Merchandising: Best Buy Offers Free HBO Max Trial

Best Buy is offering a free 30-day trial subscription to the new HBO Max streaming service with the purchase of a qualifying product.

Shoppers receive a promo code on their receipt good that can be redeemed for the free trial. Qualifying products include TVs, streaming media players, tablets, video games, gaming consoles, DVD and Blu-ray movies and mobile accessories.

The promo code must be redeemed by Aug. 28. To access the free trial, consumers must provide a valid credit card as well, which will be automatically charged the $14.99 monthly fee at the conclusion of the trial period unless the subscription is canceled prior to the renewal date.

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Meanwhile, Target continues to offer “Stranger Things” on Blu-ray at ever-declining discounts.

The first two seasons of Netflix’s “Stranger Things” are available on Blu-ray exclusively from the chain. Three years after the set of the first season hit shelves, it remains a prominent fixture of Target’s DVD displays.

The past few weeks, Target has been selling the “Stranger Things” season one Blu-ray for as low as $3. Its original price in 2017 was $24.99.

 

 

 

 

Netflix Hires Bozoma Saint John as Chief Marketing Officer

Netflix has hired Bozoma Saint John as its new chief marketing officer, replacing Jackie Lee-Joe, who held the position for less than a year after leaving the same position at BBC Studios. Saint John, who is exiting talent agency Endeavor as CMO, previously worked as chief brand officer at Uber and head of consumer marketing at Apple Music/iTunes.

“Bozoma Saint John is an exceptional marketer who understands how to drive conversations around popular culture better than almost anyone,” CCO Ted Sarandos said in a statement. “As we bring more great stories to our members around the world, she’ll define and lead our next exciting phase of creativity and connection with consumers.”

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Saint John launched “The Badass Workshop,” which aims to evolve followers’ careers, health & wellness, lifestyles, relationships, goals and “so much more …”

Sarandos thanked Lee-Joe, who replaced retiring Kelly Bennett in July 2019, for her contributions to Netflix. “We wish her all the best,” he said. Saint John begins her new position in August.

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ESPN+ Raising Subscription Price in August

Despite a dearth of live sports programming, Disney reportedly is set to raise the price of subscription streaming service ESPN+ by $1 to $5.99 monthly beginning in August. The new price would equal the monthly fee for Hulu basic with advertising. The annual $49.99 fee stays the same. Existing ESPN+ subs would be grandfathered into the new price point after one year, according to The Verge, which first reported the price hike, citing sources.

Launched in 2018, ESPN+ features streaming access to 20 sports, including the PGA Tour, UFC, NBA and NFL, and ended March with 7.9 million subs.

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Disney has been aggressively marketing the service bundled with Hulu and Disney+ for $12.99 — a move research firm eMarketer contends will drive ESPN+ subs to 15 million by the end of the year. Disney is also offering standalone ESPN+ subs access to Hulu and Disney+ for $9.99 monthly.

eMarketer contends 36.5 million people in the country will watch live sports digitally this year (when they resume) — including 23.7% watching via digital channels.

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‘Scoob!’ Rolling Out Internationally in July Via Theatrical and Premium In-Home Release

Warner Bros. Pictures will roll out Scoob! internationally via a combination of theatrical exhibition and premium in-home release through premium VOD and premium digital ownership.

The international theatrical release will begin on July 8 in France, Holland and Switzerland, with additional countries rolling out over the summer months.

Premium home offerings will begin on July 1 in Australia and New Zealand.

With theaters closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the animated Scoob! debuted for both rental via PVOD and for digital ownership in the U.S. and Canada May 15. The film is now the No. 2 digital release of all time and the No. 1 digital release for Warner Bros., according to the studio. Scoob! June 26 became available in the U.S. on WarnerMedia’s recently launched streaming service HBO Max.

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“Our decision to release Scoob! as an in-home offering in May came during an unprecedented time in history, and we are delighted by the success of the film and the way it was embraced by long-time fans of this iconic character, families and children,” said Ron Sanders, president of worldwide theatrical distribution and home entertainment, and EVP of international business operations for Warner. “Following its strong domestic debut, our international strategy will combine both theatrical and in-home releases to make it easily accessible to worldwide audiences.”

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The film, which will be released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray July 21 in the U.S., recounts the meeting of Scooby-Doo and his best pal Shaggy, and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form Mystery Inc. Now, after hundreds of adventures, Scooby and the gang encounter the larger world of the Hanna-Barbera universe, teaming with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt to stop Dick Dasterdly from unleashing the legendary ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. The voice cast includes Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell and Frank Welker.

Netflix Orders Two-Part Final Season for ‘Ozark’

Netflix has renewed the family crime drama “Ozark” for a 14-episode final season that will be presented in two batches of seven episodes each. The debut dates for the season have not yet been announced.

The fourth and final season of “Ozark” will conclude the story of the Byrde family’s journey from suburban Chicago life to attempting to establish a criminal enterprise in the Ozarks of Missouri.

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Emmy Award nominee Chris Mundy will return as showrunner, writer and executive producer, joined behind the camera by series star Jason Bateman, who previously won an Emmy for directing on the show. Other returning cast members include Laura Linney, Julia Garner (who won an Emmy for the second season), Sofia Hublitz, Skylar Gaertner, Charlie Tahan and Lisa Emery.

“We’re so happy Netflix recognized the importance of giving Ozark more time to end the Byrdes’ saga right,” Mundy said in a statement. “It’s been such a great adventure for all of us — both on screen and off — so we’re thrilled to get the chance to bring it home in the most fulfilling way possible.”

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The previous three seasons of the show ran for 10 episodes each.

YouTube TV Hikes Membership Price

YouTube TV has raised its membership price to $64.99.

The new price takes effect June 30 for new members, with existing subscribers seeing the change reflected in their subsequent billing cycle on or after July 30, according to the official YouTube blog.

“We don’t take these decisions lightly, and realize how hard this is for our members,” read the blog. “That said, this new price reflects the rising cost of content and we also believe it reflects the complete value of YouTube TV, from our breadth of content to the features that are changing how we watch live TV. YouTube TV is the only streaming service that includes a DVR with unlimited storage space, plus 6 accounts per household each with its own unique recommendations, and 3 concurrent streams. It’s all included in the base cost of YouTube TV, with no contract and no hidden fees.”

The blog noted the addition of new features to the service and new content from such sources as PBS, Discovery Network, and ViacomCBS, including eight channels, BET, CMT, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Network, TV Land and VH1, launching June 30.

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“That means you can follow the biggest stories in news, politics and pop culture with ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’; catch up with Catelynn, Cheyenne, Maci, Mackenzie and Amber on ‘Teen Mom OG’; join the search for America’s next drag superstar with ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’; go on an adventure with ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’; and follow the fictional lives of the Dutton family on the new season of ‘Yellowstone,’” the blog noted.

YouTube TV is among the virtual MVPD services aiming to re-create the offerings of traditional pay-TV.

‘The Twilight Zone’ Top Rising Show, ‘Dark’ Top Binge on TV Time Charts

CBS All Access’s “The Twilight Zone” was the top rising show and Netflix’s “Dark” was the top binge on the TV Time charts for the week ended June 28.

The third and final season of “Dark” hit Netflix June 27. The series reaches its mind-bending conclusion, moving beyond the concept of space and time. Upon arrival in a new world, Jonas tries to make sense of what this rendition of Winden means for his own fate, while the ones left behind in the other world are left on a quest to break the loop that now not only bends time but also space. The series was also No. 3 on the rising show chart.

No. 2 on the binge chart was the ABC sitcom “Modern Family.” Taking the bronze was Netflix’s supernatural horror series “The Order,” season two of which hit screens June 18.

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Top rising show, CBS All Access’s “The Twilight Zone” is a reboot of the classic episodic series hosted and produced by Jordan Peele. It dropped a second season June 25.

DC Universe’s “Doom Patrol,” which also premiered on HBO Max, took the silver on the rising show chart. Based on the comic books, the series dropped the first episode of season two June 25.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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 Top Binge Shows Week Ended June 28 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Dark” (Netflix) — 3.46%
  2. “Modern Family” (ABC) — 2.70%
  3. “The Order” (Netflix) — 2.57%
  4. “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix) — 2.23%
  5. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.66%
  6. “The Office” (NBC) — 1.54%
  7. “Dynasty” (The CW) — 1.51%
  8. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.28%
  9. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.23%
  10. “The 100” (The CW) — 1.22%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended June 28 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “The Twilight Zone” (CBS All Access) — 94.3%
  2. “Doom Patrol” (DC Universe/HBO Max) — 82.7%
  3. “Dark” (Netflix) — 81.3%
  4. “Floor Is Lava” (Netflix) — 49%
  5. “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (VH1) — 43.2%
  6. “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” (TVN) — 40.2%
  7. “Adventure Time” (Cartoon Network) — 15.8%
  8. “The Sinner” (USA) — 15.4%
  9. “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma” (Tokyo MX) — 14.4%
  10. “Erkenci Kus” (Star TV) — 10.5%

New Season of ‘Grantchester,’ Doc ‘Titans of the 20th Century’ Among Titles Coming to Disc From PBS in July

Season five of “Grantchester,” the documentary Titans of the 20th Century and American Experience: George W. Bush are among the titles coming to disc and digital in July from PBS Distribution.

Season five of “Grantchester”

In season five of “Grantchester,” available on digital and DVD July 21, it’s 1957, and Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) has settled into his role as the vicar of Grantchester, preaching to a packed church. His best friend, Detective Inspector Georgie Keating (Robson Green), has come to accept (just about) his wife Cathy’s commitment to her job. Mrs. C. happily juggles her roles as the vicarage housekeeper and being a well-to-do married woman, and after a trip to Marrakech, even Leonard has managed to carve out some happiness with Daniel. But Will’s faith will be thoroughly tested as he and Geordie are reminded once more that there’s darkness lurking in their little corner of Cambridgeshire. In addition to Brittney and Green, returning members of the acclaimed ensemble include Tessa Peake-Jones, Kacey Ainsworth and Al Weaver.

American Experience: George W. Bush

Also coming to DVD and digital July 21 is American Experience: George W. Bush, a look at the life and governance of the 43rd president of the United States. The program starts with Bush’s unorthodox road to the presidency through the contested election of 2000, when a Supreme Court ruling resulted in his becoming the president. Then, the film chronicles the tumultuous events, domestically and internationally, that dominated Bush’s eight years in office — the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the subsequent war in Iraq, the search for weapons of mass destruction, Hurricane Katrina, and the most serious financial crisis since the Great Depression.

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American Experience: Mr. Tornado

Another “American Experience” title is coming to DVD and digital July 21, Mr. Tornado. The Super Outbreak of 1974 was the most intense tornado outbreak on record, tearing a vicious path of destruction across 13 states, generating 148 tornadoes from Alabama to Ontario, damaging thousands of homes, and killing more than 300 people. Meteorologist Tetsuya Theodore “Ted” Fujita spent 10 months studying the tornado outbreak’s aftermath in the most extensive aerial tornado study ever conducted, and through detailed mapping and leaps of scientific imagination, made a series of meteorological breakthroughs. His discovery of “microbursts,” sudden high wind patterns that could cause airplanes to drop from the sky without warning, transformed aviation safety and saved untold numbers of lives.

The documentary The Greatest Bond is coming to DVD and digital July 14. Centered around the Patriot Paws service dog organization based in Dallas, the program follows a group of disabled U.S. veterans who are about to be given a service dog and shows their transformation as the dogs expand the veterans’ world and start to heal them.

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Also due on digital and DVD July 14 is Titans of the 20th Century, a biography of some of the most significant politicians of the time, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, men who caused and men who cured the worlds most troubled times, from the last shot fired in the First World War to the victory of Mao Zedong. This program is a story of the power to lead and mislead, to inspire and to cause mass destruction. These were men who came from different parts of the world, espoused radically different political doctrines and that seem to have had no common characteristics except an ambition to lead, a taste for power and a belief that they had been chosen by destiny.

American Experience: The Man Who Tried to Feed the World

American Experience: The Man Who Tried to Feed the World debuts on DVD and digital July 28. In 1966, drought and an exploding population confronted India with the imminent threat of a severe famine that many scientists and intellectuals feared was a harbinger of global catastrophes to come. As the world’s population outstripped its ability to produce food, India turned to Norman Borlaug, an unassuming plant breeder from Iowa whose combination of scientific knowledge and raw determination had made him a legend among a small handful of fellow specialists. The Man Who Tried to Feed the World recounts and explores the story of the man who would not only solve India’s famine problem, but also would go on to lead a “Green Revolution” of worldwide agricultural programs estimated to have saved 1 billion lives. He was awarded the 1970 Nobel Peace Prize for his work, but spent the rest of his life watching his methods and achievements come under increasing fire.

Season one of “Somewhere South”

Season one of “Somewhere South” comes out on DVD and digital July 28. Celebrity chef, author, restaurateur and award-winning host for the PBS series “A Chef’s Life” Vivian Howard hosts a culinary journey that explores the cultural twists on classic dishes and new traditions that are being formed in the American South. Howard examines some of the popular dishes that unite us all — dumplings, hand pies, porridge and many others — and speaks on how these dishes change from culture to culture. In North Carolina, she tries the collard sandwich, a staple of Lumbee Indian cuisine in the Carolinas. Then she goes to West Virginia to eat pepperoni rolls, a dish inspired by coal miners. Howard travels to Charleston, where rice is king, and enjoys grits along with other rice dishes that are among the favorites of South Carolina’s bustling food scene.

VIral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations

Finally, Viral: Antisemitism in Four Mutations comes out on DVD and digital July 28. Antisemitism in the United States and Europe is rising and worsening in ways not seen since the 1930s. It comes in the forms of vandalism, social media abuse, assault and murder. Emmy-winning filmmaker Andrew Goldberg and producer Diana Robinson explore its infectious behavior by traveling through four countries to speak firsthand with victims, witnesses and antisemites, interviewing subjects including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Fareed Zakaria, George Will, Deborah Lipstadt and others. With opening narration by Julianna Margulies, the film examines the far right in the United States and how it has incited such acts as the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Then moving to the far left in England, the documentary explores the traditionally anti-racist Labour party conflating Israel and Jews, causing tremendous harm to the Jewish community. In France, the program delves into the seemingly endless wave of violence against Jews by Islamists and radicals.

‘Trolls World Tour’ Chalks Up Art at The Grove

In celebration of Trolls World Tour, designer and illustrator Keith Kaminski created a 15-foot, 3D chalk illustration of the character Tiny Diamond at the center of The Grove mall in Los Angeles. In the animated film — currently available for digital purchase and due on disc July 7 — Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick), Branch (Justin Timberlake) and the rest of the Trolls are back for another musical adventure. (Photos by Daniel Byun)

‘Trolls World Tour’ Again Tops the FandangoNow Chart

Trolls World Tour reclaimed the top spot among films streaming on FandangoNow for the week ended June 28.

The Universal animated musical, featuring the voices of Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, newly available for digital purchase, premiered as a premium VOD rental in early April and has remained among the top 10 films on the service each week since that time.

No. 2 on the chart was Universal’s The King of Staten Island, loosely based on the life of star Pete Davidson, available on PVOD at $19.99.

Taking the bronze was Universal’s You Should Have Left. Also available on PVOD at $19.99, the Blumhouse psychological thriller stars Kevin Bacon and Amanda Seyfried.

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FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended June 28 (in terms of revenue) were:

  1. Trolls World Tour
  2. The King of Staten Island
  3. You Should Have Left
  4. Irresistible
  5. Scoob!
  6. The Invisible Man
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog
  8. Bad Boys for Life
  9. The Hunt
  10. Jumanji: The Next Level