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VOD Views – July 4, 2014

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Just like we’re always hearing about how actors and writers are embracing the quality of TV, big filmmakers are finding new homes in other distribution channels. Recently Ron Howard and Brian Grazer announced they were teaming up with Discovery Communications (of The Discovery Channel fame) to create programming for a new generation who they say are ‘gravitating to YouTube and beyond for innovative programming – particularly on the scripted side, which may be underserved’.

Meanwhile, a new survey confirms that the binge watching enabled by VOD services like Netflix and Hulu is quite entrenched, with 7 out of 10 Americans consider themselves binge watchers (http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/04/29/survey-claims-that-seven-out-of-ten-tv-viewers-consider-themselves-binge-watchers/258729).

The biggest recent news is that at least someone thinks the marketplace is big enough for another giant player. The Chernin Group and US telco AT&T are launching a service to rival the big guns, and we mean all of them. The as-yet unnamed service will provide both ad-supported and subscription-based content, which will put it in competition not just with Netflix and Hulu by Amazon Prime and YouTube as well.

With almost every other player from media, electronics and every other industry even obliquely related to entertainment already in the game from Sony to Yahoo and Disney to Verizon it’s going to be a digital jungle out there.

Out on digital now, it’s always strange to see Robert De Niro go direct to video, but crime caper The Bag Man (https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-bag-man/id808657973?uo=4&at=10lorC) has a great cast in De Niro and John Cusack.

A very different film from his last big screen outing comes Aaron Paul in Hellion (https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/hellion/id879451742?uo=4&at=10lorC), the story of a hard-drinking father trying to keep it together while raising his young family alone.

Hipster demigod Joe Swanberg surrounds himself with usual suspects Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey and Lena Dunham in Happy Christmas (https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/happy-christmas/id887735031?uo=4&at=10lorC) to tell the story of a hip married couple and the husband’s sister (Kendrick), who moves in with a suitcase full of emotional baggage.

But the big one everyone will be watching is Life Itself (https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/life-itself/id889470787?uo=4&at=10lorC), the documentary about the life of late great movie critic Roger Ebert. The buzz around this movie is huge, so don’t miss out.

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About Drew Turney

An Australian-based film critic and celebrity interviewer now based in Los Angeles, California.

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