Netflix Launches Hindi Interface

Netflix Aug. 9 launched its user interface in Hindi. The Netflix experience in Hindi, from sign up to search rows, collections and payment, is available across all devices on mobile, TV and Web.

Netflix members can switch to the Hindi user interface from the “Language” option in the “Manage Profiles” section on their desktop, TV or mobile browsers. On Netflix, members can set up to five profiles in each account, and each profile can have its own language setting. Netflix members outside India will also have the option to switch their user interface to Hindi.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Delivering a great Netflix experience is as important to us as creating great content. We believe the new user interface will make Netflix even more accessible and better suit members who prefer Hindi,” said Monika Shergill, VP of content for Netflix India.

Follow us on Instagram

Netflix is investing heavily in Indian films and series across all genres and for all generations, including “Sacred Games,” “Bulbbul,” “Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai” and “Mighty Little Bheem.” The company recently announced a lineup of 17 stories, including “Ludo,” “A Suitable Boy” and “Mismatched” and the upcoming film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, which will bow Aug. 12. Netflix members can also view stories from other parts of the world, such as “Stranger Things,” “Extraction, Narcos: Mexico,” The Protector, Klaus, “The Witcher” and “Old Guard” with Hindi dubs or subtitles.

Last year, Netflix introduced the mobile plan in India for Rs. 199 per month.

Johannes Larcher to Head HBO Max International

WarnerMedia has named Johannes Larcher head of HBO Max International. He will join the company in August and report to Gerhard Zeiler, chief revenue officer of WarnerMedia and president of WarnerMedia International Networks.

Larcher will be responsible for the international rollout and management of the WarnerMedia subscription streaming service, which launched in the United States May 27. His first focus will be the launch in Latin America, which is expected in 2021, according to the company.

Larcher will work closely with Whit Richardson, president of WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks in Latin America, and Priya Dogra, president of WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks in EMEA and APAC.

Larcher currently serves as managing director of digital at MBC Group, the Middle East’s leading media company based in Dubai where he successfully transformed the group’s flagship digital product Shahid VIP into the world’s largest Arabic language video streaming service with more than 1.4 million subscribers. From 2016 to 2018, he was co-founder and CEO of SubVRsive in Austin, Texas, a virtual and augmented reality studio. From 2009 to 2013, he served Hulu as SVP, international, where he led the launch and initial growth phase of Hulu Japan. Earlier, Larcher was president and CEO of online video education start-up Academy123, sold to Discovery and served as GM International for paid search pioneer Overture Services until its acquisition by Yahoo! in 2003. Larcher started his career in 1995 at McKinsey in Los Angeles, where he served media, entertainment and technology clients. He holds an M.A. from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, and an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“I got to know Johannes as a passionate entrepreneur,” Zeiler said in a statement. “His leadership skills, together with his strong direct-to-consumer and digital experience, international business foundations and tech expertise give him the perfect background to drive the growth of HBO Max beyond the United States.”

“Living at the crossroads of digital technology and content, I’m thrilled to help create unforgettable entertainment experiences for consumers in international markets and make HBO Max an indispensable streaming service around the world,” Larcher said in a statement.

‘Scoob!’ Rolling Out Internationally in July Via Theatrical and Premium In-Home Release

Warner Bros. Pictures will roll out Scoob! internationally via a combination of theatrical exhibition and premium in-home release through premium VOD and premium digital ownership.

The international theatrical release will begin on July 8 in France, Holland and Switzerland, with additional countries rolling out over the summer months.

Premium home offerings will begin on July 1 in Australia and New Zealand.

With theaters closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the animated Scoob! debuted for both rental via PVOD and for digital ownership in the U.S. and Canada May 15. The film is now the No. 2 digital release of all time and the No. 1 digital release for Warner Bros., according to the studio. Scoob! June 26 became available in the U.S. on WarnerMedia’s recently launched streaming service HBO Max.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Our decision to release Scoob! as an in-home offering in May came during an unprecedented time in history, and we are delighted by the success of the film and the way it was embraced by long-time fans of this iconic character, families and children,” said Ron Sanders, president of worldwide theatrical distribution and home entertainment, and EVP of international business operations for Warner. “Following its strong domestic debut, our international strategy will combine both theatrical and in-home releases to make it easily accessible to worldwide audiences.”

Follow us on Instagram

The film, which will be released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray July 21 in the U.S., recounts the meeting of Scooby-Doo and his best pal Shaggy, and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form Mystery Inc. Now, after hundreds of adventures, Scooby and the gang encounter the larger world of the Hanna-Barbera universe, teaming with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt to stop Dick Dasterdly from unleashing the legendary ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. The voice cast includes Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell and Frank Welker.

‘The Last Dance’ Draws 23.8 Million International Household Viewers for Netflix

The Last Dance, the documentary series about basketball star Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls championship team, attracted 23.8 million households outside the United States on Netflix, the service announced May 20.

The miniseries, a co-production of Netflix and ESPN Films, aired on ESPN in the United States April 19 through May 17 with each episode being made available the day after airing to international audiences via the SVOD service.

“23 was always his lucky number! 23.8 million households outside the U.S. checked out The Last Dance in its first four weeks on Netflix,” the service tweeted.

Jordan’s jersey number was 23.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Starz Rolls Out International Play App

Starz Nov. 25 announced it has launched its international StarzPlay app in Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom, with plans to launch in 20 additional countries in 2020.

Lionsgate-owned Starz has more than 5.6 million domestic over-the-top video subscribers. StarzPlay is a separate SVOD service outside the United States.

“Expanding our direct-to-consumer product into the global arena … gives subscribers seamless entry to our platform and premium content on their device of choice, while also providing us with access to key consumer data insights as we continue to position ourselves for success in the evolving content ecosystem,” CEO Jeffrey Hirsch said in a statement.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

StarzPlay ($5) is currently available in Europe and Latin America on Apple TV; in France, Germany, Mexico and the U.K. on Amazon Prime Video channels; Mexico on izzi and Totalplay; in Spain on Orange and Vodafone; in the U.K. on Virgin Media; in France on Orange; and as Starz in Canada in alliance with Bell Media.

Subscribers in select countries have access to hundreds of movies and series, including Starz Originals such as the recently debuted “The Spanish Princess” and “Dublin Murders,” as well as curated series including “The Act” and drama “Mr. Mercedes” and movies like Hitch, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and No Country for Old Men.

Disney+ Appoints Chris Loveall to International Content Post

Disney+ has appointed international programming executive Chris Loveall to the position of VP of content — international.

Loveall will report into Matt Brodlie, SVP of international content development, working closely with him and Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International’s regional teams on the development and production of original scripted and unscripted series, as well as acquisitions for all markets outside of the United States.

“Chris has great instincts and a deep understanding of storytelling opportunities in the international marketplace,” Brodlie said in a statement. “He will be a tremendous asset as we grow a rich, diverse slate of original content that builds on the Disney+ storytelling ethos in ways that are unique to each of our international markets.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“I’m excited to be part of the Disney+ team and look forward to working with them to identify and develop stories that resonate with fans of the service around the world,” Loveall said in a statement.

Loveall most recently served as VP of international programming for AMC Networks, including AMC, SundanceTV and BBC America, and was responsible for the development of original international commissions and co-productions as well as select acquisitions for each network. For SundanceTV, he oversaw the co-productions “Liar” with ITV and “Rosehaven” and “Cleverman” with the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Prior to joining the AMC Networks group, Loveall served as VP of original programming at Pivot, developing scripted drama, comedy and animation projects, as well as overseeing international co-productions including “Fortitude” with Sky Atlantic and “Please Like Me” with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. He has also held a number of programming-focused positions at ABC Signature Studios, The CW and other production companies.

Paramount Appoints David Elliott SVP of Physical International Sales and Distribution

David Elliott has been appointed SVP of physical international sales and distribution for Paramount Home Entertainment.

Elliott will replace Charlie McAuley, who is retiring after 13 years with the company.  In this role, Elliott will oversee the physical sales and distribution of the studio’s film and television properties internationally, providing leadership and direction to the international sales teams and developing strategies to maximize revenue.

He will report to Craig White, EVP of worldwide sales and distribution.

“David’s rich and diverse experience in the world’s leading and fast developing markets uniquely positions him to navigate and take advantage of the exciting opportunities our industry offers,” White said in a statement. “I am excited to have David at Paramount and look forward to his contributions.”

Elliott joins Paramount from 20th Century Fox where he served as SVP/managing director emerging markets — APAC, LATAM, EMEA, leading home entertainment content distribution for digital and physical products across all emerging markets and licensee businesses. He previously served as SVP, market development, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Northern Europe, SVP/head of international operations, and VP/head of international finance and accounting for Fox.

McAuley joined Paramount in 2006 as managing director, home entertainment U.K. and Ireland. In 2015 McAuley was promoted to SVP, responsible for international physical sales and managing distribution partnerships and licensing. McAuley has served as vice chairman and later chairman of the British Video Association (BVA) (now BASE). He previously worked at CIC International, Woolworths U.K. and Blockbuster International.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Charlie has been a highly successful business leader, as well as a formidable competitor and esteemed colleague and friend to many in the industry in Europe and beyond,” said White in a statement. “He has provided expert stewardship for Paramount’s fabled film library and delivered critical successes throughout his tenure. Charlie’s legacy and impact on the industry and his colleagues is exemplary. He will be sorely missed and we wish him well in his retirement.”

AVOD Service Tubi Launches in Australia

AVOD service Tubi will launch in Australia Sept. 1.

Customers there will have access to an initial offering of nearly 7,000 movies and TV series, which will rapidly expand in the near future, according to Tubi. Titles immediately available on the service include 3:10 to Yuma, The Blair Witch Project, Kickboxer and Stranger Than Fiction, with additional titles to be made available over the next six months, including Dirty DancingThe Grudge, Requiem for a Dream, Reservoir Dogs, SawTraffic and Young Guns.

“We’re excited to offer Tubi in Australia, as the first of many launch initiatives to advance our global footprint,” said Tubi CEO Farhad Massoudi in a statement. “Our library size in Australia will expand rapidly in the coming months and eventually grow to our current library size in the U.S. of 15,000 titles — and beyond. We look forward to further activating new audiences who will discover the growing value of free video on demand.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Customers in Australia will be able to access Tubi via Telstra TV, Tubi.TV, or through nearly any internet-connected screen including Samsung TVs, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast and Apple iOS, as well as Android tablets and smartphones, according to Tubi. The service will also be available via game consoles, including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Netflix Closes First European Overall Series Deal

Netflix has inked an exclusive multi-year overall series deal with the creators of one of the most-watched entirely non-English shows on Netflix, “Dark,” the company announced.

Under the terms of the deal, Germans Jantje Friese and Baran bo Odar will produce new series and projects for Netflix’s 125 million members around the world.

“The promise of Netflix is entertainment transcending borders; where a hit show can come from anywhere in the world,” said Erik Barmack, VP, international originals, Netflix, in a statement. “We’re tremendously happy to announce our overall deal that continues our collaboration with Bo and Jantje, whose invigorating work has engaged and thrilled audiences globally. We thank both for their trust and are beyond excited to support their vision and art as storytellers.”

“We are thrilled and extremely happy to further expand our partnership with Netflix,” said Odar and Friese in a statement. “It is unlike any other opportunity in our career to experience how our stories and vision are understood and loved globally. We are excited to embark on our next journey with Netflix, keep pushing boundaries and challenging viewers with new ideas. We have plenty of surprises in store for them.”

Friese and Odar, both graduates of the University of Television and Film Munich, have been working together since Odar’s directing debut The Silence. Their most recent feature film is Who Am I — No System Is Safe with Tom Schilling and Elyas M’Barek, a thriller that was awarded three German Film Awards and the Bambi for Best German Film. Odar, who was included in the list of “Ten Directors to Watch” by Variety, made his Hollywood debut with Sleepless, starring Jamie Foxx, which premiered on March 9, 2017. After writing and directing all 10 episodes of Netflix’s first German original series, “Dark,” Friese and Odar are currently working on the second season of the drama and will produce new series and projects exclusively for Netflix.

Roku Bowing Voice Search in the U.K.

Roku April 24 announced it will soon make its enhanced voice search feature available to Roku users in the United Kingdom.

The software enables users to use their voice to find entertainment to watch. The new feature will be available for Roku players through the Roku mobile app, and for the Roku Streaming Stick+ through the remote control. Roku OS 8.1 will begin to roll out through a software update beginning May 1.

Enhanced Voice Search allows for more natural language understanding and can search for movies, shows, actors and directors, or even launch streaming channels, in a more conversational tone.

“We want to get our customers to the show they want to watch quickly,” Lloyd Klarke, director of product management at Roku, said in a statement. “Enhanced voice search makes it even easier for our users to find new movies and TV shows to watch.”

The Roku mobile app, available for iOS and Android, acts as a remote, streams media from a mobile device to the TV, includes a keyboard and offers features like voice search and private listening. In addition, Roku OS 8.1 will enable private listening for up to four devices concurrently for all Roku players.

Separately, Roku announced the addition of live and linear news content to The Roku Channel. The ad-supported channel now offers access to ABC News Live, in addition to Cheddar, People TV and others.