Derek Stubinski Named MVD Director of Publicity and Marketing

Derek Stubinski has been appointed director of publicity and marketing at content distributor MVD Entertainment Group.

Stubinksi, a 14-year veteran of the company, replaces Clint Weiler, who is leaving MVD.

Derek Stubinski

“I look forward to thriving in this new position and broadening MVD’s horizons,” Stubinski said in a statement. “I’m particularly excited to expand upon Clint’s previous press efforts and relationships. It’s a tall order, but I never back down from a challenge.”

“These are some mighty shoes to fill; Clint has been so great for us for so long and we hate to see him go,” Ed Seaman, COO of MVD, said in a statement. “That said, we’ve got all the confidence in the world that Derek will not only take this role over but grow the department. Wishing Clint the very best with his new endeavors.”

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“After 20-plus excellent years, I have departed MVD to join Z2 Comics where I will serve as the VP of collectibles,” Weiler said in a statement. “I’m very grateful for the time I spent with MVD — nearly half my life. They gave me a shot way back in 2001 as a fresh-out-of-college 22 year old with a passion for music, and a strong desire to work in the industry. Without that chance, there’s no telling what line of work I’d be in. It has really been a terrific ride.”

Vudu, Olive Garden Offering ‘Dinner and a Movie to Go’ Gift Cards

Transactional digital service Vudu and Olive Garden are offering Dinner and a Movie to Go gift cards, with $25 toward home entertainment on Vudu and $25 towards Italian food to go from Olive Garden.

Dinner and a Movie to Go gift cards are currently available at Sam’s Club and H-E-B stores.

Vudu also has a line of digital gift cards, featuring characters from No Time to Die and Venom 2, available for a limited time here. Starting Nov. 24, consumers can get 20% off online gift card orders of $50 or more (excluding Dinner and a Movie to Go) through the end of the month.

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Also, during Thanksgiving week, Vudu is hosting a “Watch a Movie on Us” promotion. For this week only, consumers who spend $20 towards movies and TV shows on Vudu will get a Vudu movie rental (up to $8 in value). The offer ends Nov. 29.

Thanksgiving sales on movies and TV series seasons this week will include the original Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II (each for $9.99), plus discounts on recent hits such as Free Guy, The Suicide Squad, Wrath of Man, Black Widow, Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard, Snake Eyes and bundles such as the “A Quiet Place” two-movie collection, the “Saw” nine-film collection and the complete series of TV’s “Friends,” with more discounts expected on Black Friday.

Vudu Offering Gift Cards, Preorder Deal on ‘Venom: Let There Be Carnage’

Vudu has a deal for customers who preorder Venom: Let There Be Carnage, arriving Nov. 23 for digital purchase at $19.99.

Those who preorder the movie on the service by Nov. 22 get a $3 Vudu promo code to use toward additional movies. Details are here. 

Vudu is also offering a line of “Venom”-themed gift cards to gift the movie to friends and family.

The Marvel Comics-based superhero film, available in SD, HDX and 4K Ultra HD on Vudu, stars Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris and Woody Harrelson. In the film, Eddie Brock (Hardy) interviews serial killer Cletus Kasady (Harrelson), who becomes the host of the symbiote Carnage.

Vudu’s YouTube channel features an exclusive clip of Hardy’s Eddie Brock and his alien symbiote Venom talking about their unique friendship on the beach.

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‘Shang-Chi’ Debuts for Digital Purchase on Vudu With Exclusive Clip

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has debuted on Vudu for digital purchase, and the service is offering free access to an exclusive extended clip of nine minutes with stars Simu Liu, Awkwafina and Tony Leung here.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is available to purchase at $19.99 and available in UHD/HDX. 

The 25th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Liu in the title role, a hero who must face the past he thought he left behind and confront his father Xu Wenwu (Tony Leung), leader of the dangerous Ten Rings organization.

The film also stars Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu and Michelle Yeoh.

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Vudu Bows ‘No Time to Die’ Gift Cards

For the Nov. 9 premium digital rental debut of the new James Bond thriller No Time to Die, Vudu is offering customers the option of gifting the film via a No Time to Die-themed digital gift card.

The film is available on Vudu as a $19.99 premium rental. 

Vudu users can select their favorite characters and send different ones to friends and family to see the home entertainment release of Daniel Craig’s final film as 007.  The Bond-themed gift cards are available here.

Vudu will be offering digital gift cards featuring the following characters from No Time to Die:

  • Daniel Craig (James Bond)
  • Léa Seydoux (Madeleine)
  • Rami Malek (Lyutsifer Safin)
  • Lashana Lynch (Nomi)
  • Ben Whishaw (Q)
  • Naomie Harris (Moneypenny)
  • Ralph Fiennes (M)
  • Ana de Armas (Paloma)


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Netflix Launches Book Club to Feature Adaptations

Netflix has announced the Netflix Book Club, inspired by the service’s many book-based series such as “Bridgerton” and “The Queen’s Gambit.”

Through the Netflix Book Club, readers will hear about books, films and series adaptations first — and get exclusive access to the process behind bringing these books from page to screen.

Three-time Emmy Award winner and star of the series adaptation “Orange Is the New Black” Uzo Aduba will be the inaugural host, with Netflix and Starbucks partnering on the Club.

Uzo will announce monthly book selections that will be making their way to Netflix and host conversations about the adaptation process with cast, creators and authors over a cup of coffee at Starbucks in a new social series, “But Have You Read the Book?” The social series will kick off on Nov. 16 and live on the Still Watching Netflix YouTube Channel and the Netflix U.S. Facebook channel.

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Netflix Book Club’s first pick of the month will kick off with Nella Larsen’s Harlem Renaissance-era novel Passing to coincide with Netflix’s Nov. 10 release of the movie adaptation, which premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and was recently seen at the New York Film Festival. Directed and written by Rebecca Hall and starring Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga, Passing follows the story of two Black women who can pass as white and choose to live on opposite sides of the color line in 1929 New York.

“From ‘Bridgerton,’ ‘To All the Boys’ and ‘Sweet Magnolias’ to ‘Queen’s Gambit,’ ‘Unorthodox,’ ‘Virgin River’ and of course ‘Orange Is the New Black,’ Netflix loves bringing books to life on screen and creating conversation with passionate readers and fans,” Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to partner with Starbucks and excited that the incredible Uzo Aduba will be our host to discuss favorite books and what goes into the writing, developing, casting and creating of our beloved series and films.”

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked friends, ‘But have you read the book?’ So I’m excited to host Netflix Book Club and bring together loyal book fans, TV and movie obsessives and the creators behind their favorite stories,” Aduba said in a statement.I can’t wait to dive deep into the creative process and what it takes to bring a book to life.”

“Over the years coffee and coffeehouses have been bringing communities together for a shared experience and conversation about what we are reading and watching,” Starbucks CMO Brady Brewer said in a statement. “The new relationship we’ve formed with Netflix for ‘But Have You Read the Book?’ is an exciting way to bring these conversations from the third place to our customers wherever they are.”

Roku Bows TV Streaming Marketing Campaign

Heading into the winter retail season, Roku Sept. 29 unveiled a TV marketing campaign aimed at highlighting the company’s recent product launches.

Dubbed “OK, Roku does that,” the promotion aims to highlight the pioneering streaming media platform’s innovation and ease of use connecting the television to the Internet.

“We have believed since our founding in 2002 that all TV will be streamed,” Mustafa Ozgen, GM of account acquisition at Roku, said in a statement.

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The hero of the campaign is a 60-second creative look back in time. Over the course of history, seemingly simple innovations have transformed the world and how people navigate it. The commercial moves through a short history of transformative innovations; culminating in the decade of streaming.

The objective is to create lone term brand awareness for Roku and future streamers as consumers begin to think about holiday spending. A recent Roku and Harris poll 2021 Holiday Survey found 32% of consumers plan to purchase big ticket items over $500 this season.

“We are witnessing a fundamental change in how consumers engage with content and entertainment, and that shift has been led in large part by Roku,” said Ellie Bamford, SVP, global head of media and connections at R/GA, Roku’s agency partner for the campaign. “In this campaign we wanted to create an emotional connection that highlights the innovation and leadership Roku has provided in streaming. We believe we’ve achieved that with our great partners at Roku in an opportunity within one of the hottest industries.”

Additional ad spots are focused on driving awareness for Roku TV models, and ease-of-use features such as private listening, lost remote finder and the access to free content available on The Roku Channel.

The promotional campaigns will run in major cities around the country, including New York, Los Angeles as well as travel hubs such as Chicago, Atlanta and JFK airports. Roku will also use OneView, its proprietary ad buying platform, to manage the digital portion of the campaign across desktop, mobile and TV streaming.

HBO Max Celebrates First Birthday

May 27 marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of HBO Max, and the service is celebrating with a new brand spot dedicated to fans.

In the year since the rollout, the platform has added 11.1 million HBO/HBO Max subscribers to surpass 44 million in the United States (as of end of Q1) and seen up to a 70% increase in audience engagement vs. HBO Go or Now, according to a press release.

The average time it takes a user to click play after logging into the platform is down to 100 seconds, according to the service.

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Netflix to Launch First Geeked Week

Netflix will launch its first “Geeked Week” June 7-11 on social media. 

The free, five-day virtual event will highlight such Netflix series and films as “Stranger Things,” “The Witcher,” “Castlevania,” “The Umbrella Academy” and The Old Guard and will offer fans exclusive news, new trailers, live art, drop-ins from stars and more.

“These fandoms aren’t just about making GIFs, buying merch or theorizing about the next big twist(s),” read the announcement. “They’re about sharing excitement and connecting with people from all over the world who hold the same passion for those characters and stories.”

Info is at, TwitterInstagramTwitch and Facebook.

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The Home Team Scores

The year 2020 will go down in the history books as the year of COVID-19, a once-in-a-century pandemic that shut down the nation – the world – until scientists could figure out exactly what the hell was going on.

It was also the year when all entertainment became home entertainment. With theaters dark, studios pivoted to premium video-on-demand (PVOD) – which in reality is nothing more than a higher-priced home window – to give consumers an alternative venue to watch their first-run movies.

It’s still too soon to talk definitively about lasting changes brought on by the pandemic. But there are certainly some good, solid, educated guesses that can be made.

First and foremost, the hallowed three-month theatrical window is gone. Out the door. Kaput. It’s been outdated for years; even the biggest theatrical blockbusters typically run out of steam after three or four weeks on the big screen, and there’s no reason in the world other windows have been kept shut for such a long period of time.

As a result, PVOD is not going to go away with the virus. When movie theaters fully reopen, which hopefully won’t be too much longer, they’re still going to be sharing the wealth with other platforms with such familiar acronyms as PVOD, PEST (I never did like that one!), and, of course, SVOD. We must remember that in the wake of the World Health Organization’s March 2020 declaration of a global pandemic, all movies did not go the PVOD route. Several big films were sold to Netflix, beginning with Paramount’s romantic comedy The Lovebirds, the first theatrically canceled film to go straight to a third-party streaming service. And then later in the year came the stunning, and disruptive, announcement by WarnerMedia that its entire 2021 theatrical slate would be released simultaneously to its upstart streaming service, HBO Max, which clearly needed (and still needs) a boost.

Regardless, the common denominator for all these acronyms is home viewing. And that means home entertainment – which Media Play News had a big role in redefining several years back as any filmed content available for on-demand viewing by the consumer,  regardless of whether it was bought or rented on disc or digital or streamed over the Internet – will remain the dominant way people will consume entertainment even when the pandemic is just a distant memory.

As our third annual marketing issue shows,  studios during the pandemic year of 2020 epitomized the expression, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” With theaters out of the picture (literally as well as figuratively), marketing shifted toward home audiences and, invariably, campaigns were either started or completely run by home entertainment marketers.

They were no longer playing second fiddle to their theatrical counterparts; they took the lead and saved what could have been a catastrophic year by eventizing PVOD releases and aggressively mining their catalogs for anniversary and other promotional opportunities.

At several studios, home entertainment marketing teams have been merged with their theatrical and, in some cases, television counterparts to create hybrid marketing organizations geared to the new reality of multi-window, multi-platform releases.

But let’s never forget who got the proverbial ball rolling. When Hollywood was down, it was the home team that stepped up to the plate.