Netflix has acquired the just-announced Sundance 2014 documentary Mitt, which follows Republican nominee Mitt Romney through the beginnings of his presidential aspirations in 2006 to his defeat to Barack Obama on Election Night 2012. [See today's Sundance line-up announcement here.] The film from director Greg Whiteley (New York Doll, Resolved) spans seven years as Whiteley gains intimate access to the former Massachusetts governor and his family on and off the campaign trail through Romney’s quest for the White House. “It feels like a full circle moment to premiere this movie at Sundance,” said Whiteley. “I first met and filmed the Romney family in Park City in 2006 as they gathered to discuss whether Mitt should run for President. Over the next seven years I couldn’t believe I was filming inside rooms and situations I had no business being in.” Mitt is exec produced by Undefeated and King of Kong helmer Seth Gordon and will premiere January 17 during the 2014 Sundance Film Festivalas a gala in Salt Lake City, where Romney has roots and once led the Salt Lake Olympics Games Organizing Committee. READ MORE »
Netflix To Debut Romney Presidential Campaign Documentary ‘Mitt’ In January 2014 Following Sundance Premiere
The $7.99-a-month streaming service appears to have dampened many consumers’ interest in DVRs, which cost $10 or more a month, according a study out this morning from Leichtman Research Group. It shows DVR growth plateauing: 47% of …
Global Showbiz Briefs: BSkyB Opens Sky Store To Nonsubscribers; Netflix Eyeing France Launch?; More;
BSkyB Opens Its Sky Store Rentals To All Broadband Users
BSkyB set a challenge today to streaming providers in the UK such as Netflix and LoveFilm by announcing it has opened its Sky Store movie rental service to anyone with a broadband connection. The service does not require a Sky subscription, meaning all users in the UK and the Republic of Ireland will have access. Sky, which is controlled by 21st Century Fox, says new films including Man Of Steel and Despicable Me 2 are available from today with other fresh titles available at the same time as they drop on DVD. Those will rent for £3.49 ($5.70) each. Library titles will go for 99p-£1.99. There are already about 1,200 movies online which can be streamed through SkyStore.com, or via NOW TV, Roku and YouView. Sky’s had success with renting movies to its existing customers with 2.1 million rentals in the third quarter.
Report: Netflix Mulls Expansion Into France
Netflix has been a long time coming to France, Europe’s third-largest market, but is the tide about to turn? According to Reuters, executives from Netflix met with the staff of French President François Hollande this week to discuss the move. Netflix is available in 41 countries including France’s neighbors to the north such as the UK, the Netherlands and the Nordic region. A French launch has been rumored over the years, but moving into the fiercely protected territory is ornery for the streaming service given a complex film-windows chronology. There is no such protection for TV series, but many U.S. shows air as much as a year later than they do in the U.S. on traditional networks like TF1. TF1 has a VOD service that offers first-run U.S. series on a one-day delay and pay-TV leader Canal Plus airs first-run series within a few days; it even launched a new channel this year on which to showcase them. But movies are hampered by rules that prohibit films from appearing on monthly SVOD services until three years after a theatrical release. Rentals via a set-top box are permissible four months after theatrical. The windows issue has long been a thorny one in France, with industry opinions divided, but discussions are ongoing. A Hollande rep told Reuters, “Netflix wanted information about the legal conditions that would affect its potential arrival in France.”
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 3, 2013 — Turbo and his Fast Action Stunt Team are challenging the world to “snail up!” as they make their global television debut on Christmas Eve – Tuesday, December 24th at 12:01 AM PST – with the launch of DreamWorks Animation’s all new Turbo FAST series, exclusively in all Netflix territories. Families will be able to stream the first five episodes this holiday season, with additional all new episodes premiering throughout the year.
When many studios license shows to Netflix they stipulate that the content can’t be distributed in the U.S. through a pay TV operator’s set top box — but that should change, TiVo CEO Tom Rogers told analysts today. Netflix “has clearly risen to the level of a must-have” for consumers who want streamed video. And once Netflix can negotiate changes in its contracts “increasingly we’re hearing operators wanting to include Netflix in their distribution” after years of considering it a threat. It would benefit TiVo if he’s right: Its DVRs can integrate broadband video with conventional cable channels. In September, UK cable operator Virgin Media said that it would include a Netflix app on the TiVo boxes it offers to some of its subscribers – blurring the distinction between the online service and premium channels like HBO. Rogers naturally wants more U.S. cable operators to let TiVo handle their advanced services. Cable “is beginning to pay a price for not having found the right balance [between marketing broadband and video] and not highlighting how video benefits flow from broadband connectivity.” Smaller operators have turned to TiVo while big companies such as Time Warner Cable haven’t. But Rogers says that he doesn’t “see it being sustainable that somebody in suburban Anchorage, Alaska, can have a vastly better advanced television experience than somebody in the media capital of the world living on Park Avenue and 60th Street.”
It’s déjà vu again for The Killing, which refuses to live up to its name. The mystery drama, which was cancelled by AMC last year only to be resurrected with a third-season order, is staging another comeback after being cancelled by the network again in September. This time, the series was picked up by Netflix, which was its exclusive digital partner for the first three seasons and still carries them worldwide. Now The Killing will become a Netflix original for a six-episode final installment. The series’ second resurrection is a testament to series producer Fox TV Studios’ tenacious efforts to keep it alive. The Killing‘s stars, Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, are under long-term deals and set to return. Creator/executive producer Veena Sud is assembling a writing team, which is expected to begin work shortly. She will be joined by The Killing veterans, exec producers Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin, who had been on the show since the first season, and two other writers. “It’s a true testament to Veena Sud, and the stellar cast led so compellingly by Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, that fans remained so passionate about the show,” FtvS president David Madden said.
The Killing‘s third season opened with an OK 1.8 million viewers and drew largely positive reaction from critics and fans. But it ended with 1.5 million for the season finale, up only slightly from the 1.4 million viewers of the second-season ender. Season 3 overall was essentially flat with Season 2 — ratings that had triggered the series’ first cancellation. However, the serialized drama’s strength always has been the digital/binge viewing play. “The rich, serialized storytelling in The Killing thrives on Netflix, and we believe that it is only fitting to give Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder a proper send-off,” said Cindy Holland, VP Original Content for Netflix.
Netflix Picks Up Four Marvel Live-Action Series & A Mini Featuring Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Luke Cage For 2015 Launch
The companies call this an “unprecedented deal” and “Marvel‘s most ambitious foray yet into live-action TV storytelling.” Disney will provide Netflix with live action series and a miniseries featuring Marvel characters Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, and Luke Cage set in the gritty world of heroes and villains of Hell’s Kitchen, New York. Netflix has committed to at least four, 13-episode series over “multiple years,” beginning in 2015, culminating with a miniseries, The Defenders, that “reimagines a dream team of self-sacrificing, heroic characters.” The arrangement, which involves some 60 episodes produced by Marvel TV and ABC Studios, grew out of the deal that will give Netflix exclusive rights to Disney films in the premium TV window beginning in 2016. It is “unparalleled in its scope and size, and reinforces our commitment to deliver Marvel’s brand, content and characters across all platforms of storytelling,” says Marvel Entertainment President Alan Fine. Also unprecedented was the secrecy surrounding the package. As we reported last month, breaking the news of Marvel shopping the four series and mini to Netflix and a couple of other VOD and cable players, no one was allowed to breathe a word, with the seller, all potential buyers and everyone else involved allegedly bound by strict confidentiality agreements. Committing to 60 episodes off the bat is a big undertaking but would help a new to scripted programming player like Netflix that is looking to quickly build up a slate and want to capitalize on the Marvel brand. Said Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, “Marvel is a known and loved brand that travels.” There had been talk of another Daredevil movie while Marvel TV first developed Jessica Jones as a series for ABC but it didn’t move past the development stage. The company’s first live-action series for Disney, ABC’s Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D., premiered this fall and has been picked up for a full season. It has been a very strong performer in DVR/steaming viewing, hinting at the potential of other Marvel series on a service like Netflix. Here’s the release on the deal, brokered by CAA:
Say good night to the Blockbuster night. The video chain that a decade ago made moguls tremble with its stranglehold on video rentals will be gone in January: Dish Network, which paid $234M to take Blockbuster out of bankruptcy in early 2011, said today that it will close the 300 remaining U.S. retail stores as well as its distribution centers. Blockbuster’s DVD-by-mail service also will end, though franchisees and licensed Blockbusters stateside and overseas will be unaffected. “This is not an easy decision, yet consumer demand is clearly moving to digital distribution of video entertainment,” Dish CEO Joseph Clayton says. Dish will keep the Blockbuster brand and video library. It also will continue the Blockbuster @Home service it offers to Dish customers, as well as the Blockbuster On Demand transactional streaming service.
Lilyhammer ushered in original series on Netflix as the acquired Norwegian show became the first original drama offered on the streaming service when it bowed on February 6, 2012. A lot has happened since then, with …
The Short Game, the first original documentary to be offered on the streaming service, will premiere on Thursday, December 12 at 12:01 AM ET. The 2013 SXSW Audience Award winner follows eight of the most competitive golfers around …
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos kicked off his quickfire Bloomberg and Tribeca Film Festival Business of Entertainment breakfast by defending his recent back and forth with theater owners. “I wasn’t calling for day and date with Netflix. I was just calling to move all the windows up to get closer to what the consumer wants,” Sarandos said of his incendiary October 26 speech that riled up theater owners. “I think there’s a better business in giving people what they want than creating artificial distance between the product and the consumer.” A week after accusing theater owners of killing the movie business with inflexible theatrical windows, Sarandos maintains his position that what’s good for the consumer is good for the film and TV industry. NATO CEO John Fithian hit back at Sarandos, accusing Netflix of only looking out for Netflix at the expense of the film industry, but “[Fithian] and I don’t have uncommon ground,” Sarandos told me. If Netflix starts producing original features suited for theatrical exhibition “we of course would seek screens, for more choice.”
On Saturday, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos outraged NATO when he slammed theater owners with potentially killing the movie business. Here’s Sarandos’ keynote speech at Film Independent‘s 9th annual confab at DGA HQ.