VOD Platform Inks Licensing Deals With Hollywood Studios

Los Angeles-based startup ROW8 has signed licensing deals with Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. as part of its strategy to compete with transactional VOD offerings from the likes of Apple and Amazon. The streaming movie service, which launched last year with foreign and indie titles, is now targeting mainstream audiences with library titles and new releases from major Hollywood studios. It is taking an industry standard approach with $5.99 new-release rentals and $2.99-$3.99 catalog titles, but is also adding a feature that offers customers the ability to receive future credits for movie rentals they did not enjoy. Continue reading VOD Platform Inks Licensing Deals With Hollywood Studios

Apple Signs a Deal With A24 to Produce Indie Feature Films

Apple inked a multi-year partnership with studio A24 to make independent features, the first time that it expanded its ambitions to make content beyond TV programming. Last year, Apple announced it had committed $1 billion to create scripted shows, moving into a field dominated by Amazon and Netflix. Prior to the deal, Apple had only signed deals for two films, the documentary “The Elephant Queen” and family-friendly animated film “Wolfwalkers.” A24 is known for its Oscar-winning feature “Moonlight.” Continue reading Apple Signs a Deal With A24 to Produce Indie Feature Films

Criterion Collection Reveals Plans for New Streaming Service

Following the news that WarnerMedia would shutter its streaming service FilmStruck at the end of this month, The Criterion Collection announced that it plans to offer selections from its library of classic Hollywood, foreign language and notable art-house films via its own standalone streaming service to launch in spring 2019 (FilmStruck had an exclusive licensing deal to stream movies from the Criterion library). The announcement further revealed that The Criterion Channel would also be made available via “WarnerMedia’s new consumer platform when it launches late next year.” Continue reading Criterion Collection Reveals Plans for New Streaming Service

Amazon May Expand Media Efforts With Landmark Purchase

Amazon is reportedly among those vying to acquire Landmark Theatres, the country’s largest chain focused on indie and foreign movies. Landmark is part of the Wagner/Cuban entertainment holdings, backed by film producer Todd Wagner and billionaire investor Mark Cuban. According to insiders, Landmark’s owners have been working with financial services firm Stephens Inc. on a possible sale. The move would introduce Amazon to the brick-and-mortar cinema industry, while complementing the e-commerce giant’s media expansion of interests such as Prime Video, Prime Music and Amazon Studios. Continue reading Amazon May Expand Media Efforts With Landmark Purchase

FilmStruck Offers Classic, Foreign and Indie Films via SVOD

After a short delay to address some glitches in the registration process, Turner’s FilmStruck SVOD service is now live. The new offering, developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies and the Criterion Collection, features select classic, foreign and independent films. The service costs $10.99 per month with the Criterion Channel, and $6.99 without (an annual sub to both is $99). While FilmStruck joins a growing field of subscription services, it is targeting cinephiles interested in indie and art-house fare, those who are willing to pay for cable TV in addition to streaming services. Continue reading FilmStruck Offers Classic, Foreign and Indie Films via SVOD

Amazon and Netflix Acquire Movies and Visibility at Sundance

After coming up empty at last year’s Sundance Film Festival, streaming services Amazon and Netflix made some significant acquisitions at this year’s indie film festival in Utah. Prior to the festival, Netflix spent $5 million for the streaming rights to “Tallulah,” starring Allison Janney and Ellen Page, and almost $7 million for “The Fundamentals of Caring,” starring Paul Rudd and Selena Gomez. Amazon inked a deal for Kenneth Lonergan’s “Manchester by the Sea,” with Kyle Chandler, Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges. Continue reading Amazon and Netflix Acquire Movies and Visibility at Sundance

Sparked by Growth in China, Worldwide Ticket Sales Increase

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, global box office numbers were up 1 percent in 2014 over 2013, but ticket sales in North America dropped about 5 percent. The MPAA notes that China saw significant growth, a 34 percent increase year-over-year. Global ticket sales climbed to $36.4 billion last year — with $10.4 billion recorded for the U.S. and Canada and $4.8 billion in China. While domestic per capita ticket sales increased among moviegoers 50 to 59 and slightly among those 40 to 49, sales among viewers younger than 40 dropped. Continue reading Sparked by Growth in China, Worldwide Ticket Sales Increase

Vimeo Announces Launch of its New VOD Publisher Network

Streaming video platform Vimeo announced during the Sundance Film Festival yesterday that it has launched a new publisher network for content creators to reach their audiences directly. The Vimeo On Demand Publisher Network will provide partners with the ability to rent or sell premium, ad-free content from the Vimeo library via a transactional video player. While Vimeo already allows publishers to embed content on other sites, partners can now sell videos directly on their sites within articles or from VOD storefronts. Continue reading Vimeo Announces Launch of its New VOD Publisher Network

Amazon Studios Looks Beyond Original Series to the Big Screen

Amazon announced yesterday that it plans to expand its original programming efforts by producing and acquiring movies for theatrical release and distribution via Prime Instant Video. In a significant departure from the traditional windowing system, the films are expected to be available for streaming in the U.S. 4-8 weeks following their theatrical debuts (movies normally have to wait 39-52 weeks before streaming). The move is part of Amazon’s plan to grow its entertainment arsenal while competing with Netflix. Continue reading Amazon Studios Looks Beyond Original Series to the Big Screen

Cloud Computing Proves an Asset for Productions on a Budget

Today’s cloud services — including CGI, digital intermediate, asset management and storage — are allowing small productions to realize their big visions with less money. Independent films and live events are more frequently using cloud computing to get the rendering and storage services they need without the high costs of traditional physical infrastructure. Productions can also save money because cloud computing helps speed up the long shooting and filmmaking process. Continue reading Cloud Computing Proves an Asset for Productions on a Budget

Social Discovery Platform: Get Ready to Prescreen Your Favorite Indies

  • A new startup dubbed Prescreen launched this week as a marketing platform for independent films.
  • Since indies typically find it challenging to gain exposure, Prescreen provides an alternative for filmmakers and distributors to generate buzz and potentially find an audience for their projects.
  • “Basically, Prescreen offers users the ability to subscribe to a daily email alert, which will inform them of one indie film per day,” reports TechCrunch. “The user can then visit Prescreen to view trailers for free and if interested, can rent movies to stream on demand for up to 60 days. Users can also earn rewards and discounts for sharing movie information on their social networks.”
  • Additionally, the service provides filmmakers and distributors with audience demographic data.
  • In response to the trend regarding more mainstream services such as Netflix and Hulu starting to feature independent movies, Prescreen founder Shawn Bercuson explains that the discovery mechanism for finding and marketing these titles remains weak. He hopes that Prescreen’s email model and social features will help address this issue.