All posts by Neal Harmon

VidAngel Uses Chapter 11 Protection to Pause Los Angeles Lawsuit to Reorganize Its Business Around The New Streaming Model

VidAngel is still up and running. And generating millions in revenue.

 

Chapter 11 reorganization can be bad news. But in VidAngel’s case, it’s good news for VidAngel and filtering.

 

First, chapter 11 is simply a reorganization and part of our legal and business strategy. Per federal law, chapter 11 reorganization automatically pauses our lawsuit with Disney and the other plaintiffs in California.  This strategy also allows us to continue our new lawsuit in Utah, where we are seeking a legal determination that our new filtering system is legal.

 

Second, VidAngel is not going away. To the contrary, our new VidAngel system for Netflix, HBO, and Amazon is up and running. We have millions of dollars in the bank, and are now generating millions in revenue. Our original series, Dry Bar Comedy, is exploding and has had over 16 million minutes viewed in the last 7 days. If you are a customer, you will be able to continue to use VidAngel to filter movies in your home using your Netflix, Amazon, and HBO subscriptions.

 

Third, this filing should give us time to take care of our customers and investors. Thousands of our customers invested $10 million to help VidAngel win the legal fight. We want to ensure that VidAngel continues to grow like gangbusters so that the many families who took a chance on us get their investment back – hopefully with a good return.

 

Remember, our new VidAngel system is growing rapidly. Our goal here is to reorganize the business around our new streaming model, which means pausing the lawsuit long enough so that, even IF VidAngel eventually loses the lawsuit on our old system, we have enough revenue from our new system to pay any damages to Disney. That way, VidAngel can survive and reap a return for the many thousands of customers who invested in us.

 

Finally, we want to emphasize that this is Chapter 11 reorganization, NOT Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is for companies going out of business. Chapter 11 is to protect companies that just need more time and flexibility to pay their obligations. Many companies, including Marvel, General Motors, and Delta Airlines have filed Chapter 11 reorganization and emerged as thriving, healthy companies. That is VidAngel’s plan, and we just took the first step.

 

To recap, VidAngel is:

 

  1. Pausing the California lawsuit
  2. Up, running, and making millions
  3. Exploding (over 16 million minutes viewed in last 7 days)
  4. Working to make a return for our investors
  5. Taking the same path as Marvel and Delta

 

We want to thank our customers and investors for all their support. We will keep you updated as we continue this legal battle – if necessary, all the way to the Supreme Court.

 

Onward,

Neal Harmon, Co-founder and CEO

Marvel movies now available on VidAngel

Great news! Marvel movies are coming back to VidAngel. Why?

Disney has chosen not to contest the fact movies owned by its subsidiaries are not subject to the California court’s injunction and so there will be additional titles available for filtering on VidAngel. Marvel is a subsidiary of Disney. There are several other subsidiaries of the plaintiffs you’ll recognize. For example:

NEW WORLD PICTURES, LTD.
CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT, INC.
TURNER ENTERTAINMENT CO.
VILLAGE ROADSHOW PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT INC.
REGENCY ENTERTAINMENT (USA), INC.

We’re glad to be filtering titles from these great companies again. We also look forward to when we’re able to filter Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. titles again!

Quality over Quantity – VidAngel’s Take on Autoplay

In an effort to serve the needs of families over the needs of VidAngel, we have decided to give families the option to easily turn off the upcoming VidAngel “autoplay-the-next-episode” feature. Here’s why.

 

Netflix, Facebook, and YouTube go to great lengths to keep users on their websites for the longest time possible. They spend millions ensuring that every feature of their products is habit-forming (see Hooked: How to build Habit-Forming Products).

 

Thanks to Netflix’s autoplay, bedtime at my house is a battle. As the evening episode of “When Calls the Heart” ends, our girls fight to keep Mom or Dad away from the remote so that the next episode will begin. As parents, we usually find the autoplay feature to be a hindrance, not a help.

Netflix Autoplay: Next Episode Playing in 9 seconds

 

Has the Netflix autoplay feature had a net-positive impact on our world’s happiness and productivity? At VidAngel, we are hesitant to take a similar strategy.

 

Personally, I find media to be a good servant, but a bad master. I value media, not when it consumes my every minute, but when it helps me achieve my other life goals, such as:

 

  • – Love (seeing examples of healthy and unhealthy relationships)
  • – Learning (seeing examples of those who have been where I am, or where I want to go)
  • – Empathy (understanding those whose experiences are different from my own)
  • – Laughter (cultivating a light-hearted life)
  • – Or a Nap (resting easy without worrying that the little ones are getting into trouble)

 

Tristan Harris, founder of Time Well Spent,  also believes that media is a bad master. He argues that, rather than incentivizing binge watching and “show[ing] whatever keeps us scrolling”, the tech and media industry must instead begin “to put our best interests first.”

 

I want VidAngel to put the needs of families ahead of the needs of VidAngel. Meaning that customers who, like myself, wish to consume their media in moderation should not feel pressured to binge watch against their better judgment.

 

Although our team is currently working on an autoplay-next-episode feature for those who have asked for it, we have decided to use VidAngel to help achieve our media goals as families rather than simply copying Netflix’s.  Hence, our tech team will provide an easily available “disable autoplay” button. That’s something I’d like as a parent. We’ll also make it super easy to “enable autoplay” for those who are in the mood to binge. It’s up to you.

 

What do you think? Please share your thoughts or parental feature requests below in the comments. What would you love to have as a feature to your favorite family media app?

 

Even though the average American watches five hours of TV per day, we’re ok if VidAngel families get quality rather than quantity on their media experiences. Watch however the BLEEP you want.

Neal Harmon, Co-founder and Father of Eight 🙂

Judge Says He Doesn’t Have Enough Information to Clarify the Injunction, Yet

VidAngel Customers,

We just received news from Judge Birotte that “without further factual development on this issue, the Court is not in the position to declare the rights of the parties with regard to this new service.” This is nothing to worry about, it just means the can was kicked down the road.

Judge Birotte’s denial of VidAngel’s motion today was based purely on procedural grounds and not on the merits of our case. Our attorneys are evaluating the decision and will decide next steps in the near future. It is important for everyone to note that this does not affect VidAngel’s new system, which is fully up and running, it simply delays our ability to provide customers with content created by the plaintiffs.

In the meanwhile, we’ll be posting the following notice on the plaintiffs works to let customer know why they are unable to filter those movies and TV shows.

Keep enjoying all the other great content while we sort this out.

Sincerely,

Neal Harmon

CEO

Amazon and Netflix both fully operational

VidAngel Customers,

We’re pleased to announce that Netflix is again working properly.

In addition, all of the following outstanding issues have been resolved:

  1. Descriptive messages when a video won’t play (like you’ve reached your screen limit, etc).
  2. Netflix PIN for Parental Controls
  3. Netflix auto-select non-child profile
  4. App interface for confirmation codes for Amazon.
  5. Amazon PIN for Parental Controls
  6. Amazon 2-Factor Authentication

Hooray, now you don’t have to turn off parental controls on Netflix or Amazon to use VidAngel!

Existing free trials that started before 6am MST on July 5, 2017 will be extended until the morning of August 5, 2017.

Now, that the system is humming smoothly, the next thirty days will be 100 percent focused on publishing a ton of new content.

Happy filtering,

Neal Harmon, CEO

VidAngel

 

VidAngel is not affiliated with or sponsored by Amazon, HBO or Netflix. Amazon, Amazon Prime, and Amazon Instant Video are registered trademarks of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Netflix is a registered trademark of Netflix, Inc. HBO is a registered trademark of Home Box Office, Inc

Update on Free Trial Extension

VidAngel Customers,

We’re pleased that Amazon is working again (we’ve implemented the proper security features for your Amazon account).

We regret to inform you that now we have a technical glitch with Netflix streams. This is frustrating because your account connects to Netflix, but VidAngel is unable to fetch your stream for filtering at the moment. We have a fix in the works. Again, we need to ensure that Netflix’s systems know that you’re real people wanting to filter just as we need to on Amazon. This is something we learn to do better and better as more of you use the system.

The good news is that we’re continuing the free trial extension until the service is working for you. And you’re able to enjoy VidAngel Originals and filtering on your Amazon Prime, Amazon Rentals and HBO accounts in the meantime for free.

Best regards,

Neal Harmon, CEO

VidAngel

 

VidAngel is not affiliated with or sponsored by Amazon, HBO or Netflix. Amazon, Amazon Prime, and Amazon Instant Video are registered trademarks of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Netflix is a registered trademark of Netflix, Inc. HBO is a registered trademark of Home Box Office, Inc

Update on Amazon and HBO

VidAngel Customers,

We promised you an update today on the situation with the Amazon connector (which also impacted Amazon Channels HBO). We’re pleased that we just published the following updates to the website, iOS, Android and Roku beta:

  1. App interface for confirmation codes for Amazon.
  2. Two factor authentication support for Amazon.
  3. A series of backend and app fixes.

Please update your iOS, Android or Roku apps to have the latest code and fix for Amazon. These updates should solve the vast majority of problems customers have experienced. If you have connected before, please disconnect and reconnect to implement the improvements.

Issues still outstanding (we’re working on these)

  1. Descriptive messages when a video won’t play (like you’ve reached your screen limit, or you need to disable parental controls, etc).
  2. Netflix PIN
  3. Netflix Profile support
  4. Captcha support

The buttons still say down for maintenance but will soon be switched to a message that says: “Having issues? See Help Section.” Even though the buttons currently say “down for maintenance”, you can click on them and try connecting. Let us know at support@vidangel.com or in the comments below if you run into an issue.

If the weekend is smooth and things work for people, we will update the buttons again so that it’s clear the system is operational.

Thanks again for your support and patience.

Neal Harmon, CEO

VidAngel

 

P.S. A few people have had trouble with the Amazon connector for Game of Thrones and other programs. We have learned that the fix is disconnecting your Amazon account and reconnecting. That clears out your old session and establishes a new improved session and fixes the issue.

ALL free trials will be extended and start again when major bug fixed

VidAngel Customers,

We need to apologize for a very rocky launch. We messed up and you all deserve better.

First, our Amazon connector is temporarily down for maintenance, but once we get it back up and running, we’ll be sure to extend your free trials to begin again when Amazon starts working. In the meantime, enjoy Netflix, Dry Bar Comedy, and VidAngel Studios licensed shows for free.

What Happened With Amazon?

We’ve been testing our service for months and things were running smoothly so we thought we were ready to launch.

Then this happened:

We never dreamed we’d have more interest than before we were shut down.  We should have had more faith in our fans and prepared for more traffic, but we didn’t. These traffic numbers have made this week a nightmare for all of you and our entire team. We have had the executives, marketing, finance, content and everyone helping the support team. Our tech team members are working around the clock. Everyone is exhausted. Our customers who were wanting to watch a movie worry free this weekend, now feel frustrated.  Understandably so because we are just as frustrated.  We wanted you to have a great weekend and thought we had everything ready.  

Amazon Wants To Know You Are A Human

Amazon wants your account to be very secure and so does VidAngel. Here’s what is happening (and the fix is very straight forward):

  1. You give your Amazon credentials to VidAngel and the VidAngel servers become you in the cloud to help you filter your Amazon account (your credentials are encrypted and stored on your device only, not VidAngel’s servers, for security reasons).
  2. When Amazon received so many requests to filter in a short period of time, its systems began asking for verification that you are really you.
  3. The VidAngel app does not yet have a feature built in to let you make the handshake between you, a real person, and Amazon’s extra verification. We didn’t realize how many different verifications Amazon has until we had thousands of you hitting Amazon at the same time.
  4. This extra step causes you frustration, so you try again and repeat the cycle which makes the problem worse for everyone because Amazon asks for more verification each time you cannot prove you are you.

This is a good thing. It means Amazon wants your account to be secure so they can ensure it is really you accessing your account.

How VidAngel Will Help You Stay Secure

VidAngel wants your Amazon account to be very secure as well. VidAngel is working on a technology to show you the verification messages from Amazon so that you can let Amazon know that you are a real person within the VidAngel app.

We hope to have a fix for this by next weekend. We’re putting everything we have into it.

Please accept our heartfelt apology fans; we’ll make it right (remember we’ll extend the free trial and you can enjoy everything else VidAngel offers for free in the meantime).

Neal Harmon, CEO

VidAngel

 

VidAngel is not affiliated with or sponsored by Amazon, HBO or Netflix. Amazon, Amazon Prime, and Amazon Instant Video are registered trademarks of Amazon Technologies, Inc. Netflix is a registered trademark of Netflix, Inc. HBO is a registered trademark of Home Box Office, Inc

Guardian Angel Action Update – Edition #3

 

Good day Supporters,

It’s time for another update for VidAngel friends and allies.

 

Legal Update

 

This week, the 9th Circuit Court scheduled the oral argument on our appeal of the injunction for the morning of June 8, 2017, in Pasadena, CA. You can read both sides’ arguments here on our blog.

 

Legislative Movement

 

The former CEO of ClearPlay, Bill Aho, who spearheaded passage of the Family Movie Act in 2005, has started a coalition to seek legislative protection to ensure the future of the filtering industry. It’s called the Protect Family Rights Coalition and VidAngel is a member. Bill is respected by Congress and all who work with him.  We are grateful to have his perspective on the industry and approach to solving problems.

 

Grassroots Activity

 

People all over America are joining the cause every day.  A great family in Florida has started a group called #SaveFiltering. They have now surpassed 170,000 signatures and are even collecting donations to fuel the cause. VidAngel has started a new page at SaveFiltering.VidAngel.com to let our supporters know of organizations like these and the many other ways they can help.  

 

VidAngel Studios

Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 5.20.42 PMWe’re happy to announce the release of our very first eight comedy specials. These are available for free (for a very limited time so enjoy them this weekend) on the VidAngel app and website. We hope you enjoy these comedy specials and dozens more that will be published very soon (we will have taped 50 specials for season one by April 29th).

 
This is not an official launch of VidAngel content. We’re giving you an exclusive early look at our new content so you can provide feedback concerning any potential issues with our first titles. You’re welcome to share the specials with friends now, but we will not promote them until we’re sure that everything works properly.

 
We are publishing The Last Descent, a VidAngel Exclusive Movie. In addition, our first theatrical release, Tim Timmerman, has been the highest rated film to come out of Utah and opened #2 in Utah behind Logan. It is opening in Arizona April 7, 2017 and will be expanding to other locations soon.

 
We hope you enjoy this great content while we fight for your filtering rights in court and in Congress.

 

 

Why is VidAngel making its own content?

 

Your filtering data gives VidAngel deep insights into the type of content you’re looking for. We aim to create family-friendly content based on that feedback.

 

 

Are you changing your mission?

 

No. Our primary mission is to ensure families everywhere have the choice to filter content as they wish. We do not envision VidAngel Studios’ content replacing all the great Hollywood content available.

 

In 2013, when we began work on VidAngel, our plan was to create the best filtering service in the world, attract a large audience of like-minded people, and then build a new family-friendly streaming platform. We knew that people who chose to filter would seek family-friendly content, and that eventually we would become large enough to create some of that content.

 

That day has arrived, and we are so excited for what the future will bring, including new content and filtering.

 

Paul Ahlstrom, one of our VidAngel board members, said it best: “VidAngel is making good popular.”

Onward and upward,
Neal Harmon, CEO

 

VidAngel Studios’ First Theatrical Release In Theaters Today

Today is a big day for VidAngel Studios. Tim Timmerman, Hope of America is hitting theaters throughout Utah. If it does well, we plan to roll it out nationally.

The film was received by a record-breaking Premiere audience of 1,700 people during a two night Premiere event: Wednesday in Utah Valley and Thursday in Salt Lake County.

It’s do or die on the first weekend for Indie films so please get your tickets for tonight or Saturday so that we can spread the movie to a broader national release. Use coupon code TIMMERMAN with any Megaplex theater to get $5 off.

REVIEWS

He’s got a raffish charm, she’s delightful as an ingenue, and their chemistry together sparkles.” – Sean P. Means, Salt Lake Tribune

“This film blew me away! You guys killed it.” – Scott Winn (YouTuber ScottDW)

“Hilarious and refreshingly funny coming-of-age flick. Seriously. Worth the watch.”
“HILARIOUS”
“Awesome! So clever!”
“Really funny movie. I didn’t want it to end!”
-Sneak Peak Audiences

 

How did VidAngel Studios make a movie so fast?
VidAngel Studios did not make the film, but we’re backing the film. This is a film made by director Cameron Sawyer and his Picture Picture Films team over the past four years.  We are thrilled to partner with the Tim Timmerman team and Purdie Distribution (theatrical distribution) on this release.

Why is this movie PG-13?
We’re surprised the MPAA rated this movie PG-13, and it will likely be one of the cleanest PG-13s you’ve ever seen.
What are the content warnings? Two instances of d*mn. Two instances of b*tch*n. Implied drug use – Tim grabs a joint from a fellow student to prevent him from smoking it. High school counselor has a creepy crush on Tim but he doesn’t seem to know it. Strapless and sleeveless dresses with some cleavage. Suggestive material – two high schoolers passionately make out in a van.

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