DEG Credits New Initiatives With Drawing 26 New Members This Year

DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group is entering its 25th year with an influx of new members, the trade group announced Dec. 2.

The newest DEG members include Altman Solon, Anuvu, BIGtoken, Guts + Data, IRIS.TV, NAGRA, Omdia, Plex, Synamedia, TiVo, Visual Data Media Services, Vobile and ZOO Digital. Spherex also returned as a member of DEG, bringing the number of new DEG member companies to 26 so far in 2021 (a total that includes 12 new members announced at the end of the first quarter).

DEG’s Direct-to-Consumer Alliance (D2CA), created in 2019, and Advanced Content Delivery Alliance (ACDA), new this year, play an increasingly important role in focusing DEG membership for the future and attracting new members across a broad swath of the digital entertainment industry, according to the trade group.

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“DEG’s wide reach across content creators, retailers, platforms and strategic vendors is an important part of its value to members, bringing companies in different industry segments together to work within DEG to advance industry positions and meet common goals,” said DEG chair Jim Wuthrich, president of content distribution for WarnerMedia. “The D2C Alliance and the Advanced Content Delivery Alliance are the latest examples of this community building, and I’m thrilled that so many new members see the value in DEG. I’m happy to welcome all of the new member companies to the DEG community.”

The new ACDA within DEG addresses advancements in technology to enable more and improved content delivery. ACDA member companies are aligned in committees addressing localization, supply chain efficiencies and security, cloud/edge computing and 5G.

The D2C Alliance represents the global direct-to-consumer media industry and supports its members to help create a robust marketplace to lead the new era of content consumption.

“We are thrilled about the expanding participation in DEG of advanced content delivery and direct-to-consumer companies,” said Amy Jo Smith, DEG president and CEO. “I’m grateful that they see the value of membership in DEG, which has been working harder and smarter than ever since last year to provide our members increased opportunities for business collaboration, education and networking.”

Magnolia Pictures’ AVOD Service CineLife Headed to Plex

Home entertainment distributor Magnolia Pictures Nov. 8 announced it is expanding access to branded ad-supported VOD service CineLife to the Plex platform. Available through the Plex app and AVOD platform, programming includes independent films and documentaries from Magnolia’s catalog.

Available on virtually every platform, including iOS and Android devices, Plex aims to offer users easier access to indie movies and docs.

With the arrival of CineLife, Plex users will have access to horror movie Let the Right One In; space drama Europa Report; horror anthology V/H/S; psychological horror film Shrooms; and the sci-fi action-adventure starring Thomas Jane and Ron Perlman, Mutant Chronicles. Additional streaming titles include All Good Things, Man on Wire, Melancholia, Mother and The Hunt, among others.

Plex can stream across just about any phone, tablet, smart TV, gaming console and PC, in addition to streaming devices Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and on iOS and Android.

Plex Adds Former Pluto TV, NBCU, Disney Executives

Streaming media company Plex Aug. 24 announced the hiring of former Pluto TV head of ad sales Harold Morgenstern as new chief revenue officer, and Lindsay Jespersen, formerly of NBCUniversal and Disney, as chief financial officer.

In addition, the company recently hired Christa Foley, formerly of Zappos.com, as VP of people.

Harold Morgenstern

Launched in 2019, Plex offers almost 200 live-TV channels and 40,000+ on-demand movies and TV episodes. With more than 25 million registered users globally, Plex has users in 193 countries. The company has secured more than 300 entertainment content partnerships, including Lionsgate, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, MGM, Sony Pictures Television, Sinclair Broadcast Group, AMC, A+E, Crackle and the BBC.

Morgenstern will oversee all revenue generation across Plex’s global AVOD platform and suite of personal media software and services. During his tenure at Pluto TV he built its ad sales organization from scratch and was part of the leadership team that led to the acquisition by ViacomCBS after growing advertising sales into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Now we not only have the right technology backbone, but also a well-rounded ad team with Harold at the helm,” CEO Keith Valory said in a statement.

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As CFO, Jespersen will lead Plex’s finance, accounting, legal and strategic planning functions through its next phase of growth. Jespersen previously served as VP of finance for NBCUniversal’s global distribution and international segment, supporting the segment chairman and overseeing FP&A and strategic planning for the film and television distribution business.

Prior, she served as VP of finance and strategy at The Walt Disney Co., where she led a global team responsible for the financial operations of ABC News.

Christa Foley joined in May as VP of people where she will continue to cultivate the tight-knit Plex culture across its globally distributed remote workforce. Prior to joining Plex, Foley spent 16 years at Zappos.com, where she led brand vision and culture, and spent several years as the head of talent acquisition where she built out the recruiting team and philosophy.

Crackle Plus Ups Plex AVOD Deal With Direct Advertising Support

Crackle Plus, the ad-supported VOD platform, March 11 announced it has entered into an agreement with streaming media platform Plex to handle the service’s direct ad sales. The expanded relationship will allow the Crackle Plus ad sales team to market Plex to marketers and consumer brands in the U.S.

Plex and Crackle began working together in May 2020. This was followed by the launch of a Popcornflix VOD offering on Plex in November 2020 and the launch of the first linear channels from Crackle and Popcornflix in the U.S. in December 2020 and January 2021.

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“With this strategic advertising relationship we are extending our successful content and distribution agreements to represent the entire Plex content offering to the advertising community,” Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, said in a statement.

Plex offers 160+ free-to-stream live-TV channels, as well as podcasts, Web shows, news and music. Content partners include  Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM), Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, Lionsgate, and Legendary, as well as free-to-stream live-TV channels from AMC and A+E, among others.

Crackle Plus will use Plex’s content library to market specific and brand-safe packages for their advertising partners in the expanding AVOD market.

“Crackle Plus has been a valued partner in every part of our expansion into offering consumers great free-to-watch movies and TV shows,” said Shawn Eldridge, VP of strategic alliances at Plex. “Working with them for direct ad sales is a natural extension that will allow easier campaign planning for advertising partners.”

Streaming Service Plex Launches Free Live TV Channels

Plex, the ad-supported video-on-demand service, has launched an online TV platform, dubbed “Live TV on Plex,” featuring 80+ channels of customizable live programming available worldwide.

In 2019, Plex launched an AVOD service via digital antenna and tuner TV featuring TV shows and movies from Crackle, Warner Bros., MGM, Endemol Shine Group, Lionsgate, and Legendary. Plex over-the-air TV provides free access to local channels and major networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox, the CW and PBS.

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The new Live TV platform offers consumers news from Reuters and Yahoo Finance, kids’ shows such as  Toon Goggles, food, travel, and home & design programming on Tastemade, sports including live games, original programming and movies/docs from fubo Sports Network, gaming and esports on IGN1, and two new LGBTQ+ channels from Revry.

“Two of the most important factors for an enjoyable streaming experience are finding something of interest to watch, and being able to watch it from any device you choose,” Keith Valory, CEO of Plex, said in a statement.

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Plex provides users with a range of viewing options beyond movies and TV shows, including podcasts, web shows, curated news, and a way to combine streaming music via TIDAL with a user’s personal music collection.

“Combining the new Live TV service with the over-the-air TV and DVR feature, Plex offers the most comprehensive and least expensive streaming TV service in the world,” Valory said.

Plex Gets Endemol Shine Group Catalog Content

Plex, the do-it-yourself streaming video app with a SVOD component, May 12 announced a multi-territory distribution agreement with content creator, producer and distributor Endemol Shine Group. The agreement includes a selection of catalog programming, which will be available for Plex users across the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Series include “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” “Bananas in Pyjamas,” “City Homicide,” “Deal or No Deal,” “MasterChef,” “McLeod’s Daughters,” “Mr. Bean” and “Peaky Blinders,” among others.

“[The] partnership … demonstrates the enormous popularity of Endemol Shine’s catalog,” Kasia Jablonska, head of digital distribution and Monetization, Endemol Shine Group, said in a statement.

“The quality of the Endemol Shine library is sure to appeal to a wide range of audiences and these titles are welcome additions to the Plex platform,” said Shawn Eldridge, VP of strategic alliances and content at Plex.

Titles coming to Plex in the U.S. include “Bananas in Pyjamas” (A Southern Star Entertainment and Southern Star Singapore production developed and produced in association with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation); “Bounty Hunters” (A Cave Bear and Tiger Aspect production for Sky); “City Homicide” (Seven Network Australia Production); “Crime Investigation Australia” (Foxtel Original Production); “Deal or No Deal U.S.” (Truly Original, a subsidiary of Endemol Shine North America); “Idris Elba: King of Speed” (A Shine North/Shine TV production); “McLeod’s Daughters” (A Millennium Television production for the Nine Network Australia); “Mr. Bean” (Tiger Aspect Productions, part of Endemol Shine U.K.); “Mr. Bean: The Animated Series” (Tiger Aspect Productions, part of Endemol Shine U.K.); “Murder Call” (A Hal McElroy/Southern Star production for the Nine Network Australia); “My Kitchen Rules Australia” (Seven Studios Australia production); “Our Girl” (A BBC production); “Restoration Home” (A Remarkable Television production, part of Endemol Shine Group); “Total Wipeout U.K.” (Initial, an Endemol Shine company); and “Water Rats” (A Southern Star production for the Nine Network Australia).

Plex Launches Ad-Supported VOD Service Featuring Studio Movies

Upstart video streaming service Plex Dec. 4 formally launched an ad-supported platform featuring free access to catalog movies and TV shows from Lionsgate, MGM Studios, Legendary and Warner Bros., among others.

The service joins a crowding field of AVOD platforms that include The Roku Channel, Amazon’s IMDb TV, Shout! TV, Crackle, Pluto TV and Tubi, among others.

“Plex was born out of passion for media and entertainment, and offering free, ad-supported movies and TV shows is just the latest step in our mission to bring all your favorite content together in one place,” CEO Keith Valory said in a statement.

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Plex’s ad-supported video-on-demand offering requires no paid subscription or additional equipment to access thousands of titles across a variety of genres such as action, sci-fi, comedy, drama, thriller, anime, kids and family.

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Plex offers a wide range of device support, including: Roku, Apple TV, Android TV, smart TVs, Android and iOS mobile platforms, Xbox, PlayStation, Amazon Fire TV, and more.

Titles available at launch include:

  • American Ultra starring Kristen Stewart (available for a limited time)
  • Bruce Campbell masterpieces Evil Dead 1 & Evil Dead 2
  • Frequency starring Dennis Quaid
  • Multi-Oscar award-winning Rain Man, starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise
  • Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell classic Overboard
  • Teen Wolf starring Michael J. Fox
  • The Terminator with Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Award-winning indie films, including Wristcutters: A Love Story, Dolphin Boy, and The Sandlot Journey.
  • Kids, family, and educational options like The Undersea Adventures of Ripples and His Friends, Make it Work, and Brain Candy TV
  • Music concerts and documentaries featuring some of the biggest stars in music, including Nicki Minaj: Pink Planet, Deadmau5: Live @ Earl’s Court, Taylor Swift: Just for You, and Electric Daisy Carnival Experience.

Plex Partners With Lionsgate to Expand Ad-Supported VOD Content Library Worldwide

Plex, the ad-supported video-on-demand service, Sept. 18 announced it has entered into a deal with Lionsgate to grow its slate of catalog programming available worldwide in late 2019.

The agreement gives Plex’s users access to free movies and shows from Lionsgate and other premium content providers, in addition to more than 60 million streaming music tracks.

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“Lionsgate is one of the biggest names in the business and we know our millions of users will enjoy free access to their library of movies,” Keith Valory, CEO of Plex, said in a statement.

The pact enables Lionsgate to further distribute digital catalog movies/TV shows beyond its Starz SVOD platform, including Starz Play worldwide, and third-party digital platforms.

The partnership is different from Plex’s recently announced deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution for ad-supported third party content only in the U.S.

The deal also widens the nascent AVOD market, which includes a burgeoning list of players such as Viacom’s Pluto TV, The Roku Channel, Tubi TV, Xumo TV, Cinedigm’s Bambu TV, Amazon’s IMDb TV, Sony’s Crackle Plus, Shout! TV, Vizio’s WatchFree and Comcast’s Peacock, among others.