Cable, Satellite Help Unspool ‘Ultimate Movie Weekend’

Most major cable and satellite distributors will be offering films at discounted prices this weekend as part of a promotion for digital movie rentals.

Digital movie rentals generated $564 million in consumer spending during the first quarter of 2019.

“This is the first effort of its kind in the U.S., and the breadth of participants demonstrates that the home entertainment industry is making it a priority to communicate the value proposition of digital rentals to consumers,” said Richard Smith, senior VP, domestic digital sales, Paramount Pictures and chair of the Entertainment Merchants Association’s Ultimate Movie Weekend planning committee. “We see significant potential to grow this sector of the industry, and in doing so grow the overall home entertainment market.”

During the Ultimate Movie Weekend, selected recently released films from Lionsgate Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. can be rented for as low as $2.99 and catalog movies for 99 cents a up.

Among the movies available under a slogan of “Rent the Biggest Movies for Less” are: A Star Is Born (2018), Bumblebee, Fifty Shades of Grey, First Man, Forrest Gump, The Hunger Games, Robin Hood (2018), Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Step Brothers, and Wonder Woman.

Distributors taking part in the program include: Altice USA’s Optimum and Suddenlink TV, Amazon Prime Video, the Apple TV app and iTunes, Atlantic Broadband, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox, DirecTV, Dish, FandangoNow, Frontier Communications, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, PlayStation Store, Redbox On Demand, U-verse, and Vudu.

The promotion will be backed by a paid ad campaign, social media, direct-to-consumer outreach and a dedicated website.

“While the popularity of digital movie rentals continues to grow, there is the opportunity to introduce even more consumers to the value and convenience of digital rental, so the industry has come together to offer a compelling promotion that we hope will attract new customers and remind infrequent digital renters of this option,” said Mark Fisher, president & CEO of the EMA, which is coordinating the effort. “Plus, with the start of the summer, which is traditionally a heavy movie-viewing season, it’s a good time to remind consumers of the pleasure of getting together with family and friends for a movie night.”

The Ultimate Movie Weekend sale is patterned after similar efforts last year in Australia, France and the U.K.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.