Cinedigm Re-Launches Horror Streaming Site Screambox

Cinedigm Oct. 14 announced it has re-launched the subscription-based streaming service Screambox, featuring a new look and branding. As part of the relaunch, the distributor has migrated the channel from the former Vimeo platform to Cinedigm’s proprietary Matchpoint Blueprint framework.

Cindedigm says the movie will enable it to expand the channel’s catalog of film and episodic titles more quickly and efficiently, providing the opportunity to significantly scale programming. In addition, the updated app will give horror enthusiasts the ability to stream both linear and live events. This much broader selection of content from the Company’s catalog of horror titles will allow viewers to stream and scream to their heart’s content.

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“The acquisition of Screambox allows us to leverage our proprietary technology to better manage and operate the channel at scale,” Tony Huidor, chief technology and product officer, said in a statement. “With the addition of Screambox to our channel portfolio along with our growing investments in the horror genre, we have an opportunity to reach a loyal fanbase of horror fans and solidify our position as a leader in the horror genre within the OTT space.”

The re-launch comes on the heels of Cinedigm’s recent acquisition of Bloody Disgusting, a name that has become synonymous with the horror genre itself covering film, television and more. As part of the acquisition, the Bloody Disgusting management team will oversee the Screambox subscription-based service going forward. This includes leaning into their long-standing reputation as tastemakers in the genre to curate content within the streaming channel. As an additional added value, the ad-supported Bloody Disgusting TV channel will also be featured within the new Screambox.

The Bloody Disgusting reaches more than 30 million unique horror fans annually across its website, podcast network, app and various social footprints.

Cinedigm also continues to acquire new original content to bolster the channel’s catalog of exclusives and digital premieres. Knifecorp, starring horror icon Kane Hodder, slashed its way into homes this past September as a Screambox exclusive. The eight-part original series “The Island” will transport audiences to a disease-ridden island off the coast of Europe this October. Cinedigm also recently acquired Brain Freeze, the zom-com favorite that opened this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival. Its premiere on Aug. 13 made it one of the channel’s most-watched films.

Cinedigm Bowing Dance-Themed BOP Streaming Network

Cinedigm Oct. 7 announced a joint venture with Emmy-nominated director/choreographer Laurieann Gibson, to launch the BOP (Born Out of Passion) Network. The partnership claims to bow the first multimedia streaming service to offer a comprehensive slate of dance-related programming. Gibson will oversee the channel, working with Cinedigm on all aspects of development, production, distribution and monetization.

From working with artists such as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Diddy, Megan Thee Stallion, Alicia Keys and The Jonas Brothers, to cultivating stars on reality television shows “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Making the Band,” “Dance Moms” and “Beyond the Spotlight,” Gibson herself has become her own brand.

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The BOP Network will feature licensed movies, series, musicals, documentaries and music videos, as well as scripted and non-scripted original content, dance fitness workouts, dance tutorials (led by Gibson, her peers and other industry influencers).

Programming will highlight a wide array of dance styles, including but not limited to hip-hop, salsa, bachata, Bollywood, Afro and Russian ballet, as well as original content for kids.

“BOP is the ideal name for this one-of-a-kind service,” Erick Opeka, president and chief strategy officer of Cinedigm, said in a statement. “This network will give audiences of all ages and backgrounds a channel and a community devoted to what they love. It’s a one-of-a-kind streaming channel that is multi-generational, multi-cultural and creates a positive experience that is different than any other streaming service out there.”

The platform will be available worldwide as an AVOD service on smart TVs, digital set-top boxes, media-streaming and mobile devices, OTT platforms, including Pluto TV, Samsung TV Plus, TCL and Vizio, among others.

Cinedigm’s streaming portfolio includes indie film (Fandor), horror (Screambox and Bloody Disgusting) and family entertainment (Dove Channel), as well as dedicated channels for entertainers, led by The Bob Ross Channel and pending The Elvis Presley Channel.

Cinedigm Updating Fandor Streaming Platform, Editorial Analysis

Cinedigm Oct. 4 announced it is taking steps to evolve its recently acquired streaming service Fandor. The new-look will come with a wider footprint, hundreds of new acquisitions and third-party editorial analysis.

Fandor subscribers will have access to more than a thousand hours of independent titles, including exclusive acquisitions from international film festivals and titles from existing partners and key providers. The updated platform features a new design and intuitive user-experience.

“With over a decade of experience in streaming independent cinema, we are proud to bring new life to a service so dedicated to independent filmmakers and the incredible films they create,” Phil Hopkins, president of Fandor, said in a statement.

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Originally launched at the South by Southwest film festival in 2011, Fandor has served as a pioneer in the elevation of independent film, both through its streaming platform as well as through written and video editorial pieces.

Launching alongside the rebooted Fandor service will be “Keyframe,” Fandor’s digital editorial publication featuring written and video exploration of independent cinema. Composed of articles, interviews, reviews, and video essays, Keyframe aims to serve as a community for filmmakers, writers, and film enthusiasts featuring editorial deep dives and tributes, such as a recent celebration of the work of director Werner Herzog, as well as monthly hand-picked featured playlists available on the Fandor service.

In addition, the Fandor Festival Podcast seeks to explore the best of independent film festivals, hosted by former Fandor executive Chris Kelly and morning radio personality Hooman Khalili, and featuring producer Bryn Nguyen. Guests include filmmakers, film festival founders, and industry leaders with engaging insights on festival films, available on Spotify, YouTube, Apple Podcasts and Simplecast.

“The last five years have seen accelerated access to content across the streaming spectrum. Yet even with all these choices, much of independent cinema has been left behind and cinephiles often have difficulty finding films of interest on massive streaming platforms,” Erick Opeka, president and chief strategy officer at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “Fandor has been a pioneer in this space and offers a haven for Cinephiles looking for deep and meaningful titles that made them fall in love with films in the first place.”

The updated Fandor streaming service will be available on iOS and Android mobile devices, web, and Roku, with ad-free access to the entire Fandor library for $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year. Free, ad-supported access to select titles from the Fandor library will also be available at launch and new platforms will roll out over the rest of the year.

‘The Amazing Mr. X’ and ‘Frankenstein’s Daughter’ Coming on Disc in October From Film Detective

Special editions of the film noir classic The Amazing Mr. X (1948) and the 1950s cult classic Frankenstein’s Daughter (1958) will come out on Blu-ray and DVD in October from Cinedigm’s classic streaming network and film archive, The Film Detective.

Due Oct. 5 is The Amazing Mr. X, which stars Turhan Bey as Alexis, a mystery man who claims to communicate with spirits. Appearing on the beach one night, Alexis easily charms a depressed widow (Lynn Bari) and her sister (Cathy O’Donnell). The sly Alexis makes a living by separating gullible people from their money, but before this tale is over, he will learn that the living are far more dangerous than the dead.

The film has undergone a 4K restoration from original 35mm film elements.

Special features include audio commentary from professor and film scholar Jason A. Ney; a full-color booklet with the essay “The Amazing Mr. Bey” by Don Stradley; and “Mysteries Exposed: Inside the Cinematic World of Spiritualism,” an original documentary from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures.

The Film Detective is also offering an exclusive opportunity to own the film with The Amazing Mr. X NFT (non-fungible token) auction, live on Rad. The winner of the auction will receive an exclusive physical framed lithograph of the movie poster, two Blu-ray copies of The Amazing Mr. X and NFT tokenized access to view the movie on Rad. The auction is currently available and will close on Oct. 4.

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Due Oct. 19 is Frankenstein’s Daughter, which finds Dr. Oliver Frank (Donald Murphy) carrying on the legacy of his late grandfather, the notorious Dr. Frankenstein, by building his own hulking beast with the transplanted brain of a beautiful, young woman. Bringing a fresh twist to Frankenstein films, Frankenstein’s Daughter takes place in ”modern” Los Angeles, where — despite news reports of a female monster menacing the neighborhood — nothing stops the local sun-soaked teenagers from partying poolside.

Directed by Richard E. Cunha, the film also stars John Ashley, Harold Lloyd Jr. and former Playboy Playmate of the Month Sally Todd.

This special-edition release marks the latest in a series of collaborations between The Film Detective and The Wade Williams Collection. Restorations of Flight to Mars (1951), Giant From the Unknown (1958) and The Other Side of Madness (1971) have also been released recently on special-edition Blu-ray and DVD.

Special features include an audio commentary track with author and historian Tom Weaver; a full color booklet with an original essay by Weaver; “Richard E. Cunha: Filmmaker of the Unknown,: a new retrospective from Ballyhoo Motion Pictures, featuring an archival interview with the famed director; and “John Ashley: Man from the B’s,” a new career retrospective featuring film historian C. Courtney Joyner.

Cinedigm Acquires ‘Bloody Disgusting’ Horror Streaming Platform

Cinedigm Sept. 21 announced the acquisition of Bloody Disgusting, an online platform catering to horror movies and related TV and video game content. The move follows the Los Angeles-based distributor’s acquisition of the Screambox subscription-based streaming service earlier this year. As part of the acquisition, the Bloody Disgusting team will be managing Screambox going forward.

Launched in 2001 reviewing movies and TV shows, the Bloody Disgusting brand reaches more than 30 million unique horror fans annually across its website, the Bloody Disgusting podcast network, app and related social media footprint. In 2011, Bloody Disgusting branched out into original productions, creating the “V/H/S” movie franchise.

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Last year, Cinedigm partnered with Bloody Disgusting TV, a free ad-supported streaming channel specializing in genre movie classics such The CollectorThe Hills Have Eyes and The Re-Animator, among others.

“The acquisition of Bloody Disgusting shows Cinedigm’s commitment to the horror genre,” Erick Opeka, chief strategy officer at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “The brand and the site are so much more than streaming; it’s a respected brand within the horror community. In the years to come, we hope the site and streaming channel are not considered just a great source for horror content but the source for horror content.”

Separately, Cinedigm is launching original series “The Island,” an eight-episode series that centers around a remote island in the North Sea that falls victim to a merciless and mysterious virus. Cinedigm also recently acquired Brain Freeze, the zombie movie that opened this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival. In addition, Cinedigm will premiere feature film Not Alone exclusively on their streaming channels in October. The film, which was selected to play at Cannes International Independent Film Festival, stars Pat Healy (Draft Day, The Post) and Sarah Schroeder-Matzkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7, Bloodshot).

“Cinedigm’s vision for digital expansion is what makes me confident that they are the right company to join to help bring the vision of Bloody Disgusting into the new streaming generation,” said Brad Miska, who co-founded Bloody Disgusting. Tom Owen, Co-founder, adds: “Working with Cinedigm has made it clear that they share our passion for the genre. Their acquisition of Screambox, in addition to our work together bringing Bloody Disgusting TV to life, has allowed me to witness the forward-thinking passion they infuse into all of their endeavors. We’re excited to mobilize the Bloody Disgusting team to execute against the larger opportunities in the horror vertical.”

OTT.X Panelists Discuss Growth and Challenges of OTT Market

While the OTT market is growing exponentially, OTT players are facing several “pain points,” including the need to improve content discovery, better manage data and compete in an ever-more-crowded marketplace, said panelists Sept. 1 during the OTT.X Fall Summit in Los Angeles.

Clunky content discovery is still a problem for consumers and the OTT services that serve them.

“How do we shorten the distance between discovery and either purchase or consumption, either in terms of clicks or in terms of satisfaction to the customer?” said Chris Yates, GM of Redbox on Demand, adding it’s challenging “helping a customer find what they want to watch quickly and in the business model that matters to them.”

And the problem of discovery is only getting more complicated, especially in the ad-supported space, where the number of players is exploding, noted Colin Petrie-Norris, CEO of Xumo.

“Today across the ecosystem there are maybe 1,500 linear free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels across all the platforms,” he said. “That’s going to be 10,000 in three years’ time.”

Unlike during the rise of broadcast and cable, the barriers to entry in the digital ad-supported marketplace are lower.

“Linear TV or cable TV used to be one of those places you had to have a lot of money to get access to,” Petrie-Norris said. “It is now being democratized. To get a linear national, even global TV channel is now possible for a much more humble budget.”

And that makes for a competitive landscape.

“The biggest challenge is that the FAST space is a gladiator pit where only the strong will survive,” said Erick Opeka, chief strategy officer at Cinedigm.

“Building our audience is the biggest pain point in the sense that there’s an increasingly fragmented distribution environment,” said Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle.

Getting the viewership data for digital content and evaluating what to do with it is a challenge as well.

Some platforms are “walled gardens” and do not share data, Opeka noted.

“In this ostensibly purely digital environment, you would think aggregating data and getting insights from the ecosystem would be much easier,” he said.

Data can also be overwhelming.

“We’re drowning in data and getting really good at making smart decisions out of it is tough,” he said.

Despite the challenges, the market for digital ads is hot.

“We see much more advertising demand than we have supply, which in my 30 years in working in ad-supported media I’ve never seen before,” Guelton said.

“I think advertisers today, frankly they just love the space,” Petrie-Norris added. “It’s all digital. You can track results. … It’s almost magic.”

Still, panelists said that delivering those ads could use some improvement.

Yates pointed to the “coming back soon” screens that pop up sometimes for minutes at a time when an ad doesn’t load.

“That’s an experience that the industry needs to solve,” he said.

Ad placement could also become more attuned to the viewer, perhaps with a smaller load while a consumer is casting around for something to watch and with more ads once the consumer is hooked.

Panelists also addressed the growth of PVOD — a higher-priced digital rental early in or concurrent with the theatrical window — during the pandemic as theaters shuttered.

“The real question is how long is this model sustainable,” Opeka said. “We’ve seen some pretty fantastic revenues out of the few [titles] that we’ve experimented with, way beyond what we would have thought possible … three or four times what we would have thought would be the potential pre-pandemic.”

“The one thing I can predict is if the revenues for PVOD continue to be as astronomical even for independent releases I can almost guarantee the market will be flooded with them,” he added.

Cinedigm Adds Four Streaming Platforms to The Roku Channel

Cinedigm Aug. 24 announced that four of its newest channels are now available on ad-supported The Roku Channel. The channels include recent licensees “Real Madrid TV,” showcasing one Spain’s top soccer clubs; reality-based “So … Real” and “The Only Way Is Essex,” as well as Robert Rodriguez’s “El Rey Network.”

Access to The Roku Channel enables Cinedigm to share with Roku in any ad-revenue generated by its licensed channels across a platform Roku said saw more than 55 million monthly active viewers through the second quarter, ended June 30.

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“The Roku Channel continues to grow as a go-to destination for streaming, enabling users to discover and enjoy a wide variety of programming,” Daniel Schneider, SVP of revenue at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to help make such a variety of new channels that we know will appeal to each enthusiast audience available on The Roku Channel.”

Cinedigm Partners With Robert Rodriguez’s El Rey Network for AVOD

Cinedigm Aug. 6 announced a partnership with El Rey Network, founded by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City, Spy Kids, Machete) and FactoryMade Ventures to transition the network to streaming. Cinedigm claims this marks the first time a cable brand has pivoted completely from linear distribution to over-the-top video.

Robert Rodriguez

Curated by Rodriguez and his artistic collective, the Latino-inclusive, English-language channel speaks to the director’s vision to “create a destination” that more fully represents the changing face of America.

Featured El Rey Network content includes Rodriguez’s conversations with creatives like John Carpenter and Quentin Tarantino in “The Director’s Chair”; “Rebel Without a Crew: The Series,” in which filmmakers set out to make their first feature under Rodriguez’s guidance; a library of unscripted franchises, including “The Chuey Martinez Show”; and feature films that run the genre gamut from grindhouse to cult classic action to horror/sci-fi.

Cinedigm will make the OTT service available to all distribution platforms across the digital landscape on connected TVs, digital set-top boxes, media-streaming devices, as well as the web. As part of their deal, Cinedigm will work with El Rey to partner with advertising brands on custom content and will distribute Rodriguez’s feature film, Red 11 and the companion docuseries, “Rebel Without a Crew: The Robert Rodriguez Film School,” exclusively to all platforms.

Based on Rodriguez’s experiences in a medical research facility to finance his first feature El MariachiRed 11 made its world premiere at SXSW and is set in a dark, twisted world of legal drug research where college kids become lab rats to make quick money. Written, produced and directed by the filmmaker, Red 11 was co-written with Rodriguez’s son Racer Max and went on to play in the Directors’ Fortnight section at Cannes.  The “making of” companion series is a behind-the- scenes documentary, and nuts and bolts film course on how to tackle writing, lighting, filming, directing and editing on an ultra-low budget feature film, using Red 11 as the case study.

“El Rey has always been a network for the people – a mainstream outlet where we discover diverse, independent voices. The fact that we can also now make our catalogue of kick-ass programming available for free to all gives me enormous joy,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

The director hails streaming video as way to “democratize” his platform so that “the masses” have the opportunity to see themselves in “our lineup of curated, inclusive and entertaining content.”

“This is a huge win in every way, and I want to thank Cinedigm for putting fans first with this new alliance,” he added.

The Cinedigm partnership with El Rey allows the channel to broaden its digital footprint, as well as expand the access to audiences worldwide, according to Erick Opeka, president and chief strategy officer at Cinedigm.

“We’re excited to be stepping in at this important moment alongside the passion, dedication and forward-thinking vision that Robert Rodriguez brings to the table … and will allow the channel to generate substantial advertising revenue among a key demographic in the growing AVOD and FAST space,” Opeka said.

“We look forward to working with Chris McGurk and his incredible team at Cinedigm to further engage audiences and align with smart marketing partners to create memorable, custom content that breaks through the clutter,” added John Fogelman, CEO of FactoryMade Ventures and a founder of El Rey Network.

Launched in 2013, El Rey Network quickly became a home for fans of fearless, action-packed and inclusive programming and was touted as a breakthrough in its voice and directive to increase representation. At its height, El Rey Network reached over 40 million households and became the go-to destination for the Latino community.

Cinedigm Partners With Spanish Soccer Powerhouse Real Madrid for Streaming Channel

Cinedigm has partnered with Spanish soccer giant Real Madrid to expand distribution of the team’s branded sports streaming channel in North America.

Real Madrid TV will feature thousands of hours of soccer content leading up to the 2021-22 season, and will also feature up to three matches weekly once the season kicks off. The service will be available in the United States and Canada for linear and AVOD platforms on connected TVs, digital set-top boxes and media-streaming devices, as well as the web.

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Real Madrid is the most successful club in Europe winning the coveted Champions League a record 13 times. Founded in 1902, the club would come to dominate the next century, earning the unprecedented honor of FIFA Club of the 20th Century in 2000. Since then, their fortunes have only increased, and the club has been a highly sought out destination for the best football players on the planet.

The streaming channel is the latest addition to Cinedigm’s roster of channels currently live across the broader OTT landscape on distribution partners, including The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Samsung, TCL and Tubi, among others.

The deal was negotiated by Josh Thomashow, executive director of acquisitions at Cinedigm, and SportFive on behalf of Real Madrid.

“Soccer is the most popular sport in the world with an extreme level of fandom,” Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks, said in a statement. “Partnering with Real Madrid, and giving this global club an exclusive home to many of the biggest OTT distribution partners in North America, will allow viewers to experience never before released content in the United States.”

The channel will provide viewers access to matches during the season of Real Madrid’s La Liga games, as well as its UEFA Champions League and Cup tournaments. In addition, the channel will air classic programing, exclusive club insight, breaking news and more. More than 8,000 hours of content will be made available annually. At launch, the streaming channel will feature:

  • Live Press Conferences
  • Exclusive Interviews
  • Live Training Sessions
  • Classic Matches
  • Magazine Shows
  • Real Madrid News Programming
  • Special Features

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.

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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.”