Streaming service wars news and trends
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Wow! This is big news, as now Fandango will own VUDU (Walmart's movies and TV show portal).

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Vudu, the digital movie and TV unit of Walmart, is being acquired by NBCUniversal’s Fandango division.

 

Founded in 2004 and acquired by Walmart in 2010, Vudu offers about 10,000 free movie and TV titles through a streaming service. It also enables the rental and purchase of some 150,000 titles, including new releases.

 

The news was confirmed Sunday night in a blog post on Vudu’s website. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Comcast and NBCU had been reported to be in talks earlier this year to acquire Vudu, a deal that gives the company another streaming outlet as it integrates Xumo and also rolls out Peacock, which just went live for Comcast subscribers.

 

Fandango, which began in 2000 as a movie ticketing venture backed by several exhibition circuits, has evolved into a much broader consumer offering as it continues to provide ticketing and movie information. It launched FandangoNow in 2016 after acquiring streaming outlet M-GO.

 

The Vudu acquisition fits the larger direction of things at NBCU, especially with theatrical moviegoing sidelined by coronavirus. The entertainment division, working with its Philadelphia colleagues in broadband and pay-TV distribution, recently has pivoted to streaming for major film releases including Trolls World Tour.

 

In an FAQ posted to the Vudu site, the company said streaming service FandangoNow and Vudu will not be combined but will coexist for the near term. “Our priority is to ensure that Vudu customers and partners are given the highest level of service during this time of transition,” it said. “So, there will be no immediate changes to either service. In the months ahead, we will explore ways to bring great online entertainment experiences to our valued customers.”

 

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DEADLINE: Universal Responds To AMC: Studio Believes In Theatrical, But Expects To Release Movies Directly To Theatres & PVOD When “Outlet Makes Sense”

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Universal has responded to AMC boss Adam Aron’s note tonight to Universal Studios Chairman Donna Langley in which he told the studio that the chain won’t be playing their titles at their global venues. Essentially Uni says they “absolutely believe in the theatrical experience and made no statement to the contrary.”

 

But, added Universal, “As we stated earlier, going forward, we expect to release future films directly to theatres, as well as on PVOD when that distribution outlet makes sense,” a response that the major isn’t veering from Shell’s plan to break Hollywood distribution practices.  Universal ended their note expressing that they’re “disappointed by this seemingly coordinated attempt from AMC and NATO to confuse our position and our actions.” You can read the rest of Uni’s statement below.

Aron took umbrage with NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell’s statements in the Wall Street Journal this morning in which he told the paper “The results for Trolls World Tour have exceeded our expectations and demonstrated the viability of PVOD. As soon as theaters reopen, we expect to release movies on both formats.”

 

Some in distribution and exhibition think that Aron may have overreacted here to Shell’s statements; perhaps the exhibition boss misconstrued them or took them out of context. After all, actions speak more than words: Universal as a believer in theatrical did push F9 to next year, and yet they’re  taking a more-TV centric title like The King of Staten Island starring SNL‘s Pete Davidson into homes instead of theaters. However, Shell is known as a longstanding champion of squeezing the theatrical window, and getting movies into homes sooner. He’s a cable guy, who came to Universal’s film division from Comcast in 2015. The thought by AMC and exhibition was that Trolls World Tour was a one-off exception at a time when they were all shut down, but they’re now threatened by windows collapsing once COVID-19 restrictions lift, and that will hurt their side of the business. Already, moviegoer surveys such as the one published on Deadline by Edward Norton’s EDO have indicated that they’ll be slow to return to cinemas post COVID — why do theaters need competition from studios in releasing movies?

 

One exhibition insider said today in response to the AMC mudslinging, “This is war — I haven’t seen it this bad since Disney hiked rental terms up before they started releasing the Avengers movies.”

 

AMC, like many exhibitors, remains in a truly precarious situation with many analysts believing the chain may go into bankruptcy. That is yet to happen, but we know that they’re re-negotiating leases with landlords like any theater owner is doing now. Can AMC really afford to refuse to play a big studio’s slate, especially at time when they’re starving for product? Universal has such movies as F9, Minions the Rise of Gru and Jurassic World: Dominion?  (all scheduled for 2021 by the way).

 

By firing off a note to Universal tonight, AMC, as the exhibition leader, is drawing a line in the sand. Who is going to line up behind them? We’ve heard that behind the scenes Cineworld is irate with them. Cinemark is referring all press to NATO in regards to the AMC-Universal Trolls World Tour fight; the trade org twice expressing twice their frustration with the studio today over NBCUni’s victory lap on the DreamWorks Animation’s sequel $95M revenues.

 

Some are perplexed by why Aron addressed his note to Langley instead of Shell. Unfortunately exhibition, being closed, doesn’t really have the upper hand right now. They’re trying to get stimulus packages to cover their overheads. They can’t open as states like Georgia and Texas re-open because there’s no product coming from studios until arguably late July with Warner Bros.’ Tenet and Disney’s Mulan. On top of that, movie theaters have to contend with safety restrictions, capacity limits when they return and the hope that people show up.

 

Still, why are exhibitors so mad at Universal when it comes to releasing Trolls World Tour into homes? Why not be ticked off at Warner Bros. with Scoob? Or Disney with Artemis Fowl? Both of those titles switched distribution course and opted to skip theaters for a home release.

 

Sources tell me that Uni just had bad timing when it came to its abrupt decision to put Trolls World Tour into homes: Just as exhibition was on their knees, and forced to shutter around the globe out of safety from COVID-19, Uni went ahead and decided on a PVOD plan for Trolls World Tour. For exhibition, they saw the sequel as a potential $150M domestic money maker for them.

I think AMC may have opened up a fight that can bleed over beyond Universal. Especially now that other studios have been forced to make a decision to release exclusively via streaming/VOD due to the pandemic.

Edited by Bosco685
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30 minutes ago, Bosco685 said:

DEADLINE: Universal Responds To AMC: Studio Believes In Theatrical, But Expects To Release Movies Directly To Theatres & PVOD When “Outlet Makes Sense”

I think AMC may have opened up a fight that can bleed over beyond Universal. Especially now that other studios have been forced to make a decision to release exclusively via streaming/VOD due to the pandemic.

The more I think about it, I don't think this would be a fight that AMC could win in the long run.

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47 minutes ago, media_junkie said:

The more I think about it, I don't think this would be a fight that AMC could win in the long run.

Bingo!

It was a knee-jerk reaction to a statement that only hurts the AMC brand and market image. I would have responded to this a little calmer AFTER a call with Universal to get some clarification on its position.

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AMC should have taken their time to respond but they are in full on panic mode right now and that was an NRA lobby-style scorched earth move meant to make an example out of Universal and hope to scare other studios away from even considering direct to streaming.  AMC is hemorrhaging money ($150 million+ a month) and may not survive the summer if:

1. they aren't able to reopen theaters by June at even 50% capacity.

AND

2. they aren't able to show any crowd-drawing summer blockbusters that just got rescheduled to fall/next year.

Nevertheless at face value it was a poor move on AMC's part as it is almost begging studios to cut out the middleman and go direct to rentals.  If AMC goes out of business, that threat will be moot because they won't be showing any studio films anyway.  However, I wonder if the threat had a strategic angle as well in that they were hoping other theater companies (Regal, Cinemark, etc) would follow suit or relax their liability by offloading a less desirable film slate from Universal in hopes of courting a more exclusive Disney/Sony/MGM studio deal with a longer theatrical time.

However, this may be the beginning of the end for traditional theatrical release schedules.  I've never considered paying $20 for a rental but I used to always complain that I would pay $100 to be able to stream blockbuster HD theater quality movies on opening night. During this crisis, I've already paid $60 for 3 on-demand direct releases and I could keep doing this even after things get back to "normal" next year.

 

 

 

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HBO Max will be free for millions of subscribers. Are you one of them?

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I'm an HBO Now subscriber. What do I do?

 

Millions of HBO Now customers will be upgraded to HBO Max automatically. After the service launches, many of those users will get an app update that simply transforms the HBO Now app into the HBO Max app. Many others will have to download the new HBO Max app manually on their device.

 

Whether you're among those who get the upgrade depends on who handles your billing. HBO Now subscribers billed through the following providers qualify:

  • HBOnow.com
  • Apple
  • Google

What if I get HBO from my cable provider or streaming TV service? 


Although the situation is more complex than with HBO Now, the answer again depends on which provider actually delivers HBO to you. All of the following cable, satellite or streaming companies will let HBO subscribers get HBO Max:

  • DirecTV/AT&T TV (see the next section)
  • Hulu
  • YouTube TV
  • Charter/Spectrum
  • Altice (Optimum and SuddenLink)
  • Verizon
  • Cox Communications 
  • NCTC (WOW!, Atlantic Broadband, RCN, Grande Communications & Wave, and MCTV)


Not every company will handle the upgrade the same way. Charter customers who already subscribe to HBO through the Spectrum cable service will "gain immediate access to HBO Max," according to an HBO Max spokeswoman, while new Spectrum subscribers will "be able to purchase HBO Max directly through Charter at launch." AT&T previously announced a deal with YouTube TV in February that "will allow users to subscribe to HBO Max through that service." 

HBO Max vs. HBO Now vs. HBO Go: What's the difference, how do you upgrade?

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The short version

 

  • If you pay for HBO already via your cable, satellite or cord-cutter live TV subscription, you can use the HBO Go app to stream those shows on other devices like your phone, tablet or another TV
  • If you don't pay for HBO already through an existing TV provider, you can use the HBO Now app for streaming
  • If you want to stream all of HBO plus all the new Max goodness, you need the HBO Max app when it comes out on May 27


The good news is that, for millions of current HBO subscribers, the upgrade to Max will happen automatically. HBO Now users who pay via HBO Now, Google or Apple will get an app update that transforms the HBO Now app into the HBO Max app. HBO Go users with certain providers (including Charter, YouTube TV and AT&T's own TV services) will be able to use the same username and password to log in to the new HBO Max app. If you're one of those millions of subscribers, you should be able to access Max without having to change anything with your HBO subscription.

 

Unfortunately millions more HBO subscribers won't qualify for the upgrade. To see if your pay TV provider is upgrading you to HBO Max, or if you qualify for the automatic upgrade from HBO Now to HBO Max, check out our story breaking it all down. 

 

If you don't qualify for the upgrade and still want Max, our advice is to simply cancel your HBO subscription from wherever you're getting it now and subscribe to HBO Max directly.

 

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On 4/13/2020 at 7:04 PM, Bosco685 said:

Old Disney vs New Disney, the times they are a-changin.

Fans Can't Believe Disney+ Edited Brief Nudity Out of Splash

 

Although times are changing,  this really isn't new. Disney has always strived to brand itself as Family child friendly entertainment.  They have always kept a close eye on all of their content and revise/edit rereleased and redistributed any content they thought didn't quite meet their expectations.  They constantly use other subsidiaries to distribute content outside of the Disney brand. Examples being things like Return to Oz through Anchor Bay, The Nightmare Before Christmas through Touchstone Home Videos / 20200527_065534.thumb.jpg.ee08d05c4492fae1e600642501fe091c.jpg20200527_065554.thumb.jpg.e59506334f6167008b7e8f467e537e6a.jpg

Buena Vista Home Video . Buena Vista being one of their main " Go To" for even some off the older classic titles (Western Theater- Hopalong Cassidy , 20200527_065923.thumb.jpg.b7148f5d2b35bb308f3f4a0ef7e3835c.jpg

50's Theater)20200527_065939.thumb.jpg.a391f0ed5577dd44d085edab5aecf8e4.jpg

but they have also distributed through Hollywood Pictures Home Videos( also Buena Vista AKA Disney just not the Family Children Brand) 20200527_065503.thumb.jpg.38a9c2841c5dd7d08c1cacf1cd4b9a94.jpg

and this also says " Song of the South was not released for home video,  but they did release it in the UK not in the US , although they did release a sales Screener/ Preview that had it on there just not in its entirety.  Still from things like revising the Little Mermaid Cover from "Phallic " looking cover art , deleted scenes from The Rescuers  that contained nude images slipped in During production that not only made it to theaters,  but the first home release as well. Also can forget their educational line including Hitlers Children to these gems20200527_065816.thumb.jpg.d417cebf51f3d08be9fc73c7a996ea7c.jpg

They are always trying to clean their image..The Truth is they are just like the rest of us. Dont get me wrong I have always had an special place for Disney which can be seen by my massive collection of almost every thing they have released. ( my very own unedited Disney ++)  This is just one wall of an entire Disney Room in catalog order20200527_071405.jpg.39bc9a698333fba1d015f81711e1310d.jpg

All in their original unedited glory many of which are preview/ screener copies as well as first release.

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1 hour ago, Bosco685 said:

And I am set now.

HBO_Max01.PNG.910cee4987bacb20d738a95e3136c707.PNG

Really like the 20200527_063355.jpg.712e73282d067f6a6ba76182c6707a35.jpg

Yet another great ! Most people do not know that the animation team that did The Last Unicorn later formed Ghibli . I really liked some of their earlier works Warriors of the Wind

20200527_072636.jpg.dc19b18161d02906097554c01cdd62e9.jpg

later retitled Naussica of the Valley of the Wind. 20200527_072758.jpg.24813c2ab589d7f9ac5dee523545e68c.jpg

Disney even originally did a test to see if this was viable for expansion by running Warriors on the Disney Channel in the late 80s and also released Preview copies 20200527_063725.thumb.jpg.1fa9e8e53765a676333ae09e1f9459fb.jpg20200527_063717.thumb.jpg.f4117bd048dd10920e85aad3fe3bd53f.jpg20200527_063708.thumb.jpg.be072b40d6997f8f7540fe5616cbd39b.jpg

to some of the Disney Stores to gauge interest although most were not fully release until DVD years later. Still really enjoy almost everything Ghibli released..

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As far as streaming goes I currently use roku , Amazon Prime, Disney + , Netflix,  as well. I do enjoy many of them , but for the last couple months I have been trying out bro-TV

20200527_074349.jpg.b41bf4e3729d3114327c290fb51be9d6.jpg

( although I am sure at some point they will get shut down as it seems as though it is pirated) the price they offer and it is all channels including pay per view as well as all premium channels and dedicated 24/7  channels... WOW.. just insane.. I only signed up for the 3 months as it just seems to me that to have all this it must be pirated,  but the Friend who showed me this has been using it for about a year now..

  https://bro-tv.com/

And no I have no affiliations with them at all... as I said I am still paying for other streaming services as I have been apprehensive when my friend first signed up thinking that will get pulled. Although now almost to the end of my 3 months I may start canceling some of my other services..

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