AT&T Closes DirecTV Spinoff, Video Services Branded DirecTV Stream

AT&T and TPG Capital have closed their transaction establishing a new company named DirecTV. The new company will own and operate the DirecTV, AT&T TV and U-verse video services previously owned and operated by AT&T.

The newly branded DirecTV Stream will become the single brand for video streaming services previously launched by AT&T, excluding HBO Max. The transition will happen later this month. As a part of the deal, AT&T satellite, streaming or IP video customers will automatically keep their video service, any bundled wireless, internet or HBO Max services, and associated discounts with no action needed.

Not included in the transaction are WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming platform and regional sports networks, both of which are part of the pending WarnerMedia-Discovery transaction; Vrio (AT&T’s Latin American video operations, which are being sold to Grupo Werthein); U-verse network assets; and AT&T’s Sky Mexico investment. DirecTV will continue to offer HBO Max to subscribers along with any bundled wireless or broadband services and associated customer discounts.

DirecTV had approximately 15.4 million premium video subscribers at the end of the second quarter of 2021.

AT&T contributed its U.S. video business unit to the new entity in exchange for preferred units as well as a 70% interest in the common units of DirecTV. TPG contributed approximately $1.8 billion in cash to DirecTV in exchange for preferred units and a 30% interest in common units of the new company.

The DirecTV board will include Bill Morrow, CEO of DirecTV, and voting board members Steve McGaw and Thaddeus Arroyo, appointed by AT&T; and David Trujillo and John Flynn, appointed by TPG.

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“This is a watershed moment for DirecTV as we return to a singular focus on providing a stellar video experience,” said Morrow in a statement. “Building on our recent momentum, we are well-positioned to bring unparalleled choice and value to all of our customers under one iconic brand, whether they beam it or stream it.”

At close, AT&T received $7.1 billion in cash ($7.6 billion net of approximately $470 million cash on hand) and transferred approximately $195 million of video business debt.

‘F9’ Races to Top of Vudu and FandangoNow Charts

Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga topped both the Vudu and FandangoNow charts for the week ended Aug. 1.

Both Vudu and FandangoNow are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

In F9, the ninth installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) leads his crew on another worldwide adventure to stop an evil scheme by his brother (John Cena). The film became available for premium rental July 30.

Lionsgate’s sequel The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard dropped to No. 2 on both charts. An action comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson and Salma Hayek, The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard debuted for digital purchase July 27. In the film, the lethal odd couple — bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds) and hit man Darius Kincaid (Jackson) — are back. Still unlicensed, Bryce is forced into action by Darius’s wife, the infamous international con artist Sonia Kincaid (Hayek). As Bryce is driven over the edge by the volatile spouses, the trio get in over their heads in a global plot and soon find that they are all that stand between Europe and a madman (Antonio Banderas).

Debuting at No. 3 on the Vudu chart (No. 4 on FandangoNow) was Sony Pictures’ family friendly Peter Rabbit 2, newly available for digital purchase. In the sequel to 2018’s Peter Rabbit, Bea, Thomas and the rabbits have created a makeshift family, but despite his best efforts, Peter can’t seem to shake his mischievous reputation. Adventuring out of the garden, Peter finds himself in a world where his mischief is appreciated, but when his family risks everything to come looking for him, Peter must figure out what kind of bunny he wants to be.

Universal Pictures’ horror thriller The Forever Purge, the latest installment in the dystopian “Purge” franchise about periods when all crime becomes legal, dropped to No. 3 on the FandangoNow chart (No. 5 on Vudu). The film is available as a premium digital rental.

Paramount Pictures’ horror sequel A Quiet Place Part II, starring Emily Blunt and written and directed by John Krasinski, slipped to No. 4 on the Vudu chart and No. 5 on FandangoNow’s chart. The title is available for digital rental and purchase. In the film, following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must face the terrors of the outside world as they continue to fight for survival in silence.

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Other new titles on Fandango’s top 10 lists included Warner Bros.’ DC animated sequel Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two (No. 7 on Vudu) and Lionsgate’s Ireland-based romance Finding You (No. 10 on FandangoNow).

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Aug. 1, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. F9: The Fast Saga
  2. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
  3. Peter Rabbit 2
  4. A Quiet Place Part II
  5. The Forever Purge
  6. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
  7. Batman: The Long Halloween Part Two
  8. Nobody
  9. Wrath of Man
  10. Werewolves Within

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended Aug. 1, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. F9: The Fast Saga
  2. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard
  3. The Forever Purge
  4. Peter Rabbit 2
  5. A Quiet Place Part II
  6. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It
  7. Wrath of Man
  8. Mortal Kombat
  9. Cruella
  10. Finding You

Hulu Adds NFL Network to Live TV Channel Line-Up

NFL Network is now available to Hulu’s Live TV subscribers in the $64.99 a month subscription plan.

The addition of NFL Network to Hulu’s 75-plus live TV channel line-up  brings live NFL preseason games, exclusive live NFL regular season games, studio shows such as “Good Morning Football” and “NFL Total Access,” as well as “NFL GameDay Morning” and “NFL Now,” and original series such as “A Football Life,” “NFL 360” and “America’s Game.”

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Hulu has also launched a sports add-on featuring six sports networks with a collection of live games, recent highlights, sports news and events. For $9.99 per month, Hulu’s Live TV subscribers can add NFL RedZone, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, MAVTV Motorsports Network, TVG and TVG2 to their live TV line-up.

“With the launch of NFL Network and our new Sports Add-on, Hulu + Live TV continues to be the ultimate destination for sports fans to watch thousands of hours of live and on­demand sports programming,” Reagan Feeney, Hulu SVP of Live TV content programming and partnerships, said in a statement. “Starting today, viewers can bring even more game day action to their living room with live games and events, original shows, motorsports, horse racing and much more.”

“We are excited to bring NFL Network and NFL RedZone to Hulu + Live TV subscribers,” Hans Schroeder, EVP and COO of NFL Media, said in a statement. “One of our top priorities as a League remains broadening the distribution platforms for NFL content, and so we’re very pleased to bring our lineup of award-winning shows and live games to Hulu’s live subscribers.”

Cinedigm Launches Three Channels on Sling TV

Cinedigm has placed three of its channels on Sling TV: the family friendly Dove Channel, pop culture channel CONtv and documentary channel Docurama.

Docurama is a streaming service dedicated to bringing audiences acclaimed, cutting-edge documentaries. Popular titles include Anthony Bourdain: A Cook’s Tour, Beatles: How The Beatles Changed The World and Kobe: The Life of a Legend.

The Dove Channel is a source for family friendly content, feature films and television titles suitable for all audiences. It features comedy classics such as “The Little Rascals,” young adult series “H20: Just Add Water” and “Dance Academy,” and faith favorites such as The Ultimate Gift.

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CONtv: carries a diverse range of film and television series focusing on the action/thriller, horror, anime and sci-fi/fantasy genres, including films featuring superstars such as Milo Gibson and Peter Facinelli (Gangster Land) and anime classics such as “Yu-Gi-Oh!”

Sling TV delivers live and on-demand television to compatible internet-connected devices through monthly subscriptions starting at $35 per month. Through its genre-based “Extras,” customers can pick their personal channel lineup.

“Since its inception, Sling TV has been at the forefront of live TV streaming,” Jennifer Soltesz, VP of business development and strategy at Cinedigm, said in a statement. “Working with Sling TV not only allows us to reach a diverse, new audience, but it gives us a partner with the same forward-thinking drive. We can’t wait to show these new customers the amazing networks Cinedigm has to offer.”

Disney+’s ‘What If …’ Top Anticipated New Show in August

Disney+’s “What If …” was the top anticipated new show on the TV Time chart for August.

The Marvel Universe animated anthology series, debuting Aug. 11, explores major Marvel moments had they gone differently.

Two new Hulu shows took the second and third spots on the chart. “Nine Perfect Strangers” (No. 2) is based on the New York Times bestseller about a health and wellness resort and debuts Aug. 18. “Only Murders in the Building” (No. 3) is a comedy murder mystery series and hits screens Aug. 31.

Topping the anticipated returning shows chart for July was NBC’s long-running cop comedy “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” The show’s eighth season debuts Aug. 12.

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TV Time, owned by Whip Media, 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 company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

Most Anticipated New Shows for August:

  1. “What If …” (Disney+) — Aug. 11
  2. “Nine Perfect Strangers” (Hulu) — Aug. 18
  3. “Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu) — Aug. 31
  4. “Heels” (Starz) — Aug. 15
  5. “The Chair” (Netflix) — Aug. 20

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for August:

  1. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — Aug. 12
  2. “American Horror Story” (FX) — Aug. 26
  3. “Control Z” (Netflix) — Aug. 4
  4. “Titans” (2018)(HBO Max) — Aug. 12
  5. “See” (Apple TV+) — Aug. 27

Warner Acquires Feature ‘The Fallout’ for HBO Max

Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to the SXSW multiple-award-winning feature The Fallout for HBO Max.

Written and directed by Megan Park in her feature filmmaking debut, the film won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards for Narrative Feature, and Park won the Brightcove Illumination Award honoring a filmmaker on the rise at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. The film will release exclusively on HBO Max where available globally and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures in the balance of international markets.

The cast includes Jenna Ortega, along with Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch, Will Ropp, Lumi Pollack, John Ortiz, Julie Bowen and Shailene Woodley.

The story follows high schooler Vada (Ortega) as she navigates the emotional fallout she experiences in the wake of a school tragedy. Relationships with her family and friends, as well as her view of the world, are forever altered.

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“Making The Fallout was a journey I never expected to take and one that has changed me forever,” stated Park. “If by seeing this film just one teen feels less alone, less afraid, or somehow understood, that will make the journey worth every step.”

“What Megan Park has created with The Fallout is a sensitive and moving story, marking a stunning debut behind the camera, with an exceptional young cast led by a revelatory and powerful performance by Jenna Ortega and an emotionally impactful turn from Maddie Ziegler,” Carolyn Blackwood, COO of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said in a statement.

“We shot the film during the height of COVID, and despite all the stoppages and setbacks, we knew we had to tell this story now. HBO Max is the perfect home for this film, and we are pleased to be working with the whole team at Warner Bros. to bring the film to audiences around the world,” stated producers Shaun Sanghani, David Brown, Rebecca Miller and Cara Shine.

The Fallout was produced by Shaun Sanghani of SSS Entertainment and David Brown of Clear Horizon alongside Rebecca Miller, Cara Shine and Todd Lundbohm. Joannie Burstein and Giulia Prenna also produced.

‘Dino Ranch’ Preschool Series Renewed for Second Season on Disney Junior and Disney+

The animated preschool series “Dino Ranch” has been renewed for a second season at Disney, the production company Boat Rocker announced. Season two will air on Disney Junior and Disney+ in the United States and Latin America beginning in 2022.

“Dino Ranch” has received an incredible response from kids and parents around the world and we couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to produce a second season,” Michel Pratte, president of Boat Rocker Media and GM of Boat Rocker Studios, said in a statement. “The show is a shining example of franchise IP for Boat Rocker and we are looking forward to continuing to build brand affinity and engagement love for ‘Dino Ranch’ with our partners.”

“We’re very excited to continue our strong partnership with Disney for ‘Dino Ranch,’” Jon Rutherford, president of Boat Rocker Studios, kids & family, and rights, said in a statement. “Disney’s incredible support, along with the show’s ability to resonate with audiences through its unique blend of dinosaurs, family, and engaging storytelling has helped us achieve immediate success. With Season two, we plan on deepening engagement with our fans by unveiling new characters and locations, and many new thrilling adventures with the Cassidy family.”

“Dino Ranch” takes place on a working farm, home to the tight-knit Cassidy family: Ma (Jane), Pa (Bo), and their three adopted kids, Jon, Min, and Miguel. But it isn’t an ordinary ranch. The Cassidy family is in charge of rounding up, riding and caring for a lively herd of racing, roaring dinosaurs who are also their best friends.

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Boat Rocker has developed a licensing program for “Dino Ranch,” partnering with Jazwares on a line of “Dino Ranch”-themed toys that will be available in fall 2021. The company is also working with publishing partner Scholastic to design and produce a range of “Dino Ranch” readers, sticker storybooks, novelty, activity books, and audiobooks with products due to launch in the fall. Further licensees have been secured in the United States for apparel, bedding and bath, watches, Halloween costumes, and costume characters for live events.

“Dino Ranch” was created by Matt Fernandes (of Industrial Brothers) and is produced by Industrial Brothers and Boat Rocker Studios, in association with CBC Kids and Radio-Canada. Boat Rocker Studios manages global franchise development, including content distribution and consumer products. Animation services for season two of “Dino Ranch” will be provided by Boat Rocker’s Jam Filled Entertainment.

‘Never Have I Ever’ Again Top Binge, ‘Sky Rojo’ Top Rising Show on TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” was again the top binge show and the service’s “Sky Rojo” was the top rising show on the TV Time charts for the week ended July 25.

Netflix’s Spanish series “Sky Rojo,” from the creators of “Money Heist,” follows a fatal turn of events at a brothel that sends three women haunted by their pasts on a wild run from their pimp and his henchmen. Season two debuted July 23.

Season two of the coming-of-age comedy “Never Have I Ever,” created by executive producer Mindy Kaling, debuted July 15. It continues to follow Indian-American teenager Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), who deals with the everyday pressures of high school and drama at home, while also navigating new romantic relationships.

Repeated at No. 2 on the binge chart was “Atypical,” season four of which debuted July 9. It’s another coming-of-age story following Sam (Keir Gilchrist), a young man on the autism spectrum, as he searches for love and independence.

Taking the silver on the rising show chart was Amazon’s Indian series “Hostel Daze,” which follows four school friends in their first year. Season two of the series debuted July 23.

The bronze on the rising show chart went to Disney+’s “Marvel Studios: Assembled,” a documentary series that chronicles the creation of Marvel Studios’ new shows and theatrical releases.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by almost 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 July 25 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Never Have I Ever” (Netflix) — 6.68%
  2. “Atypical” (Netflix) — 3.19%
  3. “One Piece” (Fuji TV) — 1.87%
  4. “Elite” (Netflix) — 1.68%
  5. “Modern Family” (U.S.) (ABC) — 1.63%
  6. “Grey’s Anatomy” (U.S.) (ABC) — 1.56%
  7. “Virgin River” (Netflix) — 1.23%
  8. “The Good Doctor” (U.S.) (ABC) — 1.10%
  9. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.04%
  10. “Sky Rojo” (Netflix) — 0.96%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended July 25 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Sky Rojo” (Netflix) — 95.7%
  2. “Hostel Daze” (Amazon Prime Video) — 95.2%
  3. “Marvel Studios: Assembled” (Disney+) — 93.8%
  4. “Squeezie” (YouTube) — 93.6%
  5. “The Movies That Made Us” (Netflix) — 91.5%
  6. “Power Book III: Raising Kanan” (Starz) — 84.8%
  7. “Touch Your Heart” (TVN) — 78.3%
  8. “Australian Survivor” (Nine Network) — 72.6%
  9. “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+) — 62.7%
  10. “Lego Masters U.S.” (Fox) — 53.2%

Billie Eilish Concert Film to Premiere Exclusively on Disney+ Sept. 3

The Billie Eilish concert film Happier than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles will premiere globally Sept. 3 on Disney+.

Off the heels of her new album Happier than Ever, the Disney+ original will feature a performance of every song  in the album’s sequential order — for the first and only time — from the stage of the Hollywood Bowl. Directed by Robert Rodriguez and by Oscar-winner Patrick Osborne, the special will also include animated elements, taking viewers on a dreamlike journey through Billie’s hometown of Los Angeles and its most iconic backdrops. Happier than Ever: A Love Letter to Los Angeles features Finneas, the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus, the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by music and artistic director Gustavo Dudamel, and world renowned Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo, with orchestra arrangements by David Campbell.

“Disney is incredibly iconic, so to collaborate on something like this is a huge honor,” Eilish said in a statement. “To be able to present my album in this way and dedicate it to the city that I love and grew up in is so exciting to me. I hope you love it.”

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“We are all huge admirers of Billie and Finneas here in our household. They are such impressive, world class talents that it’s a real honor to work with them on this film,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “The way the narrative story and animated pieces weave through her incredible concert performance, makes this a spectacular event that is truly unique.”

“Billie has captivated fans around the world with her soulful voice and raw, honest lyrics, and we are proud to bring this incredibly cinematic and unique concert experience to Disney+,” Michael Paull, president, Disney+ and ESPN+, said in a statement.

‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Tops Vudu and FandangoNow Charts

Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place Part II topped both the Vudu and FandangoNow charts for the week ended July 18.

The horror sequel, starring Emily Blunt and written and directed by John Krasinski, is newly available for digital purchase. In the film, following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family must face the terrors of the outside world as they continue to fight for survival in silence.

Both Vudu and FandangoNow are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango.

Warner Bros.’ Wrath of Man, newly available for digital rental as well as purchase, took the silver on both charts. Based on the 2004 French film Cash Truck, the actioner pairs director Guy Ritchie with Jason Statham. Statham plays a mysterious new security guard for a cash truck who surprises his co-workers when he unleashes precision skills during a heist. The crew is left wondering who he is and where he came from.

Warner’s Godzilla vs. Kong, available for digital sale and rental, came in at No. 3 on the Vudu chart (No. 9 on FandangoNow). The film, from Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, stars Alexander Skarsgård and Millie Bobby Brown. In this installment in the Monsterverse, Kong and his protectors undertake a perilous journey to find his true home, and with them is Jia, a young orphaned girl with whom he has formed a unique and powerful bond. But they unexpectedly find themselves in the path of an enraged Godzilla, cutting a swath of destruction across the globe.

Taking the third spot on the FandangoNow chart (No. 4 on Vudu) was Warner’s actioner Mortal Kombat, available for digital purchase. In the latest adaptation of the classic video game, MMA fighter Cole Young is unaware of his heritage — or why Outworld’s Sorcerer Shang Tsung has sent his best warrior Sub-Zero, an otherworldly Cryomancer, to hunt him down. Fearing for his family’s safety, Cole goes in search of Sonya Blade at the direction of Jax, a Special Forces Major who bears the same strange dragon marking Cole was born with. Soon, he finds himself at the temple of Lord Raiden, who grants sanctuary to those who bear the mark. Here, Cole trains with experienced warriors as he prepares to stand with Earth’s greatest champions against the enemies from Outworld.

Disney’s Cruella, which became available for premium digital purchase June 25, landed at No. 4 on the FandangoNow chart (No. 7 on Vudu). The prequel tells the story of the rise of the 101 Dalmatians villain Cruella de Vil.

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Universal Pictures’ Nobody, available for digital rental and sale, came in at No. 5 on the Vudu chart (No. 8 on the FandangoNow). The film stars Bob Odenkirk as a family man repressing a dangerous past that resurfaces after he interrupts burglars robbing his home. When he learns his daughter’s kitty bracelet is missing, he snaps and sets off on a mission of revenge looking to vent his deep-seated rage.

Taking the fifth spot on the FandangoNow chart was Lionsgate’s The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2, available for digital purchase. In the sequel, after surviving a night of terror on the West Coast, Carl Black (Mike Epps) moves his family back to his childhood home in Chicago to write his new book. When an eccentric neighbor (Katt Williams) moves in next door, Carl becomes convinced that the man is a vampire.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended July 18, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. A Quiet Place Part II
  2. Wrath of Man
  3. Godzilla vs. Kong
  4. Mortal Kombat
  5. Nobody
  6. Spiral: From the Book of Saw
  7. Cruella
  8. Out of Death
  9. Till Death
  10. Separation

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended July 18, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. A Quiet Place Part II
  2. Wrath of Man
  3. Mortal Kombat
  4. Cruella
  5. The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2
  6. Out of Death
  7. Spirit Untamed
  8. Nobody
  9. Godzilla vs. Kong
  10. Spiral: From the Book of Saw