AMC’s Acorn TV and UMC Launch on YouTube TV

Subscription streaming services Acorn TV and UMC are available on YouTube TV, AMC Networks announced.

Acorn TV is North America’s largest streaming service for British and international television, and UMC is the largest streaming service for black TV and film, according to AMC. The services join sister services Shudder, Sundance NOW and AMC Premiere as part of YouTube TV’s lineup of premium streaming service add-on options.

Acorn TV’s add-on channel is now available via YouTube TV for $6 a month, and UMC’s add-on channel is $5 a month.

Programming now available on Acorn TV’s YouTube TV channel includes:

  • “Manhunt,” a 2019 series starring Martin Clunes as a former police detective who tenaciously pursues a serial killer;
  • “Line of Duty,” a cop thriller that takes a probing look into modern police corruption with new guest leads every season;
  • “Agatha Raisin,” an Acorn TV Original series starring Ashley Jensen in adaptations of MC Beaton’s best-selling novels as an amateur sleuth who becomes entangled in mischief, mayhem and murder;
  • “Doc Martin,” a U.K. series starring Clunes as a tactless, self-centered, and uptight doctor in the town of Portwenn, where he clashes with the village’s quirky inhabitants;
  • “Keeping Faith,” an Acorn TV Original thriller starring Eve Myles as Faith, a lawyer with a happy marriage until her husband suddenly disappears; and
  • dramas including “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” and “Midsomer Murders,” as well as Acorn TV Original series “Queens of Mystery” and “Mystery Road.”

 

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Programming now available on UMC’s YouTube TV channel includes:

  • “A House Divided,” a new original drama series starring Demetria McKinney, Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, Paula Jai Parker and Brad James;
  • “Beyond the Pole,” the channel’s first original reality series that follows six of Atlanta’s exotic dancers on their journeys out of the strip club world with the help of Stormy Wellington, a former dancer turned multi-millionaire;
  • “Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy,” which will return for its second season later this fall;
  • OWN’s “Black Love” and WEtv’s “Growing Up Hip Hop”;
  • classic sitcoms, such as UPN’s “All of Us”; and
  • classic films such as Set It Off, starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox and Kimberly Elise, and B.A.P.S., starring Halle Berry and Natalie Desselle.

Over the past year, Acorn TV and UMC have expanded their availability across various platform partners, most recently joining Apple TV Channels and The Roku Channel. Others will be added later this year, according to AMC.

RLJ Entertainment Posts Q2 Loss, Reports Continued Growth in Digital

RLJ Entertainment reported a net loss of $2 million in the second quarter of 2018, compared to a loss of $0.9 million in the previous-year period.

The loss was a result of higher investment in content and marketing expenses, as well as $1 million of transaction costs incurred to respond to AMC Networks’ merger proposal offset by the improvement in gross profit generated by the digital channels segment, according to the company.

AMC Networks announced it would buy a majority interest in RLJE Aug. 1.

RLJE’s revenue increased 14% to $21.5 million in the second quarter over the previous-year period, primarily driven by a $3 million increase in digital channels segment revenues.

Digital channels, which includes over-the-top services Acorn TV (British TV) and The Urban Movie Channel, grew paying subscribers 49.1% from the second quarter of 2017 to more than 820,000. Digital channels segment revenues increased 46% to $9.4 million from $6.4 million in second quarter of 2017.

Gross profit increased 15.3% to $11.2 million and gross margin increased approximately 60 basis points to 52.3% in the second quarter of 2018 from the previous-year period. Continued growth in the digital channels segment, which represents a larger portion of total revenues, drove the improvements in gross profit and gross margin, according to the company. Adjusted EBITDA increased to $4.5 million from $3.9 million in the second quarter of 2017 primarily due to the growth of higher-margin digital channels segment revenues.

Equity earnings from Agatha Christie Limited increased 48.2% year-over-year to $1.3 million driven by the segment’s film and publishing business segments. RLJE owns 64% of Agatha Christie Limited.

“The OTT landscape continues to represent a tremendous growth future as viewership increases and new platforms emerge,” said Robert L. Johnson, chairman of RLJ Entertainment, in a statement. “With our differentiated targeted brands, Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel, that fulfill consumers’ demands and preferences, we continue to expand our position, delivering a strong value proposition to subscribers.”

“Subscriber growth was strong in second quarter 2018, gaining momentum as our increased investments in unique and original content, broader distribution across multiple recognized platforms and heightened consumer awareness continue to pay off,” said Miguel Penella, CEO of RLJ Entertainment, in a statement. “Digital channel subscribers grew past the 820,000 mark, our wholesale business remains a strong, increasingly profitable contributor, and Agatha Christie Limited’s performance yields both highly demanded content and strong dividends in our IP segment.”

“RLJ Entertainment’s revenue gains and profitability expansion continued in the quarter as we execute consistently on increasing our strategic investments in growth and controlling costs carefully,” said Mark Nunis, principal financial and accounting officer of RLJ Entertainment, in a statement.