FuboTV Drops WarnerMedia Content, Raises Subscription Prices

Online television service FuboTV has joined other digital TV platforms raising prices while at the same time restricting access to select third-party content. The service is bumping up the monthly fee $5 across its bundles: Base ($59.99), Family Bundle ($64.99), and Ultra ($84.99) — emulating a recent 30% price hike by Google-owned YouTube TV.

Online TV pioneer Sling TV remains the only platform that has not raised prices.

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“Sometimes to help us bring you new channels at the best value, and to deliver premium features like live sports in 4K, we need to remove other channels and adjust subscription prices,” Fubo said in a media statement. “Turner networks will be leaving as of July 1, and subscription prices will be changing.”

Indeed, 11 channels from WarnerMedia and Turner have been dropped, including TNT, TBS, CNN, CNN International, CNN en Español, HLN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, truTV and Boomerang, when a carriage agreement couldn’t be reached.

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“We are disappointed that our deal with fuboTV is not being renewed, as we have been working with them and were open to a potential renewal,” WarnerMedia said in a statement.

Meanwhile, FuboTV has added Disney content, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN3, ABC, ABC News Live, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, Freeform, SEC Network and ACC Network, FX, FXX and National Geographic, among others.

Ford to Debut New Bronco Vehicles in Short Films on Disney, Hulu Platforms

With automobile shows cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Ford Motor Company July 2 announced it would reveal its new Ford Bronco 4×4 vehicles in a series of custom videos on July 13 across Disney’s Media Networks, including ABC, ESPN, National Geographic and Hulu.

It’s the first time Ford has launched a primetime TV product reveal across Disney’s broadcast, cable, digital and streaming channels.

The automaker initially planned to reveal the Bronco 4×4 SUVs in June at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. After the pandemic prompted organizers to cancel the show, Ford’s marketing team reconceived the reveal strategy, aiming to pull in an even broader audience.

The campaign marks the first time Disney’s creative agency is deploying custom branded content, across multiple networks. Each film will air on the respective networks during the first commercial break in the 8 p.m. ET hour.

All three-minute films will be available to viewers on Hulu, starting July 14, through interactive ad formats, and within a curated collection of outdoor and survival-themed content aligned with the Bronco lifestyle.

“With Ford, we’re reimagining what a product reveal can look like by drawing upon our sports, entertainment and streaming brands,” Rita Ferro, president, Disney Advertising Sales, said in a statement.

The ABC spot features country music singer Kip Moore during “CMA Best of Fest,” the Country Music Association’s three-hour concert experience, airing July 13 (8:00–11:00 p.m. ET). The ESPN video — airing during “SportsCenter” — features a different Bronco model with professional climber Brooke Raboutou.

Academy Award-winning director, cinematographer, photographer Jimmy Chin will spotlight another Bronco during “National Parks: Yosemite” on National Geographic. Additionally, Chin will judge a hashtag challenge contest and appear in an “Instagram Story” featuring the Bronco on NatGeo’s Instagram account.

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In addition to the films created for ABC, ESPN and National Geographic, Ford also will share additional special content with fans on its YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels starting at 8 p.m. ET on July 13.

“As a new era for Bronco begins, we’re proud to tap the strengths of epic adventurers like Jimmy Chin and Disney storytellers to help bring Bronco to life,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer.

TCM to Pay Tribute to Carl Reiner with Special Programming on July 28

WarnerMedia’s Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will celebrate the life and career of writer, director and actor Carl Reiner with a programming tribute July 28. Reiner, who passed away June 29 at the age of 98, won many awards, including nine Emmy Awards, a Grammy, and the Mark Twain prize for American Humor.

His prolific career spanned more than 70 years, and he gained a loyal following for his sketch comedy work alongside Sid Caesar and Mel Brooks, among others, and for directing films such as Oh, God! (1977), Dead Men Don’t War Plaid (1982), Where’s Poppa? (1970), The Jerk (1979) and for creating and writing “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

In 2018, Carl Reiner and his son, filmmaker Rob Reiner, were honored with the hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood during the eighth annual TCM Classic Film Festival. It marked the first time a father and son were jointly honored with a hand and footprint ceremony.

The following is the complete schedule for “TCM Remembers Carl Reiner” on July 28:

8:00 p.m. Enter Laughing (1966) – An aspiring actor gets a job with a broken-down theatre company.
10:00 p.m. All of Me (1984) – A lawyer’s body is invaded by the soul of a recently deceased female client.
12:00 a.m. The Comic (1969) – A silent comic’s rampant ego ruins the lives of those around him.
2:00 a.m. Where’s Poppa? (1970) – A New York lawyer deals with an unhinged mother, a peculiar love life and other big city troubles.
3:30 a.m. Oh, God! (1977) – A grocer is selected by God to help spread a message. (All times Eastern)

Walmart Converting Parking Lots into Movie Drive-Ins

With spikes in coronavirus infections putting a damper on movie theater re-openings nationwide, Walmart July 1 announced plans to covert 160 store parking lots into movie drive-ins to screen family-themed movies, beginning in August.

The retail behemoth is working with Tribeca Enterprises to transform store parking lots into contact-free drive-in theaters across the country for a combined 320 showings featuring studio movies, special appearances from filmmakers, celebrities and concessions delivered to customer vehicles. The drive-in concept will run through October. Additional details will be announced closer to the start of the tour.

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Ahead of the screenings, Walmart will enable moviegoers to order drive-in snack essentials online for curbside pickup on the way to the screening.

“Drive-Ins have been a signature program for Tribeca since we started the Tribeca Film Festival 19 years ago after 9/11,” Jane Rosenthal, CEO and co-founder of Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival, said in a statement. “But now, the Tribeca Drive-In is much more than a fun, retro way to see movies — it’s one of the safest ways for communities to gather.”

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Walmart is testing the concept as a presenting partner for Tribeca Drive-In movie series, which begins July 2 at select stores in Arlington, Tex., Pasadena, Calif., Nassau County, NY and Orchard Beach in the Bronx, NY, featuring modern classics and family favorites, including Wonder Woman and Space Jam, with a mix of ticketed and free events honoring COVID-19 frontline workers. The full schedule and tickets can be found at TribecaFilm.com.

Peacock Strikes Content Licensing Agreement with ViacomCBS

Peacock, NBCUniversal’s pending streaming service, July 1 announced an agreement to license Paramount Pictures movies and TV shows from the ViacomCBS library.

TV shows include “Ray Donovan,” “The Affair,” “Charmed,” “Undercover Boss,” “The Game,” “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Real Husbands of Hollywood” will be available to stream on Peacock when it launches nationwide July 15. They will continue to be available on ViacomCBS platforms.

Paramount movies on Peacock in limited exclusivity windows throughout 2021, 2022, and 2023, include The Godfather trilogy, Catch Me If You Can, The Talented Mr. Ripley, American Beauty, Patriot Games, Last Holiday, Fatal Attraction, The Firm, and An Officer and a Gentleman, among others.

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“We continue to expand the Peacock catalog with premium programming from NBCUniversal and beyond; partnering with companies like ViacomCBS to ensure that all of our viewers can choose from the best entertainment options available in the market today,” Frances Manfredi, president, content acquisition and strategy, Peacock, said in a statement.

In two weeks, Peacock will launch across mobile, Web and connected TV platforms with a free tier featuring more than 7,500 hours of movies, shows, and live and on-demand programming across news, sports, reality and late night. Peacock Premium will also be available for $4.99 per month and feature more than 15,000 hours of content. Viewers may also upgrade Peacock Premium to ad-free for an additional $5 per month.

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“This agreement with Peacock demonstrates the incredible and enduring value of ViacomCBS content,” said Dan Cohen, president, ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group. “The partnership we are announcing today is consistent with our strategy to maximize the value of our content by selectively licensing our library product to third parties while prioritizing franchise IP for our own platforms.”

Parks: Consumers Spend Seven Hours Weekly Streaming Online Video

It’s an over-the-top video world. Parks Associates July 1 said new data showed the number of hours per week consumers spend watching online video has almost doubled from 3.6 hours per week in 2017 to nearly seven hours per week in 2020. Dallas-based Parks said at the same time traditional pay-TV service has declined from an adoption rate of 75% to 62% in U.S. broadband households between Q1 2017 and Q1 2020, which led a subsequent decline in set-top box adoption.

“Consumer surveys find that 74% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to at least one streaming service, and almost half of domestic broadband households subscribe to two or more services,” contributing analyst Dr. Kenneth Wacks said in a statement.

Wacks said the top three domestic OTT subscription services remain Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu. Newcomers Disney+ and Apple TV+ have grown quickly to round out the top five. Additional services of note include CBS All Access, Crackle, Fubo TV, BHO Not, Philo, Pluto TV, and Sling TV.

Parks said the OTT services allow households to access premium video content without a set-top box, forcing a change in the relationship between set-top box makers and cable/satellite operators. Content developers and networks are now streaming content directly to consumers or distributing through OTT service providers. In some cases, multiple-system operators (MSOs) are launching their own streaming devices or creating offerings similar to vMVPDs (virtual multichannel video programming distributors) with the goal of recapturing pay-TV cord-cutters or cord-nevers.

Parks contends the pay-TV set-top can remain viable if able to aggregate the variety of different streaming services coming into the households and present them in a personalized and attractive UI with voice and smart home controls for an improved consumer experience.

“The set-top box does have a role in this market, but it will have to adapt,” Wacks said.

‘Dolittle’ Returns Atop Weekly U.K. Home Entertainment Chart

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Dolittle edged back to the top spot on the U.K.’s weekly Official Film Chart (packaged media/digital) through July 1. The movie entered the chart at No. 1 in June. The Robert Downey Jr. starrer bested Emma (UPHE) by 193 unit sales, bumping Warner Home Video’s Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn to the third spot.

Emma features Anya Taylor-Joy as the eponymous character in this 2020 adaptation of Jane Austen’s comedy of manners.

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Dark Waters (UPHE) is the only new entry on the chart at No. 4 via digital downloads only. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Dark Waters details the real-life case against the chemical manufacturing corporation DuPont after they contaminated a town with unregulated chemicals.

Previous chart topper 1917 (eOne) drops to fifth, and Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog slips a spot to sixth.

The Invisible Man (UPHE) leapfrogged 11 spots to seventh, marking its Top 10 debut. The movie stars Elisabeth Moss, whose character’s abusive ex (who is invisible) supposedly took his own life.  But she suspects his death was a hoax.

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Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Jumanji: The Next Level staves off falling out of the Top 10, climbing two spots to eighth. Disney’s Onward drops to ninth, and Frozen 2 returns to the countdown in tenth.

ViacomCBS Names Naveen Chopra New CFO, Replacing Christina Spade

ViacomCBS July 1 announced that Naveen Chopra has been named the new CFO, effective Aug. 10, succeeding Christina Spade, who will transition into an advisory role after the media company’s second quarter earnings call.

Chopra joins ViacomCBS from Amazon, where he served as CFO of Amazon’s devices and services business (i.e. Alexa, Echo, Fire TV, Ring, Kindle and the Amazon Appstore). In his new role, Chopra will be responsible for ViacomCBS’s financial operations, including treasury, tax, accounting, investor relations, information security and real estate, as well as global corporate development and strategy. Chopra will report to Bob Bakish, President and CEO of ViacomCBS.

Naveen CHopra

Bakish said Chopra’s experience “scaling and driving” financial strategies for ViacomCBS’ growth businesses, including ad-supported and subscription streaming video, as well as with digital devices and services – would be instrumental going forward. Chopra held senior executive positions at Pandora and TiVo.

“Naveen is a talented leader who combines financial, strategic and operational expertise with hands-on experience growing innovative, consumer-focused businesses across the media and tech sector, Bakish said in a statement.

Christina Spade

Current CFO Spade departs after 20 years at Showtime Networks and CBS, and played a pivotal role in the integration of CBS and Viacom. In recent months she helped to lead ViacomCBS through the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening the company’s balance sheet to ensure it is well positioned to continue navigating the current economic environment.

Previously, she served for six years as CFO and strategy for Showtime Networks, where she stewarded the implementation of key financial operational and reporting systems and helped scale Showtime’s streaming platform at its launch in July 2015.

“I want to extend my deepest thanks to her for her leadership and counsel, and for helping to ensure a smooth transition,” Bakish said.

 

Tubi TV Integrates with Fox Media Down Under

Since Fox Corp. acquired Tubi TV earlier this year for $440 million, it has aggressively sought to meld the ad-supported VOD platform with its programing and management.

Tubi July 1 announced it has entered an exclusive ad sales partnership with Australian media company Foxtel Group. As part of this collaboration, Foxtel Media will serve as the sole ad sales representative in Australia for Tubi through 2022.

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Headquartered in San Francisco, Tubi streams movies and TV shows from nearly every major Hollywood studio. The service has more than 200 million monthly views and is available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Mexico.

For Foxtel Media, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., Tubi adds a key free-to-the-viewer ad-supported component to its portfolio of live sports, lifestyle, entertainment content and news. In an advertising world that is increasingly powered by data targeting capabilities, Foxtel Media now straddles the fence marketing between free and subscription-based content distributors.

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“Our collaboration with Foxtel Media delivers an optimally localized relationship and trusted team for advertisers in Australia,” Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi said in a statement.

Mark Frain, CEO, Foxtel Media, says the technology behind Tubi has enabled the AVOD to rapidly build viewership across Australia and Mexico.

“We have the opportunity to connect brands and advertisers to Tubi’s outstanding proposition in this market,” Frain said.

Tubi is available in Australia on Telstra, Android and iOS mobile devices, Amazon Echo Show, Google Nest Hub Max, and on streaming media devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Vizio TVs, Sony TVs, Samsung TVs, Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4, and soon on Chinese Hisense TVs globally.

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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