Bluebirds of happiness were alighting at distributor Fox and creator Blue Sky Studios this week, as Rio 2 flew to the No. 1 spot in Rentrak’s weekly DVD and Blu-Ray sales charts in its home-entertainment debut. The sequel’s capering birds were followed at the top by two other animated hits beloved by kids and therefore their parents: Warner Bros’ The Lego Movie and Disney’s Oscar-winning and all-time animated box-office champ Frozen.
The theatrical arrival of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, another Fox film, likely caused its cinematic predecessor, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes, to swing back near the top of the charts a whopping 136 weeks (more than 2 1/2 years) after it first arrived there.
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Frozen, already the all-time animation box-office champ and an Oscar winner, has added another jewel to its icy crown: Rentrak says the Walt Disney Animation feature topped the charts for the first half of 2014 in digital movie purchases and rentals on VOD and electronic sellthrough. Nearly all the other films in the top 10 were Oscar nominees too, even the Jackass-produced comedy Bad Grandpa, which snagged a nomination for best makeup and hairstyling. It appears everyone spent that very chilly winter of 2014 catching up on the Oscar contenders they didn’t watch in theaters.
There is one important caveat to this list, however: It does not include any films from NBCUniversal, nor from indie studios (whatever size studio we count Lionsgate as these days, its Hunger Games sequel made the list at a not-that-surprising No. 2). Rentrak said that though it couldn’t include individual Universal films for the list, the studio’s products as a whole were No. 1 for both overall transactions and retail revenue during the period, which ran from the week of January 5 to June 29.
The heat is on for Nielsen, which had been feeling pressure from digital upstarts. Fox Television Stations has become the first network owned and operated station group to adopt Rentrak’s Local TV ratings across all of its 28 stations across 18 markets from New York City to Ocala-Gainesville, Fla. In a ringing endorsement, FTS has entered a long-term agreement with Rentrak, which has evolved from a video cassette distributor to a viable challenger to Nielsen’s monopoly in the ratings measuring by using data from cable set-top boxes. FTS is not dropping Nielsen — at least not for now — adding Rentrak as an alternative source of local market television ratings data. Per the announcement, the agreement will provide Fox with access to Rentrak’s StationView Essentials software and TV ratings information including Rentrak’s single-source auto and political ratings. “We are happy to have immediate access to Rentrak’s Advanced Demographics data,” said Jack Abernethy, CEO of FTS. “More importantly, we expect this will accelerate the long overdue progress toward an accurate digital measuring system in local TV, one based on a census, not estimates, and one that measures all screens.”
That has been a long-time complaint by the TV networks — that Nielsen has fallen behind the rapid evolution of TV viewing and its ratings are not capturing the true size of their audiences who are watching TV in a slew of alternative ways: online, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Rentrak on Sunday will announce that my pal and longtime Hollywood.com movie analyst Paul Dergarabedian will join its team as Senior Media Analyst. Dergarabedian has covered box office for more than 20 years: now he’ll “act as a marketplace expert to offer analysis on results from Rentrak’s real-time movie and television measurement services on various media outlets,” he tells me. Dergarabedian founded Media By Numbers which later became a division of Hollywood.com where he served as president of the box office division. I wish him well.
Barack Obama won re-election thanks in part to knowing what you watch on television, and his campaign bought that information from some of Hollywood’s leading data collectors. As detailed in articles in The Atlantic and the Washington Post, the campaign data-mined audience-viewing habits to zero in on where the most relevant eyeballs for their money resided, learning not only what people were watching but more importantly when they were watching and for how long.
According to the reports, the Democrats’ self-developed “optimizer” system used information from set-top cable boxes collected by Rentrak and the Microsoft-owned Navic Networks. (Rentrak, a provider of box office ticket sales used by Deadline, also collects viewing habit information via set-top boxes from more than 20 million TV sets nationwide). The real-time measurements allowed Team Obama, with a TV advertising budget estimated in the $300 million range, to put tens of thousands of ads in front of the niche audiences they were seeking, saving millions in the process. It bypassed the traditional mass buys of local news and major markets — the route taken by most previous presidential campaigns including Obama’s GOP opponent Mitt Romney — in favor of late-night shows, daytime TV, reruns and second-tier cable stations like The Food Network.
Related: Hollywood For Obama & Romney; Star Surrogates Out On Final Campaign Day Read More »
Jim Zak, Rentrak Theatrical International’s VP of client services, told me, “It’s a corporate decision.” The movie industry’s definitive box office reporting institution announced late Friday: “Please be advised, Rentrak will not be sending Worldwide Weekend Estimates this weekend.” No mention of the Colorado movie theater shooting was mentioned by the company.
UPDATE: Warner Bros Won’t Report B.O. For ‘Dark Knight Rises’ All Weekend