Parks: Confidence in Online TV Increasing Among Younger Consumers

Following a fiscal quarter that saw pay-TV operators lose about 1 million combined subscribers, new data from Parks Associates finds consumers’ willingness to recommend their service (net promoter score, or NPS) is waning.

The average NPS for traditional pay-TV providers in the third quarter was minus 19, down from minus 15 in Q1, although some providers such as Optimum and Dish Network improved their individual scores.

By comparison, the average NPS for the major online pay-TV and over-the-top video services was positive, although their overall scores declined from 2017 to 2018.

“The percentage of U.S. broadband households that do not subscribe to traditional pay TV increased from 16% in 2011 to 22% in 2017,” Brett Sappington, senior director of research, said in a statement. “With each quarterly earnings report, pay-TV providers and their stakeholders are hyperaware of variances in subscriber figures, and they are trying to reverse this trend with their own brands of OTT services as well as other value-added services. A positive NPS score for these services suggests a positive perception and strong word-of-mouth activity.”

Parks said 79% of U.S. broadband households reported had traditional pay-TV subscriptions in early 2018. About 33% of pay-TV subs made a change to their service between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A key challenge for pay-TV providers is to design and launch services that will inspire loyalty among younger households,” said Sappington. “Older consumers profess higher loyalty to pay-TV providers, whereas younger households are more likely to have an OTT service.”

 

‘The Shield’ Series Set Coming to Blu-ray From Mill Creek Entertainment

The entire series set of “The Shield” will come out on Blu-ray Dec. 18 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

The collection includes all 88 fully restored episodes in high-definition from the series’ seven season run, which ended in 2008. Packaged in a digi-book with 18 Blu-ray discs, the set retails at $229.98.

“The Shield” stars Michael Chiklis as antihero Detective Vic Mackey, who runs his elite Strike Team under his own set of rules as he tries to maintain balance in the criminal ecosystem on the streets of Los Angeles.

The set is “the exclamation point to the legacy of ‘The Shield,’” said series creator Shawn Ryan in a statement. “A high-definition restoration was not possible until now,” he stated.

A new patented process allowed the entire series to undergo a 4K transfer and restoration from the 16mm film elements, “preserving the intentional grit and raw texture that’s unique to this series,” according to a Mill Creek release.

“We are thrilled to be able to present ‘The Shield’ in its entirety, available for the first time on Blu-ray having been masterfully restored in widescreen, high definition,” said Barrett Evans, VP of marketing and product development for Mill Creek Entertainment, in a statement. “The series had a monumental impact on television when it debuted, and its themes and subject matter are still poignant and relevant today.”

Bonus features include an all-new cast reunion, writers panel featurette, and a retrospective on the landmark series. For the release extras, Mill Creek Entertainment is orchestrating a reunion with the principal cast and crew, including Shawn Ryan, Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins, Jay Karnes, Benito Martinez, CCH Pounder, Cathy Cahlin Ryan, Kenny Johnson, David Rees Snell, Paula Garcés and David Marciano. Also included on this special Blu-ray release will be a writers’ panel from the ATX Festival, featuring Ryan, Kurt Sutter and Glen Mazzara, plus interviews with the executives and critics who framed and followed the show as it changed the television landscape.

“’The Shield’ redefined cable television and paved the way for a new level of hard-hitting shows that followed,” says J.W. Starrett, director of product development for Mill Creek Entertainment, in a statement. “Getting the cast and crew back together 10 years after the final episode aired gives some really interesting insight and fascinating stories about their experience working on the show.”

Additional special features will be included from previous DVD releases, as well as new features currently in development. A complete listing will be announced in the coming weeks, according to Mill Creek.

“The Shield” originally aired on FX from 2002-2008.  It won two Golden Globe awards, including Best Television Series – Drama, a Primetime Emmy award and two AFI Awards for “TV Program of the Year.”

This story originally posted July 27, 2018, has been updated to reflect a change in street date from Nov. 6 to Dec. 18.

Shout! Factory Releasing ‘We, the Marines’ in 4K

Shout! Factory will release the documentary We, the Marines in a 4K UHD Blu-ray combo pack with digital copy Dec. 11.

Narrated by Gene Hackman, the film guides viewers on an action-packed adventure into the experience of becoming and serving as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps.

We, the Marines was produced by MacGillivray Freeman in association with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and presented by The Boeing Company, for permanent exhibition in the Giant-Screen Medal of Honor Theater at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray release of We, The Marines is Shout! Factory’s first foray into HDR10+, allowing for an unparalleled level of detail via frame-by-frame adjustments through dynamic metadata.

Warner Archive Releasing Classic ‘Popeye’ Cartoons

The Warner Archive Collection will release Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s Vol. 1 on DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 11. The single-disc set contains the first 14 theatrical shorts starring the iconic character remastered from 4K scans of the original nitrate Technicolor negatives.

“This is a landmark moment in Warner Bros. providing animation enthusiasts with the ability to own treasured animated classics from our library with the best possible quality, aimed directly at the adult animation collectors,” said George Feltenstein, SVP of theatrical catalog at Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. “Popeye is a beloved character whose popularity has endured for 90 years — starting as a comic strip, continuing as a headliner in motion pictures for almost 25 years, and cherished for decades on television.”

Many of the shorts have been unseen in their original form for more than 60 years and are making their home entertainment debut.

Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s Vol. 1 offers the 1943-44 and 1944-45 runs produced by Famous Studios, Paramount’s New York-based animation outlet at the time. The shorts start with “Her Honor The Mare” (originally released on Nov. 26, 1943) and continue with “The Marry-Go-Round,” “We’re On Our Way To Rio,” “The Anvil Chorus Girl,” “Spinach Packin’ Popeye,” “Puppet Love,” “Pitchin’ Woo At The Zoo,” “Moving Aweigh,” “She-Sick Sailors,” “Pop-Pie A La Mode,” “Tops In The Big Top,” “Shape Ahoy,” “For Better Or Nurse” and “Mess Production.”  All the cartoons are uncut and retain their original titles, which were removed for TV in the 1950s.

“The animators at this time, during the war years, were allowed to push the Popeye character forward, creating particularly zany plot lines and funny situations beyond the classic Popeye/Bluto rivalry for Olive Oyl,”  said  animation historian and author Jerry Beck. “I’m particularly tickled over the cartoon where Bluto becomes a pseudo-Superman (courtesy of a licensed tie-in with DC Comics) and another where Popeye and Bluto romance Olive as marionette puppets. This was the ‘Golden Age’ of animation — and these are particularly strong cartoons that have been long in demand by animation buffs.”

The home video release comes amid a merchandising blitz by brand owner King Features Syndicate celebrating the 90th anniversary of Popeye in 2019, with support in retail categories including apparel, accessories, collectibles, health and nutrition, and publishing.

PBS Explores Spiritual Life in ‘Sacred’

PBS Distribution 
will release the documentary Sacred on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play Dec. 11, followed by a DVD release Dec. 25.

The film takes an intimate look at the importance and power of religion, culture and spirituality as experienced by people of different denominations all over the world. Combining footage from more than 40 filmmaking teams representing more than 25 countries.

Futuresource: Global 4K UHD TV Shipments to Surpass 100 Million Units in 2018

Pushed by average retail prices reaching parity with HDTV sets, annual global shipments of 4K UHD TVs are expected to surpass 100 million units in 2018, according to the latest market tracking report from Futuresource Consulting.

“The market will continue to grow with double-digit CAGR throughout our forecasting period to 2022,” said Tristan Veale, market analyst at Futuresource, in a statement. “What’s more, high dynamic range — HDR — is beginning to make its presence felt and will be included in over half of all 4K UHD TVs sold worldwide in 2018, though consumer understanding remains limited.”

The Asia Pacific region leads the way in volume, helped along by China, the largest single market for 4K UHD. North America has also seen strong uptake of 4K UHD, with rapidly declining prices and a general preference for larger screens, according to Futuresource. In Europe, the firm projects shipments will grow by 30% this year.

Global shipments of UHD Blu-ray players are expected to almost double the installed base of standalone players this year, according to Futuresource, while UHD compatible media streamer shipments will rise more than 85% year-over-year, accounting for nearly half of all media streamer shipments. Game consoles are significantly increasing the installed base of UHD Blu-ray capable homes, bolstered by consumers updating consoles and taking advantage of upgrades available for both the PlayStation and Xbox, according to Futuresource.

“When it comes to the content, SVoD remains the primary gateway for consumers to get their UHD fix,” said Veale in a statement. “Netflix is the key service driving UHD SVoD spend. Depending on the country, around 20 percent to 30 percent of subscribers have opted for the UHD premium tier.”

Physical media is growing as well, according to the firm.

“UHD Blu-ray content continues to progress ahead of the expectations of many, with global consumer spend on track to reach $360 million this year,” said Veale in a statement. “UHD Blu-ray has held onto its price premium and, as a result, consumer spend continues to outperform digital sellthrough of UHD, despite the volumes being almost identical.”

Broadcast of the format is also making strides.

“Broadcast UHD has also received a welcome boost in 2018, with February’s Winter Olympics and the FIFA World Cup accelerating many broadcasters’ plans to introduce 4K UHD coverage, making high quality streams available,” Veale said in a statement. “However, for wider uptake, a reduction in the cost to deliver UHD and HD broadcasts simultaneously is needed. IP delivery is expected to be key to this, at least in the short to medium term.”

Founder Leonard Riggio Expresses Interest in Barnes & Noble Sale

Leonard Riggio, founder/chairman of Barnes & Noble, said he could take part in the ongoing sales process of national bookseller (and packaged-media retailer), according to a regulatory filing.

Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio

Riggio, who owns 19.2% of B&N, launched his first bookstore in 1965, which later morphed into Barnes & Noble and currently employs 26,000 people at 630 stores across the country.

In October, Barnes & Noble announced that its board of directors had begun a formal review process to evaluate a possible sale of the company – a move supported by Riggio.

The 77-year-old executive said he is “evaluating,” and “may participate” in any potential sale of Barnes & Noble, including making, individually or with others, an offer to acquire the company and/or selling his stake in the retailer in connection with any transaction.

No sale of the company has been announced.

While in the midst of its busiest time of the year, Barnes & Noble remains embroiled in a nasty legal battle with terminated former CEO Demos Parneros for alleged inappropriate behavior in the workplace. The company also claims Parneros scuttled a possible sale of the company to a third party.

Barnes & Noble earlier this month reported a $1.5 million operating loss for its Nook business unit. Revenue dropped nearly 17% to $21.7 million from $25.9 million last year.

The Nook segment, which includes electronic readers and tablets, in addition to digital content (movies, TV shows, music), continues to a bright spot for the last-standing national bookstore chain, which continues to grapple with a changing consumer habits underscored by online entertainment and ecommerce.

Legacy retail sales – which include packaged media – generated an operating loss of $26.7 million. Revenue dipped 2% to $753.2 million.

 

 

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ Tops Disc and Digital Redbox Charts

Crazy Rich Asians, the surprise blockbuster from Warner Bros. about an American professor who travels to meet her boyfriend’s family in Singapore and is surprised to find they are, well crazy rich, topped both Redbox charts the week ended Nov. 25.

The romantic dramedy, which earned nearly $174 million in North American theaters, took the No. 1 spot on both the Redbox kiosk chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red disc vending machines, and the Redbox On Demand digital chart, which tracks digital transactions, both electronic sellthrough (EST) and transactional video-on-demand (TVOD) streaming.

The monster shark movie The Meg, also from Warner Bros., slipped to No. 2 on both charts after debuting at No. 1 the prior week.

Mile 22, a spy thriller from Universal Pictures about a CIA task force that has to escort an Indonesian police officer on the run from the government 22 miles to an extraction point, slipped to No. 3, again on both charts. The film debuted at No. 2 the prior week.

Alpha, a historical adventure film about a young hunter who befriends an injured wolf during the last Ice Age, finished the week at No. 5 on the Redbox kiosk chart and No. 4 on the Redbox On Demand digital chart, down a spot from its debut the prior week.

On the Redbox kiosk chart, the No. 4 spot went to Walt Disney’s The Incredibles 2, down from No. 3 the previous week.

Rounding out the top five on the Redbox On Demand digital chart was Lionsgate’s The Spy Who Dumped Me, an action comedy with Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as two best friends on the run from assassins. The film spent two weeks at No. 1 before slipping to No. 4 last week.

Another new release, Lionsgate’s Kin, debuted at No. 6 on the disc-rental chart and No. 9 on the digital chart. Kin is a science-fiction film about a young boy who finds a strange weapon and his newly paroled brother. The film earned less than $10 million at the domestic box office.

 

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ending November 25

  1. Crazy Rich Asians (new)
  2. The Meg
  3. Mile 22
  4. The Incredibles 2
  5. Alpha
  6. Kin (new)
  7. Christopher Robin
  8. The Spy Who Dumped Me
  9. Skyscraper
  10. Ant-Man and the Wasp

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ending November 25

  1. Crazy Rich Asians
  2. The Meg
  3. Mile 22
  4. Alpha
  5. The Spy Who Dumped Me
  6. Creed
  7. Skyscraper
  8. Life of the Party
  9. Kin
  10. Ocean’s 8

 

Visit the Redbox website.

Buy or rent Redbox On Demand movies.

Sling TV Offering Discovery Network Channels

Dish Network-owned Sling TV Nov. 28 announced it has expanded online TV service to include nine Discovery channels on its domestic and Spanish-language platforms.

Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery (ID) and TLC are now available in the $25 “Sling Blue” service; Investigation Discovery (ID) and MotorTrend (formerly Velocity) are now available in the “Sling Orange” service ($40 when combined).

American Heroes Channel and Destination America are now available in “Heartland Extra” add-on; Science Channel is now available in “News Extra” add-on. Discovery en Español and Discovery Familia are now available in “Best of Spanish TV” base or add-on Extras.

“With the addition of some Discovery channels in our base service and others in our genre-based add-on Extras, we continue to deliver on our consumer promise of providing the most choice and flexibility in programming options,” Warren Schlichting, president of Sling TV, said in a statement.

Discovery Channel features shows like “Gold Rush” and “Alaska: The Last Frontier”. TLC showcases lives of reality TV characters, including “90 Day Fiancé” and “The Little Couple”.

Investigation Discovery (ID) features documentaries and series such as “Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda” and “People Magazine Investigates”.

MotorTrend showcases the people and the stories behind the cars. Sling Orange subscribers can now watch shows like “Wheeler Dealers”.

The following channels are available in Heartland Extra or News Extras (each $5 per month with a subscription to Sling Orange and/or Sling Blue):

American Heroes Channel showcases military battles, people and pivotal moments in time. The channel features series such as, “World War II: Witness to War.”

Destination America is the only network to celebrate the people, places, and stories of the United States with shows like “Ghost Brothers.”

Science Channel immerses viewers into possibilities of science, from string theory and futuristic cities to accidental discoveries and outrageous inventions. Subscribers of News Extras can view shows like “Mythical Beasts” on Science Channel.

The following channels are available in Best of Spanish TV standalone service ($10/month) or add-on ($5/month when combined with Sling Orange, Sling Blue or any other Spanish-language regional service):

Discovery en Español provides Spanish-language programming focusing on story telling across genres, including adventure, ingenuity, natural history, investigation and current affairs. Best of Spanish TV customers can now watch programs like “Mexicanicos,” “Clandestino” and “Alaska: Hombres Primitivos.”

Discovery Familia is a Spanish-language network dedicated to Hispanic women and the things that matter in their lives. During the day, the Discovery Kids block provides a safe environment for children with entertaining programming, and in the evening, the channel offers programming for women, focusing on topics such as home décor, food, health, beauty and family.

Discovery Familia features shows like “Vestido de Novia,” “Los Busby” and “Remodelación en Pareja.”

“This partnership with Sling TV is another positive step towards ensuring our brands are reaching our fans no matter where they are watching,” said Eric Phillips, president of affiliate distribution at Discovery.

 

 

British Ditching DVD Players?

Heading into last week’s Black Friday retail weekend in the United Kingdom, tech shoppers apparently weren’t looking for DVD players, desktop PCs and MP3 devices.

New data from Ofcom, U.K.’s communications regulator, found that 64% of consumers shopped for a DVD/Blu-ray Disc player in 2018 – down from 83% in 2008. Another 27% bought a MP3 player, compared to 44% in 2008. Less than 30% bought a PC, down from 69%.

“As technology evolves and transforms how we live our lives, the devices we rely on are constantly changing,” Ian Macrae, director of market Intelligence at Ofcom, said in a statement. “The growth in popularity of streaming services has created tremendous demand for connected TVs, which for many people are replacing DVD players, and the smartphone is replacing several other devices at once.”

While smartphones (78%), smart TVs (42%) and wearables (20%) have increased in popularity among British shoppers, connected DVD/Blu-ray players affording physical and digital access still resonate.

In fact, excluding the ubiquitous smartphone, DVD/Blu-ray Disc players still top tablets, E-readers, digital video recorders, smart TVs and wearables on consumer purchases in 2018.

With Netflix favored by 44% of 765 million people globally who use an over-the-top video service, according to eMarketer.com, connected disc players remain an important conduit linking the living room TV with the Internet.

Indeed, through 2022, consumer spending on traditional home video and pay-TV will decline less than 2% to $11.5 billion, according to consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).