Hulu Officially Launches Watch Party Feature

Hulu has officially launched the “Watch Party” feature for Hulu subscribers on Hulu.com, allowing up to eight Hulu subscribers to watch together.

After launching Hulu Watch Party through the “Watch Party” icon on each title’s Details page, viewers can share a link with up to seven other Hulu subscribers to join. Viewers must be 18 years of age or older to access the feature. While watching, group members are able to react in real-time through the chat function and control their own playback.

“Pen15” and “The Bachelorette” have been popular titles for Watch Party during the testing period, according to the service.

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Lionsgate Play SVOD Service Bows in India

Starz has launched the direct-to-consumer OTT app Lionsgate Play in India, making premium Hollywood content available in multiple Indian languages, the company announced.

The service is priced at INR 699 for a year or INR 99 per month. In India, the app will be available to download across platforms and devices including the Google Play store, Apple app store and Amazon firestick.

New content available at launch includes the Anna Kendrick starrer “Love Life,” a fresh take on a romantic comedy anthology series; “No Man’s Land,” a Syrian civil war series; and “The Goes Wrong Show,” a comedy series with each episode having a different theme, including a period romance, spy thriller, a Deep South melodrama and a Christmas fable.

Movies offerings include the Jennifer Lopez starrer Hustlers, Gerald Butler’s action thriller Angel Has Fallen, the fantasy thriller Hellboy, and the action comedy The Gentlemen, starring Matthew McConaughey, Colin Farrell and Hugh Grant.

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Starz first launched internationally with its Starzplay international premium streaming platform in 2018. This month it will expand its global footprint into 55 countries throughout Europe, Latin America, Canada, Japan and India.

“India has always been a key market for us,” Jeffrey A. Hirsch, president and CEO of Starz, said in a statement. “The large and diverse population, increased data usage in urban and rural markets, and adoption of OTT across all demographics created an exciting opportunity for us to launch Lionsgate Play. We’re confident that our unique, exclusive and exceptionally curated content will generate a great response from Indian audiences.”

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“We will also be launching Indian originals in the coming months, featuring untold edgy urban stories from some of the best creative minds in the Indian film industry,” Rohit Jain, managing director of Lionsgate South Asia, said in a statement. “And we will continue our Lionsgate Play journey by adding to our deep roster of premium content through partnerships with exciting millennial stars like Kriti Sanon, Tiger Shroff and Sanjana Sanghi increasing the breadth and scope of entertainment for our subscribers.”

Amazon’s ‘Truth Seekers,’ Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Top TV Time Charts

Amazon’s “Truth Seekers” was the top rising show and Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit” the top binge on the TV Time charts for the week ended Nov. 1.

“The Queen’s Gambit,” which debuted on Netflix Oct.  23, is a coming-of-age story following a young Beth Harmon (Anya Taylor-Joy), abandoned and entrusted to a Kentucky orphanage in the late 1950s, who discovers an astonishing talent for chess while developing an addiction to tranquilizers provided by the state as a sedative for the children. The title landed at No. 8 on the rising show chart.

No. 1 rising show “Truth Seekers” debuted on Amazon Prime Video Oct. 30 in time for Halloween. The horror comedy follows paranormal investigators who set out to film ghost sightings and uncover a conspiracy that could bring about Armageddon.

Coming in at No. 2 on the binge chart was “Emily in Paris,” created, written and executive produced by Darren Star (“Sex and the City”). It debuted Oct. 2 on Netflix and follows Emily (Lily Collins), an ambitious 20-something marketing executive from Chicago, who unexpectedly lands her dream job in Paris when her company acquires a French luxury marketing company.

Taking the silver on the rising show chart was HBO’s “The Undoing,” which premiered Oct. 25. From writer David E. Kelley (Big Little Lies), the new limited series focuses on Grace Fraser (Nicole Kidman), a successful therapist, her devoted husband, Jonathan (Hugh Grant), and their young son, who attends an elite private school in New York City. A chasm opens in Grace’s seemingly perfect life: a violent death, a missing spouse and a chain of terrible revelations.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended Nov. 1 by Share of Binges:

  1. “The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix) — 2.25%
  2. “Emily in Paris” (Netflix) — 1.90%
  3. “Modern Family” (ABC) — 1.86%
  4. “The Haunting of Bly Manor” (Netflix) — 1.83%
  5. “How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC) — 1.72%
  6. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.69%
  7. “The Office” (NBC) — 1.47%
  8. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.44%
  9. “One Piece” (Fuji TV) — 1.43%
  10. “Lucifer” (Netflix) — 1.25%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended Nov. 1 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Truth Seekers” (Amazon Prime Video) — 99.9%
  2. “The Undoing” (HBO) — 99.8%
  3. “Il Collegio” (Rai 2) — 98.3%
  4. “Suburra: Blood on Rome” (Netflix) — 93.7%
  5. “Perdida” (Netflix) — 91.6%
  6. “The Mandalorian” (Disney+) — 89.7%
  7. “American Housewife” (ABC) — 84.2%
  8. “The Queen’s Gambit” (Netflix) — 78.8%
  9. “Super Dragon Ball Heroes” (YouTube) — 74.4%
  10. “This Is Us” (NBC) — 68.7%

 

HBO Max to Bow Dark Comedy Series ‘Two Weeks to Live’ Nov. 5

HBO Max will be the exclusive U.S. streaming home to the British dark comedy “Two Weeks to Live,” launching all episodes Nov. 5.

The Max Original stars Emmy Award nominee Maisie Williams in her first role after “Game of Thrones” and BAFTA winner and Emmy nominee Sian Clifford (“Fleabag”).

The series currently airs on Sky in the United Kingdom.

“Two Weeks to Live” tells a comic tale of love and revenge born from a seemingly harmless prank that goes terribly wrong. Kim Noakes is an early 20-something oddball who, since the murder of her father, has been sequestered away in the wilderness with her doomsday-prepping mother for most of her life. Feeling compelled to go on a belated coming-of-age adventure, Kim sets out to find her dad’s killer and along the way ropes mismatched brothers Jay and Nicky into her scheme.

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The series also stars Taheen Modak,  Mawaan Rizwan, Jason Flemyng, Sean Pertwee and Thalissa Teixeira.

Premiere Digital Appoints Andrew Buck EVP

Premiere Digital, the media services, distribution and technology solutions company, has appointed Andrew Buck EVP, based in Toronto.

Buck will be responsible for expanding the company’s distribution services and SaaS tools on a global level, including Storefront, the company’s flagship platform for managing global content and a SaaS tool that provides monitoring to both content owners and digital retailers around content avail management.

He reports to Michele Edelman, head of growth.

Most recently, Buck was CEO of Toronto- and Los Angeles-based Juice Worldwide — a company he co-founded in 2004 to focus on the digital distribution of film, TV and music content across the world’s top OTT platforms. As CEO for nearly 16 years, Buck was involved in all aspects of the company, from business development to sales and marketing, resulting in its 2015 acquisition by Los Angeles based Vubiquity, and then again in 2018 by Amdocs. As part of the newly formed Amdocs Media Division, Buck continued on as CEO of Juice until 2020.

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“Having a world-class team to expand our products and services is top priority,” Edelman said in a statement. “I could not be happier to have Andrew on the team as he brings a wealth of industry knowledge and relationships. As our company continues to hit a high note, continuing to expand our presence was critical and Andrew checked all the boxes.”

Over the last few months, Premiere has announced a number of expansion plans. In addition to hiring Buck, the company announced the acquisition of Stamford, Conn., based CMI and has established a presence in London with the addition of former Sony Pictures exec Abigail Hughes, VP of growth at EMEA.

Netflix to Make Content Based on ‘Assassin’s Creed’ Game Franchise

Netflix has entered into an agreement with Ubisoft to develop content based on the video game franchise “Assassin’s Creed.”

The first series in development is slated to be a genre-bending live-action adaptation. Ubisoft Film & Television’s Jason Altman and Danielle Kreinik will serve as executive producers.

Under the agreement, Netflix and Ubisoft will tap into the video game’s stories with “global mass appeal” for adaptations of live-action, animated, and anime series, according to Netflix.

“For more than 10 years, millions of fans around the world have helped shape the ‘Assassin’s Creed’ brand into an iconic franchise,” said Jason Altman, head of Ubisoft Film & Television, Los Angeles, in a statement. “We’re thrilled to create an ‘Assassin’s Creed’ series with Netflix and we look forward to developing the next saga in the ‘Assassin’s Creed’ universe.”

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“We’re excited to partner with Ubisoft and bring to life the rich, multilayered storytelling that ‘Assassin’s Creed’ is beloved for,” Peter Friedlander, VP of original series at Netflix, said in a statement. “From its breathtaking historical worlds and massive global appeal as one of the best selling video game franchises of all time, we are committed to carefully crafting epic and thrilling entertainment based on this distinct IP and provide a deeper dive for fans and our members around the world to enjoy.”

Since it first launched in 2007, the “Assassin’s Creed” series has sold more than 155 million games worldwide.

Netflix’s ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ Top Rising Show, ‘Emily in Paris’ Top Binge on TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor” was the top rising show while the service’s “Emily in Paris” was again the top binge on the TV Time charts for the week ended Oct. 11.

Top rising show “The Haunting of Bly Manor” comes from “The Haunting of Hill House” creator Mike Flanagan and is the next chapter of “The Haunting” anthology series set in 1980s England. After an au pair’s tragic death, Henry Wingrave hires a young American nanny to care for his orphaned niece and nephew who reside at Bly Manor with the estate’s chef, groundskeeper and housekeeper. But all is not as it seems at the manor, and centuries of dark secrets are waiting to be unearthed in this chilling gothic romance. The show, which debuted Oct. 9, also took the silver on the binge chart.

Created, written and executive produced by Darren Star (“Sex and the City”), “Emily in Paris,” which was the top binge for a second consecutive week, follows Emily (Lily Collins), an ambitious 20-something marketing executive from Chicago, who unexpectedly lands her dream job in Paris when her company acquires a French luxury marketing company. The series debuted Oct. 2.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended Oct. 11 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Emily in Paris” (Netflix) — 7.90%
  2. “The Haunting of Bly Manor” (Netflix) — 4.20%
  3. “How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC) — 2.29%
  4. “Modern Family” (ABC) — 1.96%
  5. “Lucifer” (Netflix) — 1.68%
  6. “The Boys” (Amazon) — 1.62%
  7. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.55%
  8. “The Office” (NBC) — 1.46%
  9. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.32%
  10. “The 100” (The CW) — 1.32%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended Oct. 11 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “The Haunting of Bly Manor” (Netflix) — 97.5%
  2. “The Walking Dead: World Beyond” (AMC) — 78.4%
  3. “Al Nadam” (Al Jadeed) — 68.8%
  4. “The Walking Dead” (AMC) — 62.4%
  5. “Haikyu!!” (Tokyo Broadcasting System) — 55.1%
  6. “Jujutsu Kaisen” (MBS) — 50%
  7. “Emily in Paris” (Netflix) — 42.6%
  8. “Good Morning, Veronica” (Netflix) — 36.9%
  9. “Supernatural” (The CW) — 32%
  10. “Riverdale” (The CW) — 29.8%

Chelsea Handler Stand-Up Special to Stream on HBO Max Oct. 22

Chelsea Handler makes a return to stand-up comedy after a six-year hiatus with HBO Max’s Chelsea Handler: Evolution debuting on the streamer Oct. 22.

During the hourlong special, Handler will share experiences about her family, friendships, and her first foray into therapy — where she unearthed why everyone on this planet annoys her so much. Handler reflects on her personal journey toward self-awareness, assisted by her reliable companion — cannabis.

A six-time No. 1 New York Times bestselling author, Handler filmed the special this summer from her home state of New Jersey on the heels of her most recent bestselling memoir, Life Will Be the Death of MeThe special was filmed in front of a live audience following social distancing and safety protocols.

Netflix streamed its first talk show in 2015 with Chelsea Handler, which lasted two seasons.

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Apple TV+ Orders Docuseries ‘The Supermodels’

Apple TV+ has ordered “The Supermodels,” a docuseries that will feature interviews with Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington, who will revisit their iconic modeling careers and the ’90s fashion scene.

From Imagine Documentaries, the project will be directed and executive produced by two-time Academy Award winner Barbara Kopple (American Dream; Shut Up and Sing; Harlan County, USA) and executive produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, along with Campbell, Crawford, Evangelista and Turlington.

“The Supermodels” travels back to the 1980s, when four women from different corners of the world united in New York. Their prestige was so extraordinary that it enabled the four to supersede the brands they showcased, making the names Naomi, Cindy, Linda and Christy as prominent as the designers who styled them. Today, the four supermodels remain on the frontlines of culture through activism, philanthropy and business prowess. As the fashion industry continues to redefine itself — and women’s roles within it — this is the story of power and how four women came together to claim it, paving the way for those to follow.

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The docuseries, which is produced under Apple’s exclusive first-look agreement with Imagine Documentaries, will also be executive produced by Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes.

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Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, Mac, select Samsung and LG smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV and Roku devices, as well as at tv.apple.com, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. The Apple TV app will be available on Sony and Vizio smart TVs later this year. For a limited time, customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can get one year of Apple TV+ for free. This special offer is good for three months after the first activation of the eligible device. For more information, visit apple.com/tvpr.

Docs on Current Events, Issues Added to PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel

PBS Distribution in October will be adding a number titles focusing on current events and issues to the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel, including Frontline: America Unprotected: The Medical Supply Crisis, Latino Vote: Dispatches From the Battleground, Frontline: Race, Poverty and the Pandemic, Frontline: Battle for Hong Kong and Frontline: Amazon Empire — The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos.

The subscription rate for the PBS Documentaries Prime Video Channel is $5.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Frontline: Race, Poverty and the Pandemic, which premiered Sept. 9, covers the effects of George Floyd’s death beneath the knee of a police officer, which has sparked grief and rage in the streets of Minneapolis and across the country. Jelani Cobb, a historian, professor of journalism at Columbia University and writer at The New Yorker examines a connection between George Floyd’s death and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 deaths among African-Americans. Cobb helps put this volatile moment in context, explaining why we’ve reached a boiling point, and what he says needs to happen now. Cobb describes how the relationship between black Americans and the police has become a “barometer” for race relations in the country, drawing on his years of covering explosive tensions that he says are “overwhelmingly” in response to an issue of police use of force. “Once you looked at the way that policing functioned, it was almost an indicator of the way lots of other institutions were functioning in those communities,” he says. This time — as the nation battles a highly infectious outbreak — the outrage is spreading in a way that seems different, he says.

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Frontline: Battle for Hong Kong, which premiered Sept. 9, covers the unrest in Hong Kong. In 2019, a controversial extradition bill that would allow criminal suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China sparked a massive and unprecedented pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. At the start, the vast majority of protesters were peaceful, but a few tried to take on the police. The documentary traces what happened next. With remarkable access, the program follows five young protesters through intense and escalating clashes with Hong Kong’s police. The protesters say they’re fighting for their freedom against the communist government of China, which is due to take complete control of Hong Kong in 2047. China, meanwhile, says the protestors are “radicals,” “thugs” and “separatists.” The film tells the story of the eight-month, youth-driven pro-democracy movement through the eyes of the protesters. They are transformed — and, in some cases, radicalized — by their experiences. As the program unfolds, viewers meet Momo, a nurse in her late twenties; Vincent, a high school student who grew up in mainland China; Lomi, a researcher; Li, a young man who is married with a daughter; and Agnes, a veteran pro-democracy protestor. Through the stories of these five young people, the documentary explores the aims and motivations of the protesters. Amid concerns about China’s growing influence in Hong Kong, the extradition bill (which was eventually withdrawn) struck a nerve. Ultimately, the film sheds new light on what both the movement and the authorities’ response to it portend for Hong Kong’s future.

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Frontline: Amazon Empire — The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos, which premiered Sept. 9, covers the rise of the tycoon. Amazon’s Bezos built a business empire that is unprecedented in the history of American capitalism — delivering endless products, entertainment services and technology innovations to customers with just a click of a button. But what is the cost of Amazon’s convenience? The documentary examines Amazon and Bezos’ ascent to power — and his ability to shape everything from the future of work, to the future of commerce, to the future of technology. From award-winning filmmakers James Jacoby and Anya Bourg (The Facebook Dilemma), the documentary draws on interviews with current top executives and former insiders, as well as regulators and critics, raising tough questions about Bezos and the empire he built. Through these interviews, Jacoby and Bourg’s investigation presents an inside look at who Bezos is, and how he transformed a tiny company run out of a garage into a staple of American consumerism that critics contend is willing to dominate the market at all costs.

Frontline: America Unprotected: The Medical Supply Crisis, which premieres Oct. 7, explores questions around readiness for the epidemic. Why was the U.S. left scrambling for critical medical equipment as the coronavirus swept the country? With the Associated Press the documentary investigates the fragmented global medical supply chain and its deadly consequences for Americans.

Latino Vote: Dispatches From the Battleground, which premieres Oct. 7, explores how voters in Nevada, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania could very well determine the next American president. One of the top priorities on both sides of the political divide is to engage Latino voters. Projected to be the largest voting-eligible ethnicity in the country, Latino voters are often sought after by both Republicans and Democrats as if they are a monolith. With both younger Latinos and new citizens joining the ranks of registered voters across the country, the growing magnitude of this cross-section of the electorate has clear political implications for the 2020 presidential election. But trying to woo voters based on their cultural similarities without factoring in their complex and varying individual interests could prove to be a losing game plan. Following activists, organizers and others who are working to maximize Latino turnout in their local communities while simultaneously devoting their efforts to COVID-19 relief as the pandemic surges, the program delves into the high-stakes fight to activate Latino votes in these battleground states and give voices to newly registered Latino voters themselves about what the galvanizing issues are for them.