VOD Views – November 4, 2015

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Another example this week of digital entertainment’s power over traditional networks and distributors comes with Lionsgate’s acquisition of Dirty Thirty, starring Hannah Hart, Grace Helbig and Mamrie Hart.

Who, you ask? They’re the new breed of star, YouTube channel owners with subscribers in the millions and billboards all over Hollywood, more recognisable to the generation that counts (millennials) than Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts and Arnold Schwarzenegger ever were.

A very interesting story also emerged recently about the improved power of metrics. Whereas the old system used to have an army of Nielsen reps all over the USA getting very inexact scientific data about what people have watched, today the digital networks know everything down to the finest detail – when you started watching a show, how soon you went on to the next episode, even when you paused it for a toilet break.

Netflix recently revealed the common point at which a show will hook a viewer, and – surprise – it’s not the first episode (http://variety.com/2015/digital/news/netflix-tv-show-data-viewer-episode-study-1201600746). But the most interesting tidbit from the story is buried a bit deeper, where the company said it won’t affect the content of shows.

Really, Netflix? You have the complete and accurate information about exactly what people like and don’t like and you’re not going to use that to increase subscriptions – the reason you make TV shows and movies to begin with? Excuse us while we cough (*bullsh_t*).

But the big news recently is YouTube’s new subscription based service, YouTube Red. Starting in 2016, a US$9.99 fee will buy you all the usual content without the ads, plus premium content only available to subscribers.

It’s an interesting experiment. The YouTube brand name is widely seen as the platform you use to upload a video of your cat chasing a laser pointer, with paid services like Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc having stitched up more ‘professional’ original content.

Digital natives/millennials (again) have been a large part of making YouTube what it is. Will they spend $10 a month for the stuff they already watch, and if not, what kind of value-add will YouTube wield to convince them?

Now on VOD, Disney/Pixar’s smash Inside Out, including a new short Riley’s First Date.

Also online, Lost in the Sun, where Josh Duhamel (Transformers) plays a small time hood who finds an unlikely accomplice in a teenage boy.

Mark Stanley from Game of Thrones stars in Kilo Two Bravo, the true story of a platoon attacking a Taliban roadblock in Afghanistan. As they close in on the insurgents, the unit find themselves marooned in the middle of an active minefield, setting in motion a desperate air rescue mission.

Also out is Mateo, where a young man who dreams of pop stardom instead goes to jail, re-emerging as Mateo, America’s first white mariachi singer. While on the brink of completing an album his estrangement from friends and family, his criminal past, and his love for Cuban women threatens to derail him.