In the company’s first such deal, Amazon-owned LoveFilm has acquired exclusive streaming rights to History‘s Vikings for the UK and Germany. The Netflix rival will make all nine episodes of the hit show available via LoveFilm Instant in the UK on May 24 and in Germany on June 15. Vikings, handled internationally by MGM Television, is the No. 1 new cable series of the year in the U.S. and was renewed for a second season in April. This marks the first time LoveFilm has pacted for a series to stream on the service ahead of traditional broadcast television. Amazon Studios recently used the platform for its pilot screening process, making a slate of 14 pilots available on Amazon Instant Video, LoveFilm UK and LoveFilm Germany.
Global Showbiz Briefs: Lovefilm & Warner Bros’ UK Deal; Alex Williams Joins ‘The Reckoning’; Critics’ Week In Cannes
Lovefilm & Warner Bros Strike UK Deal
Netflix competitor Lovefilm has entered what it calls a “milestone” deal with Warner Bros. International Television Distribution for the UK. From today, library content that includes The West Wing, One Tree Hill, Nip Tuck and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles will be available to subscribers. The Amazon-owned streaming service has 2M+ subscribers across Europe. Netflix entered the market in January 2012 where Sky also continues to build its business. The three companies each have deals with the major U.S. studios. In November, Netflix signed its own multi-year pact with WBITD that included shows like The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl.
Blockbuster UK has been pulled back from the brink of bankruptcy with private equity firm Gordon Brothers Europe riding to the rescue and acquiring the company’s business and assets. Blockbuster sought bankruptcy protection in January with Deloitte taking over the day-to-day operations and looking for a buyer. Financials were not disclosed, but Gordon Brothers said the 264 stores across the UK and Channel Islands will continue to operate on a business-as-usual basis, saving over 2,000 jobs. When Blockbuster first went into administration in January, it had 528 stores. Supermarket chain Morrisons bought 49 of them and about 200 were closed, BBC News notes. As with UK retail giant HMV, which has also sought bankruptcy protection, Blockbuster has faced stiff competition from online streaming services, which in the UK include Lovefilm and Netflix. Gordon Brothers said it will make “substantial investment” and fully utilize Blockbuster’s “existing trading platform, powerhouse brand and extensive customer database.” It intends to enhance “the customer experience through the use of new product offerings, new technologies and better basic retailing.” Gordon Brothers CEO Frank Morton said, “We acknowledge the industry is in transition;
Hyde Park Names Stephen Gary VP
Ahead of Cannes, Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment Group has picked Stephen Gary as VP of its international sales division. He comes from IM Global, where he worked on titles like Before Midnight Dead Man Down. He’ll report to Hyde Park International’s president Eric Christenson. The company’s current slate includes Every Secret Thing with Diane Lane and Elizabeth Banks, Adult World with Emma Roberts and John Cusack and Sunlight Jr. with Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon, as well as an untitled Elmore Leonard project that stars Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes and Tim Robbins. Gary’s career began in the global finance and distribution department at William Morris Endeavor and includes a stint at Essential Entertainment, where he executed sales on The Expatriate and Barney’s Version. - Joe Utichi
Global Showbiz Briefs: NBCU-Lovefilm TV Deal, Ian Fleming Miniseries, Aussie Fracking Doc, Hong Kong Fund
NBCUniversal Inks TV Series Deal With Lovefilm
Amazon’s European service LoveFilm has secured an agreement with NBCUniversal International TV Distribution to deliver audiences on-demand access to hundreds of episodes of iconic American TV. Deal includes recent and library titles including comedies like the U.S. version of The Office starring Steve Carrell and 30 Rock starring Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin. Deal also includes NBCU science fiction dramas like Heroes as well as David Hasselhoff’s 1980s cult TV classic Knight Rider. Lovefilm’s latest major studio deal follows agreements with ABC, BBC and ITV.
Blockbuster now becomes the second UK retailer this week to go into administration, the British equivalent of bankruptcy protection, after music and DVD chain HMV did the same on Tuesday. As it has in the U.S., the movie …
Netflix will further ramp up its rivalry with Amazon’s Lovefilm when it expands into the Nordic region. The company, which launched in the UK and Ireland in January where Lovefilm was already an established player, will offer streaming …
With a view to enabling Amazon customers worldwide to watch online content wherever, whenever and however they want, the company has announced the creation of a new London design and development hub. Amazon will put teams from its subscription movie service, Lovefilm, and its interactive TV agency, Pushbutton, under one roof where they will create new interactive digital services for TVs, game consoles, smartphones and PCs. The Digital Media Development Center, according to managing director Paula Byrne, will “develop the next generation of TV and film services for a wide range of digital devices.” She further told Bloomberg that the goal is to ensure “every single person who is an Amazon customer wolrdwide is able to get to watch content where and when they want it, on the device they want it and to a very good standard.” The software developers and engineers who’ll be stationed at the new center previously worked on Lovefilm Instant, a service that provides members with unlimited streaming on over 280 internet-enabled devices.
The government body is expanding on its existing investigation into whether BSkyB’s deals with major Hollywood studios give it too much power in pay TV, The Guardian reports. Regulators have already provisionally determined that those deals are …
News Corp controlled-BSkyB is moving into the Netflix, Lovefilm fray in the U.K. with plans to launch a new streaming service available to anyone with a broadband connection. This means that U.K. consumers who do not currently subscribe to the Sky pay-TV service will have internet access to content from channels like Sky Movies with sports and entertainment programming coming later on. A subscription contract won’t be required, giving users the option to pay a monthly fee for unlimited access or on a pay-as-you-go basis. The move follows Sky’s Monday announcement that it was enhancing its VOD service Sky Anytime+ by adding ITV and BBC content. Also today, BSkyB reported half-year earnings for the 6 months ended December 31, 2011 with a 6% revenue increase to £3.364 billion and a pre-tax profit of £597 million, up from £467 million in the previous semester.
Amazon’s UK service, which competes with Netflix, lands previous seasons of series including Lost, Desperate Housewives, Happy Endings, and Grey’s Anatomy. Additional shows will be offered as full seasons after they’ve run on UK pay or free TV. The companies didn’t disclose financial terms. Here’s the release:
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)– LOVEFiLM, an Amazon company, has partnered with Disney UK in a deal that will give LOVEFiLM members access to full seasons of some of the most iconic American television series ever created.
The branded subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, ABC TV On Demand, will offer LOVEFiLM members on-demand streaming access to ABC Studios’ library of hit network and cable series.
From this month popular series such as Castle, starring Nathan Fillion, as well as all six seasons of Lost, ranked by critics as one of the top US TV series of all time will be available to LOVEFiLM members with streaming packages.
This should make things more interesting ahead of the early 2012 launch of Netflix’s UK video streaming service. Sony Pictures has agreed to supply Amazon’s LOVEFiLM service with exclusive access to movies including The Social Network and Salt, and animated children’s shows such as Transformers and The Karate Kid. They offer few details but call this a “major multi-year” deal and a “milestone agreement.” Amazon’s service also is licensing content from Warner Bros, Entertainment One, StudioCanal, Disney, Momentum and Lionsgate. Here’s the release:
SEATTLE– Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN): LOVEFiLM, an Amazon company, and Sony Pictures Television have signed a major multi-year content deal giving LOVEFiLM members exclusive streaming access to new and forthcoming Sony Pictures titles during the second subscription pay TV window, as well as catalog titles and TV series, from June 2012.
LONDON and BURBANK, Calif. 17th November 2011: Warner Bros. has signed a major film distribution agreement with LOVEFiLM it was announced today by Josh Berger, President & Managing Director, Warner Bros. UK, Ireland & Spain and Simon Calver, Chief Executive, LOVEFiLM.
The multi-year, multi-layered pact offers consumers wider choice and more access to Warner Bros. content across a range of options. The deal spans LOVEFiLM’s digital subscription, download to own and pay per view services, as well as Warner Bros.’ branded SVOD service WarnerFilms.
An exclusive second window subscription pay TV deal will see Warner Bros.’ recent and forthcoming film releases added to LOVEFiLM’s Watch Online service through the LOVEFiLM Player, either on the PC or accessible via Sony PlayStation®3, Apple iPad, a growing number of web-enabled TV sets and Blu-ray players, and later this year Microsoft Xbox 360.