Shout! Factory to Stream ‘The Aquabats! Super Show!’

Shout! Factory along with U.S. rock group The Aquabats! have announced a distribution alliance to bring the musical comedy television series “The Aquabats! Super Show!” to streaming platforms in North America.

The multiyear alliance provides Shout! Factory TV with SVOD, AVOD and linear streaming digital rights in the U.S. and Canada to all episodes of “The Aquabats! Super Show!,” including the unaired pilot episode and specials. Shout! Factory plans a timely rollout of the show and will release additional news and activities in the forthcoming months.

Created by Christian Jacobs, Scott Schultz, and Jason deVilliers, “The Aquabats! Super Show!” premiered in 2012 on the Hub Network and aired for two seasons. Based on the superhero mythology of The Aquabats!, a real comedy rock band which series co-creator and lead singer Jacobs formed in 1994, “The Aquabats! Super Show!” follows the comic adventures of a fictionalized version of the band, a musical group of amateur superheroes, as they haphazardly defend the world from a variety of villains and monsters.

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Styled similarly to the campy aesthetics of 1960s and 1970s children’s television and Japanese tokusatsu, “The Aquabats! Super Show!” utilizes various mediums of visual styles and special effects, mixing live-action storylines with cartoon shorts, parody advertisements and musical interludes.

Throughout its run, the show received eight multiple daytime Emmy nominations and one win.

Analyst: Latin America to Reach 100 Million SVOD Subs by 2025 — Driven by U.S. Platforms

Latin America is projected to go all-in for subscription streaming video-on-demand, topping 100 million subscribers by 2025 — more than double the current 42.1 million subs at the end of 2019, according to new data from Digital TV Research. Sub growth will be driven by market leader Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, HBO Max and Amazon Prime Video.

Brazil, Netflix’s first foray into Latin America in 2011, will remain the market leader, with 36 million subs projected by 2025 — up from 16 million at the end of 2019. Mexico will reach 28 million subs by 2025, compared with 12 million last year.

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Netflix will continue to grow, but its dominance will decline. The SVOD behemoth will top 47.4 million subs; up from 31.4 million in 2019. Disney+ will grow rapidly following its November 2020 launch, with 25 million subs by 2025.

“Latin America will enjoy a wave of U.S.-based platform launches over the next year,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “Hulu, HBO Max and ViacomCBS are all expected to start platforms in 2021. These launches come despite poor economic conditions driven by COVID-19.”

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Rapper DMX, Eric Roberts Star in Two Films Released to Home Audiences by The Asylum, Sondheim’s Greenfield Media

Sharknado producer The Asylum is releasing two films to home audiences in partnership with Greenfield Media, the company owned by industry veteran Bill Sondheim, whose credits include top leadership posts at PolyGram Video, USA Video and Cinedigm.

The first release, available Sept. 1, is the street-race thriller Fast & Fierce: Death Race, starring hip hop superstar DMX. The jet-fighter action film Wingmen Under Siege, with Eric Roberts, follows on Nov. 3.

Bill Sondheim

Asylum will handle digital distribution; Sondheim’s companies will distribute the titles on disc through Distribution Solutions. Fast & Fierce will only be available on DVD, while Wingmen will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

“A wide DVD release is never an easy decision these days,” said Asylum partner David Rimawi. “But when Bill and the Sony alum team at Distribution Solutions were excited about the titles, we knew we had a couple of hits on our hands.”

Sondheim added, “I have had the pleasure of working with The Asylum team for many years and their product always delivers powerful stories with great casts, which results in terrific sales. I am thrilled to bring these films to the mainstream market with the assistance of Distribution Solutions.”

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Fast & Fierce: Death Race follows Jack Tyson (DMX), who is near victory in an illegal street race from Mexico to California when a desperate woman jumps into his car. She asks him to help her escape from her violent boyfriend, the same gangster who organized the race.

Wingman Under Siege revolves around cadets on a secluded U.S. Air Force training base who must protect a gene-editing bioweapon from the Russian operatives who are desperate to seize the deadly viral agent at any cost.  Roberts stars as the masterly base colonel.

‘Cobra Kai’ Top Rising Show, ‘Lucifer’ Again Top Binge on TV Time Charts

YouTube’s “Cobra Kai” was the top rising show, while Netflix’s “Lucifer” was again the top binge on the TV Time charts for the week ended Aug. 30.

Sony Pictures Television-produced “Cobra Kai,” which moved to Netflix from YouTube Premium, is a continuation of the “Karate Kid” franchise that began in 1984 and spawned three sequels and a remake. The show is set 35 years after the All Valley Karate Tournament that saw Daniel LaRusso (Ralph Macchio) defeat Johnny Lawrence (William Zabka), and finds down-on-his-luck Johnny seeking redemption by reopening the infamous Cobra Kai karate dojo. The raises the ire of Daniel, who now runs a successful car dealership but struggles to maintain balance in his life without the guidance of Mr. Miyagi.

Season five of top binge “Lucifer” hit Netflix Aug. 21. The fantasy series follows Lucifer’s exploits on Earth.

Taking the silver on both charts was Netflix’s “Trinkets,” season two of which debuted Aug. 25. It follows three teenage girls who find themselves in the same mandated Shoplifters Anonymous meeting and form an unlikely friendship. The series i​s based on the young adult novel by screenwriter Kirsten “Kiwi” Smith (Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s the Man), who serves as creator and executive producer.

“The Umbrella Academy,” the second season of which hit screens July 31, dropped to No. 3 (from No. 2) on the binge chart for the week. The series, based on the comic books of the same name, follows a group of superheroes adopted at birth by a mysterious billionaire who face the end of the world. As season two begins, the time jump scatters the siblings in time in and around Dallas over a three-year period starting in 1960.

Taking the bronze on the rising show chart was Netflix’s anime series “Aggretsuko” from global lifestyle brand Sanrio. Season three debuted Aug. 27. Frustrated with her thankless office job, the 25-year-old red panda copes with her daily struggles by belting out heavy metal karaoke after work. After overcoming lots of challenges in the previous seasons, Retsuko encounters an indie girl group “OTM Girls” and the group’s manager “Hyodo.”

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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 Aug. 30 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Lucifer” (Netflix) — 9.38%
  2. “Trinkets” (Netflix) — 3.64%
  3. “The Umbrella Academy” (Netflix) — 2.44%
  4. “Modern Family” (ABC) — 2.06%
  5. “The Office” U.S. (NBC) — 1.41%
  6. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.38%
  7. “One Piece” (Fuji TV) — 1.23%
  8. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.22%
  9. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.02%
  10. “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS) — 0.97%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended Aug. 30 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Cobra Kai” (YouTube) — 99%
  2. “Trinkets” (Netflix) — 97.1%
  3. “Aggretsuko” (Netflix) — 96.8%
  4. “Big Little Lies” (HBO) — 76.7%
  5. “The Resident” (Fox) — 58.5%
  6. “Hoops” (Netflix) — 54.8%
  7. “Biohackers” (Netflix) — 38%
  8. “Lovecraft Country” (HBO) — 27%
  9. “How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC) — 20.8%
  10. “The Crown” (Netflix) — 20%

‘Bill & Ted’ Makes Excellent Debut on Vudu and FandangoNow Charts

Bill & Ted Face the Music topped both the FandangoNow and Vudu charts for the week ended Aug. 30.

Both are transactional video-on-demand services owned by Fandango.

Bill & Ted Face the Music, the third installment in the “Bill & Ted” series, debuted via premium VOD rental and purchase Aug. 28. In the Orion Pictures film, the stakes are higher than ever for the time-traveling William “Bill” S. Preston Esq. (Alex Winter) and Theodore “Ted” Logan (Keanu Reeves). To fulfill their rock and roll destiny, the now middle-aged best friends set out on a new adventure when a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it. Along the way, they will be helped by their daughters, a new batch of historical figures, and a few music legends to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe. Meanwhile, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989) and Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (1991) also showed up among the top 40 films streaming on FandangoNow and Vudu, while the three-pack “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Triple Feature” was the top-selling bundle on both services.

Falling from its three-week perch at No. 1 on both charts, The Tax Collector, starring Bobby Soto and Shia LaBeouf, landed at No. 2 on the Vudu chart and No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart for the week. The Tax Collector, released by RLJ Entertainment through digital retailers Aug. 7, stars LaBeouf and Soto as “tax collectors” working for a Los Angeles crime lord who find their safety threatened by a rival of their boss. The title is available at both digital retailers for rental and purchase.

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Universal Pictures’ The King of Staten Island, a Judd Apatow comedy based on the life of and starring Pete Davidson of “Saturday Night Live,” came in at No. 2 on FandangoNow’s chart and No. 3 on Vudu’s chart for the week. The title is available at both digital retailers for rental and purchase.

Fatima, available via premium VOD, landed at No. 3 on the FandangoNow chart and No. 6 on the Vudu chart. The Universal drama, based on historical events in Portugal in 1917, follows a 10-year-old girl and her two young cousins who witness visitations of the Virgin Mary.

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FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended Aug. 30, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Bill & Ted Face the Music
  2. The King of Staten Island
  3. Fatima
  4. The Tax Collector
  5. Hard Kill
  6. The Silencing
  7. Rogue
  8. The Vanished
  9. The Secret: Dare to Dream
  10. Trolls World Tour

 

Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Aug. 30, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Bill & Ted Face the Music
  2. The Tax Collector
  3. The King of Staten Island
  4. The Silencing
  5. Rogue
  6. Fatima
  7. Superman: Man of Tomorrow
  8. Hard Kill
  9. Trolls World Tour
  10. The Vanished

‘An Evil Tale,’ ‘Vampire War’ Available on DVD From Wild Eye and MVD

Two scary films, An Evil Tale and Vampire War, are available on DVD from Wild Eye Releasing and MVD Entertainment Group.

In An Evil Tale, based on the Scottish urban legend, a family discovers they are the victim of a centuries old curse when a rare relic is discovered near their home. They must join forces with a paranormal investigator to battle this evil force that has possessed everything around them. The film stars Dina Najjar (A Brilliant Monster), Kelly Riese (Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!), Karen Scheafer (The House on Misty Lane) and Kurt Mullins (Dawn of the Dead). Extras include the “Behind the Scenes: Parrish Grove Inn” featurette and cast interviews.

In Vampire War, after a series of mysterious killings in the German countryside, it is discovered that vampires with origins in the Middle Ages are to blame for the attacks. The condemned vampire clan leader, Montrak was discovered and hunted by humans, but even as his reign came to a close, his subjects created a new vampire master to replace him, one blessed by Lucifer himself, to rule over the present day. Directed by Stefan Schwenk (Legend of Hell, Sick Pigs), the film stars Udo Schenk (Operation Valkyrie, 13 Minutes, Little Murders, The Old Fox), Charles Rettinghaus (Sky Sharks, Planet USA) and Sönke Möhring (Ingloriuous Basterds, Invisible Heroes, Berlin Station). Extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette.

Netflix Launches ‘Watch Free’ Site Featuring Original Movies and TV Shows

Netflix has quietly launched a platform, dubbed “Watch Free,” enabling anyone with Internet access to stream select original movies and TV shows. Content includes dystopian thriller Bird Box, Murder Mystery and The Two Popes, among others.

TV shows include episodes of and DreamWorks Animation’s “The Boss Baby: Back in Business,” “Stranger Things,” reality show “Love Is Blind,” “When They See Us,” “Grace and Frankie,” “Elite” and “Our Planet.”

“Visit netflix.com/watch-free to get a peek at the type of entertainment you can expect from us by watching the first episode of some of our most popular shows,” Netflix said on the site.

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The content, which can only be accessed on Windows PC or Mac computers and Android devices, is ad-free but includes a 30-second promo for Netflix programming and a link to sign up for a subscription.

“We’re looking at different marketing promotions to attract new members and give them a great Netflix experience,” a rep told Gadgets360, which first reported the story.

Netflix first experimented last year offering free access to select documentaries and movies in different markets. The service ended the most-recent fiscal period with 190 million subscribers.

ABC TV’s Commercial-Free Broadcast of ‘Black Panther’ Tribute to Late Actor Chadwick Boseman Generated 6 Million Views

Disney-owned ABC Television’s commercial-free Sunday night (Aug. 30) broadcast of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther following actor Chadwick Boseman’s death on Aug. 28 after a lengthy battle against colon cancer, generated more than 6 million viewers — tops among all networks.

The subsequent tribute, “Chadwick Boseman: A Tribute for a King” generated 4.7 million viewers. The program featured numerous Black Panther co-stars, Marvel Studios CEO Kevin Feige and Disney executive chairman Bob Iger, among others.

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“He was having this immense success, in a strata of his own, humble hardworking, always smile on his face,” actor Robert Downey Jr., who plays Iron-Man in the Avengers franchise, said about Boseman. Downey called Black Panther “the crowning achievement” of the Marvel cinematic universe.

Reports: AVOD Revenue to Grow 25% in 2020

Subscription streaming video’s counterpart, advertising-supported VOD, continues to gain traction among consumers — and advertisers. New data from eMarketer suggests AVOD revenue will grow more than 25% this year compared to 2019.

The AVOD market, which is spearheaded by The Roku Channel, Disney-owned Hulu, NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Redbox TV, Amazon’s IMDb TV, ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and Fox Corp.’s Tubi, among others, saw ad revenue skyrocket 31% to $849 million in the most-recent quarter, according to MoffettNathanson Research.

“AVOD advertising benefitted from heightened usage and a mix shift in advertising budgets to OTT platforms, growing sizably in the quarter,” senior analyst Michael Nathanson wrote in a note.

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Speaking Aug. 20 on the DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Mid-Year 2020 Digital Media Entertainment Report webcast, Nathanson called AVOD the underreported streaming video story.

“That 28% of streaming minutes is where we think the streaming wars are actually happening,” Nathanson said.

With many of the AVOD players owned by major media companies, much of the ad growth would appear to be due to shifting third-party ad dollars from linear TV to connected televisions.

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But with four of the five AVOD platforms owned by major media conglomerates, some of this growth is likely coming from reallocated TV spend. eMarketer contends the 31% rise in AVOD revenue among the top platforms compares with an estimated 28% decline in national broadcast and cable TV ad spending in Q2, according to Nathanson.

Eric Haggstrom, forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence at eMarketer, believes that while marketers warm to AVOD, much of the revenue revolves around media giants pushing advertisers to proprietary streaming platforms.

“Some advertisers who bought ads in the upfronts are shifting money within the same media company to streaming services,” Haggstrom said.

Indeed, Tubi earlier this year added all episodes of Fox’s “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours to Hell and Back,” in addition to 300 hours of separate Ramsay content, which includes “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Kitchen Nightmares” and “The F Word.” Tubi also added Fox’s music competition show “The Masked Singer.”

“Making this show available on Tubi alongside Gordon’s other series, will only grow his footprint while also further promoting his programs on Fox,” said Rob Wade, president of alternative entertainment and specials at Fox Entertainment.

Comcast Eyes Leasing X1 Software to TV Manufacturers

Comcast is reportedly considering licensing its X1 set-top box software to third-party consumer electronics manufacturers of smart televisions. Such a move would put Comcast in competition with Roku, Google and Amazon, among other tech companies affording TV manufacturers with Internet-connected consoles.

First reported by Protocol.com, citing sources familiar with the situation, Comcast engaged in initial discussions with TV manufacturers in January at the pre-COVID-19 CES confab in Las Vegas. The cable operator, which is slowly coming to grips with a changing pay-TV market — underscored by the departure of more than 815,000 subscribers through June 30 — currently licenses X1 technology for third-party set-tops to Cox Communications and soon Charter (Spectrum TV Plus).

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Roku cut its teeth licensing its operating system through set-top devices manufactured for the former 21st Century Fox’s NOW TV. Comcast now owns NOW TV through its acquisition of Sky from Fox. Samsung, one of the world’s largest TV manufacturers, has begun licensing its Tizen OS smart TV technology to third parties.

Comcast’s move into software licensing could be accelerating after attempts to sell NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service through the Roku platform fell through. Similarly to WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, Peacock is also not available on Amazon Fire TV.

Launched in 2012 as Comcast’s antidote to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, cloud-based X1 platform now represents about 60% of the cabler’s pay-TV subscriber base. Since then X1 offers subs access to Netflix and YouTube apps. Comcast also launched broadband-only Xfinity Flex online TV platform.