WBD, Amazon Prime Channels Rolling Out French-Based ‘Warner Pass’ Streaming Service March 16

Warner Bros. Discovery and Amazon Prime Channels have announced the March 16 French launch date for the previously announced streaming video service Warner Pass. The platform, which will be exclusively available to Prime members in France, will cost $10.73 (€9.99) monthly and feature HBO content in addition to numerous branded channels such as Warner TV, Eurosport, Discovery Channel, Cartoon Network and CNN, among others.

“The launch of Warner Pass exclusively as a Prime Video channel in France is the next step in our journey to become the destination for customers in France to find the best in storytelling, premium entertainment and sports,” Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, Prime Video French country director, said in a media statement.

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HBO shows include “Succession,” “Perry Mason,” “The Gilded Age,” “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” “Barry,” “Somebody Somewhere,” “Game of Thrones,” “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City,” in addition to pending series “True Detective: Night Country,” “The Idol”  and “White House Plumbers.”

“The launch of the Warner Pass is a very important event for the French audience who will finally have access through one single subscription,” added Pierre Branco, GM of Warner Bros. Discovery France, Benelux and Africa.

Warner Bros. Discovery is still planning to roll out a hybrid HBO Max, Discovery+ streaming service in Europe in 2024. The combined service will bow next month in the United States.

Warner Bros. Discovery to Offer ‘Warner Pass’ Streaming Option in France

Looking to diversify consumer access in France to HBO, Turner, Warner Bros. and Discovery content, Warner Bros. Discovery is launching “Warner Pass” on Amazon Prime Channels — the e-commerce behemoth’s platform affording Prime members direct access to third-party streaming services.

The announcement follows last month’s move by WBD to reinstate HBO Max on Prime Channels in the U.S. after the platform’s departure during the WarnerMedia era.

Warner Pass will offer access to all HBO programming, in addition to 12 channels, including Warner TV, Eurosport, Discovery Channel, Cartoon Network and CNN, as well as their associated on-demand services. The offer will be available to Prime members via subscription beginning in March.

In addition to HBO series “Succession,” “Perry Mason,” “The Gilded Age,” “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” “Barry,” “Somebody Somewhere,” and upcoming new shows “True Detective: Night Country,” “The Idol” and “White House Plumbers,” Pass will offer subscribers access to the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games.

To help promote the service, Prime members in France will be able to stream episodes of new HBO series, “The Last of Us,” for free the day after their U.S. debut beginning Jan. 16.

“The launch … is great news for the French audience,” Pierre Branco, managing director for France, Benelux and Africa at Warner Bros. Discovery, said in a statement.

YouTube Bows Primetime Channels Offering Access to Third-Party Streaming Services

Taking a page from the Amazon Prime Channels playbook, YouTube Nov. 1 announced the launch of Primetime Channels, the Google-owned social video platform’s new service offering users’ access to more than 30 third-party streaming services, including Paramount+, Showtime, Starz, AMC+ and ViX+ and NBA League Pass, among others.

While Prime Channels requires an Amazon Prime membership, YouTube’s Primetime Channels home pages are free to access and feature shows and movies with curated trailers, behind-the-scenes footage and cast interviews. When searching for content, users will be able to access them in the search results, alongside videos from their favorite creators.

“This new feature gives us the opportunity to expand our presence on YouTube, broadening our reach and giving consumers even more choice when it comes to streaming the best in entertainment,” Jeff Shultz, chief strategy officer and business development officer for Paramount Streaming, said in a statement.

Separately, YouTube recommendations will now include programs from Primetime Channels, delivering a personalized selection of content across YouTube.

“People already come to YouTube to watch trailers for highly anticipated movies, or clips of scenes from their favorite TV episodes. Now they can continue watching directly on YouTube,” Erin Teague, director of product management for YouTube, wrote in a post.

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TelevisaUnivision’s ViX+ Streaming Service to Bow on Amazon Prime Video Channels

TelevisaUnivision July 21 announced that its ViX+ Spanish-language subscription streaming video service has launched on Amazon Prime Video Channels in the U.S. and Mexico July 21. Available as part of the platform’s global debut, Prime Video subs will be able to seamlessly access, ViX+ for $6.99 a month in the U.S. and MX$119 in Mexico. ViX+ is launching with more than 10,000 hours of entertainment in the first year.

Prime Video subs will be able to watch original ViX+ series and movies, as well as more than 7,000 hours of live sports. ViX+ is the only Spanish-language streaming service in the U.S. with coverage of the UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Conference League matches.

“This launch accelerates our mission to make ViX+ accessible to Spanish speaking audiences everywhere,”Adam Waltuch, SVP of streaming partnerships at TelevisaUnivision, said in a statement.

Through Prime Video Channels, ViX+ subs in the U.S. and Mexico will have access to more than 70 original series and movies in the first year, which represents, on average, at least one new original per week. Exclusive premium original series available at launch include “María Felix, La Doña,” which tells the story of the beloved Mexican actress and singer, “La Mujer del Diablo,” a drama about an unconventional love story of obsession and revenge, and “Mi Vecino El Cartel,” a docuseries executive produced by Selena Gomez that explores how the murder of Juan Guerrero Chapa uncovered the tentacles of the Mexican cartels in the U.S.

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ViX+ subs will also be able to watch global premieres of movies such as Mirreyes contra Godinez 2, El Retiro, and Enfermo Amor.

“We’re delighted to bring premium and compelling Spanish-language sports and entertainment content for the first time to Prime members and our tens of millions global subscribers,” said Matt Cohen, director of content acquisition for Prime Video Channels.

Since launch, Prime Video Channels continues to add third-party global and local premium subscription services for Prime members, growing subscriptions each year with a single, trusted Amazon sign-on.

ViX+ leverages TelevisaUnivision’s extensive library as well as content developed by Spanish-language creators and storytellers, including Salma Hayek Pinault, Eugenio Derbez, Maria Dueñas, Selena Gomez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Leonardo Padrón, Marc Cistaré and Santiago Limón.

HBO Max Cuts Sub Price in Half to Offset Amazon Prime Channels Exit

HBO Max has quietly cut its $14.99 monthly subscription fee in half to try to offset the service’s departure from Amazon Prime Channels — the latter platform affording Prime members access to third-party streaming services.

The limited-time $7.49 Max subscription fee is for all HBO subs — new and old — and available through Sept. 26, according to WarnerMedia. The temporary price cut makes Max less expensive than Prime Video and Netflix priced at $8.99 each.

Max’s exit — spearheaded in part by WarnerMedia’s desire to secure subscribers directly and not pay Amazon a fee — is projected to cost the property as many as 5 million subscribers.

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Max, which recently launched in Latin America, is slated to bow service in Eastern Europe in October. WarnerMedia recently lifted its sub projections for HBO and HBO Max to a combined 73 million from previous estimates of 67 million to 70 million.

Discovery+ SVOD Bows on Amazon Prime Video Channels

Discovery April 15 announced that its Discovery+ subscription streaming video service is now available on Prime Video Channels in the United States. The streamer launched in the U.S. in January on most devices and services, including Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Edition smart TVs.

The latter is a platform for Prime members that enables access to third-party over-the-top video services for a separate or reduced fee. Amazon keeps a percentage of revenue and user info from each service, while delivering them access to millions potential subscribers.

The streamer features more than 55,000 episodes of current and classic TV shows from Discovery’s portfolio of networks, including HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, A&E, The HISTORY Channel, Lifetime, Animal Planet and the forthcoming Magnolia Network, as well as more than 50 original titles.

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“Today’s launch on Amazon Prime Video Channels expands Discovery+ access … beyond Fire TV streaming devices and Fire TV Edition Smart TVs,” Gabriel Sauerhoff, SVP of digital distribution and commercial partnerships at Discovery, said in a statement. “This innovative relationship provides multiple, compelling ways for us to reach and delight consumers with a truly differentiated streaming experience through Discovery+.”

The ad-free version of Discovery+ is available on Prime Video Channels for $6.99 per month and the less-expensive ($4.99) ad-supported version of the service will be available in the coming months. Prime members can subscribe with no extra apps to download, and no cable required by visiting amazon.com/channels/discoveryplus. The channel subscription can be canceled at any time.

“Adding Discovery+ reinforces Prime Video Channels’ promise of bringing the best [online] shows to our members, all in one place,” said Soumya Sriraman, head of Prime Video Channels. “With a Discovery+ channel subscription, Prime members now have even more ways to access content they love directly on Prime Video.” Shows include “Magnolia Table With Joanna Gaines,” “Guy’s Grocery Games” and “Bobby and Giada in Italy,” among others.

‘Hemingway’ Coming to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel April 5

Hemingway, a documentary from filmmakers Ken Burns and Lynn Novick chronicling the life of literary icon Ernest Hemingway, will be available to stream on the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel on April 5.

The channel will also be streaming a 4K Ultra High-Definition version of the program beginning April 11. The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $3.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

The title will come out on Blu-ray and DVD May 4.

The three-part, six-hour film examines the life and work of Hemingway, one of the most influential writers America has ever produced. Narrated by long-time collaborator Peter Coyote, the series features an all-star cast of actors bringing Hemingway (voiced by Jeff Daniels), his friends and family to life. Through letters to and from his four wives — voiced by Meryl Streep, Keri Russell, Mary-Louise Parker and Patricia Clarkson — the film reveals Hemingway at his most romantic and his most vulnerable, grappling at times with insecurity, anxiety and existential loneliness.

Burns and Novick paint a picture of Hemingway, who captured on paper the complexities of the human condition in profound prose, and whose work remains deeply influential around the world. Informed by interviews with celebrated writers, scholars and Hemingway’s son Patrick, the filmmakers explore the painstaking process through which Hemingway created some of the most notable works of fiction, in novels such as The Sun Also RisesA Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea; short stories “Hills Like White Elephants,” “The Short and Happy Life of Francis Macomber,” “Up in Michigan,” “Indian Camp” and “The Snows of Kilimanjaro;” as well as the nonfiction works Death in the Afternoon and A Moveable Feast.

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His relationships with women — his mother, sisters, wives and the World War I nurse who broke his heart — profoundly affected his work. Yet for all his bravado and hyper-masculine posturing, Hemingway wrote about relationships between men and women with sensitivity, nuance and clarity.

The filmmakers were granted unusually open access to the treasure trove of Hemingway’s manuscripts, correspondence, scrapbooks and photographs housed at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library in Boston. The film also explores Hemingway’s limitations and biases as an artist and a man of his time.

BritBox U.K. Bows on Amazon Prime Channels, Tops 500,000 Subs

BritBox, the subscription streaming video service launched in North America in 2017 by BBC Studios and ITV, now has distribution via Amazon Prime Video Channels in the U.K. The service just topped 500,000 subscribers there after launching in 2019. The platform is projected to reach 2 million U.K. subs by 2023.

BritBox, which features British-themed TV shows and movies, and was launched to compete against AMC Networks’ Acorn TV and Netflix, among others, has more than 1.2 million subs in North America.

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“We are excited to bring the very best British entertainment to an even wider audience through Amazon, especially as we launch more original content in the spring,” Will Harrison, managing director of BritBox U.K., said in a statement.

BritBox originals include Splitting Image, The Beast Must Die, and “Hope Street,” a new serial crime drama set in Northern Ireland.

 

 

‘All Creatures Great and Small,’ ‘Miss Scarlet & the Duke’ Among Titles Available on PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in January

Four new “Masterpiece” programs and several international series will be streaming on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in January.

“Masterpiece” titles include a new adaptation of “All Creatures Great and Small,” starring Dame Diana Rigg in one of her last appearances, the newest “Masterpiece Mystery” installment “Miss Scarlet & the Duke,” “Elizabeth Is Missing” based on the acclaimed novel starring Oscar-winner Glenda Jackson, and “The Long Song” based on the award-winning novel.

The subscription rate for the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

“Elizabeth Is Missing”

“Elizabeth Is Missing,” debuting Jan. 3, stars Jackson as the feisty grandmother Maud Horsham, a woman desperately trying to solve two mysteries as she declines ever deeper into dementia. Maud’s only friend, Elizabeth, ominously goes missing, leaving Maud determined to find her. The other mystery in Maud’s mind is a puzzle from her past, kindled when she unearths the top of an old cosmetics compact while gardening with Elizabeth. The discovery takes Maud back to her teenaged self and like many younger siblings, Maud looked up to her big sister, Sukey, considering her the height of glamour. This childhood idyll ended with Sukey’s failure to come home one night in 1949, never to be seen again. As Maud thinks back on it, she wonders if the family’s lodger at the time, Douglas, had anything to do with Sukey’s vanishing. And the cryptic warnings from the long-ago mad woman with the umbrella only deepens the riddle. In her increasingly disoriented perception, the disappearances of Sukey and now Elizabeth get mixed up. She attacks the problem with a system she uses around the house: sticky notes, posted everywhere, documenting daily reminders to herself — mostly about locking the door or turning off the stove, but also recording her meetings with Elizabeth and chance observations. Maud’s granddaughter, Katy, helps her arrange the notes. As memories, clues, and deductions pile up, viewers come to see the world as Maud does, and solve the mystery as this tenacious, vision-haunted sleuth does.

“All Creatures Great and Small,” debuting Jan. 10, is based on the autobiographical books by James Herriot and tells the adventures of a veterinarian in 1930s Yorkshire. The series takes place in 1937, when James Herriot, fresh out of Glasgow Veterinary College, follows his dream to become a vet in the magnificent Yorkshire Dales, one of England’s most beloved and beautiful landscapes. He soon discovers that treating the animals is as much about treating their owners, and the Dales’ farmers are a tough crowd to please. At Skeldale House, James gets to know his newly formed dysfunctional family: his chaotic and erratic boss Siegfried Farnon, his wayward brother Tristan and the shrewd Mrs. Hall, who is endlessly steering the ship. When local beauty Helen Alderson attracts James’s attention, he finds another, more enduring reason to stay in the Dales. The late Dame Diana Rigg plays Mrs. Pumphrey, the delightfully eccentric owner of the overly indulged Pekingese Tricki Woo.

“Miss Scarlet & the Duke”

“Miss Scarlet & the Duke,” coming Jan. 17, is set in the same 1850s London society that gave rise to Jack the Ripper. The Victorian detective drama features a fearless, independent heroine played by Kate Phillips (“Peaky Blinders”). With her inquisitive mind, Miss Eliza Scarlet has always been more interested in running her late father’s detective agency than behaving like a proper lady, much to the chagrin of family friend Inspector William Wellington of Scotland Yard (Stuart Martin, “Jamestown”). But nothing has prepared her for the dangers she is about to face as a woman in the murder investigation trade.

“The Long Song”

“The Long Song,” due Jan. 31, is an adaptation of the award-winning novel by Andrea Levy set during the final days of slavery in 19th century Jamaica. The story follows the strong-willed, young slave July on a sugar plantation owned by her odious mistress Caroline Mortimer. When a charming new arrival to the island, Robert Goodwin, becomes the new overseer, July and Caroline are both intrigued by his seemingly revolutionary determination to improve the plantation for the slaves and mistress alike.

“As Time Goes By: Reunion Specials,” available Jan 26, is the continuation to the long running series “As Time Goes By.” “Reunion Specials” follows up as Jean Pargetter’s (Dame Judi Dench) great anticipation for grandchildren is revealed much to husband Lionel’s (Geoffrey Palmer) dismay. With son-in-law Alistair and daughter Judy having problems things don’t look too promising. But will Jean’s dream of becoming a grandmother come true when their other daughter Sandy and her husband Harry return from Canada?

Also due in January are five “Walter Presents” series.

The French series “Walter Presents: Due North” is streaming starting Jan. 1. Set on the verge of the 20th century, “True North” is the untold story of the colonization of the Laurentian mountain rage in Quebec known as the “Wild West.” The series explores the turbulent period of the settlement and development of this northern region of Canada as the territory wreaks havoc on the new colony and an array of colorful characters try to make their mark

The German series “Walter Presents: The Nordic Murders” is coming Jan. 8. On the secluded island of Usedom off the north shore of Germany, former district attorney Karin Lossow has just been released from prison after serving a six-year sentence for shooting her husband. Her daughter Julia is the Detective Chief Inspector and their fragile relationship is put to the test as they team up to investigate criminal cases on the island.

The French-language series “Walter Presents: The Wall” is coming Jan. 15. In the remote Canadian mining colony Fremote, in the endless frozen hell that is the far North, the body of a young exotic dancer is found. The Quebec City police sends one of their toughest, most experienced detectives, Céline, to the colony to investigate. She is always up for a challenge. Being cooped up in the massive structure that is the colony which the inhabitants call “The Wall,” soon presents her with some challenges that exceed her investigative efforts. Not only does everyone here seem to have a secret and a connection to the victim, Céline’s own past has a way of catching up with her. Her estranged daughter Sophie has built a life of her own in the very same icy middle of nowhere where Céline is currently working. As Céline comes under increased pressure to find the killer of the dancer, she has to connect the dots to the suspicious death of a young boy three years ago. The inhabitants of the mine each think they know exactly who the culprit is, creating a sense of distrust and alarm among the community, but one fear is always present: will the murderer strike again soon?

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Season three of the Italian series “Walter Presents: Rocco Schiavone” starts streaming Jan. 22. Deputy Police Commissioner Rocco Schiavone finds himself more and more alone, in the increasingly colder and inhospitable city of Aosta, forced to come to terms with everything that has happened. His best friend, Sebastiano, is under house arrest and refuses to speak to him as he’s convinced that Rocco had him arrested before he could kill Enzo Baiocchi, the man who murdered his wife. Rocco’s future doesn’t look great after Sebastiano escapes house arrest and everything in Rocco’s life starts to fall apart. It appears that he has no choice but to escape, leaving no trace of his whereabouts.

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From the acclaimed novel by Louise Edrich comes the adapted historical German drama “Walter Presents: The Master Butcher,” due Jan. 29. After the social and financial destruction caused by World War I in Germany, a German butcher, and former military sniper, attempts to create a better life for himself and his family by moving to the United States. As the family struggles to acclimate to their new surroundings, many unexpected events occur, necessitating their plans and their lives to drastically adapt.

Ex-BritBox CEO Joins Amazon as Head of Prime Channels U.S.

Soumya Sriraman, former CEO of British-content subscription streaming VOD service BritBox, has reportedly joined Amazon as leader of the e-commerce behemoth’s Prime Channels platform in the United States.

Launched in 2015, Prime Channels affords Prime members access to third-party SVOD services such as Showtime, Starz, HBO Now, PBS, Shudder, CBS All Access and Acorn TV — the latter a direct competitor to BritBox.

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Soumya Sriraman

Sriraman replaces Daniel Brown, who managed Prime Channels for two years until transitioning to a management position within Amazon’s corporate office. On Oct. 6, it was announced Sriraman would be leaving BritBox at the end of the month. She helped launch the service with BBC Studios and ITV in the United States. in 2017, after a stint as EVP franchise and digital enterprises at BBC Studios — Americas. BritBox, which launched a British edition last November, has about 1.5 million subs in the United States.