FandangoNow Lists Top 2018 ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ Movies for Rent, Purchase

FandangoNow, NBC Universal’s transactional VOD platform, Dec. 14announced an all-new curated list from RottenTomatoes of Rotten Movies We Loved From 2018!

The list features films that may not have been certified fresh, but scored big in ticket sales at the box office and on Fandango’s streaming service. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Venom, Book Club (Paramount Home Media Distribution) and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Rampage were among the films to make the cut.

Consumers who purchase tickets from Fandango to animated Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, can also own Venom for $10 from FandangoNow through Dec. 16.

Currently the top new movies available on digital, according to Fandango’s streaming service, FandangoNOW, are as follows:

Top-New Titles to Rent:

  1. “Equalizer 2”
  2. “Smallfoot”
  3. “Peppermint”
  4. “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”
  5. “Crazy Rich Asians

Top-Selling New Titles to Own:

  1. “Venom”
  2. “Night School”
  3. “A Simple Favor”
  4. “White Boy Rick”
  5. “Smallfoot”

Rotten Movies We Loved from 2018:

  1. “Unfriended: Dark Web” (2018) – 57%
  2. “Slice” (2018) – 56%
  3. “The First Purge” (2018) – 54%
  4. “Book Club” (2018) – 53%
  5. “Rampage” (2018) – 52%
  6. “Tomb Raider” (2018) – 51%
  7. “The Spy Who Dumped Me” (2018) – 49%
  8. “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” (2018) – 48%
  9. “Skyscraper” (2018) – 46%
  10. “The Meg” (2018) – 46%
  11. “A Wrinkle In Time” (2018) – 42%
  12. “The Strangers: Prey At Night” (2018) – 40%
  13. “The Girl In The Spider’s Web” (2018) – 40%
  14. “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald” (2018) – 38%
  15. “I Feel Pretty” (2018) – 34%
  16. “Venom” (2018) – 28%
  17. “The Nun” (2018) – 24%
  18. “Life Itself” – 16%



FandangoNow Bows Top Xmas Horror Movies

Who knew Santa Claus and the Grim Reaper were frenemies?

FandangoNow, NBC Universal’s transactional VOD platform, Dec. 12 released its list of  the Top 25 Christmas Horror Movies of All Time available to rent or buy.

Featuring a variety of festive frights, including Gremlins, Anna and the Apocalypse and Better Watch Out, holiday movie consumers can peruse a heavy dose of yuletide terror. The mix of fan-favorite classics and new movies rounds out a list of titles that are “Certified Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes (movies scoring 75% or higher on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer scale).

The specially-curated list is available to movie fans now throughout the month of December.

Top 25 Christmas Horror Movies on FandangoNOW:

  1. Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale
  2. Better Watch Out
  3. Anna and the Apocalypse
  4. Gremlins
  5. Christmas Evil
  6. A Christmas Horror Story
  7. The Children (2008)
  8. El Día de la bestia (The Day of the Beast)
  9. Dead End
  10. Black Christmas (1974)
  11. Krampus
  12. Silent Night
  13. The Gingerdead Man
  14. Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?
  15. Saint (2010)
  16. Wind Chill
  17. Red Christmas
  18. P2
  19. While She Was Out (2008)
  20. Silent Night, Deadly Night
  21. Black Christmas (2006)
  22. ATM
  23. Jack Frost (1997)
  24. Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2
  25. The DormThat Dripped Blood



Snap Licenses Video Content from Britain’s Barcroft Media

Snap has licensed eight series from British digital reality TV content creator Barcroft Media.

Shows, which include “Ridiculous Rides,” “Snapped in the Wild,” “Beast Buddies,” “Born Different,” “Dog Dynasty,” “Hooked on the Look,” “Outrageous Homes,” and “Shake My Beauty,” are geared toward younger audiences using mobile devices.

Indeed, “Born Different,” which bowed online Oct. 30 featuring an 11-year-old with an aging condition, reportedly generated 5.2 million views in the first 24 hours.

“We’re really excited about this partnership with Snapchat and to be growing our popular series brands with new young audiences on another one of the world’s premier content platforms,” Alex Morris, creative director of Barcroft Media, said in a statement. “The initial response from Snapchatters around the world has been fantastic.”

The social media app last month announced the launch of Snap Originals and the debut of serialized programming, including its first formal slate of scripted shows and docuseries from Bunim/Murray Productions, the Duplass Brothers and Brad Weston’s Makeready, as well as established film and television writers.

Snap also extended its content production commitments with NBC Universal through 2019, and Viacom committed to creating 10 new Snap Originals. Viacom is also syndicating 500 episodes of its network’s shows to the platform.

NBC Reveals 2020 Tokyo Olympics Logo

NBC Oct. 10 revealed the logo it will use for its TV coverage and promotion of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The word “Tokyo” is prominently featured in the primary design with distinctive and custom typography. It is situated between two iconic logos, the NBC peacock and the Olympic rings, along with the year of the Games, “2020.”

The logo, which was created with Los Angeles branding firm Mocean, was designed to honor Japanese traditions – including distinct line forms of the Japanese written language; embrace Tokyo’s modern spirit, and embody the energy of NBC Olympics’ presentation, according to David Barton, art director, NBC Olympics.

“Our branding goal was to develop a logo that honored the rich culture of Japan, while also exploring the vibrant union of art, technology, fashion and pop culture that defines Tokyo today,” Barton said in a statement.

Given the diverse array of platforms in which the logo will appear, the design takes on many forms and color palettes. The logo will be embedded within thousands of hours of linear and digital coverage as well as a company-wide, targeted consumer engagement campaign that will begin more than a year before the Opening Ceremony.

“This will be our most versatile Olympic logo ever,” said Mark Levy, SVP, original content and creative, NBC Sports Group. “From 60-inch television screens to mobile phones, from billboards to apparel, the logo needs to stimulate an emotional response with consumers no matter where they see it, and they are engaging with brands in more places than ever before.”


Snap Bows Original Programming

Social media app Snap Oct. 10 announced the launch of Snap Originals and the debut of serialized programming, including its first formal slate of scripted shows and docuseries from Bunim/Murray Productions, the Duplass Brothers and Brad Weston’s Makeready, as well as established film and television writers.

Snap also announced NBC Universal extended its content production commitments through 2019, and Viacom has committed to creating 10 new Snap Originals. Viacom also committed to syndicating at least 500 episodes of its network’s shows to the platform.

Snap Originals will be available on the app’s Discover page to Snapchat users globally. It is also introducing new product features that will make it easier for viewers to find, watch and interact with programming.

Every Show will have a dedicated profile page where users can find all available episodes and seasons to watch at once. Each ad-supported episode averages five minutes. Snap recently launched a six-second, non-skippable ad format.

The app has also created portals for several of its shows, enabling users to swipe up from an episode and literally walk into a scene and interact with the objects and characters. It has also developed custom interactive lenses that will enable users to share the show experience with their friends.

Since the beginning of the year, Snap said it has nearly tripled the time viewers spend engaging with its video programs.

“Over the last two years, our highly engaged and loyal audience has helped to define what mobile content should look like,” Nick Bell, VP of content at Snap, said in a statement.

The initial launch slate includes:

  • “Endless Summer”- (Bunim/Murray Productions) – Influencers Summer McKeen and Dylan Jordan try to balance love, friends, family, and fame in this intimate snapshot of their lives in Laguna Beach, California. Docuseries launches )ct. 10.
  • “Class of Lies”- (Makeready) – Best friends slash college roommates Devon and Missy crack cold cases on their successful true-crime podcast…but can they solve the most important case of all when their best friend disappears without a trace? Scripted series launches Oct. 10.
  • “Co-ed” (Duplass Brothers’ DBP Donut, Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts) – Juggling classes, parties, and down-the-hall crushes, freshman roommates Ginny and Chris try their best to face whatever college throws at them, discovering who they are along the way. Scripted series launches Oct. 10.
  • “Vivian” (NBCU Digital Lab, The Intellectual Property Corporation in association with Wilhelmina) – Vivian is the youngest model scout at Wilhelmina, one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in the world. She takes us inside this exclusive world where she has the power to make wannabes’ dreams come true — but can she do that for her own? Docuseries launches Oct. 22.
  • “The Dead Girls Detective Agency”- (Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts, Insurrection and Keshet) – This darkly comedic supernatural soap follows Charlotte Feldman, a young woman who must work from beyond to figure out how and why she died, in order to avoid an eternity in purgatory. Based on the young adult novel by Susie Cox. Scripted series launches Oct. 22.
  • “V/H/S”- (Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts and Studio 71) – The next generation of the horror anthology series, bringing four new frightening experiences to the palm of your hand. Scripted series launches Oct. 28.

Six additional series have already been greenlit for production.



NBC Universal Launches User-Incentivized OTT Video Streaming Service

As expected, NBC Universal has launched an over-the-top video streaming service that rewards users for watching content.

Dubbed “WatchBack,” the marketing app targets mobile phone users with free access to new-release TV shows and related social media topics.

To stream content, users must register and generate a profile on the app. After watching entire episodes of NBC-related (i.e. NBC, Fandango, Bravo, E!, Access Hollywood, and CNBC, among others) content, users are automatically entered in a sweepstakes to win $100.

“The long-term goal of WatchBack is to make it just a little easier for consumers to try out new programs for the first time and create fans for us and our partners,” Andrew Hanna, VP of insights and strategy at NBC Universal The Hollywood Reporter.

The app mirrors Verizon’s short-lived go90 streaming app that attempted to meld younger mobile consumers with target original content. Go90 lasted less than three years, generated about $1 billion in losses for Verizon, and left a stain on former chairman/CEO Lowell McAdam’s legacy.



PGA Tour and NBC Sports Ink OTT Video Deal

The PGA Tour and NBC Sports Group July 31 announced a new multi-year digital partnership that makes NBC Sports Gold, the network’s digital direct-to-consumer live streaming product, the domestic home of PGA Tour Live, the PGA’s over-the-top subscription video service.

The partnership – which begins in 2019 – includes rights to all PGA Tour Live pre-weekend morning coverage from 28 events, starting with the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, featuring The Players in March, and running through the FedExCup Playoffs in August.

“Moving PGA Tour Live over to NBC Sports Gold represents the next evolution of our product,” Rick Anderson, chief media officer of the PGA Tour, said in a statement. “Not only will Golf Channel and NBC Sports be promoting PGA Tour Live to millions of television and digital viewers, but also, [OTT video service] will now be available on several new connected TV devices due to NBC Sports’ expanded platform distribution.”

Since launching in 2015, PGA Tour Live features exclusive coverage on Thursday and Friday mornings of morning marquee player groups. The platform also features real-time video highlights, complete round replays and tournament recap programming.

NBC Sports Gold bowed in 2016 as an over-the-top video service complementing NBC Sports’ broadcast and cable distribution. The service sells SVOD packages for the Tour de France, Premier League, Rugby World Cup, Boston Marathon, Pro Motocross and coming in 2019, IndyCar, among others.

PGA Tour Live will be available on desktop, Android and iOS Devices, Apple TV; and will expand to Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, and Roku next year.

In 2019, PGA Tour Live plans to stream more than 360 hours of subscription coverage, as well as hundreds of hours of free “featured holes” coverage, complementing televised coverage from 28 PGA TOUR events next year. PGA Tour Entertainment will continue to produce the live coverage


CNBC: Comcast Unlikely to Increase Fox Bid, Focusing Instead on Sky

Comcast Corp. reportedly is not considering raising its $65 billion cash offer to top Disney’s current $71.3 billion bid for select 21st Century Fox assets, including 20th Century Fox Film and Fox’s 39% stake in British satellite TV operator Sky.

Citing sources familiar with the situation, CNBC (which is owned by Comcast’s NBC Universal) July 16 reported Comcast is putting its efforts and cash on Sky, which has 23 million pay-TV subscribers in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany.

Comcast July 12 upped its offer for Sky to $34 billion (£26 billion), or £14.75 per share, exceeding 21st Century Fox’s revised offer of £14 per share. Comcast claims its superior cash offer has been recommended by an independent committee on Sky’s board of directors.

Regulatory approval could be playing a role in Comcast’s switching priorities. With Department of Justice appealing a judge’s decision greenlighting AT&T’s $85 billion purchase of Time Warner on antitrust issues, Comcast could be hedging its bets, according to CNBC’s David Faber, who broke the story.

In addition, Rupert Murdoch, who controls 39% of 21st Century Fox’s shares, reportedly favors Disney acquiring Fox’s studio assets.

How this impacts Disney’s bid for Fox remains to be seen. Disney CEO Bob Iger has called Sky the “crown jewel” in the Fox deal, which suggests he wouldn’t be amenable to minority ownership.


Research Shows Broadcast Networks Still Highly Desired by Consumers

Despite declines in viewing, broadcast networks top the list for most desired channel groups, according to research from The Diffusion Group.

Diffusion’s national study, Video Viewing Behavior in the Age of Quantum Video, examines preferred network groups by demographics and video behavior. The firm surveyed 2,030 connected consumers as to the five network families they’d prefer to have included in a five-group skinny TV plan. (Respondents were able to see which channels were included in each network group before selecting.) The big four broadcast network groups occupied four of the top five spots, led by NBC Universal (selected by 48%), followed by Fox (41%), Disney/ABC (41%) and CBS (38%).

“Live big-four broadcast viewing is diminishing, as with virtually every major network. This should not imply, however, that their death as brands or as major forces in consumer video is inevitable,” said Michael Greeson, Diffusion’s director of research, in a statement. “The value of their content is immense — top of mind for many viewers.”

The rankings offer important insight into the viability of direct-to-consumer services, according to Diffusion. For example, the fact that the ESPN family failed to rank in the top 10 suggests Disney’s decision to make ESPN Plus a premium add-on to its linear ESPN channel may have been a wise move, the research group noted.

“Many expected ESPN Plus to be the online equivalent of ESPN, but Disney decided that the risk of cannibalizing high-value linear pay-TV subscriptions would create substantial channel conflict and hasten the declines in pay-TV subscriptions,” Greeson stated. “This risk is inherent in the DTC model and must be addressed group by group, even channel by channel.”

For example, though ESPN Plus may be best positioned as a value-add to its live linear pay-TV service, Disney’s family-focused direct-to-consumer service appears destined to follow in the footsteps of CBS All Access – that is, serve as a full-on replacement to its linear channel, with a growing number of high-value titles reserved for the new service, according to Diffusion.

The standings also offer important insight into the viability of a new virtual MVPD entrant, Philo, which is populated by the channels A&E, AMC, Discovery and Viacom, the research firm noted.

“While this may at first glance seem too specialized to gain mass appeal separate from a broadcast bundle, the combination of networks may prove attractive,” according to a Diffusion release. “Keep in mind that A&E was selected as top-five by 37% of connected consumers, AMC by 28%, Viacom by 24% and Scripps by 21%.”

Comcast Rethinking OTT Opposition?

NEWS ANALYSIS – Comcast’s surprise $30.9 billion bid last month for British satellite TV operator Sky may be more than an effort to thwart Disney’s global ambitions. It could signal that the country’s largest cable operator is finally coming to terms with over-the-top video.

In December, Disney announced it would acquire select 21st Century Fox assets, including Sky, for more than $52 billion.

To be sure, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said all the right things: Sky has “great people” and “capable management,” in addition to 23 million subscribers across the U.K., Italy and Germany. What he also admired is Sky’s technological innovation.

After Disney spent billions acquiring New York technology company BAMTech from MLB Advanced Media to further its branded OTT video platforms, Comcast had to reconsider its longstanding opposition to distribution channels other than linear television.

As Netflix revolutionized video distribution by creating the SVOD business model, Comcast responded with TV Everywhere, which attempted to give subscribers on-demand access to programing on digital devices. It then became the first pay-TV operator to offer transactional VOD and digital sell through of Hollywood movies.

While TV Everywhere has finally taken hold with consumers – after lengthy indifference – Netflix has more 117 million subscribers, including 53 million in the United States compared to Comcast’s 21.3 million.

At the same time, executives at Comcast Cable and NBC Universal continued to downplay OTT distribution. In a fiscal call last year, Steve Burke, CEO of NBC Universal, said that while the media company had deals with online TV services such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Hulu Live and YouTube TV, he doubted the platforms would make much of an impact.

“They’re off to a relatively slow start,” Burke said.

Indeed, NBC’s attempt at a standalone OTT comedy platform (SeeSo) shuttered after 18 months.

Neil Smit, former CEO of Comcast Cable, in 2016 infamously declared that he hadn’t seen an “OTT model that really hunts.” Less than a year later Smit stepped down as CEO, replaced by company veteran Dave Watson, whose stance on OTT is only slightly changed from his predecessor’s.

But opinions can change in the face of market reality.

NBC, working with Roku, announced the launch of a reality TV streaming service in the U.K. Dubbed, “hayu,” the service offers more than 5,000 episodes of U.S. and British reality TV shows, including “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” and spin-off, “Life of Kylie,” in addition to “The Real Housewives” and “Million Dollar Listing” franchises.

“[Comcast’s purchase of] Sky brings with it a trove of exclusive content and rights that could be the basis of an OTT service with a genuine moat, capable of rivaling Netflix itself,” analyst Craig Moffett with MoffettNathanson Research wrote in a March 12 note.

Indeed, while Comcast CEO Roberts has embraced Netflix to the point of offering it seamlessly to cable subscribers, he understands well enough that the SVOD pioneer has morphed into much more than global distributor.

“One can assume that Comcast believes that the combination of Sky’s and NBC Universal’s proprietary content will be enough of a deterrent to ensure that the margins available to an OTT provider don’t simply get competed away,” Moffett wrote.