Fullscreen, one of the biggest YouTube multichannel networks, said it plans to launch a subscription-based video service in the next few months.
The MCN did not release pricing info, launch date or other details of the coming SVOD service, which had been rumored to be in the works for some time.
The company’s SVOD service — to be called, simply, “Fullscreen” — will offer original and licensed programming, including: Legendary Digital Media’s “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl” series starring Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart; Cameron Dallas and Nash Grier’s feature-length “The Outfield” teen drama (pictured above); “#O2LForever,” a documentary about the final days of now-disbanded YouTube supergroup Our2ndLife; and a teen parody series (working title: “Filthy Sexy Teen$”) from Fox, Abominable Pictures and Jonathan Stern (“Wet Hot American Summer”) and Paul Scheer (“The League”).
Fullscreen is owned by Otter Media, a joint venture of AT&T and Chernin Group. Otter Media recently formed Ellation, an effort to roll up its subscription-video businesses into a single service; however, the Fullscreen SVOD service will be separate from Ellation.
“In the coming months, we’ll be rolling out a new premium entertainment service that we believe will bridge the gap between social media and television for youth audiences,” Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos wrote in a blog post Wednesday. “Just as premium cable networks raised the bar for television over the past decade, we aim to do the same with a new generation of creators, stars and personalities.”
Fullscreen Unveils SVOD Streaming Service For Teens And Young Adults
The project that’s been in the works since 2014, and was announced late last year, is finally ready for launch.
Fullscreen — a digital entertainment company controlled by Otter Media, AT&T’s joint venture with Peter Chernin — says today that on April 26 it will introduce its global, Netflix-like, ad-free subscription video on demand (SVOD) service for teens and young adults.
The $4.99 a month offering (with a 30-day free trial) will use the company name, and will include original content as well as library movies and TV shows licensed from established producers including Sony Pictures Television, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., and MTV.
SVOD and streaming services, known in industry parlance as over-the-top (OTT) providers, “are the future of video entertainment,” says Chernin, who’s CEO of The Chernin Group. Fullscreen will have “a signature personality and strong product features designed specifically for a millennial audience.”
At launch it will be accessible via the web, on iPhones, iPads, select Android Phones and on Chromecast — but not Apple TV or gaming consoles. Subscribers will be able to stream programming to multiple devices simultaneously, Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos tells me.
He won’t say how much his company is investing in, or budgeting for, the initiative. But he calls it “a major play” for Fullscreen as well as AT&T and that original offerings will have “cable television production budgets.”
AT&T will provide”a significant contribution” that will include “financing for original programming as well as helping us market the service” to its mobile subscribers, he adds. “We’re going to experiment with a number of ways to delight AT&T subscribers, but ultimately it’s a paid service for them” as well as for those who use other mobile providers.
Fullscreen’s licensed series will include Chappelle’s Show, Dawson’s Creek, Saved by the Bell, Suburgatory, Daria, and Happy Endings. The movie line up will include Cruel Intentions and Can’t Hardly Wait.
But the company is especially eager to attract followings for its scripted and unscripted originals. They include Electra Woman & Dyna Girl with Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart; a comic drama Filthy Preppy Teen$; Jack & Dean of All Trades with Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs; a popculture talk show, Kingdom Geek; and a docu-series My Selfie Life.
Content will be tagged so parents can block their kids from watching material that they deem too racy or inappropriate. “We do think it’s important for our brand to be about authenticity, creativity, and creative people making their best work,” Strompolos says. Still, “we don’t need to trend into an area of risqueness in order to have a great network.”
Fullscreen won’t start out with ads, but “we are doing some work with integrated sponsors in the programming,” the CEO adds. “Think of like American Idol having Coca Cola cups.” It already has a few sponsors lined up, although he won’t say yet who they are.
Although the lack of ads is now “a unique selling point,” he says that “we haven’t ruled it out in perpetuity.”
He’ll also keep an eye on the month-to-month subscription plan. “We probably will over time experiment with pricing models such as an annual subscription,” he says.
Fullscreen’s Rooster Teeth Seeks Wider Appeal for ‘First’ Rebranded Subscription VOD Service
Sci-fi and gaming entertainment company also debuts 'Double Gold' super-fan tier for $35 per month
Rooster Teeth, Fullscreen’s digital entertainment unit focused on sci-fi and gaming fans, has offered a subscription VOD service for 13 years — before there was even industry lingo to describe it.
Now, the Austin, Texas-based company is rebranding the $4.99-per-month service as “First,” part of its strategy to reach a bigger audience with more mainstream programming. And Rooster Teeth is also doubling down on hardcore fans with “First Double Gold,” a $34.99 monthly package that will include perks like VIP access to events like its RTX convention and a monthly mailing of merchandise (a la Birchbox).
Rooster Teeth will begin rolling out its initial First apps for game consoles and set-top boxes starting this fall, which will offer all of the same video content on the site and mobile app. The first Double Gold box will ship to subscribers Aug. 15, with a range of merch such as T-shirts, hats and stickers.
Currently, Rooster Teeth has about 130,000 paying subscribers (which it used to call “Sponsors”), more doubling the base over the past year. CEO Matt Hullum projects having more than 200,000 subs by the end of the year, as it continues to launch original series such as the recently released hour-long apocalyptic thriller “Day 5,” upcoming sci-fi comedy “Crunch Time” starring Nick Rutherford (“Good Neighbor”) and Samm Levine (“Freaks and Geeks,” “Inglorious Basterds”), new additions to the “RT Docs” documentary series, and the fall release of the fourth season of anime hit “RWBY” (pictured above).
“We realized this SVOD thing was bigger and broader, and we could take it to more people, wider beyond our core demographic,” said Hullum, who co-founded the company with creative director Burnie Burns in 2003. All told, Rooster Teeth is producing about 100 hours of original content per month, most of which is available exclusively to subscribers.
Fullscreen, owned by AT&T-Chernin Group’s Otter Media, acquired Rooster Teeth in November 2014. Rooster Teeth’s SVOD service dates back to 2003 when the site launched paid access to its hallmark “Red vs. Blue” sci-fi series.
“What we were doing started more of a fan club. It was the original way we made money,” Hullum said. “When we started ‘Red vs. Blue,’ it was a completely different world – you couldn’t even watch in a browser.”
Beginning July 1, Rooster Teeth’s existing subscribers and new subscribers will become First members. Membership costs $4.99 per month or $19.99 for six months recurring ($3.33 per month), and subscribers will get first access to ad-free videos and exclusive access to premium series, plus exclusive behind-the-scenes content, extended cuts, vlogs and live broadcasts, and a 5% discount on all Rooster Teeth merchandise.
First Double Gold membership costs $34.99 per month (or $179.99 for six months recurring), which adds the monthly subscription box of merchandise at (a $50-plus value, according to Rooster Teeth), along with a 10% discount on all Rooster Teeth merchandise, first access to live event VIP passes, member-only contests and giveaways and member-only Q&As.
To reel in more SVOD subscribers, Rooster Teeth is boosting its content output and delving into new formats. In addition to “Day 5” and “Crunch Time,” RT has launched new live broadcast series “Theater Mode” and “Heroes & Halfwits,” snarky animation series “Camp Camp,” and four new feature-length documentaries as part of RT Docs, including “World’s Greatest Head Massage” premiering July 8, in which Burnie Burns (CBS’s “The Amazing Race” season 28) and Gavin Free (“The Slow Mo Guys”) travel across the world in search of this tantalizing experience.
Rooster Teeth is also hoping to get some pickup from distribution on Ellation’s VRV, an SVOD bundle set to launch this fall, which will offer an a la carte menu of channels including Rooster Teeth, Crunchyroll, NBCUniversal’s Seeso, Nerdist Alpha, Geek & Sundry Alpha and Cartoon Hangover. Ellation, like Rooster Teeth, is owned by Otter Media.
Meanwhile, Rooster Teeth’s crowdfunded sci-fi movie “Lazer Team” is available only on YouTube Red right now. “We do look at it on a case-by-case basis” in terms of distribution strategies for original content, Hullum said. “We’re growing our own service with content we feel like in the short term will appeal directly to our base.”
The company’s sixth annual RTX convention, set to run July 1-3 at the the Austin Convention Center, JW Marriott and Hilton in downtown Austin, will feature a lineup of programming, exhibitors and special guests including 343 Industries showcasing “Halo Wars 2” and the new “Halo 5: Warzone Firefight” mode playable on the show floor, and a panel with Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey.
Overall, Rooster Teeth has more than 25 million subscribers to its YouTube channels, 3 million unique monthly visitors to its RoosterTeeth.com hub and 1.8 million registered community members.
Fullscreen has given the greenlight to H8TERS, an original series starring digital comedy’s Kian Lawley and Jc Caylen, with a 10-episode order. The new comedy pokes fun at internet celebrity and Millennial culture.
Produced by Astronauts Wanted (a joint venture between former MTV Networks Chairperson/CEO Judy McGrath and Sony Music Entertainment), H8TERS is written by Cody Lutz and Max Levine and expected to premiere in early 2017. The shot-in-L.A. series will be available exclusively on Fullscreen, the commercial-free subscription service available via iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android phones and tablets, Chromecast and online at Fullscreen.com.
“Kian and Jc have such a talent for parodying these characters and this world, the show is just one huge vehicle to let that talent run riot,” said Nick Shore, Chief Creative Strategist, Astronauts Wanted.
The two performers’ YouTube channel KianandJc has more than 2 million subscribers. Lawley (above, left) recently starred alongside Bella Thorne and Alex Neustaedter in Shovel Buddies and co-stars with Zoey Deutch in Before I Fall in theaters March 2017. Caylen (above, right) stars in the AwesomenessTV series t@gged and co-authored Don’t Try This At Home (Harper Collins).
The H8TERS follows Lawley and Caylen in “heightened” versions of themselves as well as their own biggest haters, Frank and Zweeb, video game store employees obsessed with taking down the social media stars.
“Fullscreen has had many years of collaboration with Kian and Jc and this series is a hilarious evolution of their creative voices,” said Scott Reich, Senior Vice President of Programming, Fullscreen.
Lawley and Caylen will exec produce, along with Lutz and Levine, who previously adapted the book Ship It Holla Ballas! for Paramount Pictures with Fake Empire producing. For Astronauts Wanted, executive producers are McGrath, Nick Shore and Kim Rosen.
Fullscreen Greenlights Originals From 'Pretty Little Liars' Star Shay Mitchell, Vlogger Andrea Russett
The subscription video service is placing an emphasis on personality-driven projects. Fullscreen is adding originals from Pretty Little Liars' Shay Mitchell and vlogger Andrea Russett to its subscription video service.
The digital media company on Thursday announced that it has ordered a slate of new personality-driven shows. It represents one of Fullscreen's first big orders since launching the service in April and shows that the company is still exploring formats for the youth-centric platform. Its early orders included scripted fare including Electra Woman & Dyna Girl and Filthy Preppy Teen$. Late last year, it unveiled The Deleted, a thriller from Bret Easton Ellis starring Nash Grier.
But this lineup — which includes a dating advice series, a talk show and a short-form sketch comedy show — is more reality-heavy.
"Fullscreen is committed to creating fresh and diverse programming that is a reflection of our audience who navigate new experiences every day," said Scott Reich, senior vp programming at Fullscreen. "This new programming slate celebrates varied points of views as we encourage and partner with today's stars to push their creative boundaries."
Fullscreen, like many of the new streaming services that have burst onto the short-form video scene in the last year, has yet to reveal many metrics around the popularity of its service. The company has not disclosed the size of its user base or audience for any of its shows.
Here is a full list of new programs:
Shades of Shay (8 episodes, early 2017) Without all the glitz and glamor of Hollywood putting a wall between Shay Mitchell and her fans, the series will document her unfiltered and unpredictable journey. Each episode follows Mitchell as she navigates this uncharted, new chapter of her life. Shades of Shay is produced in association with Kids at Play and is executive produced by Mitchell, Jason Berger and Amy Laslett.
Shan Boody Is Your Perfect Date (12 episodes, Jan. 16) Love and science mix in this wild dating experiment where Shan Boodram (aka Shan Boody) is out to prove that by focusing on the psychology of seduction rather than makeup and the perfect outfit, she can transform into anyone’s perfect date. The series is created and executive produced by Boodram and is directed by Eric Rusch.
Apologies in Advance With Andrea Russett (Jan. 19) Actress and social media superstar Andrea Russett will anchor this weekly talk series, serving cocktails and dishing the latest gossip while sharing relationship and sex advice with surprise guests and her saucy bartender, Rachel Scanlon. Watch as things get wild and weird, all from her '90s-themed basement set. The series is directed by Michael Rucker, who also serves as an executive producer alongside Russett. Rodney To and Jason Duffy serve as producers.
GOAT Rodeo With Cody Ko (12 episodes, Jan. 27) A weekly rant and opinion show presented by Cody Ko, who says what everyone else might be thinking as the world falls into chaos around him. In each episode, Ko will provide commentary on anything and everything socially relevant. Season one finds Ko tackling "Peak TV," bandwagon fans and Valentine's Day in his own unique humor. The series is executive produced by Eric Rusch and Ko, with Joseph Carnegie writing.
Hella Gay With Amanda McKenna (12 episodes, Feb. 1) In her new series, Amanda McKenna expands on her mission to support and educate the LGBTQ community by visiting its institutions and interviewing its well-known and unsung champions. Amanda visits a queer-centric hair salon, performs drag like a queen and interviews trans actors and models, all while being perfectly and unapologetically “hella gay.” Whitnee Null and McKenna serve as executive producers.
Untitled Lizzie Velasquez Project (Early 2017) In each episode of this new talk show, Lizzie Velasquez interviews guests to find out how beauty standards and style have impacted their lives in both positive and negative ways. They’ll tackle specific issues together all wrapped in the larger theme of finding inner beauty and confidence through clothes while keeping Velasquez's sense of humor and playfulness intact throughout with games and surprises. The series is directed and executive produced by Alex Davies with Velasquez also serving as executive producer and creator.
Search Bar With Anna Akana and Brad Gage (12 episodes, early 2017) A new short-form sketch comedy show with something to say. Flipping issues like whitewashing, gender roles and the millennial experience on their head, creators and directors Anna Akana and Brad Gage deliver biting satire in their distinctive style. Akana and Gage, who serve as executive producers on the show, currently have a Fullscreen talk show called Explain Things to Me.