Early Home Video Access for the 1% Crowd — Without the Industry Angst

Flush with cash from Trump’s tax cut, the ultra-wealthy can now access new-release theatrical releases in the home — for $1,500 to $3,000 a title.

Upstart Red Carpet Films has entered the controversial premium video-on-demand market offering consumers willing to pay almost anything to rent (for 36 hours) Shazam! or Godzilla: King of the Monsters day-and-date with their theatrical debut.

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Studios such as Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Disney’s 20thCentury Fox and Fox Searchlight, among others, are on board the concept that requires consumers submit to a background check and purchase a $15,000 set-top box rigged with anti-piracy controls.

Disney (a big proponent of the 90-day theatrical window), Sony Pictures and Universal Pictures are not on board. Exhibitors apparently remain unconcerned about the targeted demo.

Fred Rosen

The brainchild of Fred Rosen, founder of Ticketmaster and Dan Fellman, who retired from Warner Bros. in 2015 after a 40-year career in distribution, Red Carpet Films claims it can deliver studios about $300 million in incremental revenue from as few as 4,000 wealthy customers.

Investment firm Charles Schwab considers anyone in possession of at least $2.4 million in net value wealthy. Nationwide, households earning at least $390,000 annually are considered to be in the 1% of earners. That requisite figure increases significantly in 12 states, including Connecticut, California, New York, and Texas.

“Every product I can think of has a luxury version, which got me thinking … why not movies?” Rosen told The New York Times.

It’s not an original business model. Best Buy in 2013 toyed with a business (CinemaNow) that charged consumers $500 for early home video access, in addition to related equipment charges.

Recently, Screening Room (from Napster founder Sean Parker) promised early in-home access (priced from $30) despite exhibitor pushback. Universal, in 2011, tried offering actioner Tower Heist early in the home – a strategy that was quickly shelved when exhibitors refused to carry the movie.

Of course, Netflix has long pushed in-home access to its original movies concurrent with any theatrical screenings.

While Lionsgate chairman Michael Burns promised studios would embrace premium VOD last year – a movement pushed as well by former Warner Bros. chairman Kevin Tsujihara – the concept now appears DOA.

Dan Fellman

Fellman says Red Carpet has worked with studios instead of placing demands.

“They appreciated that,” he said. “What doesn’t work in Hollywood is going in and wagging a finger and saying, ‘This is how it’s going to be.’”

Comcast Enabling X1 Subs to Vote on ‘World of Dance’ TV Show With Voice Remote

Comcast Cable March 15 announced it would enable Xfinity X1 subscribers to use their voice-controlled remote to cast “fan favorite” votes on NBC’s “World of Dance” reality competition show from March 17 through April 28.

Subs will be able to select their favorite dance act even if the ensemble has already been eliminated. The act tabulating the most votes at the end of the season will get the chance to join the “World of Dance Experience” on Jennifer Lopez’s “It’s My Party” summer concert tour.

The mid-show marketing campaign involving viewer participation is a departure for “World of Dance,” where acts are voted on by celebrity judges Lopez, Ne-Yo and Derek Hough.

Comcast said the software integration builds on previous interactive features incorporated on “The Voice” and “America’s Got Talent” that enable viewers to vote for their favorite artists and acts, and with Fandango and Ticketmaster, which enable them to browse movie and concert tickets on the TV.

Comcast, which owns NBC and Fandango, last September partnered with Ticketmaster enabling X1 subs to search concert tour dates and purchase tickets on the TV using their remotes.

“X1 enables us to unveil new and innovative experiences that complement and elevate content across the platform and to add more value for customers by giving them more ways to interact with the events, entertainment, performers and brands they love,” Nancy Spears,  VP, strategy & execution, said in a statement at the time.



Comcast, Ticketmaster Partner for Kelly Clarkson Concert Tickets

Comcast Cable and Ticketmaster Sept. 18 announced an industry-first integration that enables Xfinity X1 subscribers to find concert tour dates and buy tickets directly on the television through Ticketmaster’s open ticketing platform.

This integration coincides with three-time Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson and her 2019 “Meaning of Life” tour. Beginning today, X1 subs can simply say “Kelly Clarkson Tour” into their “voice remote” to take advantage of a special presale window and see a list of Clarkson’s local performance dates and venues right on the TV.

“Our team is always thinking of new ways to reach more fans by extending Ticketmaster’s open platform,” Dan Armstrong, SVP & GM, distributed commerce for Ticketmaster, said in a statement. “This partnership with Comcast is a groundbreaking way to discover events and buy tickets.”

In addition to this new ticketing capability, the Kelly Clarkson experience on X1 features all things related to the artist, including the ability to stream her music right on the TV via Pandora, watch her music videos, appearances on NBC’s “The Voice,” where she will return as a coach for Season 15, and clips from previous tours, access her Web series, “A Minute and a Glass of Wine,” and more.

“X1 enables us to unveil new and innovative experiences that complement and elevate content across the platform and to add more value for customers by giving them more ways to interact with the events, entertainment, performers and brands they love,” said Nancy Spears, VP, strategy & execution at Comcast Cable.

Through Sept. 23, all Xfinity customers have access to a special presale window and can purchase their tickets via xfinity.com. Ticketmaster and X1 will continue to provide localized ticket information throughout the general admission sale starting Sept. 24.

Kelly Clarkson’s Meaning of Life tour kicks off Jan. 24th, 2019 in Oakland, Calif. The 28-city trek will see Clarkson playing arenas across the United States on her first headline run in three years. She will be joined by special guests Grammy-nominee Kelsea Ballerini and last season’s winner of NBC’s The Voice, Team Kelly’s Brynn Cartelli.