Nielsen Begins Tracking Premium Theatrical Films Being Distributed On Streaming Platforms

The service gives the movie industry a wide array of consumer data and actionable insights for the new form of entertainment distribution.

On Tuesday, Nielsen announced that it is launching its Theatrical Video-On-Demand (TVOD) measurement service. It will serve as a way to monitor new movie releases that are directly available to consumers to rent or purchase on-demand through streaming and MVPD platforms. Often offered at premium pricing, this rapidly expanding distribution model of film releases was accelerated by COVID-19 early in 2020. Content creators, such as studios, sought to offset disruption caused by social distancing mandates that temporarily closed movie theaters across the United States.

The evolution of theatrical distribution, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has introduced a new opportunity for both consumers and content owners. With the delivery of newly released movies directly to viewers in the comfort of their own homes, the entire media food chain, from studios to talent, has a need to analyze the volume and reach of their audiences. Information about the household and viewers’ characteristics, such as age and gender, ethnicity, or even territory, will be detailed in the service report.

Nielsen’s TVOD measurement service will help clients uncover information about the consumers streaming the premium content. The company will collect a detailed review of viewer demographics and behavioral information, which will go beyond the consumer data provided by the box office metrics and transactional rental services. The information will be crucial for audience-driven decisions concerning media licensing and promotion.

The past year, underpinned by COVID-19 related uncertainty, has changed consumer behavior, driving a rise in streaming consumption. Streaming now accounts for nearly a quarter (23%) of total usage among OTT capable homes, up from 21% just a year prior. A much broader swath of consumers has enabled streaming capabilities, presenting a new opportunity to deliver this form of entertainment directly.

“As this unprecedented pandemic continues to influence consumer behavior, perhaps even through a prolonged state of recovery waves. Being able to measure and help clients appropriately monetize new revenue streams has never been more crucial,” said Scott N. Brown, the General Manager of Audience Measurement for Nielsen.

“A bigger question might be what will audiences do following any recovery, how the behavior adopted during stay-at-home orders might influence habits when consumers have the ability to go back to theaters to enjoy that experience and how content creators will leverage data to make the best decisions regarding distribution platforms in the future.”

Nielsen Holdings plc is a global measurement and data analytics company. They provide the most complete and trusted view available of consumers and markets worldwide. Nielsen is divided into two business units:

Nielsen Global Media provides the media and advertising industries with unbiased and reliable metrics. This helps create a shared understanding of the industry, which is required for markets to function.

Nielsen Global Connect (NielsenIQ) provides consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers with accurate, actionable information and insights and a complete picture of the complex and changing marketplace that companies need to innovate and grow.

DiCaprio, Scorsese, and Hulu Will Adapt the True Story of Serial Murder H.H. Holmes

In a recent announcement posted by Variety, it appears Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese, and Paramount Studios have obtained a new distribution partner, Hulu, to assist them with the decade long “in limbo” adaptation of Erik Larson’s bestseller non-fiction book The Devil in the White City. Originally intended years ago to be a straightforward movie adaptation will now be re-worked as an episodic series; although, it is unclear at the present moment how many episodes will be produced.

The book is about Chicago’s most notorious serial killer: Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, or commonly referred to as H.H. Holmes. The exact number of his victims is unknown, but his methodology of drawing people away from the 1893 World’s Fair, only to kill them in his apartment style hotel in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago. The property was later nicknamed as the Murder Castle.

the “Murder Castle” was torn down in 1938

According to Variety, the studio had won, lost, and regained the movie rights for the book several times over the years, which includes the current ownership of the rights they won in a 2007 auction. DiCaprio partnered with the studio in 2010 to serve as an executive producer and lead actor for a movie adaption.

In 2015, Martin Scorsese joined the pair to serve as it’s director with the (now dated) plan to turn the book into a movie; then the pre-production of the project stalled for the next four years. Both men will remain on board to serve as the executive producers, but may no longer serve as the leading actor and director.

This would not be the first, nor last, attempt to bring the story of H.H. Holmes to the movies or television screens. Television network Investigation Discovery aired a three episode mini-series in 2017, which was considered by many viewers as a very shallow retelling of the infamy.

FX Network offered a scarier interpretation of the story in 2016 when they aired American Horror Story: Hotel, which took many creative liberties with more of an “inspired by” approach of H.H. Holmes and his hotel rather than a literal retelling of the story.

Source: Variety (2/11/19), Variety (2/10/15), History, Investigation Discovery


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Founder and General Manager of Funimation Entertainment Changes His Role to Board Chairman

For twenty-five years Gen Fukunaga has served as the president and general manager of Funimation Entertainment, the popular anime video streaming service he founded in 1994. It was announced on Friday, February 1st he will resign from the leadership role and will move over to serve in the new position as chairman of the company’s board of directors. In a publicly released statement, he wrote the following memo to the company’s employees:

Funimation Team,

As I announced at our All Hands today, I will be stepping into the position of Chairman of the Board at Funimation and transitioning my GM role within the next six months. We’ve initiated the search for a new GM, and once we have selected the new leader, I’ll work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition.
In the Chairman role, I will continue to have oversight of the business and will focus on managing relationships with our content partners – making sure we continue to have the right partnerships in place. I will also provide advisory services to the team, as needed.

This change has been on the horizon since Sony took a majority interest in the company in 2017. And now is the right time to begin the transition, when Funimation is truly hitting its stride. We’ve grown into a $130M+ business with a robust offering available in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, with plans to expand to more territories. FunimationNow is adding revenue streams and deepening our fan base, as well as exploring opportunities in original production. And, we’re seeing a major win with the exceptional box office performance of our feature film Dragon Ball Super: Broly. That said, we’re in great shape to continue building on our solid foundation and momentum.

As we work through this transition, I want to thank you for maintaining your focus in bringing extraordinary entertainment to our anime fans everywhere. I started Funimation with a vision to make anime as accessible as possible to fans across the world. Because of your passion, dedication and hard work, I believe the company is better equipped than ever to deliver on that vision, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built together. I am grateful to all of you and look forward to our next chapter together.

— Gen [Fukunaga]

Late in 2018 the company had signed a business deal with Hulu to be the only other video streaming service within the United States to have priority access to stream newly released anime programming created, produced, and streamed by Funimation. The signed agreement goes into affect at the start of the new year.

Sony Pictures Television acquired a 95% share of Funimation in the summer of 2017, leaving Fukunaga with the remaining 5% ownership share. The transaction was agreed upon for $143 million, which proceeded with the termination of a partnership between Funimation and Crunchyroll, which is their most prominent competition in the United States for video streaming subscription services exclusively for anime content.

The company headquarters is located in Flower Mound, a city located between the Dallas and Fort Worth metro regions in north Texas.

Source: Variety (Feb. 1st, 2019 and July 31, 2017), Funimation Blog


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