Plex Streaming Service Adds Digital Movie Rentals

Streaming media company Plex has launched movie rentals in the United States, offering what the company bills as the first-and-only streaming platform to offer rentals, free ad-supported movies, TV shows, and live TV together, combined with the ability to find and add to a universal watchlist any title, no matter which streaming service it lives on.

Rental prices start at $3.99, with new movies added to the rental library daily. Consumers can also add the selection to their Plex Watchlist on Plex for when they’re ready to watch or when it becomes available.

Plex has partnered with top studios to bring movies to the platform, including everything from award-lauded films (Barbie, Wonka) to blockbusters such as Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning and Expend4bles to indie films, including Priscilla, Ferrari and Dream Scenario.

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“With today’s availability of amazing titles like Barbie and The Color Purple, we are now offering consumers even more choices and movie selections all in one place,” Keith Valory, Plex’s CEO, said in a statement. “Our goal has always been to bring consumers a less chaotic and more fun experience when they sit down together to watch a movie or show. Let’s face it: people don’t know what to watch and, worse yet, where to watch it. We started last year by creating a single window into all streaming services so people can easily find what to watch, no matter where it is. With the addition of rentals, we are staying focused on our goal to be the first place people go to find any streaming movie and show, watch them, rate them, talk about them, and recommend them to friends and family.”

To rent a movie on Plex, consumers can browse Plex’s new movie library to find a rental on platforms including Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV/Google TV and Roku, as well as smart TVs, including LG, Hisense, Samsung, Sony, Vizio, plus Apple and Android phones and tablets, game consoles, and more.

Once consumers have rented a movie, they can play it on any supported Plex player app, and it will appear in “Continue Watching” on the app home screen. If a consumer’s smart TV or device is not supported, they can use the Plex app on their phone, tablet, or computer, and once they’ve rented the movie, they can watch it anywhere they’ve installed Plex — even on devices that don’t allow direct rentals on their platform.

Jason Eustace Hired as Plex CFO

Streaming video platform Plex Oct. 31 announced the hiring of industry veteran Jason Eustace as CFO. Eustace reports to CEO Keith Valory in Los Gatos, Calif.

Jason Eustace

Eustace has 25 years experience in financial and business planning and analysis. He previously held management roles at Discovery Communications (10 years), National Geographic Channel (7 years), and CuriosityStream (3 years). In addition, he has implemented critical strategic initiatives in management positions at Bluemercury (a Macy’s company), PetSmart, and RealNetworks.

He holds an MBA in Finance from American University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Siena College in New York.

Study: Quarter of Americans Don’t Like Idea of AI-Written Film, TV Content

A quarter of Americans in a new survey reported they do not like the idea of TV show and/or movie scripts being written by generative AI — a point of contention between the streamers/studios and the striking writers.

Meanwhile, 30% were unsure about whether they would still watch, according to the survey conducted by free global streaming media platform Plex.

Other findings include:

  • 13% would still consider watching TV shows and/or movie written by AI;
  • 12% would not watch TV and/or movies written by AI;
  • 30% are indifferent towards using AI when writing TV show and/or movie scripts; and
  • 49% agree that generative AI will make it easier to search and find TV, movies and music across streaming services.

 

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The survey was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Plex May 15-21, 2023, with a panel of 2,000 Americans who subscribe to a streaming service.

Survey: 38% of Streamers Say They Would Cancel or Limit the Number of Streaming Subscriptions to Save Money

A new survey conducted by free global streaming media platform Plex found that 38% of Americans said they would cancel or limit the number of streaming services they subscribe to in order to save money, in the wake of continued inflation, increasing subscription prices and Netflix’s crackdown on subscription sharing. 

About a third (31%) would downgrade their paid streaming memberships to a less expensive version with ads. 

The survey also found: 

  • 30% are downloading or creating accounts for additional free streaming services;
  • 31% are downgrading paid streaming memberships to a less expensive tier with ads; and
  • 29% are sharing login details for streaming apps with friends and family. 
     

The survey was conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Plex May 15-21, 2023, with a panel of 2,000 Americans who subscribe to a streaming service.

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Plex Adds FAST Channels From PBS Distribution, WNET

Free global streaming media platform Plex has launched three new FAST channels from PBS Distribution and one new FAST channel from The WNET Group.

The new lineup, available in the United States and Canada, includes “PBS Antiques Roadshow,” “Julia Child” and “Antiques Road Trip” from PBS Distribution and “PBS Nature” from The WNET Group.

In “PBS Antiques Roadshow,” viewers join GBH’s “Antiques Roadshow” for a treasure hunt at memorable locations around the country, featuring specialists from leading auction houses and independent dealers who offer free appraisals of antiques and collectibles. (“Antiques Roadshow” is a trademark of the BBC, produced for North America by the WGBH Educational Foundation, under license from the BBC.) 

In “Antiques Road Trip,” viewers hit the road in a classic car for a tour through Great Britain with two antiques experts as they search the local stores for treasures, competing with each other to see who can turn small budget into a small fortune at auction. Their adventures take them off the beaten path and allow them to indulge their passion for the past, learning about the little-known stories behind some of the greatest events in British history.

The “Julia Child” channel includes Child’s groundbreaking cooking series — including “The French Chef,” “Baking With Julia” and “Cooking with Master Chefs.”

“PBS Nature” brings the beauty and wonders of wildlife and natural history into the home, with episodes newly released from the library of 40 seasons of award-winning “Nature” programming including episodes voiced by Nature creator and host George Page and favorites such as the legendary story of Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies (2001); Snowflake: the White Gorilla (2005); and the persevering Druid wolf pack of In the Valley of the Wolves (2007).

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“These new channels are yet another example of our focus on adding the most recognized, popular and trusted brands in all of entertainment,” Shawn Eldrige, VP of business development and content for Plex, said in a statement. “We’re excited to expand our ever-growing FAST channel lineup and library of free movies and TV shows with fan favorite content like ‘PBS Antiques Roadshow,’ ‘PBS Nature,’ ‘Julia Child’ and ‘Antiques Road Trip.'”

“We are thrilled to bring these popular shows to Plex viewers, expanding the ways fans can watch public media content and discover a library of new favorites,” John Suydam, SVP of business development for PBS Distribution, said in a statement.

Survey: Watching Holiday Movies Ranks Higher Than Decorating Tree as Holiday Tradition

Americans rank watching holiday movies (72%) over decorating the tree (66%) and baking cookies (55%) as one of their favorite holiday traditions, according to a new survey.

In a survey of 2,000 Americans commissioned by free global streaming media platform Plex and OnePoll, more than half (52%) of respondents said they believe the holidays would feel “incomplete” without their favorite movies, and the same amount say watching holiday movies helps them bond with their family. 

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The survey also found that four in 10 Americans (39%) binge-watch movies during the holiday season,  more than any other time of year; 63% of respondents said the holidays are stressful, but the nostalgia of holiday movies and content is comforting, and makes them feel joyful (56%); 34% would download and/or subscribe to a new streaming service that has their favorite holiday movie; and 29% create a cozy ambiance during the holiday season by streaming virtual fireplace settings, such as the Yule Log.

Other findings include:

Top Three Holiday Movies

It’s a Wonderful Life (43%)
A Charlie Brown Christmas (42%)
Home Alone (42%)

Top Three Non-Traditional Holiday Movies

Die Hard (25%)
Frozen (23%)
The Sound of Music (21%)

Top Three Holiday Movie Characters

Kevin Mcallister — Home Alone (30%)
The Grinch (29%)
Clark Griswold  — National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (26%) 

Top Holiday TV Specials + Episodes

Best holiday-themed TV special: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (60%)
Most popular holiday-themed TV episode: “Friends” episode “The One With the Holiday Armadillo” (19%)

Survey: Nearly 40% of Consumers Feel Satisfied After Binging Content

Many consumers aren’t ready to abandon their binge habits, with nearly two in five Americans (39%) reporting they feel satisfied after binge-watching content, according to a July 2022 survey.

The survey of 2,000 Americans commissioned by free global streaming media platform Plex and OnePoll found that after binge-watching content, respondents also reported feeling relaxed (35%) and accomplished (28%), while 57% said they felt sad when they finish a show they really liked.

A majority of those surveyed (77%) said they had to do a lot of binge watching to get through their movie and TV watchlist.

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Meanwhile, 58% said they’d made it through their entire watchlist, while 42% said they had not; 39% said they feel like they could never make progress on their watchlist; and 33% said they had spent four to six hours watching content in a single sitting.

The top occasions when respondents said they were most likely to watch content from their watchlist included:

  • on a lazy weekend afternoon (41%);
  • when in the mood for it (40%);
  • movie/TV nights in (39%);
  • before bed (37%);
  • with their significant other (36%);
  • while working from home (29%);
  • while traveling (25%); and
  • when they are in a relaxed mood (23%).

Study: Average American Has 13 TV Shows and 16 Movies on Watchlist

The average American has 13 TV shows and 16 movies on their watchlist to get through — averaging a total of 104 hours — which is enough content to last two whole flights around the world, according to new research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Plex, the free global streaming media platform.

The study of 2,000 Americans surveyed in July 2022 found that 68% keep a TV show and movie watchlist so lengthy, it’s “nearly impossible” for them to get through. While more than seven in 10 (73%) keep a list of shows and films they plan to watch, more than half (58%) said they struggle to keep track of everything they want to watch.

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The study also found:

  • Discovering content to watch is a challenge: Half of Americans said it’s a struggle to find what streaming platform content is available on, averaging 30 minutes of flipping through four different streaming services before deciding on what to watch.
  • Getting through a watchlist is not easy: Of the 42% of Americans who haven’t made it through their watchlist, the biggest obstacles preventing them from completing the list are that it’s consistently getting longer (43%), it’s already too long (29%) or it’s overwhelming (25%).
  • New, buzzy TV serials are the most popular for watchlists: “Stranger Things” topped Americans’ watchlists as the TV show they’d most like to watch, followed by “Game of Thrones” (21%), “The Walking Dead” (21%), “Breaking Bad” (19%) and “Squid Game” (19%).
  • Preferred TV show genre varies by generation: While Millennials are nearly twice (45%) as likely as Gen Z (26%) to have true crime shows on their watchlists, sitcoms are most popular on Zoomers’ lists (38%). Meanwhile, Gen X and Baby Boomers both prefer full-hour procedurals (50% and 58%, respectively).
  • Men and women prefer different watchlist formats: Nearly half (46%) of women simply try to remember what they want to watch, and the same number of men (46%) keep a note on their phones for their watchlists.
     

“With new content constantly being released to streaming services, it can be difficult to keep track of it all,” Jason Williams, product director at Plex, said in a statement. “With Plex Universal Watchlist, consumers can easily stay updated on their favorite movies and shows across all major streaming platforms, even as their favorite content moves or becomes available on other services. Our goal is to make the streaming experience as seamless and enjoyable as possible.”

Earlier this year, Plex launched with two new features, Discover and Universal Watchlist, to alleviate many of the pain points that plague consumers subscribed to multiple streaming services. With Discover, viewers can search for a title to find where it is streaming. If it’s available on a streaming service the viewer has, they can launch it directly from Plex, eliminating time wasted switching from app to app. Users can also easily add any titles to one Universal Watchlist on the Plex app, regardless of where the content is available, making it easier to remember what they want to watch across streaming apps and networks.

In the study, 58% reported that maintaining an organized watchlist is a “must” to ensure they can cross off content from their list. While two-thirds (65%) prefer watching content from their list before defaulting to something else, over half (56%) turn off the TV and find something else to do if they can’t find something to watch, and 55% opt for re-watching a show or movie. 

Digital Distributor Plex Names Manish Gupta VP of Growth

Digital content distributor Plex Feb. 23 announced the hiring of Manish Gupta as its new VP of growth. Leveraging an extensive background using data-driven methods to accelerate marketing and business outcomes at Facebook/Meta, Twitter, Google, eBay and PayPal, Gupta will be tasked with supercharging Plex user growth and retention. The company has also appointed three new board directors to help guide and drive the next phase of company growth. New board members include Carl Sparks, Kelly Battles, and Rick Gibbs.

Manish Gupta

Launched in 2019, Plex offers almost 200 live-TV channels and 40,000+ on-demand movies and TV episodes on virtually every platform, including iOS and Android devices. 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.

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“Manish and our new board members are strong additions to the Plex family as we are driving toward our mission of being a one-stop-shop for streaming media and scaling the company during a period of rapid growth,” CEO Keith Valory, CEO of Plex, said in a statement. “Manish’s background in customer insights and growth marketing is exactly what we need to ensure we are not only appealing to new users but bringing them back time and time again.”

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.”