OTT.X to Honor Industry Heroes

OTT.X (formerly the Entertainment Merchants Association) is looking to honor industry “heroes.”

The group is looking for a team member who has gone out of his or her way to help neighbors, to help the community, to support health care workers, or to just do something good during the pandemic — or for a team member who has gone out of his or her way to help the company continue to serve its customers during the crisis.

“Just as the hard work of grocery and pharmacy teams are keeping our pantries and medicine cabinets full, all of the teams in our industry, at digital platforms, channels and retailers; at content companies; and at all of the service and technology companies that facilitate the flow of content ultimately to the consumer are playing an important role in providing the needed entertainment to keep everyone sane during these stay-at-home days,” according to OTT.X. “We need to recognize our own heroes.”

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Entries should include a brief paragraph nominating a hero or heroes and a photo if possible. In mid-June, OTT.X will hold an online live ceremony recognizing all the heroes and presenting a few special awards. Nominations must be sent no later than May 30 to mfisher@ottx.org and include “our ottx hero” in the subject line.

In addition, OTT.X is soliciting pictures of home offices and awarding prizes. Photos should be sent to mfisher@ottx.org and include “my new home office” in the subject line.

Hulu Launches Quiz Feature to Help Consumers Choose Content to Watch

Hulu is launching a new quiz to help viewers find content to watch on the service based on questions they answer about their current feelings.

The quiz takes inspiration from Hulu’s latest “Hulu Has Whatever You’re Feeling” ad campaign.

The quiz for both subscribers and non-subscribers gives users a personalized recommendation from more than 600 TV shows and movies. The four-question quiz produces a recommendation that allows Hulu subscribers to begin streaming directly from the site or add to “My Stuff” for viewing later. Additional recommendations are a click away with the “Give Me Another” button. For those watching as a family, suggestions will focus on only kid-friendly content.

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“With so many people spending more time at home, it’s probably no surprise that TV streaming is on the rise,” read a Hulu press release. “In fact, binge viewing on Hulu has increased by 41% since the beginning of March and on average, our viewers are watching nine different titles in a given week — up 26% compared to the same time last year.” 

The quiz is at whatshouldiwatch.hulu.com.

HBO Max Releases New Spot for Service

A new spot released April 22 kicked off the brand marketing campaign for WarnerMedia’s SVOD service HBO Max. The campaign centers on the tagline “Where HBO Meets So Much More.”

HBO Max launches May 27 with 10,000 hours of programming, including the entire HBO service, titles from Warner Bros. and a monthly offering of new Max Originals.

The spot “aims to call attention to the connective tissue that runs through all of the iconic programming and characters who will call the new streamer home,” according to the service. Marketing plans intend to “show how HBO Max is not just more of HBO, but more than HBO,” according to the press release.

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“HBO is the gold standard in terms of premium original content, and we are going to market on the strength of that brand and the power of the library,” said Chris Spadaccini, chief marketing officer, WarnerMedia Entertainment & Direct-to-Consumer. “But HBO Max offers so much more than just HBO. We are establishing HBO Max as a place where all your favorite shows and movies intersect in unexpected ways. There’s a really fun attitude and personality to the campaign and each one of our ads has an element of surprise and delight.”

Netflix Offers Free Documentary Streaming to Teachers on Its YouTube Channel

Netflix has expanded it free documentary screening program for teachers, offing a selection of titles on the Netflix U.S. YouTube channel.

“For many years, Netflix has allowed teachers to screen documentaries in their classrooms. However, this isn’t possible with schools closed,” read the Netflix blog post. “So at their request, we have made a selection of our documentary features and series available on the Netflix U.S. YouTube Channel.

“Each title also has educational resources available, which can be used by both students and teachers — and we’ll be doing Q&As with some of the creators behind these projects so that students can hear from them firsthand.

“We hope this will, in a small way, help teachers around the world.”

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The documentaries are currently available in English, but subtitles in more than a dozen languages will be available later this week, according to the post. “Please check the ratings so that you can make informed choices for your students and children,” the post requested.

Offered on the channel is the film 13th, Ava DuVernay’s documentary with a title that refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.” The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay, featuring a mixture of archival footage and testimony from a activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men. Educational resources are here.

Also available is season one of the series “Abstract.” “Abstract: The Art of Design” takes you beyond blueprints into the art, science, and philosophy of design. The series goes inside the minds of the world’s greatest designers, showcasing the most inspiring visionaries from a variety of disciplines whose work shapes our culture and future. Educational resources are here

Select episodes of the series “Babies” are available. Filmed over the course of three years, “Babies” explores the miracle of the first full year of life through the pioneering work of leading scientists from across the globe. The series examines the epic journey every person embarks on, from helpless newborn to independent toddler. The series follows the life-changing adventures of 15 international families and featuring the latest research from eminent scientists who share their personal journeys of discovery into the infant mind. Educational resources are here.

The film Chasing Coral  taps into the collective will and wisdom of an ad man, a self-proclaimed coral nerd, top-notch camera designers, and renowned marine biologists as they invent the first time-lapse camera to record bleaching events as they happen. Educational materials are here.

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Available are select episodes of the series “Explained.” In partnership with Vox Media Studios and Vox, this explainer series takes viewers deep inside a wide range of culturally relevant topics, questions and ideas. Each episode explores current events and social trends pulled from the zeitgeist, touching topics across politics, science, history and pop culture — featuring interviews with some of the most authoritative experts in their respective fields. Educational resources are coming soon.

The film Knock Down the House follows four women who mount grassroots campaigns against powerful incumbents in the 2018 midterm elections that tipped the balance of power. When tragedy struck her family in the middle of the financial crisis, Bronx-born Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to work double shifts as a bartender to save her home from foreclosure. After losing a loved one to a preventable medical condition, Amy Vilela didn’t know what to do with the anger she felt about America’s broken health care system. Cori Bush, a registered nurse and pastor, was drawn to the streets when the police shooting of an unarmed black man brought protests and tanks into her neighborhood. A coal miner’s daughter, Paula Jean Swearengin was fed up with watching her friends and family suffer from the environmental effects of the coal industry. Educational resources are here.

The series “Our Planet”  is available. Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the eight-part series explores the wonders of our natural world from the creators of the award-winning series “Planet Earth.” Educational materials are here.

The short Period. End of Sentence. is available. The documentary short directed by Rayka Zehtabchi tells the story of women in a rural village outside Delhi, India, who fight against the deeply rooted stigma of menstruation. For generations, these women didn’t have access to pads, which lead to health problems and girls missing school or dropping out entirely. But when a sanitary pad machine is installed in the village, the women learn to manufacture and market their own pads, empowering the women of their community. Educational resources are here.

The short The White Helmets is available. The Netflix original short documentary, set in Aleppo, Syria and Turkey in early 2016 follows three volunteer rescue workers as they put everything on the line to save civilians affected by the war, all the while wracked with worry about the safety of their own loved ones. Educational materials are here

The short Zion is available. It’s the portrait of Zion Clark, a young wrestler born without legs who grew up in foster care. Educational materials are here.

 

Sling TV Bows ‘Happy Hour Across America’ Campaign With Free TV

Sling TV is introducing “Happy Hour Across America,” offering free primetime TV nightly as a public service to American families practicing social distancing at home.

Starting April 14, those new to Sling TV can register to watch free TV every night from 5 p.m. to midnight.

“Since we can’t serve you a beverage or basket of hot wings, we’re introducing a new kind of happy hour — TV ‘on the house’ every night,” Warren Schlichting, group president of Sling TV, said in a statement. “Much like a real happy hour, TV is often a shared experience. So grab your favorite refreshment, tune in with your friends and family, and get those group chats ready.”

As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, television news consumption on Sling TV climbed by triple digits over the last month, increasing 164%, according to the service. Viewers have been switching from news to entertainment starting at 6 p.m. EST with peak viewership hitting at 10 p.m. EST across Sling TV’s services, according to the company.

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“Happy Hour Across America” opens the Sling Blue service to new Sling customers, offering more than 50 live channels, free cloud DVR and more than 50,000 on-demand titles. It also allows simultaneous viewing on three screens. Sling Blue channels including A&E, AMC, Bravo, CNN, E!, Fox News, FX, HGTV, HLN, MSNBC and TLC.

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“Happy Hour Across America” participants will have free access to several series premieres and TV programs, including:

  • “Deadliest Catch” (Discovery) season 16 premiere April 14
  • “Property Brothers: Forever Home” (HGTV)  season 3 premiere April 15
  • “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” (Bravo) season 10 premiere April 15
  • “What We Do in the Shadows” (FX) season 2 premiere April 15
  • “Real Housewives of New York City” (Bravo) season 12, episode 3 April 16
  • “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” (E!) season 18, episode 4 April 16
  • “90 Day Fiancé: Self-Quarantined” (TLC) limited series premiere April 20
  • “Better Call Saul” (AMC) season 5 finale April 20

Consumer can visit sling.com/deals/happy-hour to sign up.

FandangoNow to Host ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Live Watch Party Today

FandangoNow, the transactional video on-demand service from Fandango, at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET is hosting a live watch party of Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog.

The watch party will feature a live Twitter commentary from the film’s stars, Ben Schwartz (Sonic) and Lee Majdoub (Agent Stone) along with the film’s director, Jeff Fowler, exclusively on Fandango’s Twitter page, with the hashtag #SonicWatchParty.

“Sonic the Hedgehog” debuted on FandangoNow on March 31 and already ranks as one of the top-selling family titles on the service, according to FandangoNow.

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Fans can submit questions for Schwartz and Fowler at #SonicWatchParty.

Sonic is currently available to purchase on FandangoNow  at $19.99 in HD and SD and in 4K ULTRA HD at $24.99 here.

T-Mobile Offering Customers Free Quibi Subscription

T-Mobile is offering customers a free subscription to short-content streaming service Quibi via the promotion “Quibi on Us” when the service launches April 6.

Quibi, led by Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, delivers content designed specifically for smartphones. All Quibi videos are 10 minutes or less and feature such stars as Jennifer Lopez, Chrissy Teigen, Liam Hemsworth and Reese Witherspoon.

Via the exclusive deal with Quibi, T-Mobile customers with two or more voice lines at standard rates on Magenta and ONE plans with taxes and fees included — along with discounted First Responder, Military and Magenta Plus 55 plans — or small business customers with up to 12 lines, can get Quibi (regularly $4.99) added to their plan at no extra cost. Customers can sign up between now and July 7 to get “Quibi on Us” by going to mytmobile.com or the T-Mobile app for iOS or Android beginning April 6. Until April 3, T-Mobile customers can sign up in the T-Mobile Tuesdays app or online for access to three bonus episodes of Jennifer Lopez’ “Thanks a Million” April 6.

After a full year of “Quibi on Us” and “Netflix on Us,” a promotion that offers SVOD service Netflix at no cost, Un-carrier customers can choose to continue with one or the other.

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“T-Mobile customers have always been ahead of the curve — streaming more data, watching more mobile video — so when we first heard about Quibi, we knew our customers would love it,” said Mike Sievert, president and CEO of T-Mobile, in a statement. “And, with more of us staying home right now, Quibi’s never been more needed. It comes on the scene with a totally different experience, made for mobile, quick to watch and as entertaining as anything you’ve ever seen.”

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“Quibi and T-Mobile are a perfect match — we’re both changing our industries by giving our customers what they want in truly unique and innovative ways,” said Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi, in a statement. “And, since Quibi is built for an optimal mobile experience, we chose T-Mobile as our exclusive wireless launch partner. With the only nationwide 5G network, T-Mobile was the obvious choice for our customers.”

More than 85% of mobile video streamed on T-Mobile’s network is short-form content, according to the company.

FandangoNow Offering Digital Rental Preorders on ‘Trolls World Tour’ With Additional Discount on Other DreamWorks Titles

FandangoNow, the transactional video-on-demand service from Fandango, is for the first time offering preorders for digital rental of Trolls World Tour, debuting digitally April 10.

Also, those who preorder the rental of the film can rent or buy a number of DreamWorks Animation films available on FandangoNow at 50% off the regular price, including the original Trolls. The preorder offer is valid until April 9, and those who preorder the title can enjoy the DreamWorks Animation film discounts through April 17.

“We’re looking forward to working together with DreamWorks Animation on this first-of-its-kind event where housebound film fans can gather around the couch for the highly-anticipated debut of a new movie directly from the studio,” said Cameron Douglas, head of FandangoNow, in a statement. “We’re also pleased to offer an extra incentive where families can watch as many DreamWorks Animation movies available on FandangoNow as they like at a major discount, while getting ready for the April 10 home debut of Trolls World Tour.”

Trolls World Tour, the sequel to 2016’s Trolls, features the return of Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, James Corden and many more in their original roles. Fans can find an exclusive clip here.

FandangoNow Bows Clip, Activity Sheets for ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Debut; ‘Invisible Man’ Again Top Title

FandangoNow, movie ticketing site Fandango’s transactional VOD service, is offering an 8-minute clip and family activity sheets for the debut of Paramount Home Entertainment’s Sonic the Hedgehog on the service.

Sonic the Hedgehog hit digital early March 31 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are exclusively debuting the first eight minutes of the movie right here. See where Sonic comes from, and how he wound up on Earth to begin with,” reads the FandangoNow blog.

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The activity sheets include word scrambles, coloring sheets and connect the dots.

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Meanwhile, for the second-consecutive week The Invisible Man (also an early digital release) was the top title for the service.

FandangoNow’s top titles (transactional sales and rentals) for the week ended March 29 were:

  1. THE INVISIBLE MAN
  2. PIXAR’S ONWARD
  3. BLOODSHOT
  4. BIRDS OF PREY
  5. JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
  6. 1917
  7. I STILL BELIEVE
  8. THE WAY BACK
  9. DOLITTLE
  10. THE HUNT

DEG Nordic Launching ‘Mega Movie Week’ Promo to Drive Digital Transactional Market

As consumers around the world stay home during the coronavirus crisis, The Digital Entertainment Group: Nordic Committee (DEGN) March 23 is launching “Mega Movie Week,” a cross-category campaign to drive consumer engagement with the digital transactional market.

During “Mega Movie Week” DEGN members, including NBCUniversal, Nordisk Film, SF Studios, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Entertainment, will offer consumers a range of the latest digital movies at special prices for one week only with retailers including the Apple TV app, Google Play Store, Viaplay, SF Anytime, Blockbuster, PlayStation Store, Rakuten TV, Canal Digital, Altibox and Elisa.

“Inspired in part by shared learnings from two successful iterations of ‘Mega Movie Week’ managed in the U.K. by DEGN’s sister association, Digital Entertainment Group International, and by the evolution of previous Scandinavian consumer education campaigns, the DEGN’s ‘Mega Movie Week’ campaign drives awareness for a range of compelling consumer offers aimed at encouraging consumer trial of digital transactional services,” according to DEGN.

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The campaign will be supported by a targeted, multi-territory online media campaign, with digital platforms driving further engagement through a range of on- and off-platform activity and a suite of CRM plans to keep new audiences engaged beyond the week-long campaign, according to DEGN.

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“’Mega Movie Week’ represents an unprecedented collective vision from Nordic territories to embrace an opportunity to capitalize on the growth of digital transaction by encouraging engagement through a compelling, limited time offer,” said Johan Mannerhill, DEGN chair and managing director, Nordic, at Warner Bros. Entertainment, in a statement. “The campaign is the perfect way to drive engagement with the ease of digital purchase and to increase awareness of the benefits it offers. We hope to build upon the learnings from previous ‘Mega Movie Week’ activations spearheaded by the DEGI, at the same time developing a powerful activation wholly relevant to local markets.”

More details on the program are here:

  • DK (Denmark)
  • FI (Finland)
  • SE (Sweden)
  • NO (Norway)

Offers and platforms will vary across territories taking part.