Comcast’s Matt Strauss Discusses How Peacock Spread Its Wings During a Pandemic

Launching NBCUniversal’s new flagship streaming service Peacock might have seemed a daunting task under normal circumstances — but it took on new challenges during a pandemic.

Still, Matt Strauss and his team knew there were many ways Peacock could spread its wings.

Strauss, chairman of direct-to-consumer and international at Comcast, is responsible for all aspects of Peacock, among other duties. The AVOD/SVOD hybrid service has gathered 26 million total subscribers, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell revealed Dec. 8.

Strauss told attendees Dec. 15 at DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group’s virtual pre-CES event that Peacock, which launched in July, is designed to fill an important niche in the increasingly competitive streaming marketplace — and that it has a long-term strategy.

“When we launched Peacock, we really wanted to keep our heads down,” he said. “It was really about execution. We thought that there was an opportunity to surprise and delight people with something that we believe is unique in the market, but at the same time, one of our mantras has really been it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

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One initial curveball during launch was the postponement of the Olympics, which had been designed as must-see programming on the new streaming service, to be boosted by an elaborate marketing campaign.

“I’m always a very optimistic person by nature, and I always look for a silver lining,” Strauss said. “I think that there was a silver lining because the week that we were planning to launch nationally for the Olympics — it would have been great in many respects — but at the same time it was a kind of very concentrated way that we were going to launch during the few weeks of the Olympics, and what we ended up doing is coming up with a similar plan, but we spread it out across the back half of the year, and I think that that gave us this ongoing cadence and drumbeat that, from a marketing standpoint, I believe, was actually better than what we had initially planned.”

There was another bright side.

“We actually thought that in a small way Peacock could benefit with everything that was going on in the world, giving people another entertainment option,” he said.

Another advantage Peacock had was companywide expertise and products supporting a service that “really taps into every part of Comcast,” he said. The platform is built from Sky’s Snap TV OTT service, NBCUniversal powered a lot of the programming, and Comcast’s cable unit offered on demand knowledge.

“I myself come from Comcast cable,” he said. “I’ve been at Comcast for 16 years, so I’ve had a front row seat in the evolution that we’ve gone through as a company with the development of X1 and Flex, broadband products. When it came to Peacock, you really had stakeholders from all the different parts of the company with different experiences that were brought to the table when it came to design.”

Peacock tapped Comcast’s X1 and Flex (Internet-only) customers to refine the user interface by offering its premium service to them first at no additional cost in April.

“It was a really interesting sandbox, and we wanted to use three months to really harden the application,” he said.

Executives didn’t want Peacock to be a “me too” service, so they combined the experience of watching linear TV with on-demand components and a unique “trending” feature, tapping into how younger generations interact with video. They also decided to offer ads, in a departure from other new services Disney+ and Apple TV+, as well as established SVOD player Netflix.

“We know the trends that everybody else is looking at,” he said. “You’re continuing to see pay-TV decline, not really because people don’t like pay television, but because they’re getting priced out. The average cable or satellite bill is $85 a month. And then you’re looking at a service like Netflix, which has done a very good job at creating a good price-value equation, that others are moving towards, and you know there’s a lot of competition in the streaming space and it’s only grown in past 18 months, and a lot of it is trying to go after Netflix, and we realized that that wasn’t really where we thought the opportunity was for us.”

They decided on offering a free, ad-supported component to combat this subscription fatigue.

“At some point, when you’re paying for internet and now two, three or four subscription services, I think for some people it becomes frustrating,” he said.

The Peacock team also concentrated on offering a unique product.

“Our ambition with Peacock is to really position ourselves as the premium ad-supported aggregation streaming service,” he said. “We didn’t call ourselves NBC+. We didn’t call ourselves that for a reason — because we wanted to position ourselves as an aggregator that can go beyond the boundaries of our catalog and our content. But we also believe as we continue to produce more programming, add more content, that there’s also an opportunity for us to migrate customers to subscription.”

They also knew there was an opportunity to address a need in the advertising community as more eyeballs were moving to streaming.

“There was a pent-up demand that was growing with advertisers looking for the ability to participate,” he said. “But they want to participate with premium content, and there weren’t a lot of options in the streaming space that they could participate in that way, and we saw that as a sweet spot for us.”

In contrast to other ad-supported streaming services, Peacock has a more user-friendly ad load of no more than five minutes of ads per hour, he said.

“We felt really fortunate that we were able to secure 10 premium launch sponsors with Peacock, and the benefit is that they get an uncluttered environment,” he said. “They also have a seat at the table as we’re developing the product because in many respects our ambition is really not just to look at this as a 15-second spot or a 30-second spot but how do we start to find other creative ways through ad innovation that we can bring the advertisers to light.”

Unlike other services, Peacock also avoids repeating ads to a customer over and over again.

“Even if it’s a limited ad load, there’s nothing more frustrating in my opinion than seeing the same ad in different pods while you’re watching a show,” he said.

Looking into 2021, Strauss sees a wealth of programming coming, in part due to production slowdowns and the Olympics delay.

“The Olympics got shifted, and now next year, we’ll almost have two Olympics within a relatively short amount of time,” he said. “Even though we were able to launch over a dozen original series this year, we had more planned, and now we’re going to have more next year than we had initially contemplated because of COVID.”

The service in January will serve up a Wild Card game with the NFL, and then there’s the sitcom juggernaut “The Office,” which also hits the service that month. NBCUniversal outbid Netflix, on which “The Office” reigned as one of the top programs, to bring the comedy to Peacock.

“We’ve got some exciting things in how we can present ‘The Office’ in a way that’s maybe a little bit more unique than what people have seen in the past,” he said.

The first two seasons (2005-06) of the series will be available for free with ads, while subsequent seasons, in addition to “Superfan Episodes,” will be available on Peacock Premium for $4.99 monthly with ads; $9.99 without ads. The “Superfan Episodes” offer unseen footage, extended cuts and deleted scenes.

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Having tried to launch an on-demand service almost 20 years ago, Strauss said he feels “almost like a kid in a candy store” with the technology and marketplace Peacock is in today.

“I feel fortunate that I was almost given an opportunity to do it again, but to do it in a way where the technology has evolved, clearly audiences and users have evolved, and the distribution has grown significantly,” he said.

Starting a streaming VOD service from scratch has been a unique opportunity, he said.

“I’ve got this sandbox,” he said. “I can really try to push the envelope to where I think the puck is going with what people are looking for, and the bar’s lower because I’m starting with almost no subscribers, so it’s an opportunity for us to iterate quickly, learn quickly.”

‘Unhinged’ Drives to Top of ‘Watched at Home’ List

The Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged climbed to No. 1 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended Nov. 28. Distributed by Lionsgate, the film switched places on the chart with the previous week’s top title, The New Mutants.

Warner’s National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation moved up to No. 3 on the chart that 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.

Warner’s Elf, the 2003 film starring Will Ferrell as a man returning to society after being raised at Santa’s workshop, moved up a spot to No. 4.

Rounding out the top five was the eight-film “Harry Potter” collection, also from Warner.

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Newcomers to the list include Paramount’s Love and Monsters at No. 15, RLJE’s Always and Forever at No. 16, and Paramount’s Fatman at No. 20.

Love and Monsters is a post-apocalyptic adventure film starring Dylan O’Brien as a man on a quest to reunite with his girlfriend (Jessica Henwick) despite a landscape populated by large mutant monsters.

Always and Forever, from Urban Movie Channel, is an indie drama about a woman (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) whose seemingly perfect life is shattered when her childhood friend is found dead.

Fatman stars Mel Gibson as an action-oriented Santa who must fight off an assassin sent by an angry kid.

Among catalog titles new to the list were Paramount’s 1987 comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles, starring Steve Martin and John Candy, at No. 11. And Warner’s The Lord of the Rings Trilogy popped onto the list at No. 14 in advance of the Dec. 1 of the films on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.

  1. Unhinged (Lionsgate)
  2. The New Mutants (Disney/20th Century)
  3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (Warner)
  4. Elf (Warner)
  5. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  6. Friends: The Complete Series (Warner)
  7. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  8. Home Alone (20th Century)
  9. Antebellum (Lionsgate)
  10. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  11. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (Paramount)
  12. The Polar Express (Warner)
  13. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  14. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Warner)
  15. Love and Monsters (Paramount)
  16. Always and Forever (RLJ)
  17. The Office: The Complete Series (Universal)
  18. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony Pictures)
  19. After We Collided (Open Road)
  20. Fatman (Paramount)

 

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 Nov. 28.

 

DEG: Home Entertainment Spending Surges 18% in Q3 of 2020

Fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, consumers spent nearly 18% more on home entertainment in the third quarter of this year than in the comparable period of 2019, according to numbers released Nov. 11 by DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

DEG numbers do not include money spent on premium video-on-demand (PVOD), which would have taken the home entertainment spending total significantly higher. With theaters shuttered due to the pandemic, studios chose to release several high-profile films digitally, at a premium price.

Even without PVOD, spending rose to an estimated $7.3 billion from $6.2 billion in the third quarter of 2019, DEG says, maintaining that “when new [theatrical] releases slowed as a result of production halts and theater closures … consumers seamlessly shifted their viewing to a broad variety of content, including catalog movies and TV shows.”

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As expected, consumer spending on subscription streaming surged during the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, rising nearly 39% to an estimated $5.5 billion, or 75% of total consumer spending.

With no fresh theatrical product, spending on home entertainment purchases slipped 24.4% during the third quarter, to an estimated $1.1 billion. Packaged media was hit particularly hard due to widespread store closures due to regional bans on “non-essential” retail, with consumer spending on DVD and Blu-ray Discs down 34.3% in the quarter, to an estimated $483.3 million. Spending on digital content, or “electronic sellthrough” (EST), was off just 13.9%, to an estimated $600.8 million.

Consumer spending on transactional video-on-demand, or electronic rental, ticked up slightly to an estimated $459 million from $447.6 million in the third quarter of 2019.

DVD and Blu-ray Disc rental spending was off 34.4% as stay-at-home orders limited foot traffic to video stores and Redbox kiosks.

In the first nine months of the year, overall U.S. consumer spending across digital and physical home entertainment formats came in at an estimated $22.2 billion, a 23% spike from the $18 billion consumers spent in the same period a year earlier.

Electronic sellthrough spending was up 15.8% to an estimated $2.2 billion, while electronic rental was up nearly 24% to an estimated $1.8 billion.

Spending on subscription streaming for the first nine months of 2020 is pegged by DEG at $15.6 billion, a 38.7% gain from the first nine months of 2019.

DEG says that among the top titles purchased and rented in the third quarter of 2020 were all three seasons of the TV series “Yellowstone,” from Paramount; the DreamWorks movie Trolls World Tour, distributed by Universal; RLJ Entertainment’s The Tax Collector; MGM/Orion’s Bill & Ted Face the Music, distributed by Warner Bros.; The King of Staten Island (Universal); Force of Nature (Lionsgate); Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount); Schitt’s Creek: Season 6 (CBS), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Warner Bros.) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Warner Bros.).

PBS’s Sara DeWitt Presented With DEG’s Hedy Lamarr Award

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group Nov. 9 presented its fourth annual Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology to Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital.

The DEG created the Innovation Award to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

DeWitt was surprised by presenters in masks and gloves who gave her the award in her home during the virtual event.

“A fun thing about this being virtual is that my whole family is here with me,” DeWitt said, surrounded by her kids and husband.

“Sara oversees PBS kids streaming video services, the PBS kids games app and PBSkids.org, which collectively serve over 13.5 million visitors each month,” said PBS CEO Paula Kerger, who introduced DeWitt. “Under her leadership PBS Kids has produced and published cutting-edge experiences for children from AR games and podcasts to game video hybrids and texting programs. Her drive to understand how digital media can impact children’s learning has yielded profound findings from a variety of research studies, and she’s established the gold standard for children’s digital privacy and security.”

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DeWitt paid tribute to Lamarr, an Austrian-American actress who was a Hollywood legend and lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications. PBS chronicled her life in the “American Masters” documentary Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story.

“I loved this story of this glamorous movie star moonlighting as a technological powerhouse, but I think what struck me the most as I watched that ‘American Masters’ documentary Bombshell was how long it took for her contributions to come to light, that silence of 50 years from the time that she received her patent for the idea of frequency hopping to the time of actual public recognition for it,” DeWitt said. “And when I think about that piece of the story I get really frustrated. I hope many of you are as well. It just reemphasizes for me the importance of amplifying the successes of women here and now, women in technical fields, women in my own organization, women in our community. It reaffirms to me too how critical it is to provide opportunities for more voices, for those underrepresented in our industry to be heard and celebrated so that no one has to wait 50 years for their groundbreaking work to come to light.”

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DeWitt, who was a teacher before joining PBS, stressed the power of programming in helping kids envision their future.

“The media that we create has so much power to introduce kids to places and to people that they’ve never know about before,” she said. “Good storytelling has the power to help children imagine exciting possibilities for themselves and good technology can help even more children gain access to the tools and the resources that they need to realize these possibilities. I hope that our innovation at PBS Kids can inspire all children and all of those little girls in our audience to think big and to think about their own future to create new inventions and new art and new discoveries that won’t take 50 years to be recognized.”

The DEG also virtually presented the Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, which recognizes female college students whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise. The Emerging Leader award was presented to Molly Mielke, who is earning her bachelor’s degree in film, TV and digital media at UCLA. Mielke will receive a financial award to continue her education. Her work can be found on her website, mollymielke.com.

Lamarr’s son Anthony Loder also joined the virtual event.

“It’s wonderful that you’re sharing her legacy forward in history while making history of your own,” he said.

Nominations for the 2021 awards are open Nov. 10 on the DEG website.

DEG to Present Hedy Lamarr Award to PBS’s Sara DeWitt Nov. 9

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group will present its fourth annual Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology to Sara DeWitt, VP of PBS Kids Digital.

The DEG created the Innovation Award to recognize female executives in the fields of entertainment and technology who have made a significant contribution to the industry.

The DEG also will present the Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology, which recognizes female college students whose studies in the fields of entertainment and technology have shown exceptional promise. The Emerging Leader award will be presented to Molly Mielke, who is earning her bachelor’s degree in film, TV and digital media at UCLA. Mielke will receive a financial award to continue her education.

Sony Electronics is presenting sponsor of the awards, which will be presented during an online event Nov. 9, to coincide with the 106th anniversary of Lamarr’s birth (Nov. 9, 1914).

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“We are thrilled to present DEG’s 2020 Hedy Lamarr Innovation Award to Sara DeWitt, who is a potent example of the power of media, and of women in media, to push technological innovation forward and at the same time, benefit society on a larger level,” Amy Jo Smith, president and CEO of DEG, said in a statement. “I’m equally excited to present our Emerging Leader Award to Molly Mielke to support her vision for immersive storytelling. These communicators embody Hedy Lamarr’s dedication to progress through innovation in media and technology.”

“I am honored to receive this award,” DeWitt said in a statement. “I am truly amazed to be associated with Hedy Lamarr and the other pioneers recognized by DEG through this program! I know that I am fortunate to work with a team at PBS Kids who is passionate about improving technology and media for young children, and I am so grateful for this recognition.”

Austrian-American actress Lamarr was a Hollywood legend who is best known for her roles in film classics including Samson and DelilahThe Strange Woman, and Tortilla Flat. She was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping,” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Conceived by Lamarr and composer George Antheil for radio guidance systems and patented in 1942, this highly secure technology resists interference and dropout, and is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications.

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To honor Lamarr, the Innovation Award seeks to recognize and commemorate female industry leaders who have made a similar impact in the field of entertainment technology. Past honorees include Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; Nonny de la Peña, CEO of Emblematic Group; and Dean Willow Bay of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

To determine the award winners, DEG enlisted its Canon Club Advisory Board, which comprises a cross-section of leaders representing the entertainment, technology, IT and consumer electronics industries. Among other factors, the judging panel based its decisions on the candidates’ embodiment of the following principles: Innovation, Engagement and Excellence.

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 40th 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.

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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.

‘The Silencing’, ‘The Vanished’ Among Five New Releases on Weekly ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

Five new films appeared on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Aug. 22, led by Lionsgate’s The Silencing and Paramount’s The Vanished, both of which debuted in the top 10.

The Silencing debuted at No. 6 on the weekly chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. The  U.S.-Canadian action thriller follows a reclusive hunter and police sheriff who track down a murderer they suspect kidnapped the hunter’s daughter five years earlier. The film, released through digital retailers on Aug. 14, was directed by Robin Pront from a screenplay by Micah Ranum and stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Annabelle Wallis.

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The Vanished (No. 7), also released through digital retailers in mid-August ahead of an Oct. 20 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release, is about an idyllic family vacation that turns into a living nightmare for parents Paul (Thomas Jane) and Wendy (Anne Heche) when their young daughter disappears without a trace. When the local sheriff (Jason Patric) fails to chase down any new leads, the frantic parents have no choice but to take matters into their own hands.

Also new to the “Watched at Home” chart are RLJ Entertainment’s Spree (No. 15), a horror satire that follows a social media-obsessed, ride-hail driver played by Joe Keery, and Sony Pictures’ Sputnik (No. 18), a Russian science-fiction horror film that stars Oksana Akinshina as a young doctor who is recruited by the military to assess a cosmonaut who survived a mysterious space accident and returned to Earth with a dangerous organism living inside him.

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Warner’s Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons, a direct-to-video animated superhero film version of the CW Seed series of the same name, debuted at No. 20 after its Aug. 18 disc release date. The film was released through digital retailers two weeks earlier.

The top five on the “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended Aug. 22 remains unchanged from the prior week, with RLJ’s The Tax Collector at No. 1 for the third consecutive week. The film, which stars Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto as “tax collectors” working for a Los Angeles crime lord, was released through digital retailers on Aug. 7.

Rounding out the top five are DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, distributed to home audiences by Universal Pictures, and three seasons of Paramount’s “Yellowstone,” with Kevin Costner.

  1. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  2. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. The Silencing (2020, Lionsgate)
  7. The Vanished (2020, Paramount)
  8. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  9. Made In Italy (IFC Films)
  10. You Should Have Left (Universal)
  11. The Rental (IFC Films)
  12. Deep Blue Sea 3 (Warner)
  13. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  14. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  15. Spree (2020, RLJ Entertainment)
  16. Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
  17. The High Note (Universal)
  18. Sputnik (Sony Pictures)
  19. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Universal)
  20. Deathstroke Knights & Dragons (Warner)

 

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. 22.

Indie Films, Older Movies Score on Weekly ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

The lack of fresh theatrical product continues to lead home viewers toward older films as well as niche product from independent suppliers.

The crime drama The Tax Collector, from RLJ Entertainment, remained No. 1 on the “Watched at Home” chart the week ended Aug. 15. The film, which stars Shia LaBeouf and Bobby Soto as “tax collectors” working for a Los Angeles crime lord, was released through digital retailers on Aug. 7.

New to the chart were two more independent films, Homefront and Made In Italy, which debuted, respectively at No. 6 and No. 7 on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart, which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Homefront, from Open Road Films, is a 2013 action thriller that stars Jason Statham, James Franco, Winona Ryder and Kate Bosworth. The film earned $51.7 million during its theatrical run.

Made In Italy is a new comedy-drama written and directed by James D’Arcy. Starring Liam Neeson and his son, Micheál Richardson, as well as Valeria Bilello and Lindsay Duncan, the film follows an artist who must restore a villa with his estranged son after his wife dies in a terrible car crash. Made in Italy was released Aug. 7 through in select theaters and on VOD.

Also new to the weekly chart is Universal Pictures’ The King of Staten Island, a Judd Apatow-helmed comedy rerouted from theaters to an early digital release, at a premium price, in June. The film debuted at No. 11 on the “Watched at Home” chart after its release the prior week through digital retailers.

Jurassic World entered the chart at No. 19, a week after its sequel, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, debuted at No. 18 amid publicity around the next installment in the dinosaur franchise, Jurassic World: Dominion, slated to bow in theaters next summer. Fallen Kingdom moved up two spots to finish the week at No. 16.

Rounding out the top five the week ended Aug. 15 were DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour at No. 2 and the three seasons of “Yellowstone,” from Paramount, at No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5.

  1. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  2. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. Homefront (2013, Open Road Films)
  7. Made In Italy (IFC Films)
  8. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  9. The Rental (IFC Films)
  10. You Should Have Left (Universal)
  11. The King of Staten Island (Universal)
  12. Deep Blue Sea 3 (Warner)
  13. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  14. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  15. Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
  16. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (Universal)
  17. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  18. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  19. Jurassic World (Universal)
  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. 15.

‘Scoob!’ Surges in Home-Viewing Demand After Blu-ray Disc, DVD Release

The animated Scoob! debuted at No. 2  on the weekly “Watched at Home” chart the week ended July 25, with demand for the film skyrocketing in the wake of its release on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD and DVD.

The Warner Bros. film was the first full-length animated Scooby-Doo movie intended for theatrical release, but with the mid-March closure of theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic the film instead debuted digitally, on premium VOD and EST, on May 15.

Another rerouted animated movie, Trolls World Tour, from DreamWorks Animation, remained at No. 1 for the fourth consecutive week on the “Watched at Home” chart, which  tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

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Scoob! was available for streaming on the new HBO Max SVOD service prior to its release on physical media.

Paramount’s three seasons of “Yellowstone” again rounded out the top five.

With no new theatrical product entering the home entertainment pipeline, home viewing demand remains high for recent high-profile feature films such as Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog, Universal Pictures’ The Invisible Man and Sony Pictures Jumanji: The Next Level, which finished at Nos. 7, 8 and 9, respectively.

Another PVOD release, Universal Pictures’ The High Note, starring Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross, debuted at No. 10 after its release through regular digital channels. The film becomes available on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on Aug. 11.

Also new to the chart: Lionsgate’s Capone, a multi-platform release about the notorious gangster Al Capone (No. 18), and the British science-fiction film Archive, released digitally to home audiences by Vertical Entertainment (No. 20).

  1. Trolls World Tour (Universal/DreamWorks)
  2. Scoob! (Warner Bros.)
  3. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  4. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  5. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  6. The Outpost (Screen Media)
  7. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  8. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  9. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  10. The High Note (Universal)
  11. Force of Nature (Lionsgate)
  12. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  13. Bloodshot (Sony)
  14. Batman Beyond: Seasons 1-3 (Warner)
  15. Harry Potter: The Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  16. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  17. The Hunt (Universal)
  18. Capone (Lionsgate)
  19. Fantasy Island (Sony Pictures)
  20. Archive (Vertical)

 

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 July 25

‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Tops in Home Viewership After Blu-ray Disc, DVD Release

Five movies generated significant gains in home viewership after their May 19 release on Blu-ray Disc and DVD, led by Paramount Home Entertainment’s Sonic the Hedgehog, which soared to No. 1 on “Watched at Home” chart for the week ended May 23, up from No. 5 the prior week.

The film, based on a popular video game franchise, has been in the top five of the weekly chart — which tracks transactional video activity compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group — ever since its early digital release on March 31.

Walt Disney’s Onward, the studio’s latest Pixar animated feature film, reappeared on the chart at No. 3, also after its release on disc — and in spite of the fact that it has been available since April 3 on the Disney+ subscription streaming service. The film was one of several high-profile movies that was given an early digital release in mid-March after the pandemic-induced shutdown of movie theaters. Onward spent just two weeks in theaters prior to its March 20 digital release.

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Two other films, both from Warner Bros., that returned to the chart after their May 19 release on disc are Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (No. 6) and The Way Back (No. 17).

Universal Pictures’ Emma., also new to Blu-ray Disc and DVD, debuted on the chart at No. 15.

Warner Bros.’ Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn, No. 1 the prior week, slipped to No. 2.

Rounding out the top five on the “Watched at Home Chart” for the week ended May 23 are Sony Pictures’ Bad Boys for Life at No. 4 and Bloodshot at No. 5, down from No. 2 and No. 3, respectively.

  1. Sonic the Hedgehog (Paramount)
  2. Birds of Prey (Warner)
  3. Onward (Disney)
  4. Bad Boys for Life (Sony)
  5. Bloodshot (Sony, 2020)
  6. Justice League Dark: Apokolips War (Warner)
  7. The Call of the Wild (Disney, 2020)
  8. Fantasy Island (Sony)
  9. Jumanji: The Next Level (Sony)
  10. The Gentlemen (STX/Universal, 2019)
  11. I Still Believe (Lionsgate)
  12. 1917 (Universal)
  13. Dolittle (Universal)
  14. The Invisible Man (Universal)
  15. Emma. (Universal, 2020)
  16. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)
  17. The Way Back (Warner, 2020)
  18. Spies in Disguise (Fox)
  19. Ford v Ferrari (Fox)
  20. Knives Out (Lionsgate)

 

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 May 23