VOD Views – February 19, 2016

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It was a long time coming, but finally one of the biggest players in digital media (the biggest, by some measures) – Apple – is taking the leap into scripted TV. Its first project will be a semi-autobiographical series produced by and starring Dr Dre, an Apple acolyte these days after selling them his Beats brand for $3bn.

Not to be outdone, another big name online – Instagram – recently released its first scripted entertainment, with Shield 5 comprising 28 15-second episodes accompanied by a photo that’s critical to the plot of each episode.

But as other names leap in, original scripted VOD drama saw another high profile victim recently when Snapchat closed its Snap Channel division, laying off the staff it had hired to develop original series.

It might be the first example of a platform figuring there are plenty of content partners who know what they’re doing rather than producing content itself. In a near future where produce-to-distribute ecosystems are all over the place in Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Apple, we shouldn’t forget there’s still fertile ground for the old model where you own a platform like a TV station and buy the content you want to show on it.

Mind you, none of that’s stopping the old names in media from doing things the new way. NBC will soon launch a streaming service called Seeso that deals exclusively in comedy – both original shows and oldies like Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

New on VOD now and coming up soon, Camino, starring Kiwi stuntwoman extraordinaire Zoë Bell as a war photographer on the run from a violent psychopath in the jungle of Colombia.

Also out, Tumbledown, which stars the luminous Rebecca Hall and promises a side of funnyman Jason Sudeikis we’ve never seen before. They star as a widow and an academic who decide (against her better judgement) to write a book about her the acclaimed singer husband she lost.

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s comedy Sisters had the thankless task of opening on the same day as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so if you missed it, there are plenty of laughs in this tale of two sisters who decide to throw a final bender when their parents decide to sell their childhood home.

Also out, Brooklyn, a surprising Oscar frontrunner starring Saoirse Ronan as a young Irish woman seeking a new life in America and finding so much more.