High Maintenance: Season 4 | Official Trailer | HBO

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The Guy is back to keep your spirits high. High Maintenance returns Friday, February 7 on HBO. #HBO #HighMaintenance
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Based on the web series from Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, High Maintenance stars Sinclair as “The Guy,” a bike-riding, weed-delivery salesman with an eclectic variety of Brooklyn clients.

High Maintenance is available to stream now on http://www.hbo.com.

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Official Site: https://www.hbo.com/high-maintenance

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High Maintenance: Season 4 | Official Trailer | HBO

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Insecure: Season 4 | Official Teaser | HBO

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Get ready for the new season of Insecure, returning April 12 on HBO. #HBO #InsecureHBO
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Created by Issa Rae and Larry Wilmore, the comedy series Insecure explores the black female experience. Two black women deal with their own real-life flaws while attempting to navigate different worlds and cope with an endless series of uncomfortable everyday experiences. Starring Issa Rae, Yvonne Orji, Amanda Seales, Lisa Joyce, and Jay Ellis.

Insecure is available to stream now on http://www.hbo.com.

Official Site of Insecure on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/insecure

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Insecure: Season 4 | Official Teaser | HBO

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The New Pope: My Time Has Come (Episode 1 Clip) | HBO

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Cardinal Voiello makes a compelling case for the papacy. #HBO #TheNewPope #TheNewPopeHBO
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Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino returns with The New Pope, his second original series set in the world of the modern papacy. Written by Sorrenttino with Umberto Contarello and Stefano Bises, the nine-episode original series features Jude Law and John Malkovich. Sharon Stone and Marilyn Manson guest star.

The New Pope premieres January 13 on HBO.

Official Site of The New Pope on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/the-new-pope

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The New Pope: My Time Has Come ( Episode 1 Clip) | HBO

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The New Pope | Character Confessional: Silvio Orlando Featurette | HBO

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Silvio Orlando discusses Cardinal Voiello’s role in The New Pope. #HBO #TheNewPope #TheNewPopeHBO
Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7

Academy Award-winning director Paolo Sorrentino returns with The New Pope, his second original series set in the world of the modern papacy. Written by Sorrenttino with Umberto Contarello and Stefano Bises, the nine-episode original series features Jude Law and John Malkovich. Sharon Stone and Marilyn Manson guest star.

The New Pope premieres January 13 on HBO.

Official Site of The New Pope on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/the-new-pope

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The New Pope | Character Confessional: Silvio Orlando Featurette | HBO

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How the founder of Pocket.watch sees the future of children’s entertainment

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When Chris Williams founded entertainment platform Pocket.watch in 2017, he was certain that no one had yet found the right way to work with the generation of children’s talent finding its audience on platforms like YouTube.

Convinced that packaging creators under one umbrella and leveraging the expanding reach of even more media platforms could reshape the way children’s content was produced, the former Maker Studios and Disney executive launched his company to offer emerging social media talent more avenues to create entertainment that resonates with young audiences.

On the back of the breakout success of Ryan’s World, a YouTube channel which counted 33.6 billion views and more than 22 million subscribers as of early November, it appears that Williams was on the right track. As he looks out at the children’s media landscape today, Williams says he sees the same forces at work that compelled him to create the business in the first place. If anything, he says, the trends are only accelerating.

The first is the exodus of children from traditional linear viewing platforms to on-demand entertainment. The rise of subscription streaming services, including Disney+, HBO Max and Apple Plus — combined with the continued demand for new children’s programming on Netflix — is creating a bigger market for children’s programming.

“If you’re a subscription-based service, what kids’ content does for you is it prevents churn,” says Williams.

That’s drawing attention from new, ad-supported streaming providers like the Roku Channel, PlutoTV and SamsungTV Plus, which are also thirsty for children’s storytelling. Williams says he sees fertile ground for new programming among the ad-based, video-on-demand services. “Kids and family content tends to be the most highly engaging that creates consumption in homes. That creates a lot of opportunities for advertisers.”

The Roku Channel and Viacom’s PlutoTV service show that there’s still demand for ad-supported, on-demand alternatives that are more curated than just YouTube. It’s a potential opportunity for more startups, as well as an opportunity for studios looking to pitch their talent and programming.

“When we’ve launched a new 24-7 video channel and AVOD library and omni services… [we] know that content is surrounded by other premium content,” says Williams.

For all of the opportunities these new platforms bring, Williams says YouTube isn’t going anywhere as one of the dominant new forces in children’s entertainment,  despite its many, many woes. In fact, one of Williams’ new initiatives at Pocket.watch is predicated on changes that YouTube is seemingly making in terms of the programming that it promotes with its algorithms.

Source: techcrunch.com

Continue Reading How the founder of Pocket.watch sees the future of children’s entertainment

Roku to stream first season of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ for free

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Roku is unlocking premium content from HBO for the first time without a subscription, with its second-annual holiday streaming fest, Stream-a-thon. The promotion will see Roku offering the full first season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” for free to anyone with a Roku device. Also included during the event are full seasons and select episodes from other premium channels like Cinemax, Showtime, Starz and others.

The Stream-a-thon is a promotional effort aimed at capturing viewership at a time when many people are off work and relaxing at home, often watching TV. This year, the Steam-a-thon runs from December 26, 2019 through January 1, 2020.

This is the second year Roku has hosted the event, whose larger goal is to encourage Roku users to sign up for one of the premium channel subscriptions offered through Roku’s platform. The sampling of seasons and shows is meant to get viewers hooked on the content, as well as draw in users to Roku’s free content hub, The Roku Channel, where it features ad-supported free movies and shows year-round.

In addition to season 1 of “Game of Thrones,” other full first seasons being made available include Cinemax’s “Warrior,” Starz’s “Power” and Showtime’s “Billions,” “The Affair” and “Ray Donovan,” among others. Several individual episodes are being unlocked as well, including those from HBO’s “Barry,” “Chernobyl,” “Euphoria,” Sesame Street” and “Succession,” plus Showtime’s “Kidding” and EPIX’s “Get Shorty,” “Pennyworth” and “Punk.”

The full list of participants includes Cinemax, CONtv, Dove Channel, EPIX, FitFusion, The Great Courses Signature, HBO, Hallmark Movies Now, Pantaya, Smithsonian Channel Plus, Starz, Showtime, Stingray Karaoke and UP Faith & Family.

HBO also has a deal with Amazon to offer select seasons of its older shows, like “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “True Blood,” “Deadwood,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Oz,” “Six Feet Under” and others which are free to Prime members. But those aren’t actually free to stream because they require an annual Amazon Prime membership to watch.

Related to the launch of Stream-of-thon, Roku is also for the first time offering a combination HBO + Cinemax value pack that discounts the subscriptions to $20.99 per month instead of paying for them separately at $14.99 and $9.99, respectively.

 

Source: techcrunch.com

Continue Reading Roku to stream first season of HBO’s ‘Game of Thrones’ for free

Netflix earmarks $420M to fight Disney in India

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Netflix continues to bet heavily on India, one of the world’s largest entertainment markets, where it competes with more than three dozen rivals, including Disney.

Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, said on Friday that the company is on track to spend 30 billion Indian rupees, or $420.5 million, on producing and licensing content in India this year and next.

“This year and next year, we plan to spend about Rs 3,000 crores developing and licensing content and you will start to see a lot of stuff hit the screens,” he said at a conference in New Delhi.

The rare revelation today has quickly become the talk of the town. “This is significantly higher than what we have invested in content over the past years,” an executive at one of the top five rival services told TechCrunch. Another industry source said that no streaming service in India is spending anything close to that figure on just content.

While it remains unclear exactly how much capital other streaming services are pouring into content, a recent KPMG report estimated that Hotstar was spending about $17 million on producing seven original shows this year, while Eros Now had pumped about $50 million into its India business to create 100 new original shows. (The report does not talk about licensing content expenses.)

Netflix, which entered India as part of its global expansion to more than 200 nations and territories in early 2016, has so far produced more than two dozen original shows and movies in the country and inked partnerships with a number of local studios, including actor Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment.

Hastings said several of the shows the company has produced in India, including A-listed cast thriller “Sacred Games” and animated show “Mightly Little Bheem,” have “traveled around the world.” More than 27 million households outside of India, said Hastings, have started to watch “Mighty Little Bheem,” a show aimed at children.

Netflix, which is expected to spend about $15 billion on content globally next year, has never shared the number of subscribers it has in India. (It has over 158 million subscribers globally.) But the company’s financials in the country, where it employs about 100 people, have improved in recent quarters. In the financial year that ended in March, the company posted revenue of $65 million and profit of about $720,000 for its India business.

The big, big, big Indian market

India has emerged as one of the last great growth markets for global technology and entertainment firms. About half of the nation’s 1.3 billion population is now online and the country’s on-demand video market is expected to grow to $5 billion in the next four years, according to Boston Consulting Group.

But the propensity — or the capacity — of most of these internet users to pay for a subscription service remains significantly low. Most services operating in India today generate the majority of their revenue from ads. And others, which rely on a recurring model, are making major changes to their offerings in the nation.

To broaden its reach in the nation, Netflix earlier this year introduced a new monthly price tier — $2.8 — that allows users in India to watch the streaming service in standard quality on a mobile device. (The company has since expanded this offering to Malaysia.)

Netflix competes with more than three dozen on-demand video streaming services in India. Chief among its competitors in the nation is Disney’s Hotstar. Hotstar’s content includes live TV channels, streaming of sports events and thousands of movies and shows, many syndicated from global networks and studios such as HBO and Showtime.

The ad-supported service offers more than 80% of its catalog at no charge to users and charges 999 Indian rupees ($14) a year for its premium tier.

Among the licensed content that Hotstar — or its operator Star India — owns in the country includes rights to stream a number of cricket tournaments. Cricket is incredibly popular in India and has helped Hotstar set global streaming records.

In May this year, Hotstar reported that more than 25 million people simultaneously watched a cricket match on the platform  — a global record. The service, at the time, had more than 300 million monthly active users.

Commenting on the competition, Hastings said the next five to 10 years is going to be “the golden age of television” as “unbelievable and unrivaled levels of investment” go into producing content. “They are all investing here in India. We are seeing more content made than ever before. It’s a great export,” he added.

Disney+, the recently launched streaming service from the global content conglomerate, is set to be available in India and Southeast Asian markets next year through Hotstar, TechCrunch reported last month.

Source: techcrunch.com

Continue Reading Netflix earmarks $420M to fight Disney in India

Quibi series from Steven Soderbergh starring Tye Sheridan focuses on smartphone survival skills

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People dramatically proclaim all the time that they don’t think they could survive without their smartphones, but a new series from the forthcoming streaming service Quibi from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman approaches smartphone survival in a much more literal way. The scripted series, which will premiere on Quibi at launch in April 2020, stars Tye Sheridan from “Ready Player One,” and counts Steven Soderbergh as an executive producer.

The series, called “Wireless,” was created by Jack Seidman and Zach Wechter, who are the creators of the short film “Pocket,” which is shot entirely as though it was taking place on a person’s phone, almost like a screencast of that device. “Wireless” will feature similar cinematography, which is a good fit for Quibi’s short-form, made for a mobile approach to original streaming content. Wechter and Seidman have a head-start in this regard, in fact, as their film collective Pickpocket is specifically aimed at making this kind of feature.

“Wireless” will tell the story of Sheridan’s lead character, who is described as “a self-obsessed college student whose only hope for survival is the tool he has spent his whole life learning to use: his smartphone.” Said character will apparently be trapped inside of his freshly crashed car during the action, and using the smartphone (which is low on battery) to try to survive his predicament.

Quibi has already made a whole host of announcements, with new ones coming all the time, but it’s going to have a lot to prove once it actually debuts into what will be by April a very crowded streaming content market. Apple TV+ and Disney+, two new entrants from heavyweights that aren’t building a name from scratch with consumers, just debuted, and there are more coming early next year from NBC, HBO/AT&T and more.

Source: techcrunch.com

Continue Reading Quibi series from Steven Soderbergh starring Tye Sheridan focuses on smartphone survival skills

Disney+ to launch in India, Southeast Asian markets next year

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Disney plans to bring its on-demand video streaming service to India and some Southeast Asian markets as soon as the second half of next year, two sources familiar with the company’s plan told TechCrunch.

In India, the company plans to bring Disney+’s catalog to Hotstar, a popular video streaming service it owns, after the end of next year’s IPL cricket tournament in May, the people said.

Soon afterwards, the company plans to expand Hotstar with the Disney+ catalog to Indonesia and Malaysia, among other Southeast Asian nations, said those people on the condition of anonymity.

A spokesperson for Hotstar declined to comment.

Hotstar leads the Indian video streaming market. The service said it had more than 300 million monthly subscribers during the IPL cricket tournament and ICC World Cup earlier this year. More than 25 million users simultaneously streamed one of the matches, setting a new global record.

However, Hotstar’s monthly user base plummeted below 60 million in the weeks following the IPL tournament, according to people who have seen the internal analytics. The arrival of more originals from Disney on Hotstar, which already offers a number of Disney-owned titles in India, could help the service sustain users after cricket season.

The international expansion of Hotstar isn’t a surprise as it has entered the U.S., Canada and the U.K. in recent years. In an interview with TechCrunch earlier this year, Ipsita Dasgupta, president of Hotstar’s international operations, said so far the platform’s international strategy has been to enter markets with “high density of Indians.”

In an earnings call for the quarter that ended in June this year, Disney CEO Robert Iger hinted that the company, which snagged Indian entertainment conglomerate Star India as part of its $71.3 billion deal with 21st Century Fox, would bring Star India-operated Hotstar to Southeast Asian markets, though he did not offer a timeline.

Disney+, currently available in the U.S, Canada and the Netherlands, will expand to Australia and New Zealand next week, and the U.K., Germany, Italy, France and Spain on March 31, the company announced last week.

Price hike

Disney, which debuted its video streaming service in the U.S. this week and has already amassed more than 10 million subscribers, plans to raise the monthly subscription fee of Hotstar in India, where the service currently costs $14 a year, one of the two aforementioned people said.

A screenshot of Hotstar’s homepage

The price hike will happen toward the end of the first quarter next year, just ahead of commencement of next the IPL cricket tournament season, they said. The company has not decided exactly how much it intends to charge, but one of the people said that it could go as high as $30 a year.

In other Southeast Asian markets, the service is likely to cost above $30 a year, as well, both of the sources said. The prices have yet to be finalized, however, they said.

Even at those suggested price points, Disney would be able to undercut rivals on price. Until recently, Netflix charged at least $7 a month in India and other Southeast Asian markets. But this year, the on-demand streaming pioneer introduced a $2.8 monthly tier in India and $4 in Malaysia.

Hotstar offers a large library of local movies and titles syndicated from international cable networks and studios Showtime, HBO and ABC (also owned by Disney). In its current international markets, Hotstar’s catalog is limited to some local content and a large library of Indian titles.

In recent quarters, Hotstar has also set up an office in Tsinghua Science Park in Beijing, China and hired more than 60 engineers and researchers to expand its tech infrastructure to service more future users, according to job recruitment posts and other data sourced from LinkedIn.

Source: techcrunch.com

Continue Reading Disney+ to launch in India, Southeast Asian markets next year