Category Archives: VidAngel Studios

BIG NEWS: End of “Disney v VidAngel” Lawsuit

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Friends of VidAngel,

 

We emerged from bankruptcy today after settling a 4+ year lawsuit with Disney and Warner Bros. 

While we are thrilled for what’s ahead, we need a moment to unplug, recharge, and take care of some important updates behind the scenes (so Netflix and Amazon content will be offline for a bit but will be returning hour by hour for the new few days).

 

The past four years have felt like a marathon, and a water break is long overdue. We will be back soon ready to hit the ground running.

No need to fret though. All of our original content is still accessible, you can check out some of our new up-and-coming projects, and potentially partner with the creators of said projects. We have learned a lot over the years, and have grown in more ways than one. We would love your feedback!

BACKGROUND

Thank you for supporting a few Idaho brothers as we’ve pursued a shared dream over the past seven years. You are part of a story that matters.

 

Shortly after the founding of America, John Quincy Adams truthfully quipped, “Whoever tells the best story wins.”

 

In the early 1900s, a small group of filmmakers, frustrated at the oppressive restrictions imposed by the then movie cartel, fled West and started making movies in Hollywood, California. They were sued and pushed out of the mainstream movie business.

 

The creators voted with their feet and left New Jersey for California.

 

They then made a hundred years of movies that helped the world navigate the great depression, two world wars, the civil rights movement, and more. Hollywood not only captured our hearts and imaginations, it shaped how we saw ourselves and what we consider right and wrong. It has become the #1 export of the world’s largest economy. We are grateful for much of what those pioneers created.

 

Most people don’t even know the movie business ever resided in New Jersey because Hollywood won in telling the best story. They locked down production, distribution, and copyright so you had to come through their door to reach the audience. But the best story to the Hollywood elite and best story to normal people, in their homes, slowly drifted apart. 

 

One hundred years later, a family of Idaho farm boys protested what Hollywood has become by making a video about the decline of values in content published by Hollywood and launching a new service, VidAngel. 

 

 

 

Those like us thought to solve the problem with a bandaid: skipping the offensive Hollywood bits in our homes. As a community, we used CleanFlicks and a dozen other companies who were sued out of existence. 

 

We brothers started VidAngel to solve the problem for streaming, believing we could attract an audience who wanted better stories for their homes. We tried every way we could conceive to pay Hollywood: Chromecast, YouTube, Google Play, DVDs, Streaming, and DVR. 

 

We were shut down, pulled, rejected, sued, treated like pirates, and even opposed in bankruptcy. What was our crime in trying to figure out how to pay Hollywood while giving the individual homes the ability to skip stuff they found offensive?

 

When we lost the lawsuit in Los Angeles, we even tried to pay off the entire judgment with interest. “Not so fast,” said the studios. They didn’t want to be paid. They wanted control. 

 

The studios know, like Adams, that: “Whoever tells the best story wins.” And they want complete control of how their story is told. 

 

Faced with continuing the legal battle to the supreme court or settling with the studios, we recently held a vote with the 8,000 homes who invested in VidAngel, and in a landslide we investors decided it’s time to tell a better story. 

 

We are done trying to make money for studios who abhor that we’re doing it. Those who mock us for doing it. Those who sue us for doing it. Talk about a lose-lose proposition.

 

Instead, we, meaning you and I, are going to tell the best story. And as we do, we win.

 

Case in point, since the launch of The Chosen last November, season 1 has over 8 million app downloads in more than 180 countries and 50 languages. With 55 million views and counting, it’s a phenomenal success and by season seven, we believe we’ll reach over a billion people with its message. 

 

 

For its audience (19,000 of whom funded season one), The Chosen is the best story. There are many more best stories to be told for countless communities who are underserved by the Hollywood elite.

 

We believe these principles, which we’ve followed to make The Chosen, will continue to produce the best stories for their audiences over time:

 

  1. Audiences choose the best story. The crowd will pick winners more often than the elites in Hollywood. The audience is far more important than the executive producer. If the crowd funds the story, it should be made.
  2. You should interact with the creators. When the creators have a direct connection with the audience, they will tell the best stories for their audience.
  3. Feedback loops > Rules based systems. MPAA ratings and Disney mandated standards are yesterday’s system of accountability. Data from skips (applied by individual homes) give the creators the information they need to make the best stories.  

 

We know, like Adams, that “Whoever tells the best story wins.”

 

A little imagination went a long way for Roy and Walt’s little company, Disney Brothers (later Disney). How far can it go for over 8,000 homes backing a few farm boys from Idaho and the creators of the future? 

Be part of a story that matters:

 

  1. Back stories you want made by investing.
  2. Support creators you want to see more from by paying it forward.

 

And may the best stories win!

 

Sincerely,

Neal and Jeffrey Harmon

VidAngel Co-founders

 

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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

An important call for hope. Please send your stories.

Hello friends,

I’ve been feeling like I should share a little book that our family made to remember digging out of the 2008 market crash. As I thought this week about the tough times we’re in, and what potentially lies ahead, I recorded a quick video I would love you to check out.

I also invite you to share your own story with others to help others get through the difficult times.

If you have a story that would be a fit for our #NeverFailed series, please make a quick video and submit it here. The proceeds raised from your submission can be donated to the charity of your choice.

Thank you so much for your support.

Sincerely,

Neal Harmon
Co-Founder and CEO

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

 

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New from VidAngel Studios: The Shift

This week at VidAngel we’re introducing THE SHIFT, a captivating, must-see new short film from VidAngel Studios. A sci-fi story with a faith-based bent, THE SHIFT is about an ordinary, frustrated man who is offered sympathy—and a job offer—from the devil himself.

When we first saw THE SHIFT we fell for it immediately. It’s like a lost episode of The Twilight Zone, with a twist ending we should have seen coming and a surprising emotional punch. Early audiences agree, calling the movie “gripping” and saying they were “moved to tears.”
“From the beautiful production value to the importance of this story, I was blown away.” – Dallas Jenkins, Director THE CHOSEN
“…so eye-catching and had me immediately drawn in.” – Lydia Rodriguez
You can see THE SHIFT right now on the VidAngel app or site, and keep watching at the end of the movie for a special announcement!

From VidAngel CEO – My kids can’t wait for this

Last year, I watched a 20 minute episode of a TV show called “The Chosen” that completely captivated me and brought me to tears. We put it on our platform, and it became the most-watched program in our history. It also went viral on social media with impact all over the world. I have now personally invested to turn it into VidAngel’s first original series as have over 1,200 other people so far.†

A quick note about season one…Our family of eight now spans a broad range from 1 to 15 years old, and I’ve had a hard time finding something that everyone will enjoy reading together. However, The Chosen team allowed me early access to the first four scripts of the season. As I started to read one to the younger children, I smiled as their older siblings overheard and then joined us. Our entire family cannot wait to watch this series together.

If you haven’t seen the pilot, you simply must check it out! (be sure to click on “Watch Pilot”)

Sincerely,

Neal Harmon, Co-founder & CEO

 

 

†NOTE: VidAngel Studios is a business line of VidAngel, Inc. Neither VidAngel Studios nor VidAngel, Inc., are licensed or registered as a securities broker-dealer, funding portal or investment advisor. Neither will act, or be compensated, as a placement agent for any potential investment. Securities will ONLY be offered through a licensed, FINRA member securities broker-dealer. Further, VidAngel Inc. and VidAngel Studios do NOT guarantee the success of any funding effort or of any production generally.

UPDATE: The Chosen Is Taking Biblical Accuracy Seriously

MAKING THE CHOSEN BIBLICALLY ACCURATE:

I was grateful to be able to join Dallas Jenkins and Rabbi Jason Sobel as they visited the Holy Land to do on site Biblical research for The Chosen. I was so impressed with the lengths the team is going to in order to be certain that the series is Biblically accurate. It was one of the most memorable trips of my life.

The series is going to be INCREDIBLE. Here’s a video about the Garden of Gethsemane.

And here are some photos of the trip.

filming a short video in preparation for SEC qualification.

Just behind Dallas you can see where the Temple stood in Christ’s time.

Me 🙂

On location where Peter was called by Jesus.

The area where Christ told the Apostles to Cast Their Nets On The Other-side.

Just a stones through from where the Garden of Gethsemane is traditionally believed to have been.

Praying at The Western Wall of the Temple.