Cinedigm Changing Name to Cineverse in Business Reboot

Cinedigm May 22 announced it is rebranding its corporate name to Cineverse in an attempt to underscore the home entertainment distributor’s focus on streaming entertainment and technology.

Along with the corporate name change, the company’s stock symbol will also change from CIDM to CNVS, with its shares commencing trading on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the new symbol at the market opening on May 23.

Cineverse features content channels across every streaming model (FAST, AVOD, SVOD), in addition to a library featuring more than 60,000 movie and TV titles. And a podcast network of an estimated 70 million downloads across 28 podcasts.

Chris McGurk

“We have come a very long way from the Cinedigm of 10 years ago, which specialized in digital innovation within the cinema industry,” CEO Chris McGurk said in a statement.

McGurk said the renamed company, in addition to shoring up its stock price, plans to continue expanding its media library, currently at over 60,000 titles, focusing on niche genres, including horror and indie films.

“Our recent investments and acquisitions have enabled us to become a leader across multiple entertainment genres, spanning anime and Asian entertainment, to faith and family, and many other genres,” he said.

McGurk believes the new company name more accurately reflects the evolving business market and media brand operating at the intersection of entertainment and tech innovation.

Cineverse last year launched Matchpoint, a streaming technology and content distribution platform that offers a unified content management, preparation, delivery, programming and analytics solution incorporating AI and machine learning to automate tasks.

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Cineverse says Entrepreneur Magazine and FUBU, among other brands, recently selected Matchpoint on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis to establish their streaming businesses.

“A key part of the company’s vision is to celebrate culture through entertainment, storytelling and innovation,” said Erick Opeka, chief strategy officer and president of Cineverse. “We already do this with our channel portfolio, providing a platform for storytellers to reach a broader audience, while connecting communities of fans — wherever they watch — with content that they often cannot find elsewhere as other major streaming services cut back on their content offerings.”

Cinedigm Secures North American Rights to Horror-Comedy ‘Shaky Shivers’

Cinedigm has acquired all North American rights to the 1980s-inspired horror comedy Shaky Shivers, from actor/director Sung Kang (Fast X). The distributor plans to release the movie in theaters this fall, followed by an exclusive release on its horror streaming platform Screambox.

After winning the Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Gasparilla International Film Festival in Tampa, Fla., the film is now set to have its Canadian premiere in June at the Dark Bridges Saskatoon Horror Film Festival.

Cinedigm image

Kang’s directorial debut takes viewers on a journey to an abandoned camp where two young women (Brooke Markham and VyVy Nguyen) stumble upon a book of magical spells. Surrounded by classic monsters and drawing inspiration from 80s horror films, the women find themselves facing a series of supernatural occurrences after a fateful encounter with an old woman. As zombies, werewolves, and Big Foot wreak havoc, the duo must navigate a wild night, armed with an unfamiliar spell book, to restore order before their lives unravel completely.

“It’s been a great festival run thus far with the film, finding our audiences who have loved the film at the screenings,” Kang said in a statement.

The director, who plays Han in the pending Fast X, said he took time off during the pandemic to make Shaky Shivers.

“The whole idea was to make this for the old school horror hounds and for them to share it with their families today. Little by little, we’re doing that,” Kang said in a statement.

Brad Miska, managing director of Bloody Disgusting/Cinedigm, said the movie’s eclectic mix of quirky humor, chilling moments, monstrous creatures, and a captivating throwback atmosphere, promises moviegoers “one hell of an experience” this fall.

“This campy film transports us back to an era when spooky tales were shared by flashlight during slumber parties,” Miska said.

Written by Andrew McAllister and Aaron Strongoni, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Kevin M. Lin, Michael Y. Chow, and Brian Yang serve as executive producers with Jean Shim and Luci Y. Kim acting as producers.

The deal was negotiated by Brandon Hill, director of acquisitions, on behalf of Cinedigm, and Jack Campbell of Jackrabbit Media, who is representing foreign rights at Cannes this week, and John Lepper of Cyfuno Ventures.

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Cinedigm Partnering With ‘The Conjuring’ Creator to Develop ‘The Haunted’ Paranormal Movie Franchise

Cinedigm May 12 announced it is partnering with producer Tony DeRosa-Grund, creator of New Line Cinema’s The Conjuring (over $2 billion in box office to date) movie franchise, to develop The Haunted, a new paranormal horror movie franchise based on actual events.

The Haunted storyline starts with one family’s dark and terrifying real-life preternatural experiences, which intersect with historical facts and legends surrounding a young pregnant woman accused by her own father of being a witch. That convergence places the family in impending mortal danger.

DeRosa-Grund aims to expand the franchise through sequels, historical prequels, and spin-offs. The Haunted also focuses on its extremely rare circumstances which occurred when the living persons involved suffered significant, and repeated, real physical harm — even a death — from these dark forces that plagued them.

“Based on the true-life events, these films will take audiences on a wild and terrifying journey into the world of the paranormal, unlike any other ever seen before in film,” Tom Owen, managing director of Cinedigm/Bloody Disgusting, said in a statement.

“Having created, produced and written the story for the original The Conjuring, I can say, with absolute clarity and certainty, that The Haunted is exponentially better, truer and more terrifying,” said DeRosa-Grund in a statement. “I am truly excited to be working with Tom and Brad [of Cinedigm/Bloody Disgusting] who ‘got it,’ and embraced the project right from our very first pitch meeting.”

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DeRosa-Grund said Cinedigm chairman Chris McGurk financially backed his very first feature film, and convinced the writer/producer to come out of retirement for this project.

The deal was negotiated by Yolanda Macias, chief content officer, on behalf of Cinedigm and attorney Jonnathan O. Owens on behalf of Tony DeRosa-Grund. With DeRosa-Grund having now completed the script, Cinedigm and Bloody Disgusting will next look to attach a director before going into production with DeRosa-Grund producing through the Nverse Pictures banner later this year.

Cinedigm Launching FAST/AVOD Channel With ‘Entrepreneur’ Magazine

Cinedigm May 11 announced plans to become a premier provider of content created for the growing interest and fascination around start-up businesses and entrepreneurship by entering into partnership with Entrepreneur magazine to launch Entrepreneur TV.

It’s the first-ever FAST/VOD channel from the publisher of Entrepreneur magazine and aims to deliver more than 200 hours of content streaming 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across multiple platforms.

The magazine since launching in 1977 has reported on people who help inspire, inform, and make business work, according to Bill Shaw, president of Entrepreneur Media.

For example, on May 23, Entrepreneur will host a live Q&A livestream (3 p.m. ET) with Marc Randolph, co-founder and first CEO of Netflix.

“This new platform will not only deliver our vast library of video programming to the business leaders who have helped shape companies today, but will also provide new, exciting, engaging programming to help shape the business leaders of tomorrow,” Shaw said in a statement.

The deal was brokered by Agency for the Performing Arts (APA), which saw a brand extension and media partner in Cinedigm, according to Hayden Meyer, partner and EVP at APA.

“We wanted to help our client grow and expand their audience by establishing a 24/7 premiere streaming service with the right partner,” said Meyer.

Entrepreneur TV will provide original content, ranging from high-stakes investment, documentaries, behind-the-scenes looks at major brands, and tips for starting your company, among other content.

The new channel will utilize Cinedigm’s Matchpoint technology platform to power the service on a SaaS basis.

“We will bring our extensive expertise in enthusiast channels and our Matchpoint platform to create a compelling service for this popular brand,” said Marc Rashba, EVP of partnerships at Cinedigm.

Cinedigm and ViX Ink Deal for The Bob Ross Channel en Español 

Cinedigm May 4 announced that its free ad-supported streaming TV channel, “The Bob Ross Channel en Español,” has launched on ViX as a free FAST channel in the U.S. and Latin America, excluding Brazil. Owned by TelevisaUnivision, ViX is the latter’s Spanish-language streaming service.  

The channel will offer programming from Cinedigm’s English-language The Bob Ross Channel, which is fueled by “The Joy of Painting” — the long-running series featuring the late artist. The channel, which is dubbed in Spanish, offers audiences the opportunity to learn painting techniques and enjoy Ross’ soothing voice and calming demeanor.

“The Bob Ross Channel has been a stalworth among viewers of Cinedigm’s networks — it has consistently driven loyal viewership for us since 2020, David Chu, EVP and GM for Cinedigm Networks, said in a statement. 

This is the newest distribution partner for the channel, which launched its Spanish-language version in June 2022 on The Roku Channel, and is available in English across several popular streaming platforms.  

“With such continued demand for this show, we are intent on broadening the reach of this seminal series by localizing it for a Spanish-speaking audience,” Chu said. “We are confident that The Bob Ross Channel en Español will captivate a whole new audience across the U.S. & Latin America and resonate with ViX’s Spanish-speaking audience.”

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Cinedigm Touts Expanding Cineverse Streaming Content Library

Cinedigm May 2 announced that its upstart Cineverse streaming platform now has more than 21,000 movies and episodic shows since launching last September. Los Angeles-based Cineverse has grown its library 430%, to become the sixth-largest movie streaming service in the world in terms of title count, with a movie catalog larger than Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max and Paramount+, according to Cinedigm.

Cineverse plans to continue adding more than 3,000 new titles monthly, through the company’s Matchpoint distribution platform. It has also scored significant growth in distribution across desktop and mobile platforms, including iOS/Android, Roku and Samsung — as well as availability via Vidgo — with more Connected TV platform launches scheduled in the coming weeks.

“Our [streaming] competitors are slashing titles and raising prices,” Erick Opeka, president and chief strategy officer of Cinedigm, said in a statement. “We think there’s a better way forward, and our long-term vision is to become the world’s largest streaming offering in our quest to build the ‘Spotify of video.”

Alongside the series, specials, movies, documentaries and short films available on-demand — as well as the ability to rent the newest theatrical titles via its partnership with Row8 — the streaming service also distributes a variety of free, ad-supported, streaming television (FAST) channels from third parties, including GustoTV (food) and Qwest TV (music).

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Cineverse now offers more than two dozen live channels in its lineup, both from the company’s portfolio and third parties, including:

  • AsianCrush
  • The Bob Ross Channel
  • The Bob Ross Channel en Espanol
  • The Carol Burnett Show
  • Comedy Dynamics
  • Crime Hunters
  • The Country Network
  • Docurama
  • El Rey Network
  • GustoTV
  • The Elvis Presley Channel
  • The Film Detective
  • Johnny Carson TV
  • Lone Star
  • Midnight Pulp
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000
  • Quest TV
  • RetroCrush
  • RealMadrid TV
  • SCREAMBOX TV
  • So… Real
  • Shout! Factory TV
  • TOKUSHOUTSU

 

Cineverse’s appeal with consumers is also expanding, with the website’s unique users up 189% from Q4 2022 to Q1 2023, with views up by 105%. Additionally, the number of Cineverse app installs has soared 84%.

Cinedigm Partners With Quincy Jones’ Qwest TV to Launch Music Channel on Cineverse

Cinedigm has inked a partnership with Quincy Jones’ Qwest TV to bring the linear channel to its flagship streaming service Cineverse.

Qwest is a free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channel focused on jazz, blues, soul, funk and global music. The channel curates content from concerts, documentaries, interviews and archive films. Programs available on the streaming channel include interviews and documentaries with performers such as Gregory Porter, Anderson Paak, Questlove, Erykah Badu, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Carl Cox, Marcus Miller and Miles Davis.

“Qwest TV will bring Cineverse viewers an experience of high-end and diverse music, with top content spanning ‘from bebop to hip-hop’ jazz,” Reza Ackbaraly, CEO of Qwest TV, said in a statement.

Qwest TV joins a growing lineup of FAST channels and on-demand TV shows and films available on Cineverse. They include Screambox TV (horror) and RetroCrush (anime), The Dove Channel (faith & family), Shout! Factory TV (comedy), Gusto TV (food), Crime Hunters (true crime), AsianCrush (pan-Asian), The Bob Ross Channel, The Elvis Presley Channel, Johnny Carson TV and The Carol Burnett Show, among others.

“Quincy Jones is an icon in the music industry, and we can’t wait for fans to discover and experience his hand-picked, premium music content for themselves,” added David Chu, EVP & GM, Cinedigm Networks.

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Cinedigm Acquires North American Rights to Horror Comedy ‘Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls’

Cinedigm April 26 announced it has acquired all North American rights to horror-comedy Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls. The movie played at the Sundance Film Festival 2023 Midnight Section, in addition to Fright Fest at the Glasgow Film Festival, the Calgary Underground Film Festival, the Chattanooga Film Festival, the Dark Bridges Film Festival and Fantasia International.

Cinedigm plans to release the movie in theaters this fall followed by an exclusive launch on the company’s horror streaming service Screambox.

Based on writer, director and star Andrew Bowser’s viral internet character of the same name, Onyx tells the story of an amateur occultist who learns that sometimes when you raise hell, you get a little burned.

The film stars Olivia Taylor Dudley (“The Magicians,” Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension), Barbara Crampton (You’re Next, Re-Animator), Ralph Ineson (The WitchThe Green Knight), Rivkah Reyes (School of Rock), TC Carson (Final Destination 2), Arden Myrin (Insatiable, Shameless) and Melanie Chandra (Code Black).

Bowser (Worm, Jimmy Tupper vs. the Goatman of Bowie) also produced the film along with Clark Baker, Michael Mobley and Taylor Dudley.

The viral character Onyx the Fortuitous has garnered more than 300 million views online and has more than 1 million followers on TikTok, according to Cinedigm.

“It’s Elvira: Mistress of the Dark meets Fright NightBeetlejuice, and even Ernest Scared Stupid with practical effects that will leave you speechless,” Brad Miska, managing director of Bloody Disgusting/Cinedigm, said in a statement.

The deal was negotiated by Brandon Hill, director of acquisitions, on behalf of Cinedigm, and Pip Ngo, on behalf of XYZ Films. Bowser is repped by Heroes and Villains Entertainment.

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Cinedigm Acquires Streaming Rights to ’90s Anime Series ‘NADIA: The Secret of Blue Water’

Cinedigm April 14 announced that it acquired rights to the 1990s anime series “NADIA: The Secret of Blue Water” from animation producer/distributor GKIDS for its branded anime streaming service RetroCrush.

The newly remastered series will stream on the channel beginning this June.

Released in the early ’90s, the 39-episode series gained a cult following for its unique characters and striking animation. “Nadia” pushed the boundaries of genre storytelling and helped elevate the careers of up-and-coming artists, including anime illustrator Hideaki Anno (“Neon Genesis Evangelion”).

In the vein of Jules Verne’s classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the series is set in the late 19th century, as technological discoveries begin reshaping how people live. As crowds flock to Paris to witness mechanical marvels like the Eiffel Tower, a young inventor meets a mysterious woman who possesses a priceless treasure. But unbeknownst to either, a sinister force seeks to acquire the crystal at any cost. The young pair must brave dangerous waters, above the sea and below, if they have any hope of saving the world.

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“[The] series was ahead of its time,” David Chu, EVP & GM of Cinedigm Networks, said in a statement.

The deal was negotiated by Mary Gibson, acquisitions director, on behalf of Cinedigm and Alison Kozberg, GKIDS director of home entertainment, on behalf of the series.

RetroCrush includes more than 100 series and 40 feature films from the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Content includes “Yu-Gi-Oh!,” “Great Teacher Onizuka,” “Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie,” “Megazone 23” and “Cyber City Oedo 808.”

Cinedigm Looking for Nasdaq Extension of Company Stock Listing

Cinedigm April 11 disclosed it is looking for a second reprieve from Nasdaq regarding its listing as a publicly traded stock. The Los Angeles-based streaming video network operator and home entertainment distributor had been given 180 days to raise its stock price above the mandatory minimum $1-per-share price by April 3.

That deadline passed with Cinedigm unable to increase its share price to the mandatory minimum threshold.

The company is now requesting a hearing before the Nasdaq panel at which it will present its plan of compliance and request a further extension. The panel has the discretion to grant Cinedigm an additional 180 calendar days from April 5 to regain compliance. This request will automatically stay any delisting or suspension action pending the issuance of a final decision by the panel and the expiration of any further extension granted by the panel.

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Should Cinedigm’s stock be delisted, the company could have more difficulty obtaining outside funding, including issuing new shares to the market to establish new financial initiatives.

Cinedigm’s share price closed April 11 at 45 cents per share. The company ended its most-recent fiscal period with net income of nearly $5 million on revenue of almost $28 million.