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 service for teens and young adults.
The $4.99-a-month offering (with a 30-day free trial) will use the company name, and will include original content as well as library movies and TV shows licensed from established producers including Sony Pictures Television, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros., and MTV.
SVOD and streaming services, known in industry parlance as over-the-top (OTT) providers, “are the future of video entertainment,” says Chernin, who’s CEO of The Chernin Group. Fullscreen will have “a signature personality and strong product features designed specifically for a millennial audience.”
At launch it will be accessible via the web, on iPhones, iPads, select Android Phones and on Chromecast — but not Apple TV or gaming consoles. Subscribers will be able to stream programming to multiple devices simultaneously, Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos tells me.
He won’t say how much his company is investing in, or budgeting for, the initiative. But he calls it “a major play” for Fullscreen as well as AT&T and that original offerings will have “cable television production budgets.”
AT&T will provide”a significant contribution” that will include “financing for original programming as well as helping us market the service” to its mobile subscribers, he adds. “We’re going to experiment with a number of ways to delight AT&T subscribers, but ultimately it’s a paid service for them” as well as for those who use other mobile providers.
Fullscreen’s licensed series will include Chappelle’s Show, Dawson’s Creek, Saved By The Bell, Suburgatory, Daria, and Happy Endings. The movie lineup will include Cruel Intentions and Can’t Hardly Wait.
But the company is especially eager to attract followings for its scripted and unscripted originals. They include Electra Woman & Dyna Girl with Grace Helbig and Hannah Hart; a comic drama Filthy Preppy Teen$; Jack & Dean of All Trades with Jack Howard and Dean Dobbs; a pop-culture 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.