Pauly Shore’s ‘Guest House’ Most Viewed New Release Movie in U.S. Homes

Three new films appeared on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Sept. 12: Guest House at No. 7, Superman: Man of Tomorrow at No. 12, and The Karate Kid at No. 14.

Guest House, from Lionsgate, is a comedy starring Pauly Shore, best known for a string of 1990s comedies such as Encino Man and Jury Duty. Shore, the son of comedian Sammy Shore and The Comedy Store founder Mitzi Shore, plays a squatter who refuses to move from a guest house even after the property is sold to a newly engaged couple. The film was released through digital platforms and retailers on Sept. 4, ahead of its Nov. 10 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release date.

Superman: Man of Tomorrow, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, was released as a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on Sept. 8, two weeks after its digital release. It’s the 39th entry in the direct-to-video DC Universe series of superhero movies based on DC Comics characters, produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment. It details the early days of the Man of Steel’s shy alter ego, Clark Kent, in Metropolis.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The Karate Kid is a 1984 martial arts drama starring Ralph Macchio Jr., who reprises his role as Daniel LaRusso in “Cobra Kai,” a Web series based on the movie and its sequels. Consumers were likely motivated to watch the movie by the recent surge in popularity of “Cobra Kai,” the first two seasons of which became available on Netflix on Aug. 28.

The political satire Irresistible, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, made the biggest jump on the “Watched at Home” chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Irresistible moved up to No. 10 after debuting at No. 19 the prior week in the wake of its Sept. 1 release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc (though its disc version hasn’t cracked the top 50 on VideoScan’s sales chart in either its two weeks on shelves). The film was written and directed by Jon Stewart and features a cast headed by Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis and Topher Grace. Carell portrays a campaign strategist who runs a Democratic mayoral candidate (Cooper) in a small right-wing town. A Focus Features production, Irresistible was rerouted from a May 2020 theatrical release by the coronavirus pandemic and instead debuted in June on premium VOD. It became available through regular digital channels on Aug. 18.

The top five remain relatively unchanged from the prior week  — and from the week before that. Paramount’s popular TV drama series “Yellowstone,” long a favorite among home viewers, again took the top three spots on the chart, though this week season three leapfrogged season two to take the No. 2 spot. Universal’s The King of Staten Island switched places with RLJ FIlms’ The Tax Collector to finish as No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.

  1. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  4. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  5. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  6. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  7. Guest House (Lionsgate)
  8. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  9. 42 (Warner)
  10. Irresistible (2020, Universal)
  11. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  12. Superman: Man of Tomorrow (Warner)
  13. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner)
  14. The Karate Kid (Sony)
  15. Rogue (Lionsgate)
  16. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  17. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  18. Scoob! (Warner)
  19. 1917 (Universal)
  20. Made In Italy  (IFC Films)

 

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 Sept. 12.

‘Cats & Dogs 3’, ‘The Secret: Dare to Dream’ Top New Digital Releases; ‘Roman Holiday’ Makes Blu-ray Disc Debut

The family film Cats & Dogs 3: Paws Unite!, from Warner Bros., and Lionsgate’s The Secret: Dare to Dream top the slate of new digital releases available for purchase Sept. 15, while a flurry of independent films arrive on disc the same day.

Also out Sept. 15: the classic 1953 film Roman Holiday, arriving for the first time on Blu-ray Disc as part of Paramount Home Entertainment’s new Paramount Presents line. The film was subjected to an extensive 4K restoration by the studio, which showed off some of the results at an online press event July 15.

In the film, Audrey Hepburn stars as a European princess who escapes her secluded lifestyle and spends an adventure in Rome with an American journalist played by Gregory Peck. “I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like Roman Holiday,” said famed critic and film historian Leonard Maltin. “It’s an irresistible movie.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Also new in stores, Best Buy has an exclusive Steelbook of the camp comedy classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show, from 20th Century Fox. The studio, now owned by The Walt Disney Co., is also offering consumers the chance to buy a new 4K Ultra HD edition of the holiday classic Home Alone to celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary.

Paws Unite! is the second sequel to 2001’s Cats & Dogs, a spy action-comedy film starring Jeff Goldblum that grossed more than $200 million in global ticket sales. Unlike the two other films, Paws Unite! is a straight-to-home release, except in the UK, where it opens theatrically on Oct. 9. In the U.S., the film will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on Oct. 13.

The Secret: Dare to Dream is new drama based on the 2006 self-help book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. The film stars Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas and was directed by Andy Tennant, from a screenplay by he wrote with Bekah Brunstetter and Rick Parks.

New independent films arriving in stores Sept. 15 on DVD and Blu-ray include Mill Creek Entertainment’s No Safe Spaces and Shout! Factory’s Weathering With You.

No Safe Spaces finds comedian and podcaster Adam Carolla and radio talk show host Dennis Prager taking the audience on a journey to expose threats to free speech taking place on university campuses, in social media, and at the workplace.

Weathering With You is a new anime film from director Makoto Shinkai. It follows a boy named Hodaka, who runs away from his remote island home in Tokyo the summer of his high school freshman year. He quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits, and notices the weather is unusually rainy and gloomy every day (a sign of his troubled future). He lives his days in isolation, finally finding his place as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. One day, he meets a bright and strong-willed girl named Hina, who possesses a strange but wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky.

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

‘Mulan,’ ‘Tenet’ Boost Global Box Office Ticket Sales

The Walt Disney Co.’s live-action Mulan remake opened at No. 1 in China this weekend with an estimated box office gross of $23.2 million, Disney announced Sept. 13 — bringing its total theatrical earnings to $37.6 million.

Domestically, the film bypassed theaters and instead premiered on streaming service Disney+ Sept. 4, at a premium access price.

Also this weekend, Warner Bros.’ Tenet crossed the $200 mark globally, but in the North American market — the United States and Canada — the film earned $6.7 million in its second week of release, a 29% drop from week one. While more than 70% of all U.S. theaters are now open, capacities are limited due to COVID-19 restrictions and in certain key markets, including Los Angeles and New York, theaters remain dark.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In its third weekend, Disney’owned 20th Century’s The New Mutants earned an estimated $2.1 million domestically, bringing its domestic cume to $15.3 million, Disney reported.

Internationally, the thirteenth and final installment in the “X-Men” franchise expanded to 36 “material” markets, Disney said, including opening in Germany and Korea, earning an estimated $3.8 million over the weekend.

‘42’ Joins ‘Black Panther’ on ‘Watched at Home’ Chart as Viewers Remember Chadwick Boseman

A second movie starring Chadwick Boseman, Warner’s 42, debuted in the top 10 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Sept. 5, joining the Disney-distributed Black Panther, which joined the chart the prior week.

Chadwick died of cancer at the age of 43 on Aug. 28. In 42, he portrays baseball great Jackie Robinson; in Black Panther, he plays a Marvel superhero. Coincidentally, Major League Baseball Aug. 28 celebrated Jackie Robinson day, with all players wearing No. 42, which no doubt added exposure to that particular Boseman film.

The weekly Watched at Home chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, saw 42 debut at No. 9. Black Panther, which had been No. 9 a week earlier, rose to No. 6.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Robin’s Wish, a Vertical Entertainment documentary about the life and death of late comic actor Robin Williams, bowed at No. 16 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart.

Two films newly released to DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Lionsgate’s action thriller Rogue, with Megan Fox as a battle-hardened mercenary, and the political satire Irresistible, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, also appear on the chart for the first time.

Rogue (No. 12) finds Samantha O’Hara (Fox) leading a team of soldiers-for-hire on a daring mission to rescue hostages from their captors in rural Africa.  They wind up stranded and have to battle not only brutal rebels but also a horde of enraged lions.

Irresistible (No. 19) was written and directed by Jon Stewart and features a cast headed by Steve Carell, Rose Byrne, Chris Cooper, Mackenzie Davis and Topher Grace. Carell portrays a campaign strategist who runs a Democratic mayoral candidate (Cooper) in a small right-wing town. The film, from Focus Features, was rerouted from a May 2020 theatrical release by the coronavirus pandemic and instead debuted in June on premium VOD. It became available through regular digital channels on Aug. 18.

Both Rogue and Irresistable were released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Sept. 1.

Also new to chart is Warner Bros.’ Beetlejuice (No. 18), spurred by the film’s Sept. 1 release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.

The top five remain unchanged from the prior week. Paramount’s popular TV drama series “Yellowstone,” long a favorite among home viewers, again took the top three spots on the chart, with RLJ Entertainment’s The Tax Collector remaining at No. 4 and Universal’s The King of Staten Island again at No. 5.

  1. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  4. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  5. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  6. Black Panther (Disney)
  7. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  8. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  9. 42 (Warner)
  10. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  11. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  12. Rogue (Lionsgate)
  13. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  14. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (MGM)
  15. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  16. Robin’s Wish (Vertical Entertainment)
  17. 1917 (Universal)
  18. Beetlejuice (Warner)
  19. Irresistible (Universal)
  20. Made In Italy  (IFC Films)

 

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 Sept. 5.

Paramount Snags Home Entertainment, TV Rights to Three Romulus Entertainment Movies

Paramount Pictures on Sept. 8 announced that it has secured home entertainment and television licensing rights to three feature films from Romulus Entertainment.

The films will be released in select U.S. theaters by Vertical Entertainment in tandem with their release on home entertainment platforms.

“We are delighted to bring these exceptional films to audiences around the world through a combination of home entertainment platforms and television licensing,” said Dan Cohen, president of the ViacomCBS Global Distribution Group. “With top-notch casts and creative talent, these films offer gripping stories that will appeal to a wide array of viewers.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The three films included in the agreement are:

Dreamland, starring Margot Robbie as an outlaw bank robber during the Great Depression who becomes involved with a young man who must choose between collecting the bounty on her head or following his heart. Aside from Robbie, the film stars Finn Cole, Travis Fimmel, and Garrett Hedlund. It was directed by Miles Joris-Peyrafitte and written by Nicolaas Zwart.

Jungleland, in which Charlie Hunnam and Jack O’Connell play brothers trying to escape their circumstances by traveling across the country for a bare-knuckle boxing match that becomes a fight for their lives. The film, directed by Max Winkler, was co-written by Winkler, Theodore B. Bressman, and David Branson Smith. Jessica Barden also stars.

Gully is about three disaffected teens who roam the streets of Los Angeles, seeking seek revenge for all the ways the world has failed them through a series of increasingly violent crimes. The film stars Amber Heard, Jonathan Majors, John Corbett, Terrence Howard, Charlie Plummer, Robin Givens. Nabil Elderkin directed the film, which was written by Marcus J. Guillory.

The deal was negotiated by Lauren Fisher for Paramount Pictures, Brad Feinstein from Romulus Entertainment and Andrew Kramer of Loeb & Loeb.

‘Superman: Man of Tomorrow’; ‘Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection’ Now Available for Home Viewing

Superman: Man of Tomorrow, from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, tops the slate of new disc releases available Sept. 8.

Superman: Man of Tomorrow is the latest direct-to-video “Superman” movie from Warner Bros. Animation and DC Entertainment — the 39th release in the franchise, to be precise. The film, which was released through digital retailers on Aug. 23, is now available on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. It details the early life of the Man of Steel’s shy alter ego, Clark Kent.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Also out Sept. 8 are a flurry of disc reissues, most notably the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment of “The Alfred Hitchcock Classics Collection,” an eight-disc set featuring the films Rear Window, Vertigo, Psycho and The Birds. Psycho for the first time includes the original theatrical cut of the film released in 1960; subsequent home video releases have all featured a version from a 1968 re-release that was slightly trimmed to get an ‘R’ rating from the MPAA. Universal is releasing this version of Psycho as a standalone 60th anniversary edition Blu-ray.

On the TV and web series front, highlights include season five of “Supergirl,” available on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital, from Warner Bros.; season four of “Bull” on DVD and digital from Paramount/CBS; and season seven of “Chicago P.D.,” also on DVD and digital, from Universal.

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

International Box Office: ‘Mulan’ at $6 Million

No numbers are in for Mulan’s U.S. premium video-on-demand (PVOD) debut on Disney+, but Walt Disney Studios did release box office figures it says show “a strong opening … in just a handful of smaller international markets, representing only around 6% of normal international footprint.”

In those nine new markets — Croatia, Czech Rep, the Middle East, Slovakia, Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand — the live-action remake of the popular animated film earned a total of $5.9 million.

In the Middle East, Mulan opened at No. 1 in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia (with an estimated $800,000 in each market). In Asia, Mulan opened at No.1 in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand — markets where Disney estimates 90% of movie theaters are open, albeit at reduced capacities ranging from 30% to 50% of normal.

Next weekend, Mulan opens in China and Russia.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Meanwhile, Fox’s The New Mutants in its second weekend earned an estimated $3.5 million in North American theaters, bringing its total take to an estimated $12.3 million. Disney estimates 68% of domestic screens are open, although major markets including Los Angeles and New York are still closed.

Internationally, The New Mutants expanded into 30 markets, including the U.K., Mexico, Australia, Russia and Italy, where it earned an estimated $4.2 million for the weekend.

‘Black Panther’ Shoots Up ‘Watched at Home’ Chart in Wake of Actor Chadwick Boseman’s Death

The unexpected death of actor Chadwick Boseman sent his hit movie Black Panther back into the top 10 of the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Aug. 29, even though his passing of cancer at age 43 came with just one day left in the tracking period.

Black Panther, distributed to home audiences through the Walt Disney Co., debuted at No. 9 on the chart.

Two other older movies also appeared on the weekly chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

The original Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, from 1989, debuted at No. 14, while its 1991 sequel, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, bowed at No. 13.

Demand for the two titles was sparked by the Aug. 28 theatrical and PVOD launch of the third installment in the franchise, Bill & Ted Face the Music, with original stars Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter reprising their roles as two time-traveling slackers.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Also new to the chart: the complete “Game of Thrones” series, from Warner, at No. 17, and Tesla, the IFC Films biopic that stars Ethan Hawke as visionary inventor Nikola Tesla, at No. 18.

Paramount’s popular TV drama series “Yellowstone,” long a favorite among home viewers, took the top three spots on the chart, with Season 1 at No. 1.

RLJ Entertainment’s The Tax Collector dropped to No. 4 after three weeks in the top spot, while DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, distributed digitally and on disc to home audiences by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment, slipped to No. 6 from No. 2 — exiting the top five for the first time since it debuted on the chart in late June.

Rounding out the top five, at No. 5, was Universal’s The King of Staten Island, which soared up from No. 14 the previous week after its Aug. 25 release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

  1. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  2. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  4. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  5. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  6. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  7. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  8. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  9. Black Panther (Disney)
  10. Made In Italy (IFC Films)
  11. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  12. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  13. Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey (MGM)
  14. Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (MGM)
  15. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  16. The Rental (IFC Films)
  17. Game of Thrones: S1-8 (Warner)
  18. Tesla (IFC)
  19. Deep Blue Sea 3 (Warner)
  20. 1917  (Universal)

 

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 Aug. 29.

Paramount to Reissue Third ‘Godfather’ Film With New Edit, Restoration

Paramount Pictures Sept. 3 announced it will release a new edit and restoration of Francis Ford Coppola’s third and final film in his epic “Godfather” trilogy, The Godfather Part III.

The rebranded Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone, Paramount says, “achieves director/screenwriter Coppola and screenwriter Puzo’s original vision for the finale, which has been meticulously restored for the finest presentation of the Corleone saga’s last chapter.”

The 1990 release of the third film was maligned by critics as not living up to the standard set by the first two films in the franchise, which won the Oscar for Best Picture for the 1972 and 1974 movie years, respectively. The new version of the third film will have a limited theatrical release in December, followed by availability through digital retailers and on disc.

Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone is an acknowledgment of Mario’s and my preferred title and our original intentions for what became The Godfather Part III,” Coppola said in a statement. “For this version of the finale, I created a new beginning and ending, and rearranged some scenes, shots and music cues. With these changes and the restored footage and sound, to me, it is a more appropriate conclusion to The Godfather and The Godfather Part II, and I’m thankful to Jim Gianopulos and Paramount for allowing me to revisit it.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Coppola’s three-part movie adaptation of Puzo’s novel chronicles the rise and fall of the Corleone mob family. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, The Godfather Part III was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. The film follows Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in his 60s as he seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire.

Coppola and his production company American Zoetrope worked from a 4K scan of the original negative to undertake a frame-by-frame restoration of both the new Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone and the original The Godfather Part III. Zoetrope and Paramount’s restoration team began by searching for more than 50 original takes to replace lower-resolution opticals in the original negative. This process took more than six months and involved sifting through 300 cartons of negative.  American Zoetrope worked diligently to repair scratches, stains, and other anomalies that could not be addressed previously due to technology constraints, while enhancements were made to the original 5.1 audio mix. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, midway through the project all work — even the search for the negative — shifted to the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles and was completed remotely.

“Mr. Coppola oversaw every aspect of the restoration while working on the new edit, ensuring that the film not only looks and sounds pristine, but also meets his personal standards and directorial vision,” said Andrea Kalas, SVP of Paramount Archives.

Additional details about the theatrical and home entertainment releases will be provided at a later date, Paramount says.

On Rotten Tomatoes, The Godfather Part III has a 69% favorable rating from critics and a 78% favorable rating from audiences. This compares to 98% for The Godfather from both segments and 98% from critics and 97% from audiences for The Godfather Part II.

 

OTT.X Summit Speakers Talk FAST (Free, Ad-Supported Television)

Free, ad-supported television dominated the discussion during the OTT.X summit’s opening-day keynote panel.

Known by the acronym FAST, the market certainly is in growth mode. Media heavyweights ViacomCBS and Comcast Corp. have acquired Pluto TV and Xumo, respectively, while Comcast’s much-ballyhooed Peacock streaming service also will have a free, ad-supported component.

And as Media Play News reported earlier this week, new data from eMarketer suggests AVOD revenue will grow more than 25% this year compared with 2019.

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

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“It’s something I’m really excited about — this is the thing that’s really hot,” moderator David Bloom, a tech journalist and consultant, said during the panel on Sept. 1. (The OTT.X summit continues through Sept. 3; click here to register.)

Anthony Layser, VP of content partnerships at Xumo, agreed.

“Things have changed so quickly over the last couple of years,” he said. “I joined Xumo in 2017 and I think at first there were some things that felt a little bit like a gimmick — you’re starting to string together types of content into a linear experience.

“And then I really got a sense, after a few months in, that what’s old is new again. People don’t necessarily want to spend all night searching through box art; they may be interested in a very specific series they are comfortable with — maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s lifestyle.”

The FAST market, he said, “is always changing and it’s exciting to come to work every day and look at data and say, ‘Wow, look at how this piece of content we licensed years ago is taking off.’”

Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Networks, said his company over the past 18 months has sought to build “a nice portfolio of premium FAST and AVOD services to complement our four niche subscription services we still operate.”

“We got out of the real heavy, direct-to-consumer side,” he said, “and now focus on what I call the classic model of third-party distribution. You get a lot of bang for your buck — you don’t have to spend a lot of money on marketing, and you can focus all your energy on content spend and everyone else handles all the rest. So it’s a good model. Where we really thought the growth for us was going to come was in the ad-supported space.”

Advertising spending, he said, is “completely disconnected from the consumption right now. If you look at the data coming out of Samsung, where 55% of all consumption on smart TVs is not with traditional environments — the trend is not going to reverse; it’s not going to suddenly swing back the other way, especially given that 265 million sets are sold annually that have linear and VOD baked in, not to mention hundreds of thousands of apps.”

With FAST, Opeka said, “consumers love the choice, they love getting tons of entertainment for free that they don’t have to pay for. A couple of years ago, Pluto really educated all of us. … People mistake linear being dead for pre-programmed, tuned-in being dead. But I think there’s a very different piece here. Leanback is not dead. There’s a real specific use case for a big chunk of the week where you don’t have a lot of time and don’t want to spend 30 minutes digging through thousands of titles or hoping the algorithm finds you. You just want something on while you’re having leftovers. What we’re really talking about is hand-curated, passive, feed-my-eyes, against active, algorithm-driven recommendations. There’s a place in the world for both.”

Tedd Cittadine, VP of content distribution at Roku, said, “There’s no secret we’re really excited and optimistic about the AVOD business in general. We started just over three years ago with the Roku Channel, and the reason we launched it is because our consumers were disproportionately searching for free content. We knew there was pent-up demand for it. And we’ve seen significant growth — it’s been growing faster than the platform as a whole.”

He noted that the “AVOD landscape has changed significantly” over the past few years. “It’s gone from many startup independents to Roku, CBS, Fox, Amazon, YouTube, Comcast”

He noted that as the business becomes increasingly competitive, there are “three key things that drive success.” One is access to a “huge audience.” “It’s incredibly expensive to acquire consumers,” he said. “If you don’t have that huge installed base you can market to and deliver your content to, it can be very challenging to build that audience.” Second is having a “one-to-one, proprietary relationship with data for consumers, and having access to that data to make your advertising more effective.” And the third, he said, is having a “large and successful, well-funded direct ad sales organization to take advantage of monetization opportunities.”

Also speaking on the panel was Andrea Clarke-Hall, VP of business development at Tubi, acquired by Fox in April. “If you take COVID and add an acquisition, it makes for interesting times,” she said. “But it has been awesome. It’s still very early days, but it seems to be a really great partnership. Fox has given Tubi tremendous autonomy, and I think what we’ve seen is continued announcements every week about leveraging Fox ownership to bring better and better content to Tubi.”

Cameron Douglas, VP of home entertainment for Fandango, gave a nod to the transactional side of the business, noting that stay-at-home orders, and the movie theater shutdown, during the coronavirus pandemic has given the business a boost.

“You feel like the last few months have brought transactional back,” he said. “People have discovered there’s new content, movies you might not have ever seen — like The Tax Collector, which has been No. 1 on our service for the last couple of weeks.”