Cinedigm Launches Three Channels on Sling TV

Cinedigm has placed three of its channels on Sling TV: the family friendly Dove Channel, pop culture channel CONtv and documentary channel Docurama.

Docurama is a streaming service dedicated to bringing audiences acclaimed, cutting-edge documentaries. Popular titles include Anthony Bourdain: A Cook’s Tour, Beatles: How The Beatles Changed The World and Kobe: The Life of a Legend.

The Dove Channel is a source for family friendly content, feature films and television titles suitable for all audiences. It features comedy classics such as “The Little Rascals,” young adult series “H20: Just Add Water” and “Dance Academy,” and faith favorites such as The Ultimate Gift.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

CONtv: carries a diverse range of film and television series focusing on the action/thriller, horror, anime and sci-fi/fantasy genres, including films featuring superstars such as Milo Gibson and Peter Facinelli (Gangster Land) and anime classics such as “Yu-Gi-Oh!”

Sling TV delivers live and on-demand television to compatible internet-connected devices through monthly subscriptions starting at $35 per month. Through its genre-based “Extras,” customers can pick their personal channel lineup.

“Since its inception, Sling TV has been at the forefront of live TV streaming,” Jennifer Soltesz, VP of business development and strategy at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “Working with Sling TV not only allows us to reach a diverse, new audience, but it gives us a partner with the same forward-thinking drive. We can’t wait to show these new customers the amazing networks Cinedigm has to offer.”

Cinedigm Partners With Exeest for Fandor Film Submission Portal for Independent Filmmakers

Cinedigm July 28 said it would partner with Exeest, an online entertainment marketplace, to support a film submission platform for Fandor and its portfolio of channels. The platform aims to streamline the film submission process for independent filmmakers, provide Fandor’s programming team a way to solicit, screen and evaluate film content suitable for streaming viewers.

Exeest’s data-driven streaming service-like platform aims to modernize the search, discovery, acquisition and selling of video content. The curated one-stop shop for buyers and sellers provides a user experience platform and a centralized digital hub giving buyers and sellers a single place to oversee content from browsing libraries and making offers to content management and distribution.

Once selected by Fandor, independent filmmakers receive access to Exeest’s cloud native sales asset management system and are evaluated for entry into Exeest’s business-to-business streaming marketplace, which facilitates worldwide distribution.

The new Fandor platform will expand the exposure and reach of independent filmmakers by making their content more efficiently discoverable while enabling monetization across Cinedigm’s network of OTT distribution partners.

Cinedigm acquired Fandor in 2021. With its global library of more than 4,600 films from more than 400 global and diverse film companies, Fandor has seen rapid subscriber growth since being acquired, according to Cinedigm.

New arrivals on Fandor include multiple award-winning movies and well-known titles from The Film Detective and Docurama, two Cinedigm streaming services. The Los Angeles-based distributor plans to add hundreds of additional titles to Fandor in the coming months, including new restorations from the newly acquired Films Around the World library.

“Cinedigm continues to embrace new technology as part of our goal to exceed the needs of our content partners as well as to provide the best user experience to our audiences,” Tony Huidor, chief technology & product officer at Cinedigm, said in a statement.

1950s Sci-Fi Classic ‘Flight to Mars’ Available on Blu-ray From MVD and Film Detective

Flight to Mars (1951), an adventure from the dawn of the 1950s science fiction boom, is now available on Blu-ray Disc from MVD Entertainment Group and Film Detective.

The release features a new 4K restoration sourced from the original Cinecolor separation negatives.

From legendary producer Walter Mirisch and starring Marguerite Chapman and Cameron Mitchell, Flight to Mars emerged from tiny Monogram Pictures, one of Hollywood’s smallest Poverty Row studios.

In the film, five Earthlings land on Mars and are greeted by a team of friendly inhabitants. In time, the Earthlings learn that the genial welcoming party secretly covets their ship. Fearing they have depleted the key mineral used to power their life-support systems, the Martians are determined to get off their dying planet by any means necessary. Not only do the Martians intend to leave the stranded crew behind to die, but they also plan to invade and conquer Earth. The discovery of this sinister alien agenda kicks off a long round of deception and suspense.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Special features include audio commentary by author/film historian Justin Humphreys; “Walter Mirisch: From Bomba to Body Snatchers,” a new documentary short from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures; “Interstellar Travelogues: Cinema’s First Space Race,” a new documentary short with celebrated science fiction artist/historian Vincent Di Fate from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures; and a full color insert booklet with an essay by Don Stradley.

Cinedigm Slashes Fiscal Debt, Ups Q4 Revenue, Enters ‘NFT’ Distribution Space

Distributor Cinedigm announced it has reduced its fiscal debt more than 75% while increasing fourth-quarter (ended March 31) revenue 7% to $8.3 million, from $7.7 million in the previous-year period, according to unaudited results released in a regulatory filing.

Quarterly growth was driven by a 25% surge in content and entertainment revenue of $7.2 million and was partially offset by decline in legacy digital cinema projection equipment revenue. Cinedigm reached an agreement with AMC Entertainment to sell its projection equipment for a net gain of $10.8 million over two years. The sale contributed to Cinedigm reducing total debt by $37.3 million to $11.9 million, from $49.1 million in the prior fiscal year.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Streaming/digital revenue grew to 75% of the company’s total revenue in the quarter versus 48% in the prior-year quarter. Streaming/digital revenue increased 66% over the prior year quarter and 27% sequentially over Q3. Ad-supported streaming channel (AVOD) revenue increased 331% over the prior-year quarter, subscription streaming channel revenue increased 117% over the prior-year quarter and 65% sequentially over last quarter.

Streaming digital content licensing and sales, driven by partners such as Amazon Prime Video, Apple iTunes and Tubi, generated record digital billings growth for the fourth consecutive quarter.

“We have now successfully completed the transition of Cinedigm from its legacy digital cinema equipment business to a high-growth, independent streaming entertainment channel and content company,” CEO Chris McGurk said in a statement. “We believe our current strategy puts us one step ahead of potential competitors as it enables us to acquire accretive independent streaming assets while rapidly growing the business organically.”

Total streaming minutes in the quarter were about 1.16 billion, a new company record, up 285% versus the prior-year quarter. Monthly ad-supported streaming channel viewers rose to 23.6 million, up 248% over the prior-year quarter. Streaming advertising demand partnerships rose 178% to 64, up from 23 in the prior-year quarter.

Cinedigm said it grew its film and television library for linear streaming, a key growth area, by 88% to 6,591 titles, up from 3,502 titles in the prior-year quarter. Streaming platform partnerships increased 82% to 31 versus 17 in the prior-year quarter, including new linear distribution partnerships and channel expansions with Roku and TCL, among others.

Total SVOD subs exceeded an estimated 683,000 in June 2021, up an estimated 414% over the same period in the prior-year due to rapid expansion of third-party subscriber and wholesale partner relationships. Total streaming minutes in June reached approximately 504.1 million, the highest on record to date and the first month Cinedigm surpassed the half-billion minutes streamed milestone.

“Given our continued subscriber and viewership growth, and with major increases across the board in distribution, platform expansions and partnerships, we delivered an estimated 197% increase in streaming revenue,” said Erick Opeka, chief strategy officer. “Our success is now attracting an even higher caliber distribution deals, ad partners, and most importantly, premium brand and content partners. Given this dynamic, we expect to continue our accelerated growth trajectory over the next twelve months as we focus on the rapid expansion of our business.”

Separately, Cinedigm is entering the non-fungible token (NFT) distribution space with its first film releases under the Fandor Selects label, dedicated to releasing limited editions of classic, contemporary and world cinema to individual parties. Cinedigm acquired Fandor in January.

An NFT is a digital asset (i.e. movie) bought and sold online with cryptocurrency to individual parties for distribution. Film director Kevin Smith (Clerks) earlier this year made news becoming one of the first in Hollywood to release a feature film (Killroy Was Here) as an NFT.

“Our success is now attracting even higher caliber distribution deals, ad partners, and most importantly, premium brand and content partners,” Opeka said.

Cinedigm Sets Digital Release Dates for ‘A Father’s Legacy’ With Tobin Bell

Cinedigm has announced a July 16 home release date for A Father’s Legacy, an inspirational story about a young man on the run from the law who bonds with an old secluded man in the woods.

The film will be released July 16 through VOD and digital retailers.

A Father’s Legacy stars Jason Mac as a young man 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 Mac, who also wrote and directed the film. “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.”

A Father’s Legacy also stars Rebeca Robles (Reprisal, Ambitions) and Gregory Alan Williams (Remember the Titans). The film 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.

Cinedigm Hires Jennifer Soltesz as VP of Business Development and Strategy

Erstwhile home entertainment distributor Cinedigm is turbo-charging its digital business. The Los Angeles-based streaming company July 13 announced the appointment of Jennifer Soltesz as the VP of business development and strategy. Soltesz will be the primary business lead for new partnership engagements, such as channel, platform and advertising partners, for the Digital Networks group. Her position will seek to ensure cross-functional communication and coordination between multiple departments, including sales, marketing and legal, as Soltesz evaluates new opportunities and manages the deal pipeline of potential partnerships to scale the digital business.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Jennifer Soltesz

Soltesz has spent the bulk of her career helping cable networks execute on strategic partnerships and identifying and negotiating launches and carriage agreements with a variety of distributors, including both traditional and OTT providers. Most recently Soltesz was director of content distribution at premium network Epix. Prior to that Soltesz served nine years at Crown Media Family Networks in distribution roles.

“We are thrilled Jennifer has joined our team in such an important role as our streaming channels continue to grow,” Daniel Schneider, SVP of revenue at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “Her experience and business acumen in the industry will be key as we continue to expand the footprint of our streaming channels.”

Cinedigm Gets $2.2 Million PPP Loan Forgiveness

Cinedigm announced that it has received forgiveness of approximately $2.2 million of loan proceeds and accrued interest previously carried under the federal Paycheck Protection Program established by the government to help small businesses affected by shutdowns during the pandemic.

On July 7, Cinedigm received notice from East West Bank PPP, the lender of its loan, that the U.S. Small Business Administration approved the forgiveness in its entirety, and that East West Bank has applied the funds and paid off the principal and interest of the loan in full.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We are very pleased to receive the notice of forgiveness,” Gary Loffredo, chief operating officer and general counsel of Cinedigm, said in a statement.

Loffredo said not having to pay back the loan (including interest) helped Cinedigm move into a “very solid position” now financially with virtually no debt and a fast-growing streaming business.

“We remain grateful for the financial support that the CARES Act provided in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Cinedigm Offers Legacy Channels as YouTube TV Add-Ons

Cinedigm July 8 announced that its three legacy streaming channels — Dove Channel, CONtv and Docurama — are now available on YouTube TV as optional add-ons, priced at $4.99 each monthly. Google-owned YouTube TV has more than than 3 million subscribers.

“Digital broadcasting has revolutionized television, because it has found a way to work with customers on their terms,” Jennifer Soltesz, VP of business development and strategy at Cinedigm, said in a statement.

Docurama features documentary films, including biographies, true-crime stories, investigations and feel-good stories. Popular titles include: Gangster Empire: Rise of the Mob, Beatles: How the Beatles Changed the World and Rick Steves’ Europe.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Dove Channel streams family-friendly content, feature films and television titles suitable for all audiences. Content includes comedy classics like Abbot and Costello, young adult series H20: Just Add Water and The Saddle Club and faith favorites like I’m in Love With a Church Girl, among others.

CONtv carries a diverse range of film and television essentials focusing on action/thriller, horror, anime and sci-fi/fantasy genres. With films featuring superstars like Dolph Lundgren and Sean Patrick Flannery (Acceleration), Danny Trejo (4GOT10), and Mark Strong and Taissa Farmiga (Anna), the channel is packed with content for pop culture fans to enjoy.

Through a mix of premium SVOD services and dedicated AVOD and FAST channels, Cinedigm’s streaming portfolio reaches indie film (Fandor), horror (Screambox & Bloody Disgusting) and family entertainment (Dove Channel),  as well as dedicated channels for specialized entertainers, led by Bob Ross (The Bob Ross Channel).

“We look forward to launching additional channels to YouTube TV’s line-up of add-on channels over the next couple months,” Soltesz said.

Tony Huidor Promoted to Chief Technology & Product Officer at Cinedigm

Cinedigm July 7 announced that Tony Huidor, formerly SVP of product and technology, and GM of digital networks, has been promoted to chief technology and product officer at Cinedigm.

Tony Huidor

Since joining Cinedigm in 2015, Huidor has managed the launch and daily operations of the Los Angeles-based company’s portfolio of subscription and ad-supported digital-first channels, as well as overseeing overall product development of all desktop and mobile apps for streaming services. He conceived and designed Cinedigm’s proprietary Matchpoint distribution platform, which has allowed the home entertainment distributor to effectively streamline and scale it’s digital content business. Huidor reports to Chris McGurk, Chairman/CEO at Cinedigm.

Huidor’s expanded role will also include oversight of Cinedigm India, the company’s streaming technology engineering hub and base of operations for the expansion into India and Southeast Asia. He will be responsible for rapidly scaling the division’s engineering footprint to support the company’s M&A strategy to acquire additional enthusiast networks and content. He will also be responsible for accelerating the company’s product research and development.

“Tony’s contribution to the launch and continual improvement of Cinedigm’s global portfolio of streaming networks and propriety technology of Matchpoint cannot be overstated,” Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement. “As the company continues to expand, and our portfolio of networks grow, his leadership will be more important than ever.”

Huidor previously served as VP of operations for Universal Music Group, then later transitioned into VP of technical product development for Universal Music Group Distribution, where he played an integral part in establishing the company’s digital and mobile business.

Prior to his tenure at Universal Music, he worked as director of product development for the Walt Disney Internet Group, where he was responsible for the creation and development of subscription-based video streaming products worldwide. In addition, he established Disney Mobile where he managed the creation and production of all premium mobile content worldwide across the Disney and Pixar portfolio of brands with a strong emphasis on the European and Asian-Pacific regions.

Cinedigm Launching Elvis Presley Streaming Channel

Elvis has re-entered the building through a new streaming deal with Cinedigm, in partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises.

Cinedigm June 30 announced the upcoming launch of an ad-supported (AVOD) and linear streaming service, The Elvis Presley Channel, featuring archival content and specials, as well as musical content from other rock ‘n roll artists that inspired the music industry. The channel seeks to provide viewers an intimate view into the artist that defined a generation with exclusive films, specials, and documentaries. The Elvis Presley Channel will also give fans a chance to watch rare home footage from the Graceland Archives.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Expected to launch in early 2022, Cinedigm is planning to make the channel available in the United States and Canada for linear and AVOD platforms on connected TVs, digital set-top boxes, media- streaming devices and the web. The Los Angeles distributor plans to stream programming across the broader OTT landscape, which includes Samsung Smart TVs, Pluto TV, Roku, Hulu, Amazon Prime Channels and Tubi, among others.

“The opportunity to build a branded channel around Elvis opens up streaming possibilities to an entirely new demographic in the fastest-growing segment of the ad-supported business,” Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement.

Marc Rosen, president, entertainment, Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which owns Elvis Presley Enterprises, said the Elvis fandom is incredibly passionate and loyal.

“Cinedigm is best-in-class when it comes to serving fervent fan bases,” Rosen said.

The launch of The Elvis Presley Channel continues Cinedigm’s expansion into the legacy icon space, which began last year through the successful launch of The Bob Ross Channel — showcasing memorable moments and paintings from the long-running public television series. The channel features more than 350 classic episodes.

Cinedigm plans to feature continual Elvis programming with specials and documentaries, including “Singer Presents … Elvis” (the ’68 Comeback Special), “Elvis Aloha from Hawaii Via Satellite,” and “Elvis by the Presleys” on The Elvis Presley Channel.

Additionally, Cinedigm is planning to tap into the archives of legends such as Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and more. Many of music’s most iconic locations will be on display, with specials highlighting impact cities like Memphis that helped shape rock ‘n’ roll, as well as general music documentaries.

The deal was negotiated by Josh Thomashow, Executive Director of Acquisitions at Cinedigm, and Andrew O. Miller on behalf of Authentic Brands Group (ABG).