Studio and theater owners who wonder what would happen to sales if movies are rushed to home video should keep an eye on what’s happening in China. Warner Bros has begun an experiment to stay ahead of DVD pirates by putting films on the You On Demand VOD cable platform as early as four weeks after they first appear in theaters in the U.S. YOD is talking with its other studio partners — including Disney, Paramount, NBCUniversal, and Lionsgate — about following suit. It formally launched in the country this past Monday, following a lengthy period of beta tests. And it began to promote the quick availability of films this week as it launched its first marketing campaign, targeting the Chinese New Year which will be celebrated on February 10 and 11. Warner Bros provided Argo to the platform on November 28, and Gangster Squad joined the line up on Monday. Piracy is a huge problem for non-Chinese studios opening movies there; the government only allows 34 foreign films into theaters each year. The VOD service has agreements that will put it into 18.2M homes, and is aiming to have 30M by year end. YOD is run by Shane McMahon, a former World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler and exec, and the son of that company’s CEO Vince McMahon and two-time Connecticut GOP Senate candidate Linda McMahon. YOD shares trade on NASDAQ and have lost nearly 80% of their value over the last 12 months as the company invested in services ahead of the launch.
‘Everybody Dance Now’ Stumbles But Murdochs Keep Music Playing
Everybody Dance Now, a new Australian series hosted by Lachlan Murdoch’s wife Sarah Murdoch and featuring American “dance masters” Kelly Rowland and Jason Derülo, has stumbled badly on Network Ten, whose chairman is … Lachlan Murdoch. The Sunday night premiere averaged just 598,000 viewers against Nine’s debuting Big Brother and local crime series Underbelly: Badness. The audience dropped to 304,000 for the second episode on Monday night. Ten insists it’s sticking with the show produced by FremantleMedia Australia, although it’s been cut back to one hour on Sunday nights from three hours over two nights. Offering more than $A450,000 ($472,000) in prizes, the show aims to find the most entertaining dance act in Oz. - Don Groves
Alan Partridge Returns To UK TV Ahead Of Big Screen Debut
Funnyman Steve Coogan is bringing his signature character, Alan Partridge, back to UK television audiences next year via Sky Atlantic. The show, Mid Morning Matters 2, follows a first series that was aired on Sky Atlantic this year. It sees the hapless, politically incorrect radio presenter working at a shabby radio station in North Norfolk, England. Filming has begun on the series that’s produced by Coogan and Veep’s Armando Iannucci along with Baby Cow chief exec Henry Normal. There’s an Alan Partridge feature in the works that starts shooting in January for an August 16, 2013 UK release which StudioCanal is handling. Coogan and Iannucci penned that script with frequent Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Peter Baynham and Neil and Rob Gibbons. Declan Lowney is directing.
(New York, NY, 08/01/12) – YOU On Demand Holdings, Inc.’s (NASDAQ: YOD) PRC subsidiary, a leading Pay-Per-View (PPV) and Video On Demand (VOD) platform in China, announced today that it has signed an agreement to offer Paramount Pictures titles through YOU On Demand’s Transactional Video On Demand (TVOD) and Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) services in the People’s Republic of China.
The company name sounds a little creepy, but investors attracted to anything that has to do with China and entertainment may be glad to know that beginning tomorrow NASDAQ will carry shares of YOU On Demand, China’s top provider of pay-per-view and VOD services, under the ticker symbol “YOD.” It currently offers films from Disney, Warner Bros, Lionsgate, and Miramax. Before you call in your “buy” order, you should know that the company’s still in its investment phase and lost $4.2M in Q1 — an increase from its $2.6M loss in the period last year — on revenues of about $2M, up 20%. This month CEO Shane McMahon loaned the company $3M. Company shares have lost nearly 40% of their value over the last 12 months in over the counter trading. These and other factors “raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” YOU On Demand says in its latest