FilmRise Grows Grows To Over 31 Million Subscribers in 2020

FilmRise is one of those free, ad-supported TV channels we haven’t paid much attention to, but apparently a lot of people have. Sure, they’re a free service, but 31.5 million subscribers is a huge number of subscribers for anything. Props to them!

New York-based film and television studio and streaming network FilmRise reports the company had a successful year in 2020, thanks to more people turning to in-home entertainment. The free, ad-supported streaming network grew its install base 30% last year now with more than 31.5 million users.

FilmRise Reports 31.5 Million Users in 2020 | Cord Cutters News

So, just installed the app on Google TV. Strangely, we were out of storage space! Apparently, there’s only 4GB and the streaming apps we had already installed filled that up. The storage can easily be expanded adding a USB drive with a mini-USB cable, so will have to add that to our to-do list.

Anyway, launched FilmRise and found a disaster film to queue up called Icetastrophe. A mountain down is the center of a meteor that shoots out icicles and subzero wind freezing people immediately into cubes of ice. Effects, story and acting are laughable, but for a late night movie, it kind of made me chuckle. A little further checking reveals this is one of those Syfy movies and was also originally billed as a Christmas movie, with the title Christmas Icetastrophe. Sorry, guilty pleasure trash lol.

A very quick perusal didn’t yield many A-list movies and TV shows on FilmRise. But hey, they have that fun game show Celebrity Bowling!

Apparently, there is enough B and C grade content on there to interest movie lovers. Anybody reading regular use FilmRise? What do you like watching on there?

Comcast’s Ad-Supported Xumo Reaches 24+ Million Subscribers – How Many Are Actively Watching?

Congrats to Comcast for 24+ million Xumo ( subscribers. It’s a good number, but when Netflix boasts 190+ million paid subscribers, it’s not amazing comparatively. Heck, we were most recently impressed to see Shudder pass a 7-figure paid subscriber milestone (see: Shudder Reaches 1 Million Subscribers on September 23, 2020)

Xumo, the free, ad-supported streaming TV service now owned by Comcast, wants to make the case that it’s in the same league as its two primary rivals, Fox’s Tubi and ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV. Since January, according to Xumo, its user base has soared 2.5 times to reach more than 24 million U.S. monthly active users.

Comcast’s Xumo Touts Explosive Growth, Topping 24 Million Monthly Users for Free Streaming Service (EXCLUSIVE)

Their subscriber milestone shows many people continue to enjoy watching ad-supported TV streaming services like Xumo, Tubi, Pluto and others. Or maybe it shows that a significant number of people want to sign up — like we did — for the service.

Subscribing to something free, however, isn’t as important as people who sign up and are active.

How many of those 24+ million subscribers are actively watching say an average of 2 hours a week? That’s an average of watching one movie a week on the service. I would call those subscribers active.

Us? We wouldn’t pass this test. Not just with Xumo, but not any of the others either: Tubi, Pluto, heck we don’t even average that with the Roku channel, also free.

We are watching some live TV through Locast local channels like the Seahawks NFL games on Sunday. Have also been watching more news with the impending election and other world events through CBS All Access live TV option.

We have these free channels on Roku but the vast majority of our TV time goes to the 7 paid channels we subscribe to (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, CBS All Access, Shudder)

What about you, friendly readers? How much of these ad-supported TV/movies are you watching? Xumo, Pluto, Tubi, let’s just use those. Do you watch any of them more than 2 hours a week? Do you have a favorite of the three? Which one?

2020 Ranking of Best Free Streaming Services

While these are terrible times right now for many reasons, there is one area in the entertainment sector where it never has been this good: movies and TV series available on streaming services.

The sheer quantity and variety of movies, not to mention the accessibility, is fantastic. With most movie theaters closed, we’ve even been treated to a few new movies that would have been released theatrically, going either to VOD or streaming.

Below and linked, Tom’s Guide ranked their picks for the best free streaming services in 2020. Their #1 choice is the severely commercial-ridden, but well known Crackle. #2, is IMDBtv, a much better choice toward the top. Here’s what they have to say:

Some free streaming services offer live channels, others offer on-demand content. A few have both. Our top choice is Crackle, which has on-demand movies, TV shows and originals. Its movie selection is particularly good, with several recognizable titles from recent years. IMDBtv and Tubi are also great on-demand services with extensive lineups of movies and TV shows, plus easy-to-use interfaces that allow you to browse genres and curated collections. Vudu features many newer movies, since it’s got the might of Walmart behind it. Plus, it’s also a digital marketplace, so you can rent or purchase the latest hits.

The best free streaming services | Tom’s Guide

Tom’s Guide Ranked Free Streaming Services

  1. Crackle – Sony
  2. IMDB TV – Amazon
  3. Tubi
  4. Vudu
  5. Roku Channel
  6. Pluto TV
  7. Sling FREE
  8. Xumo

Had to add Tubi and Xumo to my Roku channels list because they weren’t added. I re-added Sling, since I removed that when our free trial ended.

Based on number of commercials shown during movies (lesser commercial interruptions is better), here’s how I’d rank the free services I’m familiar with in the list above:

MovieReviewsbyUs Best FREE Streaming Channels in 2020

  1. Roku Channel
  2. Vudu
  3. IMDB TV
  4. Crackle

Unranked: Tubi, Sling Free, Xumo and Pluto TV

Tom’s Guide didn’t focus on the number of commercial breaks and/or length of these commercials into their ranking, instead evaluating the overall library and quality of movies. I’ll agree that Crackle has a decent list of movies and on that basis only does deserve to be better than last, but what good does that do if the experience trying to watch them is painstaking?

I didn’t rank Xumo, Tubi, Sling Free or Pluto TV because I haven’t watched movies on there — either at all or not enough — to fairly rank them in the listing. Crackle has been awhile, but the last experience was so miserable I was scarred from returning. I’ve watched the most free movies on Roku, Vudu and IMDB TV in that order. Obviously, if I can find something I specifically want to watch on the streaming services we subscribe to, that is my go-to option first.

The streaming services we have paid subscriptions to as of this writing are:

  1. Netflix ($15/month)
  2. Amazon Prime Video ($130 USD annual, included with Prime membership)
  3. Disney+ ($70 annual)
  4. HBO Max ($11.99/month)
  5. DC Universe ($5.99/month, grandfathered special promotional pricing)
  6. Shudder ($5.99/month)
  7. Peacock (included with XFinity internet)

These subscriptions work out to roughly $60/month or a total annual cost of $720 USD. If you factor in the cost of our high speed internet, we still are paying over $150/month for TV, despite cutting the cord from cable a long time ago.

Which ad-supported (free) movie/TV streaming services do you watch most?

Selma, No Mercy and The 13th Offered FREE in June

In response to George Floyd’s completely unnecessary death, Paramount is offering the movie Selma free to watch in June.

“We hope this small gesture will encourage people throughout the country to examine our nation’s history and reflect on the ways that racial injustice has infected our society. The key message of Selma is the importance of equality, dignity and justice for all people. Clearly, that message is as vital today as it was in 1965,” read the announcement from Paramount. 

Paramount Makes ‘Selma’ Free to Rent Through June on Digital Platforms | Hollywood Reporter

Just Mercy ⭐️⭐️½ is also available for free, thanks to Warner Bros. Released in theaters within the last year and starring Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan.

Netflix is part of this as well, and released The 13th for free via their YouTube channel:

Attend A FREE Film Festival Online: SXSW 2020 Festival April 27 – May 6, 2020 via Amazon Prime Video

Have you ever wanted to attend a film festival? Good news, thanks to Amazon, the filmmakers who participated, the SXSW will be be presented at Amazon over a 10 day period from April 27 – May 6, 2020. I’ve wanted to attend a film festival and while this might not be the full in person effect, it’s going to give me the first opportunity to check out films being screened. As can readers.

Make a note of the official site:

There will be panels and Q&As through the Alma Har’el-founded Free The Work. “Amazon’s SXSW 2020 Film Festival Collection is giving a platform to work that would have been celebrated at this year’s festival,” said Har’el, who helmed Honey Boy. “Free The Work’s mission is to find new pathways to the discovery of underrepresented creators and we’re excited to help celebrate, spotlight, and provide a platform for the voices of these talented filmmakers.”

SXSW 2020 Festival Slate To Launch On Prime Video April 27 – Deadline

With this starting next Monday, I have to get in gear and start profiling the full-length movies being presented. Here’s the quick list:

As of this writing, I have absolutely zero idea what any of these full-length films are about. I’m not sure all the shorts, as I don’t normally watch shorts, but I plan to watch at least some of those.

Expect several SXSW2020 reviews next week. Exciting times!

Lionsgate, Fandango, YouTube, NATO Streaming Free Movie Fridays To Help Furloughed Cinema Employees

Lionsgate Live at YouTube the next four Fridays will be offering live watch-along movies

Lionsgate Live! at YouTube (subscribed!) starts this Friday. A free movie event sponsored by Lionsgate, Fandango, YouTube & NATO (National Association of Theater Owners):

The schedule of Lionsgate Live movies, which will stream on Fridays at 6:00pm PT (GMT-8)/9:00pm ET are:

April 17 – The Hunger Games
April 24 – Dirty Dancing
May 1 – La La Land
May 8 – John Wick (age registration required)

Lionsgate Teams With Fandango, YouTube & NATO To Help Furloughed Cinema Employees With ‘Lionsgate Live!’ – Deadline

Jamie Lee Curtis is hosting these watch-along events which includes live chat, the goal to virtually create the theater social experience. Can you smell the popcorn?

The article provides even more details of fan-interactive activities during the movies:

Each week’s night at the movies will feature special programming and interactive opportunities for fans, like real-time fan chats via YouTube Live, live tweeting @Lionsgate and partners, and shared fan engagement opportunities in-show, including movie trivia, movie-themed challenges, and more.

As reported in the past, I’m a huge fan of watch-alongs and viewing parties, long before the pandemic (see: 2nd Annual Halloween Mystery Movie Event Features 4 Shudder Movies).

SnackNation is selling a Snack Box for $9.99 for delivery — too late for this Friday’s show, but future Fridays

Apparently there is a site online called Popcornopolis in addition to SnackNation (never used either service, so not a recommendation, just sharing the links for your own review) partnering up with Lionsgate for this event. These are not affiliate links — we don’t do that here as of this writing — BTW. Just linking to them as part of the event promotion because it bugs me when news articles mention things but don’t link to them or tell us the details.

I haven’t seen Dirty Dancing in years. La La Land? Only one in list I haven’t seen yet. None of these movies have had reviews yet and I’m usually off work by 6pm PST on Fridays, so this could line up well. Anybody else going?

Any other viewing parties/watch-along events to share? Use the comments below to tell us about it. If you’re going to any of the viewing party events above, please let us know.