Cinedigm expands Cineverse with TVOD 'still in theaters' film rentals in ROW8 deal

Cinedigm, which debuted its flagship streaming service Cineverse this summer, is integrating the ability to rent recently released theatrical films on the platform under a new partnership with ROW8.

It expands Cineverse content with “still in theaters” titles via TVOD (transactional video on-demand), a capability it’s adding in the coming months. The deal also goes both ways, allowing for Cinedigm’s own upcoming theatrical titles to be rented or purchased on other platforms through ROW9’s own multi-platform movie streaming service. ROW8 is available on Roku players, Vizio, Apple TV, Google TV, Android and iOS mobile devices.

During Cinedigm’s quarterly earnings call in August, Erick Opeka, chief strategy officer and president at Cinedigm Networks, emphasized the first phase of Cineverse is all about distribution touchpoints, and expressed it’s very open to bundling Cinedigm content and being incorporated into other platforms, as he noted the company’s not concerned with how consumers find its content.

“Whether they’re going to get it through a bundle through a platform they already subscribed to, whether they’re going to get it from us directly, whether it’s Amazon channels or through Roku, doesn’t matter to us,” Opeka said regarding content.

ROW8 has licensing deals with major Hollywood studios including Disney, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros.  Its website boasts films such “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Elvis,” and “Nope” among many others, for rent and purchase.

According to Cinedigm, the partnership allows for a significant increase of content on Cineverse. To promote the new film rental option, the Cineverse service will tee up a promotional shelf on its main page highlighting “Still in Theaters” premium content, and a dedicated section on the platform that displays ROW8’s full content offering.

“ROW8 is renowned for their consumer-friendly approach to transactional streaming and their offering of both Studio and Independent new releases and evergreen titles dramatically enhances Cineverse’s library,” said Opeka in a statement Monday. “With this deal, Cinedigm joins an elite club of global scale streaming platforms that offer in-theater and new release films. Combined with our next generation search technology, we think we will offer movie lovers one of the most compelling and complete streaming experiences in the industry.”

ROW8 itself is a movie OTT service that debuted in 2018 and has new and catalog titles available to rent or buy without a subscription. If a film doesn’t hit the mark with a viewer, it has a unique “Movie Love Guarantee” feature of allowing customers to exchange it for a new title within the first 30 minutes at no extra cost.

As for Cinedigm, it launched Cineverse this September as an ad-supported service that brings the company’s FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) channels under one umbrella, with plans to expand the library more widely. Initially Cineverse launched with 15 FAST channels, as well as on-demand TV shows and movies featuring 15,000 titles that includes both Cinedigm-owned and third-party content

Some FAST channels available on Cineverse include Fandor, Screambox, RetroCrush, The Bob Ross Channel, The Dove Channel, and AsianCrush, among others.  

Vidgo, a relative newcomer to the virtual MVPD space, was the first to bundle the Cineverse AVOD service within its content lineup.

Eventually, Cinedigm has said it plans to roll out a premium ad-free version of the platform. The Cineverse app is available on iOS, Android, Roku and Samsung, with plans to expand to Fire TV and LG.

Cineverse is expanding content as adoption of AVOD and FAST continues to tick upward. According to Kantar’s Entertainment on Demand Q3 analysis, based on a nationally representative sample of 20,000 panelists age 16 and up, AVOD and FAST were the fastest growing sectors in the streaming market. In the period, AVOD and FAST each grew one percentage point to reach 28% and 24% household penetration, respectively.

Similarly, a recent TiVo study found that consumers on average now use nearly 10 different streaming apps – with nonpaid services account for about 32% - up from 26% in Q4 of 2021.