Shout! Studios Gains Rights to Thriller ‘Dead of Night’

Shout! Studios, the multi-platform filmed entertainment and production arm of Shout! Factory, and VMI Worldwide announced a distribution collaboration to bring new suspense horror thriller The Dead of Night to a wide variety of entertainment platforms in the United States.

Written and directed by Robert Dean, The Dead of Night stars Matthew Lawrence and Lance Henriksen in the story of nomadic murderers dressed as wolves besieging a small rural town and terrorizing a ranch run by a brother and sister. The cast also includes Jake Etheridge, Colby Crain, Leah Bezozo and Kyle Overstreet.

The multiyear deal gives Shout! Studios extensive U.S. distribution rights to The Dead of Night, including digital, video-on-demand, broadcast, theatrical and home entertainment packaged media. Shout! plans a strategic launch of this movie across all major entertainment platforms in 2021.

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Tremors (Limited Edition)

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

MVD/Arrow;
Horror;
$49.95 Blu-ray, $59.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13.’
Stars Kevin Bacon, Fred Ward, Finn Carter, Michael Gross, Reba McEntire, Victor Wong, Bobby Jacoby, Ariana Richards, Charlotte Stewart, Tony Genaro.

The original Tremors was such an unassuming creature-feature at the time of its release in 1990 that it’s hard to believe it spawned a massive franchise of seven movies and a TV show over the course of 30 years.

Of course, while that first film was the only one released in theaters, the direct-to-video follow-ups have been hugely important in maintaining its status as an iconic cult hit while expanding on the mythology of the deadly Graboids. As a result, the first film holds up remarkably well to the passage of time, maintaining a timeless quality owing to its uncomplicated depiction of small-town American life, and subsequent films’ ability to maintain that charm despite the advent of technological progress.

This new Arrow Films boxed set is a definitive archive of the original Tremors, containing a sharp new transfer of the film and a treasure trove of behind-the-scenes material.

The film stars Kevin Bacon and Fred Ward as a pair of hard luck handyman servicing the small town of Perfection in the remote desert of Nevada. When the area is besieged by giant worm-like monsters called Graboids that tunnel though the ground to eat people and livestock, the surviving residents band together to defend their homes from the creatures.

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While the film was shot in 1989, it seems much closer to something one might find in the mid 1990s. It also feels like a throwback to 1950s monster movies, thanks to some nice visual effects work that makes use of practical methods such as miniatures and puppets, rather than the CGI that would come along later (and be used in some of the direct-to-video sequels). The performances, creature effects and offbeat tongue-in-cheek humor make the film, and the franchise, a lot of fun.

Among the more memorable characters are Burt and Heather Gummer, a couple of doomsday preppers played by Michael Gross and Reba McEntire. The role marked the acting debut of country music superstar McEntire, while Gross was just coming off playing the pacifist left-wing dad on “Family Ties,” so playing a paramilitary survivalist was an interesting change of pace for him. Given a chance to expand the role in subsequent sequels increased Burt’s popularity with audiences to the point where he eventually became the face of the franchise — including headlining the seventh movie that just came out in October. Gross is the only actor from the original to appear in all seven films and the TV show (though he wasn’t in every episode).

Also on hand is young Ariana Richards, who would turn up three years later in a similar running-from-monsters role in Jurassic Park. Richards would also return to Perfection in 2001 for the third “Tremors” movie.

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Among the tidbits gleaned from the copious retrospective bonus material, the film was developed under a variety of titles, such as Land Shark and later Beneath Perfection, the preferred title of the creators. To appeal to Japanese investors, Universal Studios changed it to the earthquake-flavored Tremors.

The movie comes with two new commentary tracks — one by director Ron Underwood and co-writers Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson; the other by fan and Tremors expert Jonathan Melville, who also contributes an essay about the history of the film’s sequels to a nice booklet included with the set.

In addition to deleted scenes, the 1996 making-of featurette and EPK profiles from previous DVD and Blu-ray releases, there are also hours of new retrospective featurettes, starting with the half-hour “Making Perfection,” a new documentary produced by Universal. “Making Perfection” includes interviews with several of the filmmakers and cast from the original film, including Bacon, Gross and Richards, and even ropes in Jamie Kennedy, a co-star of the fifth and sixth films.

Other new featurettes include a discussion of the development of the movie with co-producer Nancy Roberts; an interview with cinematographer Alexander Gruszynski; and a discussion of the music of the film with its composers.

Most interesting is a look at the visual effects, which is accompanied by some test footage.

Also included is a montage of edits made to the film to sanitize it for broadcast TV.

The only drawback to the set is that the 4K Ultra HD box isn’t a combo pack. Both the 4K and Blu-ray sets include two discs — one with the film and most of the extras, and a second with a few more supplements. The first disc is either 4K or standard Blu-ray depending on the format indicated on the box, while the bonus disc in both versions is the same standard Blu-ray. The 4K does not include a standard Blu-ray version of the film, so collectors who want that 1080p copy for whatever reason will have to decide between buying both Arrow editions, or keeping their old Universal Blu-rays around.

Extras on that second disc include additional “Making Perfection” interviews, a gag reel, early short films from the creators of Tremors, and footage from a 2015 Q&A event with several cast members and filmmakers conducted at a 25th anniversary screening at the Arclight Hollywood.

Other goodies in the box include a two-sided 16×20-inch poster containing the film’s original poster art on one side and the DVD art on the other; a mini-poster highlighting Graboid anatomy; and lobby cards with images from the film.

 

Breach

DVD REVIEW:

Street 2/2/21;
Paramount;
Sci-Fi;
$19.98 DVD;
Rated ‘R’ for language throughout and some bloody violence.
Stars Bruce Willis, Cody Kearsley, Callan Mulvey, Kassandra Clementi, Timothy V. Murphy, Rachel Nichols, Thomas Jane.

Bruce Willis’ late-career run of quickie direct-to-video cash-ins continues with Breach, a lackluster sci-fi/horror pastiche.

Set hundreds of years in the future, Breach focuses on giant spacecraft tasked with ferrying hundreds of thousands of people to a colony world to escape Earth, which is being ravaged by plague. Most of the colonists and crew go into suspended animation, leaving a handful of engineers and custodians to keep the ship operating for the duration of the voyage.

Willis gives a one-note performance as the gruff head janitor, who has to deal with a stowaway (Cody Kearsley) who was rejected for the trip despite his pregnant girlfriend being the daughter of the admiral in charge of the ship.

Meanwhile, an alien parasite begins to kill the few crew members who are still awake, and takes over their bodies to form an army of the undead that tries to sabotage the ship and destroy the human colony. It’s up to Willis to rally the survivors to take back the ship and save the day.

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While the film makes a game attempt to present some gritty sci-fi on an obviously tight budget, there’s not much here any self-respecting sci-fi fan won’t have seen before Viewers will probably have more fun trying to spot all the plot points borrowed from better movies. Some of the more obvious ones include Alien, Venom, Sunshine, Armageddon, Interstellar and Passengers. Just set up a drinking game and call it a party.

The DVD comes with a digital copy but no bonus materials.

‘Cobra Kai’ Tops Parrot’s Digital Originals Chart for Third Week; ‘WandaVision’ Joins Top 10

Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” remained No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals chart for a third consecutive week the week ended Jan. 23. However, the show dropped to No. 3 on Parrots ranking of all TV shows after a 29.8% decline in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity. That also dropped it to having 84 times the demand of an average TV series for the week.

The Disney+ live-action “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” remained No. 2 on the digital originals chart and slipped to No. 5 on the overall TV chart, with demand expressions down 9.8% and the show having 67.4 times average demand.

Netflix’s perennially popular “Stranger Things” remained at No. 3, with 53.2 times average demand and expressions up 1.2%. It was No. 8 on the overall TV show list.

“WandaVision,” the first Disney+ series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, made its first appearance in the digital originals top 10, climbing six spots to No. 6. The show premiered two episodes Jan. 15 and its third episode Jan. 22. It saw expressions climb 20.3% to give it 33.3 times the demand of the average show. While pre-premiere fan interest in “WandaVision” had been tracking higher than that for “The Mandalorian,” according to Parrot, response to the actual episodes, while mostly positive, was not as well received, likely owing to the niche structure of the early episodes as a parody of classic sitcoms from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, a format that might not jibe with younger viewers. Interest should tick up as questions regarding the show’s central mystery are answered.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The No. 1 overall TV series was “Attack on Titan,” with 105.3 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s 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.

‘Tenet’ Back Atop Disc Sales Charts for Fourth Time

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Tenet returned to the top spot on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended Jan. 16.

It’s the fourth time in five weeks the latest thriller from director Christopher Nolan was been No. 1 since arriving on shelves Dec. 15. It was the top disc seller for three weeks after its premiere before slipping to No. 2 a week ago.

The movie that took the top spot in that gap, Paramount’s Love and Monsters, slipped to No. 2 on both charts.

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The week’s top newcomer on the overall disc sales chart was Paramount’s Spell, a horror movie about a man who survives a plane crash and is taken in to be cared for by a couple only to learn they have sinister motives. It debuted at No. 12 overall and No. 10 on the Blu-ray chart after earning just over $500K in theaters.

Also new to the top 20 was Shout! Factory’s DVD and Blu-ray release of the anime movie Lupin III: The First, which was No. 20 overall and No. 3 on the Blu-ray chart.

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On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended Jan. 17, Honest Thief remained No. 1 for a third week, with Spell debuting at No. 2. Universal’s The War With Grandpa dropped a spot to No. 3.

No. 4 was a newcomer called The Empty Man from 20th Century Studios. It’s a thriller about a retired Midwestern cop who investigates a string of missing teenagers whose disappearance is attributed to a local legend.

Tenet was the week’s No. 5 disc rental.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 1-16-21
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 1-17-21
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 1-16-21
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 1-16-21
Sales Report for Week Ended 1-16-21

‘Tenet’ Tops ‘Watched at Home’ Chart for Third Straight Week

Warner Bros.’ Tenet topped the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the third consecutive week the week ended Jan. 16. The latest thriller from Christopher Nolan has been No. 1 four of the five weeks since it arrived on DVD and Blu-ray Dec. 15.

The “Watched at Home” chart tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, but not premium VOD or disc rental) compiled from studio and retailer data and presented by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Without much in the way of big new releases, the top seven titles remained unchanged from the previous week. So Universal Pictures’ Honest Thief and The War With Grandpa were No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, while Paramount’s Love and Monsters was No. 4.

Ranking fifth through seventh were the three seasons of Paramount’s “Yellowstone,” with season three at No. 5, season one at No. 6, and season two at No. 7, just like the previous week.

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At No. 8 was Warner’s eight-movie “Harry Potter” collection, up two spots from the previous week, while Universal’s The Office: The Complete Series dropped a spot to No. 9.

The week’s top newcomer, at No. 10, was Vertical Entertainment’s American Skin, about a black Marine veteran working as a school janitor who takes the law into his own hands after his son is killed by a police officer who is cleared of any charges.

Also new to the chart were No. 17 Songbird, the pandemic thriller from STX Entertainment; No. 18 The Dissident, a Vertical Entertainment documentary about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi; and Viva Pictures’ animated comedy 100% Wolf at No. 20.

  1. Tenet (Warner)
  2. Honest Thief (Universal)
  3. The War with Grandpa (Universal)
  4. Love and Monsters (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: S3 (Paramount)
  6. Yellowstone: S1 (Paramount)
  7. Yellowstone: S2 (Paramount)
  8. Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  9. The Office: The Complete Series (Universal)
  10. American Skin (Vertical)
  11. The Informer (Vertical)
  12. Unhinged  (Lionsgate)
  13. The Craft: Legacy (Sony Pictures)
  14. Buddy Games (Paramount)
  15. RuPaul’s Drag Race S:13 (VH1)
  16. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Warner)
  17. Songbird (STX)
  18. The Dissident (Vertical)
  19. Spell (Paramount)
  20. 100% Wolf (Viva)

 

Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Jan. 16.

‘Honest Thief’ Tops Redbox Charts for Third Week

Universal Pictures’ Honest Thief remained No. 1 on Redbox’s disc rental chart for a third consecutive week, and returned to No. 1 on the Redbox On Demand Chart the week ended Jan. 17.

The week’s top newcomer was Paramount’s Spell, at No. 2 on the disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at Redbox’s more than 40,000 red kiosks, and No. 4 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital rental transactions.

Spell, which earned $500K at the domestic box office, stars Omari Hardwick as a man who survives a plane crash only to discover the couple caring for him has sinister motives.

Another newcomer, 20th Century Studios’ The Empty Man, debuted at No. 4 on the disc chart and No. 6 on the digital chart. The horror film deals with a former cop in a Midwestern town coming out of retirement to investigate a series of disappearing teenagers attributed to a local legend.

New to the On Demand chart are Universal’s News of the World, a Western starring Tom Hanks, at No. 9, and STX Entertainment’s Horizon Line, a thriller about a couple trapped on a plane heading into a storm after their pilot has a heart attack, at No. 10.

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Rounding out the top five disc rentals were Universal’s The War With Grandpa at No. 3 and Warner’s Tenet at No. 5.

On the On Demand chart, War With Grandpa was No. 2, Tenet was No. 3, and Solstice’s Unhinged was No. 5.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Jan. 17:

  1. Honest Thief — Universal
  2. Spell — Paramount
  3. The War With Grandpa — Universal
  4. The Empty Man — 2oth Century
  5. Tenet — Warner
  6. Love and Monsters — Paramount
  7. The Informer — Vertical
  8. Jungleland — Paramount
  9. Alone (2020-A) — Magnolia
  10. Unhinged — Lionsgate

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Jan. 17:

  1. Honest Thief — Universal
  2. The War With Grandpa — Universal
  3. Tenet — Warner
  4. Spell — Paramount
  5. Unhinged — Solstice
  6. The Empty Man — 2oth Century
  7. The Croods: A New Age — Universal
  8. Love and Monsters — Paramount
  9. News of the World — Universal
  10. Horizon Line — STX

 

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Merchandising: Amid Another Slow Week, Target Touts ‘Best of 2020 Sale’

The third week of 2021 marked another slow week for new DVD and Blu-ray releases at retail. Best Buy ran its online ad for 4K and Blu-ray discounts for a third consecutive week.

Target, which last week didn’t list any DVD or Blu-ray news in its weekly ad circular, this week devoted a page to a “Best of 2020 Sale.” Most of the space was devoted to books, but there were four Blu-rays listed: Disney’s Frozen II and Mulan at $22.99, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker at $19.99, and Universal’s Trolls World Tour at $24.99.

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New Disc, Digital Releases for Jan. 19 Include ‘Dreamland,’ ‘Kid Detective,’ ‘Let Him Go’

Paramount Home Entertainment’s Dreamland and Wander, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s The Kid Detective and The Climb, and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Let Him Go top the slate of new disc and digital releases available Jan. 19.

Also new in stores are the horror films Toys of Terror from Warner Bros. and The Cleansing Hour from RLJE, the Criterion Collection’s Rolling Thunder Review: A Bob Dylan Story, and Lionsgate’s Miss Juneteenth.

Dreamland, available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD from Paramount, stars Finn Cole as a young man growing up during the Great Depression who dreams of leaving his family’s farm when he discovers a famous bank robber played by Margot Robbie hiding in his barn after getting shot during a heist. Nursing her back to health, he falls in love with her, and the pair make plans to run away together to Mexico, even as his stepfather leads the posse trying to track her down. Read a review of the Blu-ray here.

The dark comedy The Kid Detective is available on DVD and manufactured-on-demand Blu-ray from Sony Pictures, and stars Adam Brody as a once-celebrated kid detective who, at age 31, continues to solve the same trivial mysteries between hangovers and bouts of self-pity, until a naïve client (Sophie Nélisse) brings him his first adult case.

The buddy comedy The Climb, also on DVD and manufactured-on-demand Blu-ray from Sony, takes a humorous look at the toxic lifelong friendship of Mike and Kyle. While Kyle is kind and a bit of a pushover, Mike is a train wreck, who, despite his affection for Kyle, always seems to sabotage Kyle’s relationships. Told through a series of vignettes, Kyle struggles to deal with the fact that his best friend might just be the worst person for him.

The thriller Wander arrives on DVD only from Paramount. Aaron Eckhart, Tommy Lee Jones and Heather Graham star in the film, which follows Arthur Bretnik (Eckhart), a paranoid private investigator with a troubled past. After Bretnik is hired to investigate a suspicious death in the town of Wander, he becomes convinced the case is linked to the same ‘conspiracy cover up’ that caused the death of his daughter. The film also stars Katheryn Winnick.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has Toys of Terror slated for release on DVD and Blu-ray, though the retail availability of the Blu-ray is spotty (it’s listed as sold out at some sites, while others, such as Amazon and Target, aren’t listing the Blu-ray at all). In a movie that re-creates the nostalgia of stop-motion holiday specials, a family vacation at a creepy mansion turns awry when the kids find a stash of haunted toys.

RLJE Films’ The Cleansing Hour, which debuted on the Shudder streaming service, arrives on DVD, VOD and for digital sellthrough. The film stars Ryan Guzman, Kyle Gallner and Alix Angelis in the story of a popular webcast that streams live exorcisms watched by millions across the globe. In reality, the exorcisms are just elaborately staged hoaxes performed by paid actors. But the podcasters’ fortunes take a turn when one of the actors becomes possessed by an actual demon and takes the crew hostage.

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese is a documentary about the 1975-76 Rolling Thunder Revue concert tour featuring Dylan and numerous other musicians. The film was originally released on Netflix and in select theaters in 2019, and arrives on DVD and Blu-ray as part of the Criterion Collection.

Miss Juneteenth, which arrives on DVD from Lionsgate after a summer VOD release, follows a single mom and former teen beauty queen who enters her daughter into the local Miss Juneteenth pageant.

Warner’s DVD release of Scooby-Doo! and Guess Who? The Complete First Season offers 26 episodes from the latest animated series featuring the Mystery Inc. gang. The series airs on the Boomerang network.

JSA: Joint Security Area, a thriller from Park Chan-wook released in 2000, follows a Swiss-Korean major as she leads an investigation into a shooting incident at the North/South Korean border that results in two Korean soldiers’ death. The Arrow Video Blu-ray distributed by MVD Entertainment Group features several new featurettes.

Shout! Factory, in collaboration with Anime Limited, releases Bartender: 15th Anniversary Collector’s Edition digitally and Blu-ray Disc, the first time the cult favorite anime series “Bartender” has been released on Blu-ray in North America. It collects all 11 episodes in a two-disc set, with deluxe packaging that includes nine cocktail recipe cards and four collectible coasters. Bonus content includes clean opening and closing credits, and bumpers. The episodes are presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment releases the drama Let Him Go for digital sellthrough Jan. 19, with the Blu-ray Disc and DVD release slated for Feb. 2. Based on the novel of the same name by Larry Watson, the film stars Diane Lane and Kevin Costner (who previously co-starred together as Superman’s human parents in Man of Steel) as a husband and wife who, following the death of their son, leave their Montana ranch to trek through North Dakota to rescue their young grandson from the clutches of a ruthless family.

The documentary 21 Miles is a digital-only release from Virgil Films. The film is the story of a father’s incredible journey to reach his son in England. Kais, a 30-year-old Tunisian, arrives in the French shantytown with nothing more than the shirt on his back and 21 miles of sea between him and his 8-year-old boy Marcel.

Catalog movies debuting on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time Jan. 19 include two classics from director John Carpenter, 1987’s Prince of Darkness and 1988’s They Live, both from Shout! Factory, and the disaster movie 2012 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

‘Cobra Kai’ Remains No. 1 on Parrot’s TV Charts for Second Week

Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” remained No. 1 on both Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings and the data firm’s list of all TV shows for a second consecutive week the week ended Jan. 16.

With more viewers having had a chance to binge the third season since its Jan. 1 debut, “Cobra Kai” saw a 15% drop in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity, giving it 118.7 times the demand of an average TV series for the week.

The Disney+ live-action “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” remained No. 2 on the digital originals chart and slipped to No. 4 on the overall TV chart, with demand expressions down 24.7% and the show having 74.1 times average demand.

Netflix’s perennially popular “Stranger Things” remained at No. 3, with 52.2 times average demand and expressions up 2.8%. It was No. 8 on the overall TV show list.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

After “Cobra Kai,” the No. 2 overall TV series was “Attack on Titan,” with 93.2 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s 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.