‘Ted Lasso’ Scores Big With Viewers on Apple TV+

Ahead of Apple’s upcoming earnings report, research firm Parrot Analytics on July 27 reported that its data shows that season two of “Ted Lasso” debuted as one of the most in-demand TV shows in the United States and around the world over the weekend.

As of July 24, the Jason Sudeikis-fronted comedy was the eighth-most in-demand overall show in the U.S., generating 41.2 times more audience demand than the average show. It was also the second-most in-demand digital original in the United States, just behind Disney+’s “Loki.”

Globally, Ted Lasso was the 18th-most in-demand overall show, and the seventh-most in-demand digital original.

The series revolves around Ted Lasso, an American college football coach, who is unexpectedly  recruited to coach an English Premier League team, AFC Richmond, even though he has no experience in coaching soccer. The series premiered in August 2020.

Audience demand for the show’s debut has grown exponentially season over season, Parrot Analytics says, and “Ted Lasso” been a key driver of Apple TV+’s demand share growth over the last year.

“With ‘Ted Lasso’’s weekly release schedule – a strategy proven to build audience demand over time – we expect to see these already impressive numbers to grow further over the coming weeks,” Parrot Analytics says.

Parrot Analytics employs a proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.

New App Aids in Streaming Movie Search, Discovery

A new app called Picticular promises to help movie fans easily and conveniently find films currently streaming on all platforms as well as upcoming releases. The app also offers recommendations and, in the future, will allow movie ticket sales.

Similarly to a dating app, users can either swipe right or left to accept or reject film choices as suggested by the app’s proprietary AI technology.

Conceived in 2018 and co-founded by serial entrepreneur Todd Courtney, pioneering Google senior executive Marcel Van Lohuizen and former iHeartMedia executive Lasse Hamre, Picticular says its advantage is its laser focus on films and how to easily access them — either on a streaming platform for immediate viewing or for marketing purposes for a new film.

“We’re all film enthusiasts and there were countless times when I just gave up on my search for a film,” Courtney said. “There had to be a better and more convenient way to access films, particularly with the growing universe of streaming platforms. With Picticular, the fun of discovery begins while the frustration ends.”

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Beyond the ability to easily find films on streaming platforms, Picticular also offers:

    • Immediate accessibility of content: Users can click on films in the app and can immediately begin viewing the film on the streaming platform’s app;
    • Friend matching: App allows friends to privately share selections with each other;
    • Ticket purchasing: Moviegoers can soon purchase theater tickets directly from the app;
    • Entertainment news: Movie fans will receive celebrity and entertainment news updates;
    • Recommendations: With proprietary AI technology, the app will provide film suggestions to the user, based on previous selections.

 

Picticular also has established relationships with Hollywood. Most recently, Saban Films, which releases around 30 films per year through Paramount or Lionsgate, has been using the app since last December. For the Mel Gibson film Fatman, Picticular captured comprehensive user data and the trailer had nearly two million views.

“As a studio executive, the benefits are significant,” said Jonathan Saba, SVP of distribution and marketing for Saban Films. “For example, Picticular’s private swiping feed ensures an impulsive decision around each film that ultimately provides us with invaluable data. The app allows for full visibility of past or current films with a critical monetization model and branding opportunities.”

Reelgood: Day-and-Date Theatrical Releases Score Biggest Streaming Opening Weekends

Of the movies that premiered on subscription streaming services in the second quarter of this year, WarnerMedia’s Mortal Kombat had the biggest opening weekend, according to data released June 28 by streaming search engine Reelgood.

The film premiered on HBO Max on April 23, the same day it opened in theaters, where it generated a $42.2 million domestic gross. Reelgood analyzed data for all the films that premiered on SVOD services between April 1 and June 25 and ranked the top 10 titles with the biggest opening weekend shares of streaming, but only among its 2 million monthly users.

Overall, HBO Max’s new movies were the most popular, which isn’t surprising given that they became available free to subscribers the same day they opened in theaters.

Godzilla vs. Kong came in second, with an 8.1% share of the opening weekend streaming audience, to 8.9% for Mortal Kombat.

Netflix captured the No. 3 spot with Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, a zombie flick that premiered on the streaming service, with a 6.7% share, followed by The Woman in the Window, also from Netflix, at No. 4 with a 4.8% share.

Parrot: Demand for Starz Original Series Way Higher Than Average TV Show

Parrot Analytics June 28 reported an analysis of audience demand across top streaming networks that found Starz’s premium programming delivers the highest hit rate, with the most in-demand series, both domestically and internationally.

In the United States, Parrot Analytics said that in the 12-month period ended June 19, a Starz original series generated five times as much demand as an average TV series. Demand for Starz series is higher than that of any other streaming service’s series, with Disney+ at No. 2 and HBO at No. 3.

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Parrot Analytics also reported that Starz originals are even more in-demand on a global scale: With 5.38 times the global TV series demand average, a Starz original is 6.1% more demanded internationally than it is domestically. Furthermore, on a global scale, the average Starz original is 12.6% ahead of the next-best performing platform’s average original series.

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Parrot Analytics measures demand with a proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which factors in a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

In an adjacent study, Parrot Analytics has found that the typical Starz title travels internationally, across its Starzplay platform, 74% better than the typical Netflix series, and 60% better than the typical HBO series. Markets that have scored highly for “Power Book II: Ghost,” for example, include South Africa, with 82% “travelability” (a measure of a series’ global appeal relative to the appeal in its home market). Kenya scored 81%, followed by France (76%), China (74%) and the United Kingdom (71%).

The average Starz title also has 41% more longevity than the global average; high longevity indicates series that are good at maintaining audience demand.

Jeffrey Hirsch, Starz president and CEO, said in a statement in a Parrot Analytics news release, “These results reinforce Starz’s proven ability to bring audiences high-quality premium programming, which we believe is key to success over raw scale. With our most robust slate ever, Starz is continuing to deliver exceptional premium programming focused on amplifying narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences.”

Parrot Analytics reports that the Starz network between January and April had four out of the ten most in-demand diverse series. These highly demanded diverse series are “Power Book II: Ghost” (13.1 times more demand in the U.S. than the average TV series), “Power” (11.4x), “P-Valley” (9.8x) and “Vida” (9.0x).

“Starz is not afraid to tell the stories of women and audiences that have been traditionally underrepresented on television,” said Wared Seger, CEO of Parrot Analytics.

‘Mysterious Benedict Society’ to Premiere June 25 on Disney+

Disney+ on June 21 announced that “The Mysterious Benedict Society” will premiere on Friday, June 25, with two episodes.

After winning a scholarship competition, four gifted orphans are recruited by the peculiar Mr. Benedict for a dangerous mission to save the world from a global crisis known as The Emergency. Reynie, Sticky, Kate, and Constance must infiltrate the mysterious L.I.V.E. Institute to discover the truth behind the crisis. When the headmaster, the sophisticated Dr. Curtain, appears to be behind this worldwide panic, the kids of “The Mysterious Benedict Society” must devise a plan to defeat him.

“The Mysterious Benedict Society” stars Tony Hale, Kristen Schaal, MaameYaa Boafo, Ryan Hurst, Gia Sandhu, Seth B. Carr, Emmy DeOliveira, Mystic Inscho and Marta Kessler.

The series is executive produced by Sonar Entertainment, 20th Television, Jamie Tarses, Karen Kehela Sherwood, Deepak Nayar, David Ellender, Matt Loze, James Bobin, Matt Manfredi (writer/creator) and Phil Hay (writer/creator). Showrunners for the series are Darren Swimmer and Todd Slavkin.

Disney+ Unveils New ‘Loki’ Featurette to Promote Streaming Series

Disney+ on June 18 debuted “Humble Loki,” a new featurette for Marvel Studios’ “Loki.” The short follows Owen Wilson, Wunmi Mosaku and Sophia Di Martino as they read “special” cue cards introducing the “Loki” series, which stars Tom Hiddleston as the title character.

“Loki,” Marvel Studios’ newest original series, launched on Disney+ June 9, with new episodes streaming every Wednesday through July 14.

Marvel Studios’ “Loki” features the God of Mischief as he steps out of his brother’s shadow in a new series that takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Tom Hiddleston returns as the title character, joined by Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku and Richard E. Grant. Kate Herron directs “Loki,” and Michael Waldron is head writer.

DEG Slates Virtual Expo on ‘Localization’ on Thursday, June 17

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group this week will host a DEG Expo on the rapidly growing business of content localization, including viewpoints from content owners and technology providers.

The virtual event, called “The Expanding World of Localization,” will be held Thursday, June 17, beginning at 9:30 a.m. PT.

Featured speakers include Mark Howorth, president of the Iyuno-SDI Group, who will discuss the state of the localization industry. Dolby’s Tom McAndrew, senior technical manager of content relations, and Javier Foncillas, VP of commercial partnerships for Europe, will speak about the global demand for immersive audio.

An executive roundtable led by Vuulr CEO Americas Thomas Hughes will discuss the potential and pain points for localization, including workflows, terminology, talent management, DEI and the role of AI in content localization. Participants include James Hurrell, head of content and localization, global operations, for  BBC Studios; Chris Reynolds, EVP and GM of worldwide localization and fulfillment at Deluxe; Gray Ainsworth, EVP of global technical operations and servicing at Lionsgate; and Andrea Sconza, director of localization services at Vubiquity. More perspective on innovating with AI will be shared by Craig Seidel, CTO of Pixelogic, in conversation with Spherex CEO Teresa Phillips and Respeecher CEO Alex Serdiuk.

DEG Expo: The Expanding World of Localization is free to media industry professionals, but registration is required.

To register,  click here.

The full agenda can be found here.

‘A Father’s Legacy’ to Get One-Night Theatrical Screening June 17, Ahead of Digital Rental Release in July

Cinedigm on June 15 announced that A Father’s Legacy will receive a one-night theatrical presentation on June 17, ahead of the Father’s Day weekend, with a digital rental release planned for July.

The film will be screened in conjunction with Fathom Events in theaters nationwide, beginning at 7 p.m. After the movie, the event features a conversation with director and star Jason Mac and Pastor Brannon Shortt from Bayside Church about the importance of fatherhood, how the choices you make have consequences and additional key takeaways from the film.

A Father’s Legacy is an inspirational story that follows a young man (Jason Mac) on the run after an armed robbery. Hiding from the law, he sets out to find the father he never knew. Venturing further away from the city streets, he finds himself at the secluded home of a stranger (Tobin Bell). As the days pass and the secrets about their past are revealed, they learn that they might not have been looking for each other — but they may have been brought together for a reason.

“This film was born out of one of the most difficult times in my life,” says writer-director Mac. “My father was my protector; a guardian I knew would always be there, and then one day he wasn’t. The loss forced me to look inside and really explore what it was to be a father. Too many young men have no male role model growing up, so I hope that becomes a lesson and learning from this film.”

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Aside from Bell and Mac, the film stars, Rebeca Robles (Reprisal, Ambitions) and Gregory Alan Williams (Remember the Titans). A Father’s Legacy was produced by Mac and John Lerchen, under his Forever Safe Productions banner.

A Father’s Legacy (previously titled The Old Man & The Pond) was the Official Selection of the Heartland International Film Festival and the Official Selection of the Soho International Film Festival.

“The theater-going experience is about community, and the enjoyment that comes from experiencing stories with our friends and family,” said Yolanda Macias, chief content officer at Cinedigm. “Working with Fathom has given us the opportunity to share A Father’s Legacy with audiences all over the country. It is a story of redemption and unlikely kinship, and it challenges us to look at the relationships we have built in our life. We could not think of a better way to honor Father’s Day than by sharing this film with our audiences.”

Netflix Nabs Rights to Sequel to Canada’s ‘Code 8’

Netflix on June 14 said it has acquired the global rights to the Canadian sci-fi sequel Code 8: Part II from Collective Pictures.

The film is directed by Jeff Chan and written by Chan, Chris Paré, Sherren Lee and Jesse LaVercombe.

Robbie Amell (“Upload”) and Stephen Amell (“Arrow”) reprise their roles from the first film, Code 8, a 2019 Canadian film about a man with superpowers who works with a group of criminals to raise money to help his sick mother.

The sequel will shoot in Canada later this year and be released globally by Netflix.

In Code 8: Part II, a teenage girl with abnormal abilities witnesses the murder of her brother and subsequent cover up. She enlists the help of an ex-con (Robbie Amell) and his former partner-in-crime (Stephen Amell). Together, they face a unit of corrupt police officers who deploy advanced robotic technology to prevent themselves from being exposed.

Code 8: Part II is being produced by Chan, the Amell brothers and Paré. The executive producer is XYZ Films.

Discovery+ June Programming Slate Includes True Crime Series, Weight-Loss Doc

Streamer Discovery+ has announced new and original programming that will be available in June.

The lineup includes “Pushing the Line,” focusing on an extreme, high-intensity sport known as “highlining”; the true crime series “Relentless,” which documents a filmmaker and her involvement in the case of a missing young woman; and “Too Large,” a docu-series that follows seven 400- to 800-pound people on a weight-loss journey.

Other new series include Bryan and Michael Voltaggio in “Battle of the Brothers” and Michelle Buteau in “Weekend Getaway with Michelle Buteau,” executive produced by Queen Latifah.

“Pushing the Line,” which premieres June 5, gives viewers a taste of what it is like to walk on a line, hundreds of feet above the ground, on a one-inch rope that’s thinner than your belt. The series follows the top highliners and the up-and-comers of the sport, both in action and behind the scenes.

“Relentless,” which debuts June 28, follows the case of 21-year-old Christina Whittaker, whose disappearance in the small town of Hannibal, Mo., triggered a frantic search. Eight months later, filmmaker Christina Fontana met Whittaker’s mother when filming a documentary about the families of missing persons — and her focus changed to explore the intricacies of that one case. Using more than 400 hours of footage from field investigations and video diaries filmed over 11 years, this documentary follows not only a complex search for a missing person, but the journey of a filmmaker who becomes dangerously ensnared by the story she’s documenting.

“Too Large,” launching June 2,  introduces viewers to seven desperate hopefuls, each weighing between 400 and 800 pounds, who seek the help of renowned bariatric surgeon Dr. Charles Procter as they attempt to lose weight and change their lives forever.

“Battle of the Brothers” (June 17) pits Bryan and Michael Voltaggio against one another as they each lead a team of aspiring chefs in a culinary competition.

And “Weekend Getaway With Michelle Buteau” (June 10) finds the comedian, actor and author hitting the road for a few weekends of fun, food and wild times, from the Gulf Coast of Mississippi with Tig Notaro to New Orleans with Sasheer Zamata to Malibu with Chelsea Peretti.

Other new shows include “Shock Docs: The Devil Made Me Do It” (June 11), which follows a bizarre murder case in which a Connecticut man insists “the devil made me do it”; “90 Day Journey: Pride Month” (June 6), a curated miniseries of “90 Day” couples’ love stories from the beginning to the present day; and “The House My Wedding Bought” (June 16), which follows designer and real estate expert Breegan Jane (from “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” as she helps couples on a budget who want to pay for a dream wedding as well as put a down payment on a house.