Transactional VOD, Disc Sales Up in Scandinavia

The Nordic video markets have always led global trends when it comes to over-the-top video, transactional VOD and packaged media. It’s no different during a pandemic.

Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland enjoy high penetration of superfast broadband, wide adoption of the English language, a strong market for entertainment and a high level of disposable income.

New data from Futuresource Consulting finds that while consumers in the region subscribe to multiple SVOD services, they are also driving a return to growth for the transactional video market.

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“To see transactional video shifting course and moving into a growth phase is something of a rarity,” market analyst Tristan Veale said in a statement. “These countries are expected to be amongst the first markets to experience the reversal, a direct result of changing consumer behaviour in the face of COVID-19.”

London-based Futuresource expects transactional VOD consumption or renting across DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital to grow 4% in 2020, the second consecutive year of growth. The biggest player in the digital transactional space remains Apple iTunes, though key growth service Viaplay is successfully upselling transactional video to its existing subscriber base and is a close second

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Despite the rise in transactional video, the Nordics market remains dominated by SVOD, which accounted for 80% of all home video spend in 2019, with Netflix, Viaplay and HBO Nordic leading.

“The Nordic love affair with SVOD continues to blossom,” Veale said. “In 2019, for every dollar spent on transactional video, four dollars were spent on SVOD.”

Futuresource expects established services Netflix, HBO Nordic and Viaplay to be pushed by Apple TV +, which launched in Q3 2019, and the upcoming Disney+ debut.

On Netflix alone, consumers across Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland spent over half a billion dollars in 2019 and Netflix remains the leading SVOD provider, but it is slowly approaching saturation, as over half of all households across these four Nordics have a subscription.

“We expect SVOD subscriptions and spend to be pushed to a whole new level,” Veale said.

Where’s ‘Scoob!’? Atop FandangoNow Chart

Warner Bros.’ animated Scoob!, which debuted on premium VOD May 15, was the No. 1 streamed title on FandangoNow for the week ended May 17.

FandangoNow is Fandango’s transactional video-on-demand service.

The new Scooby-Doo movie features the voices of Will Forte, Zac Efron, Gina Rodriguez and Mark Wahlberg, among others, and with theaters closed debuted on PVOD.

Another PVOD release, Universal’s Trolls World Tour, took the silver, dropping from No. 1 in previous weeks. Meanwhile, Universal’s Elisabeth Moss thriller The Invisible Man, available for digital purchase at $14.99, appeared at No. 3.

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Entering the chart at No. 4 was director Josh Trank’s new film Capone, starring Tom Hardy and Linda Cardellini. The title is available for digital rental at $9.99.

The service’s top 10 titles for the week ended May 17 were:

  1. Scoob!
  2. Trolls World Tour
  3. The Invisible Man
  4. Capone
  5. Sonic the Hedgehog
  6. Fantasy Island
  7. Bad Boys for Life
  8. Bloodshot
  9. Birds of Prey
  10. Jumanji: The Next Level

Fandango Teams With Director Jon M. Chu to Highlight Movies by Asian-American Auteurs

For Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, Fandango has asked director Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians, In the Heights) to share his list of influential films from Asian-American auteurs, with personal essays on why each is meaningful to him.

The Farewell

“I met Lulu Wang at the ‘SNL’ after party when Awkwafina hosted the show. I didn’t know anybody other than Awkwafina and she was busy talking to Lorne [Michaels] but guess who came up to me? Yup, the brilliant and incredibly warm Lulu Wang…Like Lulu making me feel at home at that party that night, this movie will make you feel seen,” Chu said of Lulu Wang’s The Farewell.

“I’ll never forget my father gathering my mother, me and my four siblings into a mini van on a Sunday morning and heading to the small movie theater playing this film…by the end of the film, we were in awe of how much it reflected our family,” he said of Wayne Wang’s The Joy Luck Club.

His full responses are here on Fandango.

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The YouTube channel Fandango Movieclips is debuting a playlist featuring some of the best scenes from Chu’s selection of titles. FandangoNow, the transactional VOD service from Fandango, is also honoring Chu’s choices, with the films available to watch at home here.

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The full list of Chu’s influential movies from Asian-American filmmakers include:

Better Luck Tomorrow (Justin Lin)

Short Term 12 (Destin Daniel Cretton)

The Joy Luck Club (Wayne Wang)

Saving Face (Alice Wu)

Life of Pi (Ang Lee)

The Farewell (Lulu Wang)

Meru (Jimmy Chin & Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)

The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan)

Searching (Aneesh Chaganty)

Tigertail (Alan Yang) — available on Netflix

Gook (Justin Chon)

‘Trolls World Tour’ Again Lands Atop FandangoNow Chart

Universal’s premium VOD release Trolls World Tour repeated at No. 1 on FandangoNow’s chart of top titles streamed for week ended May 10.

FandangNow is Fandango’s transactional VOD service.

Sony Pictures’ Vin Diesel actioner Bloodshot landed at No. 2 while Paramount’s animated Sonic the Hedgehog took the bronze.

Clark Duke’s directorial debut, the Lionsgate crime thriller Arkansas, in which Duke stars alongside Liam Hemsworth, Vivica A Fox, Vince Vaughn and John Malkovich, entered the list at No. 6. Meanwhile, the Warner Bros. fantasy Gretel & Hansel and Lionsgate’s faith-based I Still Believe (coming off its PVOD price) returned to the chart at Nos. 8 and 9, respectively.

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The service’s top 10 titles for the week ended May 10 were:

  1. Trolls World Tour
  2. Bloodshot
  3. Sonic the Hedgehog
  4. Bad Boys for Life
  5. Jumanji: The Next Level
  6. Arkansas
  7. Birds of Prey
  8. Gretel & Hansel
  9. I Still Believe
  10. The Gentlemen

 

For Top Gun Day May 13, celebrating the movie’s release 34 years ago this week, Fandango is hosting the 10-minute opening of the film with Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, Tim Robbins and John Stockwell on the FandangoNow Extras YouTube channel here.  The classic actioner is available in 4K Ultra HD on FandangoNow for the discounted purchase price of $12.99 through May 18 at this link. For movie fans with Imax Enhanced-enabled TV’s at home, the Imax-Enhanced versions of Top Gun, Bad Boys for Life, Crawl and other new titles are available on FandangoNow here.

May 15 marks the digital premiere of the animated Scoob! (featuring Will Forte, Zac Efron, Gina Rodriguez and Mark Wahlberg), and fans who preorder the film on FandangoNow here will receive 50% off hundreds of family titles, including the live-action “Scooby-Doo” movies, films from the “Harry Potter” franchise and The Lego Movie. The full list of applicable films is  here.

‘Little Women’ Top Movie, ‘ This is Us’ Top Show Moms Want to See for Mother’s Day in FandangoNow Survey

Moms have picked Greta Gerwig’s Little Women as the top movie and “This Is Us” as the top show celebrating motherhood that they want to stream this Mother’s Day weekend, according to a survey by FandangoNow.

FandangoNow, Fandango’s transactional video-on-demand service, surveyed more than 1,000 moms this week and found:

  • 84% are bonding with family members while streaming classics at home.
  • 81% plan to stream a movie or TV show as part of their Mother’s Day plans.
  • 77% will stream more this Mother’s Day than ever before.

 

The top 10 movies about motherhood that moms want to stream with family this weekend are:

  1. Little Women (2019)
  2. Steel Magnolias *
  3. Incredibles 2
  4. Bad Moms
  5. Mamma Mia *
  6. Maleficent
  7. Freaky Friday (2003)
  8. The Joy Luck Club
  9. Soul Food
  10. The Farewell *

 

The top 10 shows about motherhood that moms want to stream with family this weekend are:

  1. “This is Us”
  2. “Modern Family”
  3. “Big Little Lies”*
  4. “Mom” *
  5. “Gilmore Girls” *
  6. “Fuller House” *
  7. “Fresh Off the Boat”
  8. “Queen Sugar”
  9. “Jane the Virgin”
  10. “Good Girls”

 

* indicates title is on sale on FandangoNow

“There are certain movies that make you think about the motherly influences in your life, and there’s nothing better than watching a movie that celebrates those heroes on a weekend meant to celebrate motherhood,” said Fandango correspondent Nikki Novak in a statement. “These movies evoke a sense of warmth, humor, joy and unconditional love — all the great qualities of our wonderful mothers and mother figures.”

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Family Titles ‘Trolls World Tour’ and ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Take Top Two Spots on FandangoNow Chart

Family titles Trolls World Tour and Sonic the Hedgehog were the top titles for the week ended May 3 on FandangoNow, the transactional video-on-demand service from Fandango.

Universal’s Trolls World Tour bypassed its wide theatrical release and came out on premium VOD at $19.99 April 10. Paramount’s Sonic the Hedgehog made an early debut on digital March 31. Both title releases were affected by theaters closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Universal’s new-to-digital Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield romance The Photograph entered the chart at No. 6.

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FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended May 3 (in terms of weekly revenue) were:

  1. Trolls World Tour
  2. Sonic the Hedgehog
  3. Bad Boys for Life
  4. The Invisible Man
  5. Jumanji: The Next Level
  6. The Photograph
  7. Birds of Prey
  8. Like a Boss
  9. The Gentlemen
  10. Bloodshot

Jeff Bezos: ‘Hardest Time We’ve Ever Faced’

Not even Amazon is immune from the impact of the coronavirus.

Founder/CEO Jeff Bezos devoted much of the e-commerce behemoth’s first-quarter (ended March 31) press release to highlight efforts the company has taken on the warfront against COVID-19 — including safeguarding its warehouse employees, hiring 175,000 more of them, increasing hourly wages by $2, working on virus detection test production, deploying AWS to school districts for at-home learning, and reserving special shopping times for seniors at Whole Foods, among other initiatives.

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“The current crisis is demonstrating the adaptability and durability of Amazon’s business as never before, but it’s also the hardest time we’ve ever faced,” Bezos said in a statement.

Indeed, while net sales increased 26% to $75.5 billion in the quarter, from $59.7 billion in previous-year period, profit declined 31% to $2.5 billion, from $3.6 billion.

The culprit: a shutdown of all non-essential shipments, including many third-party sellers (more than 50% of Amazon sales), and increased delivery-related costs. In addition, there was a $387 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates, which impacted net sales by 1%.

Amazon said it spent $600 million on COVID-19-related costs, which is expected to increase to $4 billion in the current second quarter.

On the entertainment front, Prime Video launched Prime Video Cinema in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany — a premium VOD movie rental service that enabled members to stream in-theater movies at home, including titles such as Birds of Prey, Emma, The Invisible Man, Onward and Trolls World Tour.

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Prime Video premiered several new Amazon Original series, including the reality competition, “Making the Cut,” hosted and executive produced by Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn; “The Forgotten Army” in India; “Love Island” in France; “Celebrity Hunted” in Italy; and the docuseries “The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team” in Australia.

As previously reported, Prime Video and the NFL announced a multiyear agreement to live-stream 11 Thursday Night Football games as well as one additional regular season game.

Online store sales increased 24% to $36.6 billion, from $29.4 billion a year ago. Store sales include packaged media such as DVD, Blu-ray Disc and music CDs. Subscription serviced revenue, which includes Prime memberships, audiobooks, transactional VOD, digital music, e-books and other non-AWS subscription services, increased 28% to $5.5 billion, from $4.3 billion a year ago.

Sling TV Donating All Movie Rental Profits to COVID-19 Relief Group

Sling TV April 10 announced it is donating profits from its digital movie rental business to Good360, a global nonprofit that is delivering supplies to healthcare providers as they battle the coronavirus across multiple fronts in the country.

The Dish Network-owned online TV platform said studio movies such as Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker are just a few of the movies Sling’s 2.3 million subscribers are renting to support the cause.

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Most-viewed TV shows on Sling include “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” and primetime dramas “The Walking Dead” and “Better Call Saul,” among others.

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‘Kino Marquee’ Virtual Theatrical Platform Expands to 150 Indie Cinemas

Kino Marquee, the transactional VOD platform launched last week to enable movie theaters shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic to generate revenue, has expanded to include 150 indie theaters.

For a select fee, viewers can watch a digital release on a participating theater’s website with revenue split between Kino and the indie exhibitor.

The platform will stream Cannes-prize winning Brazilian thriller Bacurau, with a virtual Q&A with filmmakers and cast on Wednesday, April 1 at 8 p.m. ET. Kino Marquee plans to offer top films from other independent distributors.

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Directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles and starring Sônia Braga and Udo Kier, Bacurau won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2019 and went on to play Toronto and New York Film Festivals.

The virtual theatrical VOD initiative, which now includes Alamo Drafthouse and Laemmle Theaters, is designed to emulate the moviegoing experience as much as possible, enabling movie audiences to support their local theaters by paying to view films digitally.

“We’ve all been thrust into a brave new cinema world. Kino Marquee offers film lovers and the theaters a way to mutually support each other — audiences can keep going to newly released movies and theaters can keep selling tickets to great cinematic experiences online,” CEO Richard Lorber said in a statement.

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Lorber said Kino Marquee is designed as a lifeline to help keep arthouse cinemas in business and keep the work of “top independent filmmakers” under the halo of first release “virtual screens.”

Ken Loach’s festival favorite Sorry We Missed You also is available through Kino Marquee with Film Forum in New York, where the film’s theatrical premiere (launched March 4) was cut short by the theater’s closure. Multiple cities will follow later this week.

‘The Invisible Man’ Tops FandangoNow Weekend Chart

Universal’s early digital release of The Invisible Man, due to the theatrical slowdown for the coronavirus, topped FandangoNow’s list of the top 10 movies streamed on the transactional VOD service over the weekend of March 21-22.

Pixar’s Onward, also an early digital release, came in at No. 2.

“As fans continue to look for new content to watch at home, FandangoNow has experienced its biggest weekend ever,” said FandangoNow head Cameron Douglas in a statement. “Our top sellers consisted of movies right out of the theaters, as well as other digital releases not yet available on subscription services. We expect to see another big week ahead with at least five new releases, including Birds of Prey, Bloodshot, Dolittle, The Gentlemen and The Way Back, coming to our service tomorrow.”

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The top 10 FandangoNow releases for the weekend of March 21-22 were:

  1. THE INVISIBLE MAN (2020)
  2. PIXAR’S ONWARD
  3. JUMANJI: THE NEXT LEVEL
  4. THE HUNT
  5. STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
  6. EMMA (2020)
  7. 1917
  8. SPIES IN DISGUISE
  9. KNIVES OUT
  10. JUST MERCY

 

Upcoming top theatrical titles coming to FandangoNow include:

BIRDS OF PREY –March 24

BLOODSHOT –March 24

DOLITTLE – March 24

THE GENTLEMEN – March 24

THE WAY BACK – March 24

I STILL BELIEVE – Available to rent March 27

BAD BOYS FOR LIFE – Available to buy March 31

TROLLS WORLD TOUR – Available to rent April 10