Cinedigm and Jungo TV Bow OTT Channels on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Streaming Service

Cinedigm and Jungo TV July 17 announced the launch of their digital-first linear channels — Combat Go and Asian pop culture network Hallypop – on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s ad-supported streaming service, STIRR.

Combat Go and Hallypop are available now, joining Cinedigm networks CONtv and Dove Channel, which launched on STIRR earlier this year.

Combat Go offers curated content selected by martial arts experts, featuring original docuseries, fight events and martial arts movies.

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Through its partnership with FITE.tv, the network covers combat events from around the globe including MMA, Muay Thai, and kickboxing, and highlights promotions such as RIZIN, Kunlun Fights, and Ring of Honor.

The network recently announced a global content partnership with Black Belt Magazine, the top martial arts magazine.

Hallypop, in partnership with Korean media company SBS International, is features music, lifestyle and entertainment. Highlights include K-pop variety show Inkigayo, with appearances and performances by BTS, Big Bang, IKON, Girls Generation and more.

The STIRR app is accessible on iOS and Android devices, as well as Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV, and online at www.STIRR.com.

“Cinedigm is proud to further our partnership with the innovative STIRR platform, following the positive reception that CONtv and Dove Channel received earlier this year,” Erick Opeka, president of digital networks, said in a statement.

“Combat sports and K-Pop are the fastest growing entertainment verticals in the world and we are proud to be leading the industry in giving audiences access to some of the world’s greatest entertainment properties,” added George Chung, CEO of Jungo TV.

Euro News: Pay-TV to Add 17.7M Subs; Italian Piracy Declines

Despite ongoing consumer migration toward over-the-top video distribution, European pay-TV operators are projected to add 17.7 million subscribers through 2023, according to new data from Dataxis.

How’s that? In Europe, pay-TV consumption is combined with online TV and OTT video (i.e. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video).

Thus, Euro pay-TV growth, which represents an 8.4% increase from the previous-year period, should bring the total to 230 million subs. This growth will be driven by IPTV (+13.1 million subscribers) and OTT (+6.6m), while cable TV should lose 4.6 million subscribers.

Separately, a new study by research firm Ipsos for Italy’s Federation for the Protection of Audiovisual and Multimedia Content found that consumption of pirated video content dropped 8% in 2018.

While the Italian home entertainment consumption of pirated movies, series and TV shows “declined” to 38%, the majority of illegal viewing included movies (33%), series (21%) and TV shows (20%).

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Illegal consumption of live sports (i.e. soccer) increased 34% with 4.7 million people consuming pirated content compared to 3.5 million in 2017.

Ipsos says piracy cost the Italian home entertainment market about €600 million ($676 million), with almost 6,000 jobs at risk.

The Italian economy lost €1.08 billion ($1.21 billion) due to piracy, including a €455 million ($512.6 million) hit to GDP, and €203 million ($228.6 million) in lost tax revenue.

 

Ampere: It’s Still a YouTube/Netflix Video World

Google-owned YouTube and Netflix remain the top sources for online video and subscription VOD, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm found that 63% of survey respondents streamed a video on YouTube in the past month, followed by 39% doing the same on Netflix and 27% on Facebook.

The survey is based on 41,000 online respondents across 20 markets conducted in the first quarter (ended March 31).

Ampere found YouTube ranked the No. 1 source for online video consumption in every region worldwide except the United Kingdom (BBC iPlayer) and China (iQiYi).

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Indeed, more than 60% of respondents in France and Japan watched YouTube, while less than 50% of respondents in the U.K. did so.

As expected, SVOD consumption is highest in the United States – birthplace to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

Notably, American tech platform – Facebook – continues to lose video views – down 5% to 23% of respondents since the third quarter of 2016. YouTube fell 4% to 66%, while Netflix increased 15% to 37% of respondents.

“YouTube’s global dominance in this space is evident in its monthly usage,” Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere, said in a statement. “The differences in viewing between the U.S. and Europe in relation to catch-up and SVOD services is interesting because it shows that SVOD providers will have to work harder in Europe to grow their [market] share as they take on traditional TV channels’ catch-up services. This could be through their catalogue, price-points or communications strategy.”

 

MobiTV Secures $50 Million in Venture Funding

MobiTV, a platform offering pay-TV operators over-the-top video distribution across myriad platforms, July 1 announced it has closed more than $50 million in funding from three investment funds.

Based in Emeryville, Calif., MobiTV enables third-party pay-TV operators to offer subscribers on-demand programming, live TV, catch-up TV, network DVR and content recommendations without the need of a set-top box.

Investors include Oak Investment Partners, Ally Financial, and Cedar Grove Partners. The funding will be used to accelerate the growth of MobiTV’s international footprint.

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“We believe in MobiTV’s superior consumer experience and know that being the only true commercially deployed solution in North America has differentiated their positioning in the marketplace,” Bandel Carano, managing partner, Oak Investment Partners, said in a statement.

MobiTV’s “multi-tenant solution” can be deployed through either a managed service or in-network offering, enabling it to address operators of all sizes, in a cost-effective manner.

Third-party clients include Citizens Fiber, Windstream and EPB with access to more than 350 networks, including A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Crown Media Family Networks, C-SPAN Networks, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, Showtime and Viacom, among others.

“We’re equally proud to have a nod from the National Cable Television Cooperative, as they selected MobiTV as a premiere partner for app-based pay-TV video solutions,” said MobiTV chairman/CEO Charlie Nooney. “We continue to demonstrate our ground-breaking approach to addressing operator challenges as they upgrade their pay-TV offering in an increasingly competitive marketplace.”

NRATV Ceasing Live Programming

The National Rifle Association is reportedly ceasing streaming live video on its branded online TV service, NRATV, which launched in 2016.

The New York Times reported the decision, made June 25, might not impact catalog programming. However, live content produced by media firm Ackerman McQueen and featuring spokesperson Dana Loesch, among others, would end.

At issue was the streaming service’s increasingly hyper-partisan content and the costs to create original programming for a monthly viewership that totaled just 49,000 unique visitors in January, according to comScore.

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“Many members expressed concern about the messaging on NRATV becoming too far removed from our core mission: defending the Second Amendment,” Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA, wrote in a message to members obtained by The Times. “So, after careful consideration, I am announcing that starting today, we are undergoing a significant change in our communications strategy. We are no longer airing ‘live TV’ programming.”

Indeed, the national gun rights lobby, which in recent years has faced allegations of fiscal irresponsibility by some leaders, and investigative overtures by New York Attorney General Letitia James over its tax-exempt status, faced a backlash last year when Loesch hosted a segment on NRATV featuring characters from longstanding pre-school TV show “Thomas & Friends” wearing Klu Klux Klan hoods in front of burning tracks.

The racist depictions were a crude attempt at sarcasm by Loesch in response to “Thomas & Friends” diversifying its cast of TV train characters, including adding a new locomotive named “Nia,” from Kenya.

“NRATV was a malevolent and destructive force that infected public discussions with dangerous misinformation, fomented extremism, and increasingly promoted actual white supremacists,” Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters for America, said in a statement.
“The fact that NRATV was brought down due in large part to internal strife that catalyzed following public blowback over NRATV attacking a children’s [TV] show for its diversity efforts is another potent reminder that sunlight is the best disinfectant.”
Mattel, which owns the Thomas the Tank Engine brand, denounced the depiction, saying it violated the company’s policy for inclusivity and kindness.
“We are not associated with images that promote hate and denounce any images of our brands that are being used to convey a message not in line with the values of the company,” Mattel said in a statement last September.

 

Amazon Re-Launching ‘Prime Student’ Program; 50% Off Prime Video, Music, Games

School may have just ended, but that isn’t stopping Amazon from promoting its Prime Student membership program targeting future college students.

Prime Student offers students enrolled in two-year and four-year schools all the perks of an Amazon Prime membership — at half the cost ($6.49 month or $59 annually) following a free six-month trial.

Students can stream music, movies and TV shows, receive discounts on college essentials and free shipping on more than 10 million products. Members also get free same-day delivery on more than three million items across 44 major metropolitan areas, along with two-hour delivery with Prime Now in more than 30 major cities.

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Members get access to movies and TV shows like “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” or Emmy-winning “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” as well as The Jonas Brothers’ documentary “Chasing Happiness” and “Guava Island,”starring Donald Glover and Rihanna.

Users also get two million songs and thousands of stations and playlists ad-free included with Prime. For unlimited access to over 50 million songs students can try Amazon Music Unlimited for free for 30 days.

Students can also check out the Back to School playlist on Amazon Music. Simply ask, “Alexa, play the Back to School playlist” in the Amazon Music App for iOS or Android, and on all Alexa-enabled devices.”

 Prime Student members also get gaming benefits on Twitch, including in-game “loot” for some popular titles, a selection of free games and a Twitch channel subscription.

 

Discovery Joins FuboTV

Online TV service FuboTV continues to transition from its original soccer roots.

The service June 18 announced a new, multiyear carriage agreement with Discovery, bringing 13 networks to the live-TV streaming service in the coming weeks.

The deal extends the previous pact between the companies that began with the former Scripps Networks Interactive (acquired by Discovery) and included carriage of their five networks, including HGTV and Food Network.

“This agreement further exemplifies the viewer affinity for our beloved brands and talent, and fuboTV’s commitment to offering high-quality, world-class content to customers,” Eric Phillips, president of affiliate distribution at Discovery, said in a statement.

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Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and MotorTrend will be available on the streaming service’s base package, fubo Standard, joining HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel, which are already available on the service.

At the same time, an expanded suite of Discovery networks, including Science Channel, Destination America, Discovery Family, American Heroes Channel, and Discovery Life, will be added to fuboTV’s add-on package, fubo Extra ($5.99/month for 30+ channels) joining DIY Network and Cooking Channel.

Additionally, Discovery en Español and Discovery Familia will be available on fuboTV’s Spanish-language package, fubo Latino ($24.99/month for 20 channels), and the Latino Plus add-on package ($7.99/month for 15 channels).

In addition to bringing subscribers each network’s live linear feed, the agreement also includes a library of on-demand Discovery content, bringing fuboTV’s VOD library to over 60,000 movies and TV episodes per month.

“We are excited to be adding more Discovery brands alongside their lifestyle networks, which we already carry,” said Joel Armijo, CFO, fuboTV. “These brands, including HGTV and Food Network, are among our top performing entertainment networks, and this agreement allows us to extend our partnership for years to come. We expect to be similarly successful with our new Discovery networks.”

Dish Offering Netflix Access in Hotels

Dish Network June 18 announced it is now offering access to Netflix for guests staying at hotels connected to the satellite operator’s platform.

Separately, Bloomberg reports Dish is finalizing a $6 billion deal to buy assets from Sprint and T-Mobile to help the telecom meet regulatory approval for their merger.

Guests staying at hotels equipped with Dish’s Evolve platform can access to their personal Netflix accounts directly from the TV in their room.

Users can subscribe to Netflix or sign into their existing account by accessing the Netflix app via the on-screen TV menu, the linear channel guide or simply by pressing the Netflix button on the remote control. User credentials are automatically removed from the system when they check out of the room.

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The launch of Netflix access makes Dish the first major pay-TV provider in the U.S. to integrate the SVOD service on a customized hotel TV platform.

Dish also introduced a new streaming service that allows guests to watch TV anywhere in a hotel, in-and-out of their rooms, on personal devices connected to the property’s network.

“Hotel operators can [now] offer … entertainment options for guests by personalizing the in-room TV experience or providing the flexibility to watch content anywhere on the property, like at the pool or gym,” Alistair Chatwin, VP of Dish Business, said in a statement.

Launched in 2017, Evolve integrates live linear programming, casting and streaming apps via the Google Play Store. It is designed to work with any hotel wiring scenario, as well as existing or upgraded network infrastructure.

Dish’s streaming service is available on browser-enabled devices and features 24 channels selected by the hotel and delivered over the property’s IP network.

Hotel owners have the option to customize the guest experience with personalization and branding opportunities in the streaming TV service user interface.

New Streaming Video Platform to Target Francophiles Outside Europe

A new streaming video platform aimed at Francophiles living outside France and Western Europe is under development by Julien Verley, director of business development at France Televisions, a state-owned TV broadcaster.

Dubbed “France+,” the SVOD channel/app aims to replicate the success of BritBox, the over-the-top video platform launched in the United States in 2017 by the BBC and ITV.

Verley, who is scheduled to leave Frances Televisions June 30 to work on the project, said the service would offer upwards of 3,000 hours of programming at launch featuring movies, dramas, documentaries, animation and TV shows.

Content would be dubbed in English, Spanish and Chinese Mandarin.

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Verley says France+ aims to capitalizeon the “art et douceur de vivre” of French arts, culture, creativity, society, heritage, history and education.

Julien Verley

“I’m confident this project … will expose French audiovisual creation, [a] scarcity [on] the large U.S. global platforms [i.e. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video], as well as the unprecedented opening of Anglo Saxons markets to international programs dubbed in English,” Verely said in a statement.

 The platform, which is seeking funding and would rely on third-party content libraries, is currently in partnership talks with Group Canal+, Group France Televisions and Group TF1, according to Verley.

“The quality, the diversity and depth of French and European programming represent an undervalued and underexploited [treasure-trove],” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinedigm Launches SVOD Services on The Roku Channel

Cinedigm June 12 announced the launch of SVOD services on The Roku Channel. Roku users can access CONtv, Dove Channel and Docurama beginning today.

Roku Channel users can add the networks to their lineup for $4.99 a month for each. Viewers can browse CONtv, Dove, and Docurama’s programming libraries, personalized recommendations with a free trial period.

Dove Channel features an extensive selection of values-based films, children’s programs, documentaries and series. All content meets the standards of The Dove Foundation and its Faith & Family Dove Seals of Approval.

Dove Channel’s programming lineup include the long-running Canadian drama “Heartland,” Elizabeth Banks in “Lovely Still,” the animated adventure “Ribbit,” and William H. Macy and Brittany Snow in the faith-based drama Dial A Prayer, among many others.

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Adam Scott and Elizabeth Banks in ‘Lovely Still’

CONtv gives audiences access to hundreds of hours of content from an eclectic collection that puts the spotlight on elusive cult films and television shows, and celebrated genre movies ranging from sci-fi, horror, and fantasy, to anime, grindhouse, and martial arts action.

Titles include Hey Vern, It’s Ernest!, and Angela Anaconda, as well as art tutorial The Joy Of Painting with Bob Ross, the thriller Open Windows, and Selena Gomez in the 2014 rock n’ roll comedy Behaving Badly.

Docurama claims to be the first streaming video service devoted to documentary films. Curated by top experts and critics, Docurama delivers hundreds of hours of acclaimed documentaries suited to viewers of all tastes — featuring a content roster covering everything from personal profiles, sports and music, to hard-hitting political exposés and insightful interviews.

“Cinedigm is proud to continue our partnership with Roku, as we launch SVOD services for three of our most popular outlets on The Roku Channel,” Erick Opeka, president of digital networks at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “We look forward to providing Roku users with the eclectic premium programming that our networks are known for.”