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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Movies Anywhere and Data

Overlooked in the quibbles with digital rights collection service Movies Anywhere (Why no TV shows? Where are Paramount and Lionsgate?) is a potential killer app that those in the transactional business may have overlooked — data.

At last month’s Entertainment Merchants Association OTT_X@ Pipeline 2019 conference in Los Angeles, Movies Anywhere GM Karin Gilford noted, “We’re using data in a ton of ways.

“We’re using a lot of the same in­dustry data that you guys consume to make product decisions and now complementing that with robust usage data that we have in the app,” she said.

Usage data, that is the key. Nev­er before has the industry had cross-studio, cross-retailer usage data like this. It’s gold.

Subscription video-on-demand data from Netflix and Amazon Prime are closely guarded by those services, which may be part of the reason why the impending Disney+, Apple TV+ and others are charging a nominal sub fee to gather customers and data.

Movies Anywhere is a “Netflix for transactional,” an unprecedent­ed view into the buying habits and libraries of movie collectors. And Gilford noted that the service is add­ing theatrical information, including Rotten Tomatoes ratings, to gauge which films consumers most desire.

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“Studios having visibility into that data is going to make for a more powerful home entertainment busi­ness and a more powerful EST busi­ness,” Gilford said.

Yes, data is power. Just ask Face­book and Google.

Movies Anywhere Launches on Verizon Fios

Movies Anywhere — the digital movie collection app — is now available to Verizon Fios TV customers.

Media Play News first reported the impending deal Sept. 25.

Fios TV customers with purchased movie titles from participating studios — Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Walt Disney Studios (encompassing Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment — can collect their library on Movies Anywhere.

Movies purchased from other participating digital retailers, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu/Walmart, Google Play/YouTube, Microsoft Movies & TV, and Fandango Now, will also be available for playback through Verizon Fios.

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To join Movies Anywhere, Fios customers can:

  • visit com/moviesanywhere or MoviesAnywhere.com to sign up for a free Movies Anywhere account;
  • connect Fios and other participating digital retailer accounts;
  • see eligible purchased and redeemed movies appear on Movies Anywhere and on all synced accounts;
  • go to “My Stuff” to watch on Fios TV On Demand; and
  • continue to grow their library by purchasing eligible movies on Fios On Demand through their set-top-box, online, the Fios TV app or by selecting Verizon through the Movies Anywhere website or app for mobile and connected TV devices.

 

Movies Anywhere is a free app that lets consumer bring their purchased digital movies from various digital retailers into one place.

Mob Drama ‘The Kitchen’ Due on Digital Oct. 22, Disc Nov. 5 From Warner

The female-driven mob drama The Kitchen arrives on digital (including Movies Anywhere) Oct. 22 and Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 5 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Based on the Vertigo comic book series from DC Entertainment, the film stars Oscar nominee Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Tammy), Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip, Night School) and Elisabeth Moss (TV’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” TV’s “Mad Men”) as three 1978 Hell’s Kitchen housewives whose mobster husbands are sent to prison by the FBI. The three women take business into their own hands by running the rackets and taking out the competition.

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The film, which earned $12.2 million in domestic theaters, is written and directed by Andrea Berloff, who was nominated for an Oscar for Original Screenplay for Straight Outta Compton.

Extras on Blu-ray include “Running Hell’s Kitchen,” “Taking Over the Neighborhood,” and a deleted scene. “Running Hell’s Kitchen” is included on the DVD.

Movies Anywhere Adding Eighth Retail Partner, Rolling Out Ad Campaign as Users Hit 8 Million

As Movies Anywhere approaches its second anniversary in October, the movie library collection service boasts 8 million registered users; 7,800 titles; and 200 million movies stored — and it is poised to add an eighth retail partner, Verizon.

Movies Anywhere GM Karin Gilford noted these milestones during a presentation at the Entertainment Merchants Association’s OTT_X@Pipeline 2019 conference in Los Angeles Sept. 25.

Retail partnerships, such as the new deal with Verizon, are important to improving the overall experience, she said.

“On a day to day basis, we are working with them so that how we connect to the overall ecosystem is smooth,” she said.

Details on the Verizon pact are to come.

A key mission of the Movies Anywhere is to “drive purchasing habits,” she said.

“We want to drive transactions, obviously, but we want to make it a habit,” Gilford said. “We want to make it fun to build a collection. We want to have a great place to house that collection. We want make it really accessible everywhere you are.”

Service research shows that “once people use Movies Anywhere … they buy more movies,” she said.

The service has recently stepped up marketing.

“We launched a new advertising campaign that just kicked off a couple of weeks ago,” she said.

The campaign has rolled out on TV/OTT (cable channels via Simulmedia, Roku, FireTV); in theaters (via National CineMedia); in airports (LAX, JFK digital signage plus the Boingo wifi service); and online channels including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. An advertorial campaign is rolling out through October on channels such as Vox, Fandom and Twitch.

The blitz is designed to plant a flag in an increasingly crowded digital entertainment universe.

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“We want to establish [Movies Anywhere] as differentiated from the SVOD services that are coming,” Gilford said, alluding to the impending launches of Disney+ and Apple TV+, among others.

 

Movies Anywhere welcome page

Gilford showed the new 30-second spot for the service, as well as aspects of the welcome page.

The service designed the welcome page to greet consumers with “a really conversational approach,” she said and to make clear what Movies Anywhere provides.

“A lot of consumers don’t understand the economics and the business models that power the entertainment industry,” she said. “Why do you have to have ads in these episodes? Wait, all of these movies aren’t free? Those things do still come up even in 2019, and so it is really important, especially for something like Movies Anywhere, to be very clear about what we’re doing, what type of content is in here and what the mission is.”

The service has added new features, including 4K with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos,  and a “Deals” section that calls out special offers from partner studios and retailers. The “Deals” feature came out of an analysis of data from the service showing a usage spike when there were special offers in the marketplace.

Movies Anywhere is also using data to inform studios about usage patterns in a way previously unavailable and is beginning to use data to customize the user experience.

“Studios having visibility into that data is going to make for a more powerful home entertainment business and a more powerful EST business,” she said.

While Movies Anywhere is backed by several major studios (Disney, Fox, Sony, Universal and Warner)  prominently featured on the welcome page, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate are not part of the service, which also does not feature television programming.

Retail partners include iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, Walmart’s Vudu, Xfinity, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV and FandangoNow.

Comcast Offering Xfinity Flex (Including Movies Anywhere) Free to Subscribers

Comcast Cable earlier this year launched Xfinity Flex, a $5 monthly add-on streaming platform enabling broadband-only subscribers easier access to online content apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Now, among others.

Comcast is now offering Flex free to broadband subs, providing new and existing customers with the ability to access third-party streaming services and manage their connected home devices right on the TV.

Xfinity Flex leverages X1 technology with an Internet-connected, 4K UHD streaming TV device, Xfinity voice remote, a redesigned guide, and more than 10,000 free movies and TV shows.

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The Flex set-top box is included, along with the Xfinity Voice Remote, as part of an Xfinity Internet-only subscription. Additional boxes will be available to lease for $5 per month per box (limit of two boxes per customer).

“Xfinity Flex gives customers a radically simple, aggregated television experience that personalizes their streaming choices across a sea of apps and services,” Matt Strauss, EVP, Xfinity Services, Comcast Cable, said in a statement.

Xfinity Flex’s myriad features include:

• A personalized guide with universal voice control, featuring a new home page with live, immersive tiles that help customers quickly get back into what they were watching;

• A new “Free to Me” destination where customers can easily browse more than 10,000 free movies and TV shows, and live streaming including live news and sports, from networks such as ESPN3, Pluto TV, Tubi TV, Xumo, Cheddar, YouTube, Sky News, in addition to all the content included with their streaming subscriptions from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, HBO, Showtime, EPIX, Sling International and soon Peacock and Hulu;

• A new grid guide that compiles available live programming across networks and apps, and a curated destination for everything new to the platform;

• The ability to rent and purchase thousands of movies and shows from the digital store and access their digital lockers across platforms by pairing their account with home entertainment studios’ Movies Anywhere;

• The ability to browse and listen to music from Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, and XITE using the voice remote;

• The ability to upgrade to Xfinity TV on X1 from the guide later this year, which offers hundreds of live channels, tens of thousands of on demand titles, and a cloud DVR;

• Xfinity Flex also provides customers with an easy way to better manage, control and enjoy the connected home by enabling them to easily access their entertainment, find their wi-fi password, see what devices are connected to their network, set parental controls, and evenpause wi-fi access on their home network;

• Subs also can use voice control to access their camera feeds, arm or disarm their home security system and find their Xfinity Mobile phone — all on the TV.

“Today’s Internet customers need more than speed … simplified control of their connected home, and the best streaming experience,” Strauss said. “With Xfinity xFi and Xfinity Flex, we are including all of that and more with our Internet service, all in one place, on the best screen in the home.”

Actioner ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Speeds to Digital Oct. 15, Disc Nov. 5 Including 4K

The actioner Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw will come out on digital Oct. 15 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Nov. 5 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Franchise favorites Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson, Skyscraper, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham, The Meg, Spy) forge an unlikely partnership that provides fresh insight into their backstories with action across the globe, from Los Angeles to London and from the toxic wasteland of Chernobyl to Samoa. For years, hulking lawman Hobbs and lawless outcast Shaw have traded smack talk and body blows. But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton Lorr (Idris Elba, Thor: Ragnarok, The Dark Tower) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever, Hobbs and Shaw must partner up to bring him down.

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Joining the cast as Shaw’s sister Hattie is Vanessa Kirby (Mission: Impossible-Fallout, “The Crown”).

Directed by David Leitch from a story by longtime “Fast & Furious” franchise narrative architect Chris Morgan and a screenplay by Morgan and Drew Pearce (Mission: Impossible – Rogue NationIron Man 3), Hobbs & Shaw is produced by Johnson, Statham, Morgan and Hiram Garcia (SkyscraperRampage).

The film has earned more than $680 million at the global box office.

Hobbs & Shaw features more than 80 minutes (on digital, 4K UHD, Blu-ray) of bonus content, including an alternate opening; deleted, extended and alternate scenes; several featurettes with the filmmakers and cast that take fans further into the story; and an audio commentary by Leitch.

The 4K UHD version includes dynamic metadata feature HDR10+. The digital version is available on Movies Anywhere.

Movies Anywhere to Support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos Beginning With ‘Avengers: Endgame’ and Other Titles July 30

Movies Anywhere will begin supporting Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound beginning with the July 30 digital release of Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Endgame.

Consumers who have purchased 4K Ultra HD titles from participating digital retailers or are activating a Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD digital code will be able to stream in these entertainment experiences using Movies Anywhere on connected TVs.

Recently released titles Alita: Battle Angel from Twentieth Century Fox, Aquaman and Pokémon Detective Pikachu from Warner Bros., and Miss Bala from Sony Pictures Entertainment will also be available in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos July 30.

Additional previously released films from Movies Anywhere-backed studios are also being added and will be available throughout the summer and into the fall.

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“We will always strive to deliver the best playback technology possible for movie purchasers who are passionate about quality,” said Karin Gilford, GM, Movies Anywhere, in a statement. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos deliver an exceptional home viewing experience, while staying true to filmmakers’ creative intent and vision. This is part of our ongoing commitment to super serve movie fans with the films they love, when, where and how they want to watch them.”

Dolby Vision offers high dynamic range 4K experiences, with increased brightness, contrast, color and detail, according to Movies Anywhere, while Dolby Atmos offers moving audio that flows all around listeners.

Zombie Comedy ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ Rises on Digital Sept. 3, Disc Sept. 10 From Universal

The zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die will stalk to digital (including Movies Anywhere) Sept. 3 and Blu-ray, DVD and on demand Sept. 10 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Directed by indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, the film stars Bill Murray (Olive Kitteridge, Lost in Translation, Ghostbusters), Adam Driver (Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, BlacKkKlansman) and Chloë Sevigny (“The Act,” Boys Don’t Cry) alongside an ensemble cast that includes Tilda Swinton (SuspiriaTrainwreck), Steve Buscemi (Hotel Transylvania Series, Fargo), Danny Glover (Proud MaryLethal Weapon Series), Caleb Landry Jones (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MissouriGet Out), Rosie Perez (“Pure,” White Men Can’t Jump), Iggy Pop (Gimme DangerCoffee and Cigarettes), Sara Driver (Stranger than Paradise), RZA (“Snowfall,” The Man with the Iron Fists 2), Selena Gomez (Hotel Transylvania Series, Spring Breakers), Carol Kane (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” Dog Day Afternoon), Austin Butler (The Intruders, “Arrow”), Luka Sabbat (“Grown-ish”) and Tom Waits (The Ballad of Buster ScruggsThe Book of Eli).

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In the sleepy small town of Centerville, something is not quite right. The moon hangs large and low in the sky, the hours of daylight are becoming unpredictable and animals are beginning to exhibit unusual behavior. No one foresees the strangest and most dangerous repercussion that will soon start plaguing the town. The dead rise from their graves and savagely attack and feast on the living — and the citizens must battle for their survival.

Bonus features on Blu-ray, DVD and digital include “Bill Murray: Zombie Hunting Action Star,” in which Murray discusses his fear of being typecast as an action hero; “Behind-the-Scenes of The Dead Don’t Die”; and “Stick Together,” in which Jarmusch’s frequent collaborators talk about his filmmaking style and what makes The Dead Don’t Die stand out from other zombie films.

Disney to Bow Live-Action ‘Aladdin’ and Animated Classic on Digital Aug. 27, Disc Sept. 10 Including 4K

The live-action adaptation of the animated classic Aladdin lands in homes on digital HD and 4K (including Movies Anywhere) Aug. 27 and 4K Ultra HD disc, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 10 from Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International.

At the same time, the original animated classic Aladdin will come out on digital HD and 4K (including Movies Anywhere) Aug. 27 and 4K Ultra HD disc, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 10, joining the Walt Disney Signature Collection. Aladdin is the 10th title to join the classic collection.

Starring Will Smith, Naomi Scott and Mena Massoud, the live action film, which earned $341.9 million at the domestic box office, follows the tale of the lovable “street rat” Aladdin (Massoud), courageous and self-determined Princess Jasmine (Scott), and the larger-than-life Genie (Smith).

The digital presell includes the bonus feature “Make Way for Prince Ali,” a look at the design of the scene in the movie. As a digital exclusive bonus, consumers get “Speechless: Creating a New Song for Jasmine,” about the song written especially for the live-action film.

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Other bonus features for the live-action film on Blu-ray and digital include:

  • “Aladdin’s Video Journal: A New Fantastic Point of View,” featuring behind-the-scenes moments captured by Massoud (Aladdin);
  • the deleted song “Desert Moon,” a duet performed by Jasmine and Aladdin, fully shot and edited, with an introduction by composer Alan Menken;
  • “Guy Ritchie: A Cinematic Genie,” about the director;
  • “A Friend Like Genie,” about Smith’s performance;
  • deleted scenes;
  • bloopers;
  • and music videos for “Speechless” performed by Naomi Scott, “A Whole New World” performed by ZAYN and Zhavia Ward, and “A Whole New World” (“Un Mundo Ideal”) performed by ZAYN and Becky G.

 

The animated classic Aladdin Blu-ray and digital releases include 40 bonus features from previous releases as well as new features:

  • “Sing Along With the Movie,” with on-screen lyrics;
  • “Aladdin on Aladdin,” featuring the speaking voice of Aladdin, Scott Weinger (“Fuller House”), as he reflects on almost 30 years of being Aladdin;
  • “Let’s Not Be Too Hasty: The Voices of Aladdin,”about the voice actors;
  • and alternate endings.

 

A digital exclusive bonus is “Drawing Genie,” following animator Eric Goldberg as he draws and reminisces about the Genie.