Streaming Video: Paging Dr. Who Plus News From Sundance

The BBC is soon going to announce what their plans are for the worldwide cult hit Dr. Who. Rumor has it that the world’s most famous time traveling doctor will serve as the anchor for a brand new pay streaming service soon to be launched here in the United States by the BBC.

While the network did not release any details on programming as of yet it is expected that Dr. Who and Top Gear will be very attractive offerings they may keep in the family. The exact date of the launch or the price per month of the new streaming service has not been announced.

In other streaming video news….

The Sundance Film Festival concluded last week and the biggest winners were streaming video services Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The two streaming giants walked away with five films each at the festival landing many of them before they even inked a single theatrical distribution deal.

Netflix and Amazon Prime also were able to drive up the cost of other films purchased by the more traditional outlets like Fox Searchlight and Sony. Welcome to the new normal for Independent filmmakers who are finding that working directly with the rapidly growing streaming services is more profitable and easier than to wait for a more mainstream way to market their films.

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Amazon Prime Video snagged a possible Oscar worthy film spending a cool $10 million on Kenneth Lonergan’s, Manchester by the Sea. The film is set in Boston and stars Casey Affleck, as Lee Chandler, who is made a legal guardian of his dead brother’s son and returns to his hometown to care for the teenage boy. The cast also includes strong performances from Michelle Williams and Kyle Chandler.

The film was Sundance Critics Poll Winner and received a standing ovation by the crowd at the films screening. Amazon Prime Video did not set a date yet for the movies debut on the service.

Meanwhile, Netflix big score came when they paid $7 million for the Paul Rudd road trip film The Fundamentals of Caring. The movie stars Craig Roberts as a boy named Trevor with Duchenne muscular dystrophy who is confined to an electric wheelchair. He requires a caregiver who helps him do many basic tasks, though he always tends to drive them away, using his blunt talk and a dash of sick jokes that he seems enjoy playing on them. What made this film a big hit at Sundance was its humor and wonderful cast that also included Rudd and the beautiful Selena Gomez.

Selena Gomez spends another day with Craig Roberts and Paul Rudd on set

The combined impact of Netflix and Amazon on Sundance was profound and left only a few films for others to bid on. The two streaming services are likely to become even bigger player at Sundance next year as the field of competitors grows. Soon to join Netflix and Amazon Prime Video movie and original television streaming business will be Sony, Apple, Google/YouTube with more to come. This is great news to the producers at Sundance.

Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.