Category Archives: Press

Letter to Shareholders

May 5, 2020

 

Friends of VidAngel,

VidAngel exists to help you make entertainment good for your home. 

What is good for each of our homes is a personal choice. We’ve long known the motto “Be our guest.” At VidAngel, we believe “We’re your guest.” 

After all, it’s your home.

You choose how to watch. In 2013, we started developing software that was essentially a pre-programmed streaming remote. We have now gone through 6 successive attempts to build your skipping software. In each iteration, we hit a wall. We were sued over iteration number four, struggled through bankruptcy, and today Disney continues to oppose iteration number 6. We’re continuing to push through that for you, and in the meantime, we’re providing access to arguably the most exciting content of the COVID-19 era, produced by Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services. Watch however the BLEEP you want.

You choose what we make. In 2017, armed with the data around the skip choices families are making, we launched Dry Bar Comedy. Over 300 comedians have now performed, fine-tuning their sets to the audience and receiving  bonuses for better serving you. Additionally, with the help of 19,000 of you, we funded, produced, and distributed the award-winning dramatic series The Chosen

And you have responded. In April 2020, our business generated 5X the revenue of our skipping software pre-injunction. Dry Bar has over 2 billion views. The Chosen is offered globally, in dozens of languages, has tens of millions of views, and millions of dollars in revenue via its own app. It has been the #1 series on VidAngel for months. 

We hear you. 

Five. Times. Revenue.

 

So what’s next?

After emerging from bankruptcy (we hope during the June 18, 2020 confirmation hearing), we plan to raise up to $50 million to grow VidAngel. 

Our goal with these funds will be:

  1. Give our loyal investors, without whom we would not exist today, a chance to liquidate some of their shares (some people may need cash due to COVID-19 and won’t be able to wait for a potentially larger return). 
  2. Back many more creator projects, like The Chosen and Dry Bar Comedy, by building creator tools for:
    • – daily financial reporting and monthly payments (currently quarterly)
    • – better audience interaction (e.g. live streams, merchandise, uploads, notifications)
    • – creator cross-promotion (i.e. a simple way for The Chosen and Dry Bar to promote new creators’ projects with their massive audiences)
  3. Build better control over more content, allowing you, for example, to:
    • – find the very best content to watch or the best future content to back (rather than the primary focus being on skipping objectionable content)
    • – say exactly what kids are allowed to browse (specific list of approved titles with pre-set skips)
    • – watch with skips without having to wait for us to tag it (say hello to SkipBot and community made skips)

Thank you for trusting VidAngel as a guest in your home. We aim to build an entertainment company that centers around your kingdom, not ours. The best days are yet ahead.

 

Onward,

Neal Harmon

Co-founder and CEO

 

Click here for VidAngel’s SEC Reports

No Joke: Two Exciting Announcements

Hi VidAngel Fans,

We know these past few weeks haven’t been easy. People all over the world are struggling under the weight of health concerns, changing work situations, helping their children with their education, and trying to find peace in this challenging time.

We want to help how we can, so I have two announcements I’m really excited about:

First, I’m happy to announce that VidAngel will continue to be free for the entire month of April. No credit card required, all we ask is that you agree to practice social distancing (and to give bigger hugs when all this is over).

Second, we’ve just launched a brand new show I think you’re going to love. The Riot and the Dance: Water is an absolutely gorgeous nature documentary that shows the beautiful and miraculous aspects of aquatic wildlife from a faith perspective. When I watched this show with my family, it had all of us in awe, from my seventeen-year-old down to my two-year-old.

We hope you’ll enjoy this free month of filtering with VidAngel. If you are in need of a laugh, I highly recommend our Dry Bar Comedy specials. If you could use a spiritual boost, I hope you’ll consider our fantastic original series, The Chosen. If you could use something educational for your kids while school is out, we think you’ll really enjoy Chasing American Legends and Beyond the Stars.

If you could use a little of all these things, you will love The Riot and the Dance: Water.

Thank you for enjoying VidAngel in your homes.

 

Sincerely,

Neal Harmon

Co-Founder & CEO

 

GET FREE VIDANGEL

#GenerosityChallenge Increases Our Growth Rate by 50x

While the government debates over how to solve the medical and economic implications of what’s currently happening to our country, we at VidAngel instituted a company-wide work from home program last week, and Monday morning we invited our customers to help.

 

In exchange for an agreement to practice social distancing (and give bigger hugs when this is all over), we are providing access to our entire offering for free, without a credit card. It was the least we could do to help families out. 

 

It makes me uncomfortable to share these numbers, and I don’t want it to come across as bragging or taking advantage of this situation, but I am sharing these hoping other entrepreneurs are inspired to speed to a solution faster. Here’s the initial two day numbers:

 

 

Obviously, we’re just a few companies. Our impact today is small, but the percentage response rate is HUGE. And those who are doing this realize now that this is a mutually beneficial proposition. We’re helping people out and they’re helping us grow. That’s the way American entrepreneurship should work.

 

People are anxious. People are scared. The economy is tanking before our eyes. 

 

Social distancing is a scary prospect when people are worried about their jobs. Aside from health, fear in general is high across the country. People are worried about family members, income, and how to cope with kids being at home instead of in school. We have an opportunity to quell public concerns and replace fear with hope. 

 

If enough of us collaborate together, at a faster rate than any governmental consensus can be reached, we can stave off the spread of disease, help calm the anxiety of those in need, and hopefully, prevent the debacle of our economic system.

 

With Forbes and the #GenerosityChallenge, we invite other companies to figure out how to help those stuck in their homes and beat COVID-19 the American way, through economic ingenuity. Linda.com, MasterClass, big streaming companies, and others, who will help conquer this? The mutual benefit is real, please help us scale this idea to as many web businesses as possible.

Happy New Year from VidAngel! Overview of 2018

VidAngel Supporters,

As the fireworks subside celebrating the New Year, it’s time to reflect what we’ve accomplished together at VidAngel in 2018.

 

The Chosen – closing at midnight tonight – over $8 million* so far!

The Hollywood Reporter and CBN have both published great stories about breaking the all-time record for crowdfunding on any media project. 

Finally, today is the final day The Chosen will accept investment agreements.  It is conducting an unprecedented 6-hour live streamed marathon tonight beginning at 9pm EST. Join the live stream to ask the director anything you want and have your questions answered in real time.

*Amount raised is an estimate that includes subscriptions and founders’ contribution, however not all such amounts have been accepted or closed, and some subscriptions may not be accepted.

 

 

Dry Bar Comedy – Over 1 BILLION views

Our hit comedy series grew explosively in 2018, propelling VidAngel to cash flow positive and prompting a national tour for 2019.  It’s hard to describe what a live night at Dry Bar is like so make sure you experience it when it comes to your town.

 

Here are some of Dry Bar Comedy’s 2018 highlights:

 

  • 1) Top-10 Title on VidAngel. Four or five of the most popular titles on VidAngel are consistently Dry Bar Comedy specials (competing with Stranger Things, Jack Ryan and Game of Thrones). We don’t show them in the most popular category on the app anymore because they were dominating the section. But they are still the most popular.
  • 2) 4 Million Followers. More social media followers than Brian Regan, Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld, and Dave Chapelle combined.
  • 3) Sirius XM Radio Deal. We partnered with SiriusXM radio to allow people to listen to Dry Bar Comedy on satellite radio. Listen to it on channel 98.
  • 4) Audio Apps. Do you have one of those home devices? Here are some commands to test the new Dry Bar Comedy audio apps on your home device or cell phone (these are in EARLY testing, so we look forward to your feedback):
    • “hey Google” followed by “Ask Dry Bar Comedy for jokes”
    • “Alexa” is currently reviewing our app. When it is approved, you can use the same phrase as Google.
    • “Siri” followed by “Play Dry Bar Comedy”
  • 5) Cash Flow Positive. We invested millions into Dry Bar Comedy and now, as we start Season 4 next week, it’s generating millions in revenue. And almost all of January tapings sold out weeks in advance.

 

VidAngel Studios

We are in the final stages of FINRA and the SEC regulatory approval for a crowd-funding portal that will allow everyone to support numerous crowd-funded media projects such as The Chosen.  There are a number of projects that we haven’t been able to announce yet. However, we plan to officially launch the crowd-funding platform for VidAngel Studios early this year.

Legal Battle  #SaveFiltering

The stay (that we were afforded thanks to Chapter 11) has been lifted on the Disney lawsuit and we’re back at it in the courts as a much healthier company. In 2017 we did about $2.7 million (and suffered decreasing cash reserves every month) but in 2018 we did over $7.5 million (and our cash reserves began increasing again).  What is most astounding is that we achieved that while filtering only half the content we previously offered on VidAngel!

 

We plan to fight for the right to filter all content on modern devices until we are confident that the future of filtering is secure.  Even without filtering for Disney/Fox/WB content, it is no longer all or nothing because the rest of VidAngel’s business is thriving. And we will continue to ask Congress to clarify the law as we grow.

 

Finally, we also hope to emerge from Chapter 11 soon, maybe even this year.

 

Happy New Year!

Thank you for all your support. Without your help, we wouldn’t be able to continue fighting to make entertainment good for your home. 2018 was a great year and we expect 2019 to be even better.

 

We hope to see you any time on The Chosen 6-hour live stream tonight at 6pm PST or 9pm EST

 

Onward and upward,


Neal Harmon, Co-founder and CEO

9th Circuit Court Ruling Has No Impact On VidAngel’s New System

(Los Angeles, CA—August 24, 2017) VidAngel, the market-leading entertainment platform empowering users to filter language, nudity, violence, and other content from movies and TV series on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBOusing modern streaming platforms such as iOS, Android, and ROKUhas been engaged in a high-profile legal battle with Disney, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm for more than a year. These Hollywood studios are engaged in a legal effort to render the 2005 Family Movie Act useless in the 21st century, preventing VidAngel and other services from lawfully empowering parents and families to filter content on modern devices in their homes. VidAngel has responded by engaging in a robust, crowd-funded legal defense in which the company is prepared to take its case all the way to the Supreme Court.

Today, VidAngel appellate attorney Peter K. Stris issued the following statement in response to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision to deny the filtering company’s appeal of a preliminary injunction granted by the Los Angeles District Court:

“We are of course disappointed in this decision and we’re reviewing our strategy for moving forward.”

VidAngel CEO Neal Harmon has also issued a statement:

“Today’s decision has absolutely no impact on VidAngel’s current service, we remain open for business. While all of the legal back-and-forth plays out, we know our customers are grateful to still have a way to protect their kids and filter harmful content. On the legal front, we are just getting started. We will fight for a family’s right to filter on modern technology all the way.”

About VidAngel VidAngel is the market-leading entertainment platform empowering users to filter language, nudity, violence, and other content from movies and TV shows on modern streaming devices such as iOS, Android, and Roku. The company’s newly launched service empowers users to filter via their Netflix, Amazon Prime, and HBO on Amazon Prime accounts, as well as enjoy original content produced by VidAngel Studios. Its signature original series, Dry Bar Comedy, now features the world’s largest collection of clean standup comedy and has earned rave reviews from audiences nationwide. 

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

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!

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BREAKING: ClearPlay Streaming Has Secretly Been Shut Down Since September

When a Federal judge decided to temporarily shut down VidAngel in December, he accepted the argument that ClearPlay still offered customers a viable filtering option. He said,

“[T]he evidence in the record shows that another filtering service, ClearPlay, offers filtering to Google Play users who access authorized streams from Google Play’s licensed service. An injunction in this case would not prevent VidAngel or any other company from providing a filtering service similar to ClearPlay’s, and thus wouldn’t negatively impact the public interest in watching filtered content in private.”

In making that finding, the court refused to credit VidAngel’s argument that the studios’  terms of service that Google must accept to stream motion pictures prohibit Google from allowing any applications to “modify the audio or visual components of any… content.”  As VidAngel’s expert witness had advised the court, ClearPlay relied on just such an application.

VidAngel has now learned that before Disney’s lawyers blithely assured the court that the Family Movie Act protected services such as ClearPlay’s and assured the court that VidAngel could offer such a service if it wanted, ClearPlay’s ability to filter new content had already been terminated.  Google implemented technical measures in September 2016 to prevent ClearPlay from filtering any new content.  Given that Google was enthusiastic about working with VidAngel to make filtered content available to families before they asserted their terms and conditions in 2014, it appears that the studios have now meted out equal treatment to ClearPlay.

That the cessation of ClearPlay’s filtering in September 2016 escaped notice until February 2017 highlights that customers never viewed ClearPlay’s service as good or convenient.   It also raises questions concerning whether Disney will notify the court that it misrepresented a key fact the court relied on in granting Disney’s requested injunction.

VidAngel learned what had happened only after a customer brought to its attention that ClearPlay had ceased adding new movies.

Gary

[redacted email]

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Clearplay’s streaming service isn’t functioning for any new movies. I called them today and they told me that Google changed “the code” (they had no additional details they could share) back in September, which is prohibiting their ability to stream movies. They have no idea when it will be fixed. The call ended with them trying to sell me a Blu-Ray player (what is that?) and asking me to try and find a red box. A red what?

Anyway, that one option pointed to by Disney isn’t even working now, and it hasn’t for months.

Disney Claims ClearPlay Is The Legal Streaming Option – This Is What They Won’t Tell You 2017/02/03 at 11:10 pm

We checked ClearPlay’s site and verified that no new movie has been added since September 2016. The last available streamed movies were Ghostbusters (published in early September) and Independence Day (published in August). No movies posted then are streaming enabled. That had escaped our notice during trial because older videos were still up and running.
clearplay streaming shut down
clearplay streaming shut down
clearplay streaming secretly shut down
We then took a deep dive into the code and confirmed that Google had shut off its API as to all new movies published to its system. The logical explanation is that Google has now enforced the terms of service the studios imposed on it, preventing ClearPlay from offering a streamed filtering service. (For any curious engineers, we give instructions below for recreating our test.)

The bottom line is that the viewing public is currently left without a streamed filtering option for Hollywood content in spite of a federal law (the FMA) guaranteeing that right to customers. So far, Hollywood has successfully blocked every type of filtered streaming and has sued every company that ever provided filtered content (including ClearPlay).

Please call upon your Congressperson and Senators to clarify the Family Movie Act to make it even clearer that streamed filtering is legal. To find your Congress members’ contact information, and our advice on what to say, please visit SaveFiltering.VidAngel.com

 

 

To recreate the change in the code that has blocked ClearPlay, conduct the following steps:

Steps to recreate working code for older movies.

  1. Rent Independence Day Resurgence here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wr1xNdTzS1M
  2. Go to the YouTube Player Demo and enter the YouTube ID: Wr1xNdTzS1M
  3. Click “Update Player with Selected Options”
  4. Try clicking “Play,”  “Pause,” or “Seek” and you’ll find that the controls function.
  5. If you enter 1000 seconds and click “Go,” it will skip. Or click “Mute” to mute.

Note the VIDEO ID below is Wr1xNdTzS1M and the video is loading properly.

image05

Steps to recreate code that no longer works for new releases.

  1. Rent Jack Reacher here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EqkN55TzitE
  2. Go to the YouTube Player Demo and enter the YouTube ID: EqkN55TzitE
  3. Click “Update Player with Selected Options.”
  4. Try clicking “Play” or “Pause” and you’ll find the controls DO NOT function.
  5. If you enter 1000 seconds and click “Go,” it will NOT skip.
  6. After some time, you should get the message “An error occurred. Please try again later. Learn more.” (see below)

Note the VIDEO ID below is EqkN55TzitE and the video is NOT loading properly.

image03

You can repeat this process with any title in the ClearPlay library to confirm that ClearPlay has been blocked from filtering movies released after ClearPlay’s streaming was shut down by the Google Play/YouTube code change.

More than Two Dozen Leaders Standing with VidAngel in Legal Battle with Disney while 30,000 Donors Contribute to Legal Defense Fund

Led by The Parents Television Council and including Enough is Enough, National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the American Family Association, Media Research Center, and other flagship nonprofits, grassroots support for VidAngel continues to grow

 

National Research Group poll reveals 82% of Values Audience parents are concerned about explicit content in movies and TV shows, and 57 million Americans are likely to use VidAngel’s service

(Los Angeles, CA—September 20, 2016) VidAngel, the market-leading entertainment platform empowering users to filter language, nudity, violence, and other content from movies and TV shows, continues to earn a surge of grassroots support as the company prepares for its preliminary injunction hearing in late October. Disney—along with Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, and Lucasfilm—has taken legal action to prevent VidAngel from providing families the ability to filter content on modern devices in their homes as explicitly authorized under the 2005 Family Movie Act. Sony, Universal, and MGM chose not to join the lawsuit. 

Nearly two dozen leaders of well-known non-profit organizations, led by The Parents Television Council, have publicly expressed their support for and solidarity with the Utah-based startup company. Last week, as VidAngel filed its opposition to the preliminary injunction, many submitted declarations to the court, detailing how the service is clearly in the public interest. Additionally, nearly 30,000 donors from around the nation have now contributed to the company’s growing legal defense fund. 

Dr. Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego, heard daily on 800 radio stations nationwide, added his name to the list of supporters, stating:

“VidAngel offers a service that is critically important. Our community, which represents thousands of families, cares deeply about being able to make thoughtful decisions about the entertainment they consume in the home. By empowering our families to filter language, sex, profanity, blasphemy, and other content they object to, VidAngel and other filtering services open up a whole new world of possibility. A world in which we can share important movies and programs that teach valuable lessons, but in a way that is safe for our kids. As I stand with VidAngel as a valuable resource to have, movie filtering is absolutely in the public interest, and can be a vital option to our community.”

Tim Winter, President of the Parents Television Council, states:

“The studios that are suing VidAngel must believe that if a standard is good, then a double-standard is twice as good. When Hollywood believes content should be altered or filtered, they eagerly step in and do it themselves. About a decade ago, NBC secured the broadcast rights to the beloved children’s animated series VeggieTales; but when the network aired the program, they removed references to God—despite the program being created by Christian producers who hoped to share Christian values. And when the television program Duck Dynasty was among the most-watched programs every week, ‘bleeps’ were edited into the programming to suggest harsh profanity was being used, even when no actual profanity was in fact being used. The network wanted to create the false impression in order to bring more ‘edginess’ to the show, despite the fact that the show was so popular precisely because it was squeaky-clean. And on every program on every network, promotional materials are placed above or below the program during its broadcast. 

“The ‘altering’ of the producer’s ‘work’ occurs all hours of every day on every network. The notion that Hollywood must vigorously prevent content filtering or editing for the sake of the creative community doesn’t pass the laugh-test.

“VidAngel is the only service that allows consumers to filter out offensive content while streaming the remaining content to their personal viewing devices, wherever they happen to be. VidAngel is clearly operating within both the spirit and the letter of the Family Movie Act. VidAngel allows each parent and each family to consume entertainment content precisely in accord with their unique standards. If the Hollywood studios convince the Court to impede or interfere with VidAngel’s legitimate and lawful business, American families will be deprived of the very right granted to them by Congress in the Family Movie Act.”

Leaders Submitting Declarations

The following is a list of leaders who submitted declarations to the court on behalf of VidAngel last week.

  • Tim Winter, President, Parents Television Council
  • Patrick A Trueman, President & CEO, National Center on Sexual Exploitation
  • L. Brent Bozell, President, Media Research Center
  • Andrea Lafferty, President, Traditional Values Coalition
  • Bob Waliszewski, Director, Focus on the Family’s Plugged In
  • Donna Rice Hughes, President, Enough is Enough
  • Gary Bauer, President, American Values
  • George Roller, Ambassador, Center for Christian Statesmanship
  • Harry Jackson, Bishop of the International Communion of Evangelical Churches
  • Matt Kibbe, Chief Community Organizer, Free the People
  • Gary Marx, President, Madison Strategies
  • Rebecca Hagelin, Author and Family Expert
  • David Bozell, President, for America
  • Tim Wildmon, President, American Family Association
  • Bryan and Diane Schwartz, Founders, Family Goals
  • Ted Baehr, Publisher of Movieguide and Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission
  • David Barton, Founder and President, Wallbuilders
  • Rick Green, Host, Wallbuilders Live Radio
  • Tim Barton, Chief Operating Officer, Wallbuilders
  • Connor Boyack, President, Libertas

The Values Audience: VidAngel’s Core Constituency

The Values Audience is a segment of the U.S. population—52 million adults representing 37% of the entertainment market—whose faith is extremely important to them and is part of their daily lives.

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  • Almost half (46%) of this segment identifies as Evangelical or “born-again” Christian, compared to 28% among the general population.
  • 64% attend weekly religious services,compared to 38% among the general population.
  • 52% pray several times a day, compared to 27% among the general population.
  • 34% list religious activities as an interest they enjoy (vs.17% among the general population, and 29% attend bible study (vs.14% among the general population).
  • The Values Audience is equally split on gender, and skews more towards younger adults. The majority (52%) are under age 34, with 29% ages 18-24.
  • 51% of the Values Audience have kids, compared to 40% of the general population. This segment is also more likely to have younger children under age 12 (37% vs. 30% among the general population).
  • The majority are Caucasian (57%), but the Values Audience has a higher percentage of African-Americans (18% vs. 12% among the general population), and Hispanics (18% vs. 15% among the general population).

The Values Audience: Deeply Concerned about Content

  • 82% of Values Audience parents are likely to say it is “very important” to know about any explicit content before deciding if their child should watch, compared to 72% among the general population.
  • 57% of Values Audience adults are much more likely to say it is “very important” to know about any explicit content before deciding whether or not they, themselves, will watch a TV show or movie, compared to 34% among the general population.
  • 59% of the Values Audience say they use website resources and tools to monitor explicit content their family watches, vs. only 30% among the general population.
  • 64% of Values Audience parents say they use parental controls to monitor and control the TV and movie content their children watch at home vs. 53% among the general population

The next step in the Disney v. VidAngel case is a preliminary injunction hearing to be argued in the Central District of California federal court on October 31, 2016. To view the legal defense fund, click here: https://www.vidangel.com/donate