All posts by Neal Harmon

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.

ttposter

Can I expect VidAngel Studios content to be appropriate for me and my family?

 

I am writing a response to a series of tweets I received from @Papabrose on Twitter. He was disappointed in Tim Timmerman, Hope of America because he felt like there were sections he would filter.  First off, thanks for voicing your concern.

 

Can I expect VidAngel Studios content to be appropriate for me and my family?

 

VidAngel aims to produce family-friendly while encouraging artists to give their best work. However, that does NOT necessarily mean an unfiltered VidAngel Studios movie will meet your family’s unique standards. In fact, I personally plan to set a few filters for my young children when we watch Tim Timmerman together.

 

If I had been the producer from the beginning, aiming to reach my own young family, I would have made the movie with a few changes. But then, all of my family are younger than high school age. Cameron Sawyer, the director, made this movie for a high school audience and older. In fact, Cameron is already adjusting one part of the film based on responses from me and the VidAngel Premiere audience on Wednesday.

 

This is a well-done indie film. Cameron has done a terrific job creating a film with an uplifting message about honesty, integrity, and the harms of exploiting others for political gain. Is the movie “family-friendly” for all audiences? No. So, as with any content, we advise parents to use discretion in deciding whether to view the movie with their families.

 

Audiences Are Responding Well

 

High schoolers love Tim Timmerman and adults feel nostalgic watching it. We’re at 95% on Rotten Tomatoes so far. Cameron did a wonderful job creating a movie to match his audience and we’re excited to back his film.  

 

Exciting Future

 

Next time we do a film, we can work with Cameron and his team from the beginning, and provide more feedback based on our filter data. Future filter data on this film will give Cameron insights into creating his next film. 

The feedback loop is a core advantage of VidAngel Studios content. This is something that all of us will learn to do better over time.

 

In Conclusion

Tim Timmerman is a funny, charming rom-com set in the nostalgic nineties and we’re thrilled to get behind it, but please review the data below before deciding to see it in theaters.

 

Thanks for supporting the premiere and voicing your concern @Papabrose! It gave me a great opportunity to explain how filtering will inform artists future work.

Best,

Neal Harmon

 

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.

Guardian Angel Action Update – Edition #2

Good Afternoon Supporters,
We’ve got a few hot news items worthy of an update!

Dr James Dobson Lends His Support

We are deeply honored to have the support of the legendary Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and now CEO of Family Talk. I recently spent time with Dr. Dobson in Colorado Springs, and was featured in his national broadcast. The episode is entitled Freedom from Hollywood: The Censorship War with VidAngel. Click here to listen to this broadcast. Please share this with everyone you know…here is our Facebook post with a sharable link!


Legal Update

We have filed our reply brief, our final written response to Disney’s legal arguments, to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It is a very important but easy read. Here’s a brief quote:

“Although the public interest in filtering is strong and Congressionally sanctioned, the injunction robbed the public of any viable means to filter. VidAngel is shut down; ClearPlay no longer functions for new releases; and the Studios have scared everyone else away.

“According to the Studios, the relevant public interest is in ‘upholding copyright protections.’ The Studios have confused themselves with the public. The actual public has no interest in seeing America’s only commercially and technologically viable filtering company destroyed through an unnecessary preliminary injunction. The legal questions in this case are as complex and novel as they are important. If the Studios prevail, they will be entitled to damages. If VidAngel prevails, they will not. In either case, there will be a final judgment that ‘upholds copyright protections.'”

We believe the 9th Circuit will schedule oral argument on the appeal for sometime in May. We’ll let you know when it’s scheduled.

Enjoy the entire brief here (it is worth the read).

 
Legislative Movement
We are still actively seeking a legislative clarification to the 2005 Family Movie Act, to prevent the studios from continuing to misconstrue in the courts. We have more meetings in DC this coming week with various allies. As soon as we have further news on that front, I will let you know.

 
Grassroots Activity

People all over America are joining the cause every day. A group called #SaveFiltering, started by a Florida family, has now surpassed 160,000 signatures. We’ve also started a new page at SaveFiltering.VidAngel.com to let our supporters know how they can help.
Support VidAngel Studios’ First Theatrical Release

VidAngel Studios presents the award-winning comedy that’s taking film festivals by storm, TIM TIMMERMAN, HOPE OF AMERICA.

There are multiple ways to support our first film:

  1. If you are in Utah March 1st or 2nd, you are invited to attend the EXCLUSIVE premiere of VidAngel Studio’s FIRST ever theatrical release: Tim Timmerman, Hope of America! Let us know so we can get you tickets!
  2. If you are not near Utah, request that Tim Timmerman, Hope of America come to your local theater by clicking here.
  3. If you’d like to book a theater for a screening for your company or organization, please contact timmermanmovie2017@gmail.com
  4. Like Tim Timmerman on Facebook.
  5. Share the trailer on Facebook.

For more information about the premiere, frequently asked questions about the film and to watch the trailer, click here.

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.

Is VidAngel changing its 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. We envision that it become a model for artists to use filter feedback to better meet the needs of their audience.

Conclusion
As always, would love to hear from you and answer any questions you have. Thanks for your support in this fight!

Sincerely,
Neal Harmon, CEO

Dr. James Dobson Lends His Support

We are deeply honored to have the support of the legendary Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and now CEO of Family Talk. I recently spent time with Dr. Dobson in Colorado Springs, and was featured in his national broadcast. The episode is entitled Freedom from Hollywood: The Censorship War with VidAngel. Please share this with everyone you know…here is our Facebook post with a sharable link!

img_1237

Guardian Angel Update – Edition #1

Good Afternoon Supporters,

 
So many neighbors have been hungry for updates on VidAngel’s situation, that I decided you should also receive exclusive updates as though you lived next door to me. Here’s an up-to-date summary:

 
Legal Update
In the District Court, Judge Andre Birotte issued a preliminary injunction against us, which is unprecedented given the delay and lack of evidence of any harm. We immediately appealed the decision (link to opening brief) to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and hope the injunction will be overturned within the next few months. But, we are currently shut down pending the 9th Circuit’s ruling.

VidAngel is counter-suing the same studios for antitrust violation, owing to their collective bargaining agreement with the Directors Guild of America which allows all the Hollywood studios to collude to deny licenses to filtering companies and to prevent any studio from breaking ranks, notwithstanding that the Family Movie Act is the law of the land. That case is still before Los Angeles District Court Judge Andre Birotte, Jr. and the studios have asked for the antitrust counterclaim to be dismissed. Judge Birotte has not yet ruled. For more details, please check out our blog.

 
Legislative Movement
After VidAngel was forced to remove all movies from its site, we were encouraged by the strong interest in helping us expressed by various members of Congress. We are actively seeking a legislative clarification to the 2005 Family Movie Act, to prevent the studios from continuing to misconstrue in the courts. The Family Movie Act was supposed to be the final word, but Hollywood is attempting to nullify it for the streaming era, so we’re asking Congress to secure entertainment filtering for any company that wants to provide it. The ability to watch filtered content is a fundamental right of American families.

 
Grassroots Activity
People all over America are joining the cause every day. A group called #SaveFiltering, started by a Florida family, has surpassed 150,000 signatures. We’ve also started a new page at SaveFiltering.VidAngel.com to let our supporters know how they can help. The Schwartz boys pleaded for VidAngel to come back to music 🙂

On his vacation, the talented Matt Meese (of Studio C fame) did a far more entertaining job than I did in our call to Congress video. Watch Matt in Rome and share his video.

 
Talking Points
From our opening brief to the 9th Circuit Court (see page 13 and the introduction):

“Everything VidAngel does is for the sole purpose of allowing a disc-owner to watch a movie she owns the way she wants in her own home. Yet four Hollywood studios insist the Copyright Act prohibits what common sense demands. The Studios persuaded the court… that tiny start-up VidAngel threatened irreparable harm to the richest entertainment companies on Earth. The district court entered an injunction that forced VidAngel to shut down, leaving millions of American families with no viable filtering option.”

“The injunction should be dissolved. There is no evidence of irreparable harm. And there is no reason to believe the Studios are likely to prevail on the merits of their Copyright Act claims.”

 
How You Can Help
Share our legal brief with skeptics who say that this battle is not about filtering (page 13 and the introduction are especially helpful).

Visit http://savefiltering.vidangel.com to learn how you can help our cause in Washington, DC.

As always, would love to hear from you and answer any questions you have. Thanks for your support in this fight! You are the reason we can win this war.

Sincerely,
Neal Harmon, CEO