Transactional Movie Marketing: How Big is Your Fan Base?

On Oct. 15, AMC Theatres — the world’s largest movie exhibitor — launched “AMC Theatres On Demand,” a transactional platform enabling its A-List members to purchase or rent studio (notably Paramount, Lionsgate) movies in the home on their retail release.

Key to AMC’s push into home entertainment, is the exhibitor’s leverage of its 19-million Stubs A-List loyalty membership base in the same way Amazon Prime entices more than 100-million Prime members with access to movies, TV shows and third-party SVOD services via Prime Channels.

As the retail market embraces transactional VOD and electronic sell through in place of DVD and Blu-ray Disc, media companies are using pre-existing customer loyalty to jumpstart digital success.

When packaged media kiosk operator Redbox launched Redbox Digital in 2017, its initial marketing thrust was to its 27 million Redbox Perks members.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Indeed, Redbox claims that nearly half (48% ) of all Americans find out what’s new in home entertainment from its kiosks. The company recently enhanced the Perks program to reward members for each rental night instead of per title.

“The updated loyalty program increases the value of each Redbox experience,” Ash Eldifrawi, chief marketing and customer experience officer at Redbox, said at the time.

Last spring, Fandango launched a loyalty-rewards program — Fandango VIP+ — offering monetary credits for every four movies tickets purchased on its platform. VIP members also have 21 days to use their credit to stream movies and TV shows on FandangoNow.

“We needed to seed the system … to give customers an array of options to redeem their points,” Fandango chief marketing officer Adam Rockmore said in an interview.

While Fandango has not released data on VIP+ signups, Michael Pachter, media analyst at Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, believes AMC has the upper hand.

“AMC may have a competitive advantage over Fandango and others delivering in-home entertainment given the reach of its rewards program, loyalty of millions [of] A-Listers and studio partnerships,” he wrote in a note. “We see little downside to AMC’s new on-demand offering, given its reach to loyal customers.”

Then again, FandangoNow is part of Movies Anywhere, the movie marketing platform (supported by Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures, Disney/Fox) directing its 8 million registered users to buy and rent titles from its retail partners, which include Apple iTunes, Prime Video, Walmart’s Vudu, Comcast’s Xfinity Store, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV — and just recently: Verizon.

 

 

 

 

 

FandangoNow Launches Imax Enhanced

FandangoNow, the transactional VOD service from Fandango — in collaboration with Imax Corp. and DTS — Oct. 1 announced the launch of Imax Enhanced on select Sony 4K Android TVs in the United States.

Additional devices will be added in the coming months.

Imax Enhanced combines exclusive, digitally remastered 4K HDR content and DTS audio technologies with the high-end consumer electronics.

Starting Oct. 1, fans can rent Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Spider-Man: Far From Home — featuring 45 minutes of Imax’s exclusive expanded aspect ratio. In addition, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and The Angry Birds Movie 2, as well as Paramount Pictures’ Bumblebee, among other blockbuster movies, will be part of FandangoNow’s exclusive line-up of Imax Enhanced titles.

The collaboration with Imax Enhanced will add dozens of new titles to FandangoNow.

FandangoNow meets Imax Enhanced’s standard for 4K HDR streaming and uses a special variant of the DTS codec technology integrated in home audio equipment to deliver an Imax signature sound experience with more immersive, powerful sound, according to the company.

Imax Enhanced is supported by participating studios such as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, as well as a roster of 15 device partners across televisions, projectors and A/V receivers — all of which have met performance requirements set by Imax, DTS and leading technical specialists throughout Hollywood.

FandangoNow Launches Oculus Store

FandangoNow, the video-on-demand service offered by movie-ticket site Fandango, is launching its movie and TV digital store on Oculus Go and Quest. The new store provides Oculus users with access to FandangoNow’s collection of more than 90,000 new-release and catalog movies and next-day TV shows with no subscription fees.

Hundreds of 3D titles, including Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home, will be available to stream through FandangoNow on the Oculus headset in front of a virtual gigantic screen in the comfort of their own homes.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We are constantly looking for innovative ways to deliver high-quality entertainment to movie and TV fans on pioneering platforms,” said Fandango president Paul Yanover. “Our new initiative with Oculus will give fans a new and exciting way to explore, discover and truly immerse themselves in the movies, bringing them to new cinematic worlds they’ve never visited before.”

“We know how much people love experiencing media in VR,” said Oculus head of media Colum Slevin. “The immersive nature of VR along with the extensive catalog of 3D and traditional films coming with FandangoNow is a winning combination.”

FandangoNow is available on Oculus Go, the all-in-one VR headset designed for consuming entertainment, and Oculus Quest, Facebook’s all-in-one gaming headset.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Flies to Top of Fandango Now Charts

Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame was the top film purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow’s charts for the week ended Aug. 4.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional video-on-demand site.

Released by Disney, the 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe concludes the first “Avengers” saga that spanned 11 years, beginning with 2008’s Iron Man. The film, in which the Avengers take one final stand against Thanos, has earned $857.7 million at the domestic box office. Its $2.79 billion worldwide box office tally is the highest-ever.

Lionsgate’s political romantic comedy Long Shot, starring Charlize Theron and Seth Rogen, landed at No. 2. It earned $30.3 million domestically in theaters.

Warner’s Pokémon Detective Pikachu, featuring Ryan Reynolds and Justice Smith, took the No. 3 spot. It earned $144 million at the domestic box office.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The top films rented and/or purchased on FandangoNow the week ended Aug. 4 are:

  1. Avengers: Endgame (Disney)
  2. Long Shot (Lionsgate)
  3. Pokémon Detective Pikachu (Warner)
  4. Shazam! (Warner)
  5. Alita: Battle Angel (Fox)
  6. The Intruder (Sony)
  7. Avengers 1-4 Collection (Disney)
  8. UglyDolls (Universal)
  9. Hellboy (Lionsgate)
  10. Captain Marvel (Disney)

Fandango and FandangoNow Celebrate Box Office Bow of ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’

To celebrate the theatrical release of Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Fandango has launched a online map of the film’s L.A. locations and its transactional VOD service FandangoNOW is hosting a playlist of movies that Tarantino screened for his crew to help inspire the film’s 1960s vibe.

The playlist includes such films as Easy Rider, Rosemary’s Baby and Valley of the Dolls as well as a selection of Tarantino films.

“A love letter to old Hollywood, Once Upon a Time is the kind of film writer-director Quentin Tarantino was born to make,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “Not only does it feature two of Hollywood’s biggest icons, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, starring opposite one another for the first time in a feature film, but they are surrounded by a tremendous ensemble cast who truly bring a Hollywood era’s long-gone back to life in glorious big-screen fashion. Like Tarantino’s best work, you’ll want to watch it again and again.”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is leading Fandango’s weekend sales, outselling all of Tarantino’s previous titles at the same point in the Fandango sales cycle, according to the online ticketing service.

FandangoNow Creates Playlists for San Diego Comic-Con

With Comic-Con in full swing in San Diego through July 21, FandangoNow, Fandango’s transactional VOD service, is hosting two new playlists devoted to fan favorites and genre films.

Fandango correspondent Alicia Malone, author of the feminist film histories The Female Gaze and Backwards and in Heels, July 19 is moderating a Comic-Con panel entitled “The Future of Film is Female.” The panel on genre films by female filmmakers features Rotten Tomatoes editor Jacqueline Coley, Fast Color director Julia Hart, Terminator producer Gale Anne Hurd and Black Panther cinematographer Rachel Morrison.

Malone has curated a FandangoNow playlist of her favorite female-helmed genre films, including Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, Mary Harron’s American Psycho, Anna Biller’s The Love Witch, Veronika Franz’s Goodnight Mommy, Karyn Kusama’s Jennifer’s Body, Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days, Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact and Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Also in honor of the convention’s 50th anniversary, Rotten Tomatoes has curated a special playlist of 50 Movies that Defined Comic-Con on FandangoNow, featuring such titles as Iron Man, Twilight and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

EMA Event Spotlights Digital Delivery

The over-the-top market is exploding, and the Entertainment Merchants Association this year at its annual Los Angeles conference gave it a starring role.

The OTT_X conference, focusing on the OTT market, ran July 16-17 concurrent with the eighth annual Los Angeles Entertainment Summit presented by the EMA. In addition to OTT panels and spotlight presentations, the EMA facilitated OTT business meetings in addition to meetings scheduled for LAES participants. The joint event attracted about 400 attendees.

The new focus is part of a bigger shift for the EMA.

“It was really apparent last year that the event needed to change,” said EMA CEO and president Mark Fisher July 16 in opening remarks, adding “as the industry changes so does the EMA.”

“We’ve intentionally shed our support and income from the video game segment,” he said, to be more focused. The organization has also shed physical retail members and distributors.

“It’s a pivot,” he said, but “we’re not going to leave behind the TVOD space.”

A leader in that transactional VOD market, FandangoNow chief Cameron Douglas, also chair of the EMA board, noted the annual confab “used to be an event with meetings between retailers and studios.”

Now, the EMA, via its Ultimate Movie Weekend promotion, is promoting cooperation between studios and digital retailers.

“Who would have thought there would be a major studio backed campaign — except Fox and Disney — that was focused on rental instead of EST,” Douglas said.

Erick Opeka, president of Cinedigm Digital Networks and chair of the OTT_X  conference, explained the name in opening remarks.

“The X in the name really reflects the core mission of why we’re all here today,” he said. “It’s an exchange. First and foremost, it’s an exchange of ideas.”

Such collaboration is crucial in an era of fast digital disruption.

“These changes are happening so frequently and at such a precipitous pace, the only way we can come out of this is by fostering a community,” he said.

Key challenges for OTT video platforms are customer acquisition and retention, monetization and content discovery, according to speakers at OTT_X.

Having original content is one way OTT platforms are meeting these challenges, said presenter Kathi Chandler-Payatt, executive director and entertainment analyst, The NPD Group. Using Netflix Originals as a case study, she noted that while both original movies and episodic shows are a small percentage of content on Netflix, they garner an outsized share of viewing. Originals made up 16% of new seasons vs. licensed in 2019, but those originals garnered a prodigious 24% of minutes watched. The same holds true for original movies, which are 11% of content and 22% of minutes.

Part of the reason for the uptake of originals is preferential marketing, she noted.

“It’s very smart from a platform perspective to push originals,” she said because the platform owns it. Thus, making a show with Netflix may give content producers a leg up in discovery.

“People think content is king, but discovery is king,” she said.

Originals have a short window to prove themselves, she said. She quoted Netflix VP of originals Cindy Holland as saying that the service generally knows within 28 days whether a new show or season meets Netflix’s expectations in terms of audience reach. In addition to viewership during that period, metrics such as season completion also figure in renewal.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

OTT_X event chair Opeka moderated the panel “Monetization Trends in OTT.” Ad-supported VOD streaming services, such as Xumo, whose CEO Colin Petrie-Norris was on the panel, are ascendant, many speakers noted. Xumo has 160 curated channels and 40 million households in the United States, Petrie-Norris said.

AVOD “can generate very high yield per consumer” with advertising, he said.

Tubi chief content officer Adam Lewinson also cited the growth of AVOD in a keynote presentatoin. AVOD aggregator Tubi has 20 million monthly active users, with 100 million minutes streamed in June and well over 15,000 titles or 44,000 hours of content, “more than double the content volume of Netflix,” he said. June yielded its largest revenue month ever, he said.

“AVOD is for real,” he said.

There are challenges, however.

“The biggest challenge in streaming right now … in all VODs, it’s really about customer acquisition, retention and churn,” he said. “A subset to that is content discovery. Once you crack those problems, that’s when you get to scale.”

A seamless experience on the platform is also “incredibly important,” he said, “just having a seamless experience where the tech fades away.”

“You also want to be ubiquitious,” he said. “You do want to be everywhere that people are streaming.”

Tubi has also employed machine learning in its proprietary content personalization engine.

“The more data that we have on our viewers the more we are able to personalize,” he said.

A key advantage to AVOD is the “barrier to entry is so low” because viewers don’t have to pay, he said.

As for Tubi getting into original programming like its paid SVOD counterparts, “we have no intention of going down that road,” he said. “It’s tremendously competitive. You wind up overpaying for content.”

There is already too much content, he noted.

“Original series are just whizzing by at an epic pace,” he said.

That doesn’t mean Tubi isn’t willing to spend on content.

“I have a nine-figure content budget for the year, and we’re spending it,” he said.

On a panel about windowing of content, Paul Colichman, CEO of Here Media, said he was “worried that [AVOD is] the emperor’s new clothes,” a false hope of a monetary savior, noting the amount of revenue that trickles down to content producers who license their titles to such services is small.

Still, competition from increased content is pushing content owners to find new outlets.

“It used to take years for us to put up content on AVOD,” said Cinedigm’s Natasha Pietruschka, adding that now, “Where else can we fill those revenue gaps?”

Transactional digital retailers took the stage during the LAES session. Panelists noted that since consumers are paying directly for content, whether for rental or purchase, the key concern for TVOD platforms is making that experience seamless and easy and the quality top notch.

“The bar is so high because you have paid specifically for that title whether rental or purchase,” said FandangoNow’s Douglas, who was on the transactional panel. “It better play.”

He said FandangoNow has concentrated on making the viewing experience top-quality with extensive 4K offerings and a living room app that rivals any.

While Redbox has made its name on physical disc rentals, Chris Yates, GM of Redbox On Demand, said the new digital sales and rental arm doesn’t cannibalize that core business, it supplements it. It offers a choice when consumers don’t want to go to a kiosk and has resulted in “improved affinity for our brand,” he said.

Speakers at both events discussed the looming launch of new SVOD services, including Walt Disney Co.’s $6.99 Disney+.

Disney is “out in front of the others,” said IHS Markit’s Sarah Henschel during a research presentation. Awareness of the service jumped from 24% in Q1 to 35% in Q2 even before the Disney marketing machine really gets rolling, she said.

The firm expects upcoming services to add 36.7 million paying domestic subs by 2023.

“I think Disney and Apple [with its pending SVOD service Apple TV+] have a leg up because they are already consumer facing brands,” Henschel said. “Disney has the strongest hold in my opinion right now.”

When asked how many in the audience would buy the new service when it launches, the majority of attendees raised their hands.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Sets FandangoNow Preorder Record

Comcast’s FandangoNow June 26 disclosed that preorders for the Disney/Marvel Studios superhero movie Avengers: Endgame set a record for the transactional VOD service.

“With the new bonus features, Endgame will be one of the top home entertainment titles when it debuts [on July 30],” Erik Davis, managing editor at Fandango, said in a statement.

According to a Fandango survey of more than 1,000 people planning to watch Endgame at home, 97% own other Marvel movies; 89% plan to show the movie to friends, family, or significant others at home; 88% believe the title ranks as a classic, and 86% previously viewed Endgame at least once in theaters.

On June 28, Endgame will expand its run on the big screen as part of an Avengers: Endgame “Bring Back” event at select theaters.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Consumers who buy a movie ticket receive an exclusive piece of Avengers art and will be treated to a video introduction by director Anthony Russo, an unfinished deleted scene from the film and a special sneak peek from the upcoming Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios feature Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Tickets to the “Bring Back” event are available now on Fandango.

FandangoNow Celebrates 15th Anniversary of ‘The Notebook’ With Sale

In honor of this week’s 15th anniversary of the theatrical release of The Notebook, FandangoNow is offering the romance for purchase at $7.99 in SD or HD through July 1.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

Fans of the 2004 love story can also find a collection of other movies featuring the film’s stars, Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling, as part of the FandangoNow Flashback anniversary collection at https://www.fandangonow.com/list/flashbacks.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Also, as part of the celebration, Rotten Tomatoes’ 21 Most Memorable Movie Moments series is featuring a special video devoted to the iconic “Kiss in the Rain” scene in “The Notebook,” narrated by director Nick Cassavetes.

‘Captain Marvel’ Soars on FandangoNow Chart

Disney’s superhero blockbuster Captain Marvel was the top film purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended June 16.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

Captain Marvel, which earned $426.8 million in theaters, stars Brie Larson as the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers.

Universal’s horror film Us landed at No. 2. Writer-director Jordan Peele’s followup to Get Out, the film stars Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke and Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss. It earned $175 million at the box office.

Another Universal title, The Upside, took the third spot. The comedy stars Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston as an out-of-work ex-con and a wealthy quadriplegic who unexpectedly come together and help each other bring back their zest for life. It earned $108.2 million in theaters.

In fourth place was Lionsgate’s romance Five Feet Apart, about two teens with cystic fibrosis who fall in love but are forced to stay apart because of their illness. It made $45.7 million in theaters.

Rounding out the top five was Paramount’s animated adventure Wonder Park. It’s the story of a young girl named June who makes an incredible discovery — the amusement park of her dreams has come to life filled with wild rides operated by fun-loving animals. It features the voices of Jennifer Garner, Mila Kunis, John Oliver, Kenan Thompson and Ken Jeong, among others, and made $45.2 million at the box office.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The top 10 films purchased and/or rented on FandangoNow for the week ended June 16 were:

  1. Captain Marvel * (Disney)
  2. Us* (Universal)
  3. The Upside * (Universal)
  4. Five Feet Apart * (Lionsgate)
  5. Wonder Park * (Paramount)
  6. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Family Funeral * (Lionsgate)
  7. Captive State * (Universal)
  8. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World * (Universal)
  9. The Mustang * (Universal)
  10. The Kid * (Lionsgate)

*Available in 4K