announced that price changes will go into effect immediately for new subscribers, while current subscribers should expect a fee adjustment within the next two months. Subscribers will receive a warning of the increase 30 days prior to the change. Continue reading Netflix Raises Monthly Prices of Its Standard, Premium Plans

As Sales Shift to E-Commerce, Bose Shutters Retail Stores

Bose, which opened its first retail store in 1993, will close its remaining 119 retail stores in Australia, Europe, Japan and North America. The company didn’t reveal how many jobs will be lost due to the closures, but it is believed to be in the hundreds. Bose stated that the move is due to “the dramatic shift to online shopping in specific markets,” and that “approximately 130 stores located in Greater China and the United Arab Emirates; and additional stores in India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea” will remain open. Continue reading As Sales Shift to E-Commerce, Bose Shutters Retail Stores

Universal, Warner Bros. Plan DVD Distribution Joint Venture

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment inked a deal to form a joint DVD distribution venture in North America, for library titles, TV content and new releases. The pact, slated to be operational by Q1 2021, will last through 2031. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment president Eddie Cunningham will lead the venture, which will include executives from both studios. The two studios also signed license agreements for DVD distribution in countries outside of North America. Continue reading Universal, Warner Bros. Plan DVD Distribution Joint Venture

Mobile Games, Home Entertainment Strong Earners in 2019

Mobile games and home entertainment were big in 2019. Sensor Tower reported that Android and iOS mobile game players spent about $61.7 billion in 2019, up 12.8 percent from 2018’s $54.7 billion total. Mobile gaming also represented 74 percent of mobile spending for 2019. That year, home entertainment grew 8.4 percent to $25.2 billion, a record-breaking number. According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the greatest areas of growth were digital, subscription streaming, and digital movie sales and rentals. Continue reading Mobile Games, Home Entertainment Strong Earners in 2019

Netflix Preps For the Onslaught of New Streaming Services

In advance of the debut of Disney+ on November 12, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said he admires Disney and plans to subscribe to the new service. In addition to last week’s Apple TV+ launch, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock are also set to debut in 2020. Hastings noted that Netflix has always faced streaming competition with YouTube, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video. Predicting that consumers will subscribe to multiple services, he said time spent on each service is the new metric. Continue reading Netflix Preps For the Onslaught of New Streaming Services

Creatives Are Concerned by Netflix Variable Speed Feature

Netflix is testing variable playback speeds with a small group of Android users, much to the dismay of many Hollywood creatives. Judd Apatow, Brad Bird and Aaron Paul were among those who spoke against the feature, with Apatow noting that “distributors don’t get to change the way the content is presented.” There is evidence that some users prefer to consume media at faster speeds, to improve concentration and cover more material. Netflix vice president Keela Robison said subscribers had “frequently” requested the feature. Continue reading Creatives Are Concerned by Netflix Variable Speed Feature

AMC Joins the Streaming Business with On-Demand Movies

AMC Theatres is launching an iTunes-style digital video store today in the U.S. that will allow AMC Stubs members to rent or purchase movies for home viewing. Similar to the model introduced by Amazon, Apple and other VOD retailers, AMC Theatres On Demand will offer about 2,000 movies following their theatrical runs, despite the fact that chains have generally been at odds with online video. A major theater chain joining the expanding collection of studios, networks, tech companies and popular platforms already embracing this technology illustrates the impact of streaming video on entertainment media. Continue reading AMC Joins the Streaming Business with On-Demand Movies