‘MPN’ Opens Nominations for FAST30, Honoring Key Players in FAST

Media Play News is launching a new annual feature in the May issue of its monthly magazine that will spotlight 30 key players in the free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) segment of the streaming entertainment business.

It’s part of the publication’s ongoing initiative to bring attention to the people, and faces, behind the various components of the home entertainment industry, from content to technology.

“As one of the five major Hollywood trades and the only one to focus on home entertainment distribution, it’s our mission to let everyone know not just where the business is heading, but who’s driving it,” said Thomas K. Arnold, publisher and editorial director of Media Play News.

For what’s being called “FAST30,” Media Play News is partnering with Whip Media, an entertainment software content performance reporting platform and data provider. Whip Media will host a party for the honorees and assist in the judging.

Nominations are now open for FAST30, and a panel of judges will then narrow does the list of nominees to 30 finalists, who will be profiled in the May 2024 issue of Media Play News. A week after the feature appears in the magazine, it will be posted online to the Media Play News website.

“Whip Media is thrilled to partner with Media Play News in honoring 30 key people in FAST,” said Carol Hanley, CEO of Whip Media. “FAST is revolutionizing the way we consume media, democratizing access to content and offering viewers a wealth of choices without the price barrier. It’s imperative we recognize and honor the visionaries behind these FAST platforms and channels.”

The nomination form may be accessed here. Nominations close April 12.

Nomination Period is Open for 2024 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the annual Home Entertainment Media Play Awards, which for the seventh year is being presented by Media Play News.

Nominations for the awards — which honor the best movies, series and other content aimed at home audiences released during 2023, from streaming to TVOD to disc — are due from participating studios, distributors and content creators Feb. 9.

Winners in all categories will then be determined by a blue-ribbon panel of industry experts in conjunction with a consumer vote. Voting will take place in March and the winners will be announced in April.

The awards cover a wide array of home entertainment options, including streaming, from SVOD to AVOD and FAST; DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray; premium video-on-demand (PVOD) and digital sellthrough. 

Submit your entries for the 2024 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards here

“Best of show” winners are then selected from among all eligible submissions for Packaged-Media Title of the Year, TV Disc Release of the Year and Best Blu-ray Disc. A “Fan-Favorite” trophy also will be awarded for the single title receiving the most consumer votes. Judges may also present awards based on special merit.

Last year’s Home Entertainment Media Play Awards saw Paramount Home Entertainment’s The Godfather Trilogy 50 Years Collector’s Edition take Title of the Year and Best Movie Boxed Set.

Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick spearheaded a haul of nine awards. The fighter pilot actioner won Best Fan-Favorite Title of the Year, Best New Movie on Disc, Best 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, Best Audio/Visual Quality, Best Action/Adventure Release, Best Digital Sellthrough Release, and Best Marketing Initiative for promotional efforts at a NASCAR event. A two-movie boxed set of the 1986 original Top Gun and the sequel won Blu-ray Disc of the Year and Best Packaging.

Among other major awards, Sony Pictures’ Better Call Saul: The Complete Series won TV on Disc of the Year, as well as Best Complete-Series Set. Universal Pictures’ E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial 40th anniversary 4K release won Best Catalog Movie on Disc, and Warner’s House of the Dragon: Season One won Best Recent TV Season on Disc.

On the digital side, Paramount’s Orphan: First Kill was named Best PVOD Release. Among stream­ing content, Shout! Factory TV was named Best Niche Streaming Channel, while Disney+ took Best Major SVOD Original Series with season one of the “Star Wars” series “Andor.”

Overall, this is the 14th edition of the annual home entertainment awards.

‘Media Play News’ Print Magazine Revamps Research Layout

The monthly Media Play News print magazine has revamped the layout of its research pages to better reflect the dominance of streaming over the home entertainment landscape.

Beginning with the October 2023 issue of Media Play News, the new layout continues to group data into weekly clusters. The first page at the top will offer the latest week of data from streaming tracking sites such as Whip Media, Samba TV and Reelgood, with top 10 listings of the most-watched TV shows and movies on SVOD services, presented as a snapshot for readers to compare what is being reported as the top titles. The bottom of the page will offer top 10 charts for disc sales and rentals. Disc sales data is provided by Circana VideoScan, with rental data provided by Redbox. Also featured is a chart of the top 10 transactional digital titles according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment as reported by GfK Entertainment.

Subsequent pages will continue to offer these charts from earlier weeks since the prior issue.

The new layout also color codes the charts for easy visual reference: shades of black for streaming, blue for disc, and green for transactional digital.

Previously, since Media Play News was launched in January 2018, the opening page of the research section focused on physical media, with top 20 charts for combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, Blu-ray sales specifically, and disc rentals, covering the most recent week prior to the issue’s publication. These charts were accompanied by a brief story recapping the results.

A second page would list the disc sales and rental charts for earlier weeks that elapsed since the previous issue was printed. A third page offered a line chart comparing two months of tracked disc sale revenue year over year, as well as a snapshot of the top titles from transactional digital retailers in the month or so prior to the issue’s publication.

“As the only one of the five Hollywood trades to focus exclusively on distribution of content to the home, both streaming and transactional, we felt it was high time to reinvent our charts to better reflect the realities of the business,” said Media Play News publisher Thomas K. Arnold.

The Media Play News monthly magazine is available in a printed tabloid format via subscription or special order, and online in a browsable digital edition that can be downloaded as a PDF. 

The print charts are distillations from data posted weekly at MediaPlayNews.com compiled from numerous industry data gathering and retail sources. The revamped print layout of the research section will not change the presentation of data on the MPN website. The printed revenue line chart and the story recap have been discontinued, although a weekly research story will continue to be available online.

Celebrating the Media Play News 40 Under 40, Class of 2023

For the third year, Media Play News partnered with DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group to celebrate this year’s 40 Under 40 with a cocktail party at the Skirball Cultural Center’s Garden Terrace in Los Angeles on Sept. 7. More than 100 guests attended the event, which included congratulatory remarks from MPN publisher Thomas K. Arnold, DEG president and CEO Amy Jo Smith and Lionsgate’s Adam Frank, recently promoted to EVP of global partner management, sales and distribution. (All photos by Media Play News staff.)

This Week’s MPN Podcast: Most Anticipated Movies, Shows; Interview With Fandango’s Erik Davis

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley dive into the most anticipated new and returning shows coming to streaming in February, as well as the 10 most-anticipated movies.

Surprisingly, network TV’s offerings dominate the new shows coming this month, with ABC and Fox debuting four of the five most anticipated items from the list. Charlie is looking forward to the new season of “You,” coming to Netflix, which is what you would get if you crossed a sappy Lifetime movie with a staple Netflix serial killer docuseries. 

Among new movies, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania leads the list. Both hosts, however, are skeptical of its level of success, with not much chatter online. If nothing else, once it releases mid-February it will finally unseat Avatar: The Way of Water, which has led every box office weekend since its debut and has grossed over $2 billion worldwide, making it the No. 4 highest-grossing movie of all time.

The MPN Podcast features its first interview with Erik Davis, editor at Fandango, who talks with Charlie about several Oscar nominees that are currently available on Vudu. Erik shares his thoughts about movies such as The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All at Once, Top Gun: Maverick, and many others, as well as his predictions for who will win their respective categories. His most exciting prediction? A tie for Best Actress between Michelle Yo and Cate Blanchett for Everything Everywhere All at Once and Tár, respectively.

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Nomination Period is Open for 2023 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the annual Home Entertainment Media Play Awards, which for the sixth year is being presented by Media Play News.

Nominations for the awards — which honor the best movies, series and other content aimed at home audiences released during 2022, from streaming to TVOD to disc — are due from participating studios, distributors and content creators Feb. 17.

Winners in all categories will then be determined by a blue-ribbon panel of industry experts in conjunction with a consumer vote. Voting will take place in March and the winners will be announced in April.

The awards cover a wide array of home entertainment options, including streaming, from SVOD to AVOD and FAST; DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray; premium video-on-demand (PVOD) and digital sellthrough. 

Submit your entries for the 2023 Home Entertainment Media Play Awards here

“Best of show” winners are then selected from among all eligible submissions for Packaged-Media Title of the Year, TV Disc Release of the Year and Best Blu-ray Disc. A “Fan-Favorite” trophy also will be awarded for the single title receiving the most consumer votes. Judges may also present awards based on special merit.

Last year’s Home Entertainment Media Play Awards saw Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Middle-Earth Ultimate Collector’s Edition voted Title of the Year. The set also won Blu-ray Disc of the Year, Best Movie Collection and Best Packaging.

Funimation’s Robotech: Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Disc won TV on Disc of the Year, as well as Best Disc Release of a Vintage TV Series.

The Fan-Favorite Title of the Year was Paramount Home Entertainment’s A Quiet Place Part II.

On the digital side, Paramount’s Yellowstone: Season Four took Best Digital Sellthrough Release, while another Paramount release, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, was named Best PVOD Release.

Among stream­ing content, Apple TV+ took Best New Streaming Movie with CODA and Best Season of a Scripted Series with season two of “For All Mankind.”

PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel was named Best Niche Streaming Channel.

Overall, this is the 13th edition of the annual home entertainment awards.

This Week’s MPN Podcast: December’s Most Anticipated Shows and Movies; ‘The Peripheral’ and ‘1899’ Wrapped Up; Best Shows of 2022

 

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News Podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley introduce a new segment to the show: looking ahead to the coming month’s most anticipated streaming shows and movies, according to data collected by Whip Media. With 20 items on the list, there’s plenty for the hosts to chew on, and they share their opinions on what is worth looking forward to and what can be skipped. There’s plenty of Avatar 2 discussion as its premiere approaches and, to no one’s surprise, it’s the No. 1 most anticipated movie of December.

Charlie sums up his thoughts with “The Peripheral” and “1899” now that he’s finished both series. In summation, the former is a promising new sci-fi show with the potential to become great, but the latter doesn’t live up to its premise and, in the host’s opinion, fails to be consistent with its storytelling. Charles talks about a fun YouTube channel, “Watcher,” which has a recurring series “Puppet History,” consisting of exactly what the title implies: historical events reenacted by puppets.

Looking backward in time, Charlie and Charles dissect a list of top shows from 2022 according to The Economist, along with shows they themselves liked most. Stay tuned to the end to hear what is worth revisiting from this past year!

This Week’s MPN Podcast: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special’ Review; ‘The Peripheral’ and ‘1899’, Overhyped or Worth it?

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley run through a lightning round of reviews for shows they’ve been watching. First up is The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special, which John Latchem reviewed for MPN. Charles shares his thoughts about it, as well as a quick recap of the Marvel Phase 4 set of movies and shows, as this special concludes that series. He also gives his predictions for what to expect in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, James Gunn’s final Marvel-directed movie before committing fully to leading the DC franchise at Warner Bros.

Afterward, Charlie updates listeners on his progress through the Amazon Prime series “The Peripheral” as well as the new cerebral Netflix drama “1899.” The former has proven to be a solid new sci-fi series, but, as for the latter, according to Charlie, it’s off to a rocky start.

At the box office, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever unsurprisingly still took the No. 1 spot over the long Thanksgiving weekend. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery debuted on a limited number of screens but didn’t make a big splash. The hosts, who are both huge fans of the original, expect it to do extremely well on Netflix when it makes its streaming debut in late December. But looming on the box office horizon is the juggernaut Avatar: The Way of Water. It’s no question as to whether it will dominate ticket sales when it finally drops; the question is, exactly how much.

Lastly, the hosts cover an article announcing that Amazon has ordered a miniseries to cover the recent collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, to be produced by the Russo brothers. Charlie follows that particular tech sector closely and gives some context for the collapse, and the trend of studios to produce miniseries about similarly spectacular implosions of tech companies like Uber, WeWork and Theranos.

This Week’s Podcast: ‘Dual,’ ‘South Park’ Reviews; Weekend Box Office Report

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover the sleeper sci-fi film Dual, starring Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul. Gillan plays two parts simultaneously, the protagonist of the movie and the clone of said protagonist. It’s an interesting premise that didn’t get much attention when it was originally released. Following up is a review of both parts of South Park: The Streaming Wars, which touches (or beats the viewer over the head with) the absurdity of studios creating content for multiple streaming platforms. In typical South Park fashion, it’s done in hilarious and creative ways. (Both reviews are written by John Latchem.)
 
Lastly, in the weekend box office numbers, Jordan Peele’s third film, Nope, debuted in the No. 1 spot, the first film to unseat Thor: Love and Thunder as the weekend’s top grossing feature
 
Keep an eye on the podcast feed for our upcoming special report from 2022’s Comic-Con!

‘Media Play News’ to Celebrate 25 Years of Digital Entertainment

To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the U.S. launch of DVD, Media Play News is producing a special project celebrating DVD’s legacy and chronicling the digital revolution in entertainment that it triggered.

“Without DVD, there would be no digital delivery of movies, no streaming, no Netflix,” said Media Play News publisher and editorial director Thomas K. Arnold. “DVD was not just the most successful consumer electronics product launch in history, but it also led to the mass digitization of content, particularly on the library side, which opened the door to every avenue of digital delivery we have today, including streaming.

“And let’s not forget that Netflix began life as a DVD-by-mail rental service.”

The project, “25 Years of Digital Entertainment,” will consist of a detailed chronology that will be split between March and April issues of Media Play News, and feature exclusive interviews with such key players as Warren Lieberfarb, the father of DVD, and Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Co.

“25 Years of Digital Entertainment, Part 1: The Disc That Changed the World” will focus on the development, launch and subsequent success of DVD as well as its two successor formats, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD.

“25 Years of Digital Entertainment, Part 2: The Digital Stream” will chronicle the history of digital distribution, from its cable pay-per-view roots to the first attempts to deliver video-on-demand by the telcos right up to the present surge in subscription streaming.

Media Play News also is producing a series of podcasts that will be available on Spotify, Apple and other leading platforms, as well as a commemorative book.

In addition, essays by industry leaders reflecting on the DVD launch and its legacy will be published online throughout March and April and also will be included in the book.