Pluto TV Deal with Alliance / Distribution Solutions

Distribution Solutions, a division of Alliance Entertainment, is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Pluto TV to begin content distribution through their industry-leading free streaming television service across the US.

“We are excited to partner with Pluto TV,” stated Ben Means, President of Distribution Solutions. “Through this partnership, premium independent content from our label partners will be available to their impressive audience of 52 million monthly active users.”

Over 450 hours of content from Distribution Solutions’ label partners will be available for streaming on Pluto TV, curated to plug into the Pluto TV channels that viewers turn to for their favorite entertainment genres.

Notable titles coming to Pluto TV include family favorites (The Cat in the Hat, Benji), cult classics (Gone in 60 Seconds (1974), the Andy Sidaris films and Gumby), true crime (Becoming Evil docuseries), and recent indie horror hits (Hostile, Open 24 Hours).

“We are thrilled to welcome Alliance Entertainment and its expansive collection of top-quality content to the world of Pluto TV,” said Will Gurman, VP Global Content Partnerships for Pluto TV. “With this partnership, we look forward to bringing our viewers an even wider array of genres and programming to lean back and enjoy, ranging from reality to history, kids content, and more — all for free.”

Content from Distribution Solutions will begin appearing on Pluto TV channels starting Fall 2021. Pluto TV is available anywhere you can stream content – mobile, desktop, smart TVs, and more.

About Pluto TV                                                                           

Pluto TV, a Viacom CBS Company, is the leading free streaming television service, delivering hundreds of live and original channels and thousands of on-demand movies in partnership with major TV networks, movie studios, publishers, and digital media companies. Pluto TV has a global audience of nearly 52 million monthly active users and an international footprint that spans three continents and 25 countries throughout the US, Europe and Latin America.

Pluto TV is available on all mobile, web and connected TV streaming devices where millions tune in each month to watch premium news, TV shows, movies, sports, lifestyle, and trending digital series. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Pluto TV has offices across the United States, Europe and Latin America. 

For more information, visit www.pluto.tv.

About Distribution Solutions                                                   

Distribution Solutions, a division of Alliance Entertainment, is the largest aggregator and downstream distributor of independent film labels in North America. We are a premier partner for home entertainment sales and distribution, with capabilities including Physical Distribution, Digital Sales/Delivery, and SVOD/Linear Licensing for over 60 content providers, including Mill Creek Entertainment, RLJ Entertainment, and Cinedigm.

Distribution Solutions offers comprehensive in-house Post-Production Services, Consumer Marketing, Design Services, and Turnkey Operations Management—everything it takes to set our partners up for success.

For more information, visit www.ds.aent.com.

About Alliance Entertainment                                                 

Alliance Entertainment is the largest wholesale distributor of physical home entertainment consisting of audio and video software in the United States, as well as newly added video games, selling to mass merchant retail, brick and mortar stores, internet retailers, independent store owners offering vendor-managed or 3PL services.

With more than thirty years of distribution experience, Alliance Entertainment serves customers of every size, providing a robust suite of services to resellers and retailers worldwide.

Alliance Entertainment is a One-Stop solution for all entertainment product needs. As a solutions-based operation, Alliance Entertainment drives sales for companies with unparalleled selection and cost-efficient processing. Alliance Entertainment is headquartered in Sunrise, FL, with offices located throughout the U.S.

Visit http://www.aent.com for additional information on Alliance Entertainment.

Media Inquiries: Allie Mosley

Vertical Entertainment Partnership Announcement

Alliance / Distribution Solutions announces physical media partnership with Vertical Entertainment.

Distribution Solutions, a division of Alliance Entertainment, is pleased to announce a physical media partnership with domestic distributor Vertical Entertainment.

Distribution Solutions will handle trade marketing, procurement, warehousing, inventory management, VMI systems, and management, returns processing, credit, and collections, reporting of Vertical physical sell-through releases in the US and Canada, and will work hand-in-hand with Vertical Partner Mitch Budin.

“Partnering with Vertical Entertainment is very exciting for us,” stated Distribution Solutions President, Ben Means. “They bring an impressive catalog of over 300 films that we look forward to putting on shelves to maximize the success of their physical releases.”

Notable films from Vertical include Out of Death (starring Bruce Willis), Joe Bell (starring Mark Wahlberg), Four Good Days (starring Glenn Close and Mila Kunis), Capone (starring Tom Hardy, Linda Cardellini, and Matt Dillon), and Ava (starring Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell).

“We are incredibly pleased to be collaborating with Distribution Solutions on our future projects,” said Mitch Budin, Partner at Vertical Entertainment. “Ben and the DS team have built a first-class organization and we look forward to working with them to further our footprint in the marketplace.”

The first physical Vertical releases distributed by Distribution Solutions will hit shelves on September 14, 2021.

About Vertical Entertainment                                                   

Vertical Entertainment is a global independent distributor that offers a unique combination of full-service marketing and sales services. Dedicated to providing highly effective and collaborative solutions, Vertical leverages unparalleled relationships to maximize revenue across all streams. The marketing and sales expertise from Vertical’s seasoned team gives content partners a wealth of experience minus the studio costs.

For more information, visit www.vert-ent.com

About Distribution Solutions                                                   

Distribution Solutions, a division of Alliance Entertainment, is the largest aggregator and downstream distributor of independent film labels in North America. We are a premier partner for home entertainment sales and distribution, with capabilities including Physical Distribution, Digital Sales/Delivery, and SVOD/Linear Licensing for over 60 content providers, including Mill Creek Entertainment, AMC Networks, and Cinedigm.

Distribution Solutions offers comprehensive in-house Post-Production Services, Consumer Marketing, Design Services, and Turnkey Operations Management—everything it takes to set our partners up for success.

For more information, visit www.ds.aent.com.

 About Alliance Entertainment                                                 

Alliance Entertainment is the largest wholesale distributor of physical home entertainment consisting of audio and video software in the United States, as well as newly added video games, selling to mass merchant retail, brick and mortar stores, internet retailers, independent store owners offering vendor-managed or 3PL services.

With more than thirty years of distribution experience, Alliance Entertainment serves customers of every size, providing a robust suite of services to resellers and retailers worldwide.

Alliance Entertainment is a One-Stop solution for all entertainment product needs. As a solutions-based operation, Alliance Entertainment drives sales for companies with unparalleled selection and cost-efficient processing. Alliance Entertainment is headquartered in Sunrise, FL, with offices located throughout the U.S.

Visit http://www.aent.com for additional information on Alliance Entertainment.

For more information, please reach out to Allie Mosley, Publicist.


DECAL Partnership Announcement

ALLIANCE/DISTRIBUTION SOLUTIONS ANNOUNCES PHYSICAL MEDIA PARTNERSHIP WITH NEW FILM LABEL DECAL

Distribution Solutions, a division of Alliance Entertainment, is thrilled to announce a partnership with the newly launched film label DECAL.

Distribution Solutions will handle sales and solicitation, trade marketing, procurement, warehousing, inventory management, distribution, VMI systems, and management, returns processing, credit and collections, and reporting of all DECAL physical sell-through releases in the US.

“We are excited to be DECAL’s physical product distribution partner as they continue to add premium independent films to their collection,” stated Distribution Solutions President, Ben Means. “This new partnership with DECAL continues to drive Alliance Entertainment/Distribution Solutions towards providing the best content in the industry to home entertainment audiences.”

DVD box for the movie called Together Together, which features photo of stars Ed Helms and Patti Harrison.

Notable films from DECAL include Pig (starring Nicolas Cage), Supernova (starring Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci), Together Together (starring Ed Helms), and Dream Horse (starring Toni Collette).

“We are thrilled to be in business with the team at Distribution Solutions,” said DECAL’s Andrew Brown and Kent Sanderson in a joint statement. “They are experts in the space, and it is valuable to have their insight and flexibility as we grow our business and navigate the increasingly complex home entertainment arena.”

The first DECAL releases distributed by Distribution Solutions will begin hitting shelves September 2021 and will include both NEON and Bleeker Street titles Together Together (Sept 7), Gaia (Sept 21), All Light Everywhere (Oct 5), In The Earth (Oct 12), The Loneliest Whale (Oct 12), and New Order (Oct 16).

About DECAL                                                 

The newly launched film label DECAL aims to acquire a wide array of exciting independent films and present them to audiences across multiple platforms. In addition, DECAL manages the home entertainment rights of both NEON and Bleecker Street’s curated slate of high-profile, thought-provoking films, and is continuing to add other key partnerships.

For more information, visit www.decalreleasing.com.

About Distribution Solutions                                                   

Distribution Solutions, a division of Alliance Entertainment, is the largest aggregator and downstream distributor of independent film labels in North America. We are a premier partner for home entertainment sales and distribution, with capabilities including Physical Distribution, Digital Sales/Delivery, and SVOD/Linear Licensing for over 60 content providers, including Mill Creek Entertainment, RLJ Entertainment, and Cinedigm.

Distribution Solutions offers comprehensive in-house Post-Production Services, Consumer Marketing, Design Services and Turnkey Operations Management—everything it takes to set our partners up for success.

For more information, visit www.ds.aent.com.

About Alliance Entertainment                                                 

Alliance Entertainment is the largest wholesale distributor of physical home entertainment consisting of audio and video software in the United States, as well as newly added video games, selling to mass merchant retail, brick and mortar stores, internet retailers, independent store owners offering vendor-managed or 3PL services.

With more than thirty years of distribution experience, Alliance Entertainment serves customers of every size, providing a robust suite of services to resellers and retailers worldwide.

Alliance Entertainment is a One-Stop solution for all entertainment product needs. As a solutions-based operation, Alliance Entertainment drives sales for companies with unparalleled selection and cost-efficient processing. Alliance Entertainment is headquartered in Sunrise, FL, with offices located throughout the U.S.

Visit http://www.aent.com for additional information on Alliance Entertainment.

For more information, please contact:

Allie Mosley Publicist allie.mosley@aent.com

International DOG Day!

“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.” – John Grogan

On August 26th, we observe a day to give love, thanks, and all the belly rubs to our very best friends on International Dog Day!  The aim of international dog day is to celebrate the well-being of dogs, raise awareness around breeding farms/backyard breeders, show appreciation towards rescue centers, and encourage the adoption of these animals across the globe. This day is an open door to generate a conversation that may save the life of an animal. To welcome dogs who were once unwanted into our hearts and into our homes – to give displaced, abandoned, and abused dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds the loving companionship and comfort of home that they deserve.

Here at AENT: Distribution Solutions, our companions truly bring out the best in our lives be it by our side, or on the big screen as characters sure to strum our heartstring’s. We’d like to recognize some of the canine characters we’ve had the privilege of featuring throughout our partnership with Mill Creek Entertainment. Here are a few of our favorite titles for you to enjoy!

Air Bud | Summer’s Shadow | Benji | Life With Dog | Dog House

In honor of our canine counterparts, the notable talent in our lives – we’d like to introduce the rescue pups our team has welcomed into their famiy over the years!

Midwest Animal Rescue | Secondhand Hounds | Animal Humane Society | Best Friends Animal Society

Curl up with a great flick, support your local rescue society, and grab your favorite tug toy with your best puppy pal – because one thing’s for sure, the world is a much better place because dogs are in it.

Mail Order Catalog Day! (Yes, it’s a thing!)

Happy National Mail Order Catalog Day!

This unofficial holiday commemorates the day in 1872 when American entrepreneur Aaron Montgomery Ward sent out the first modern mail order catalog to customers in Chicago

You might be surprised to know that even with the rise of eCommerce, catalog sales are alive and well, generating about $125 billion in annual revenue. 12 billion catalogs are mailed, and 90 million Americans purchase from catalogs annually.

For traditionalists and collectors who enjoy a more specialized browsing experience, catalogs are just the ticket. (After all, with thousands of movies of all genres available, finding favorite film genres online can be a bit overwhelming.) Catalogs provide an assortment of products carefully chosen by content experts, can highlight focused products, and make browsing and shopping a breeze.

Alliance Entertainment’s catalog retailer, Direct-To-U (DTU),  boasts several brands (Critic’s Choice, Movies Unlimited, TCM, Collector’s Choice), each offering carefully curated products and promotions for their customers. 

Catalog shoppers really connect with physical products like DVDs and Blu-ray, and the team at Distribution Solutions ensures that our label partners’ releases are included in the DTU catalogs that fit their audience.

Shipping more than 8.8 MILLION catalogs annually, DTU is an essential and fabulous partner!

Slow down and doing the analog way…sign-up for our mail order catalogs Critics’ Choice VideoMovies Unlimited, or TCM Shop for a curated selection of movies…and music fans can join the fun at Collectors’ Choice  

Happy Browsing!

World Nature Conservation Day!

This July 28th, we acknowledge and celebrate World Nature Conservation Day.

We share only one home, our planet Earth, and Distribution Solutions is committed to protecting our environment as much as we are committed to providing the best home media entertainment.

World Nature Conversation Day promotes a healthy natural environment as the foundation of a stable and productive society and ensures the well-being of present and future generations. To achieve this, we must all work together to protect, conserve, and sustain our natural resources.

Our team recently worked at the crossroads of these missions in releasing the IMAX Original Film A BEAUTIFUL PLANET. This breathtaking documentary, narrated by Oscar® winner Jennifer Lawrence, shows our magnificent blue planet and the effects humanity has had on it over time.

Viewing our changing world from above on the International Space Station, there’s a dramatic realization that it is within our power to protect the planet and develop a deeper connection with the place we call home.

Previously, A BEAUTIFUL PLANET had only been available to view in select IMAX theaters but a partnership with Mill Creek Entertainment and Distribution Solutions brought the stunning visuals and transcendent experience to a larger audience on home entertainment.

While sharing a unique perspective and an increased understanding that promotes the values of World Nature Conservation Day, Distribution Solutions also supports this important cause by making operational decisions to minimize our impact on the environment. From using fewer plastics in our products, finding shipping solutions that lower carbon emissions, or innovative methods across our businesses, partners, and workflows, we are dedicated to being agents of change and sharing the stories that inspire, motivate, and drive us all to make a difference now and for the future of our beautiful planet.

Post by J.W. Starrett, Director of Marketing Services

SEO: Alt Text DIY

We know we aren’t breaking new ground when we tell you that SEO stands for “search engine optimization.”

But did you know that, on average, there are over 40,000 Google searches per second (3.5 billion per day!) and a little extra intention — utilizing mindful metadata tools like Alt Text and Meta Descriptions — can allow you to use that expansive number of searches to your advantage.

While we increasingly rely on digital data, being inclusive with our content can immensely improve search engine performance, which ultimately leads to accuracy and outreach.

Alt Text = Alternative Text Attribute

Alt Text is an HTML attribute that gets attached to an image in order to provide a text alternative/description for user accessibility and is also crucial for image SEO.  Alt text assists search engines to understand the context of an image. 

An important thing to remember when building attributes is that alt text accompanies images in Google image search, which helps users understand the image and improves your chances of getting more visitors.

movie poster of road rage killer in hazmat suit holding poison

You could simply use “movie” for this image.  However, to provide more beneficial content for both business and consumer, we should describe the image as if someone were unable to see it. 

Your chosen text should be thorough, yet concise – typically 120 characters or less. 

When building the html for alt text, Img Src = image source, and the information within the quotation marks is the title of the image.  For our purposes, this is labeled the title of the movie.

  • Okay alt text: alt=”movie”>
  • Better alt text: alt=”cover art for horror movie”>
  • Best alt text: alt=”movie poster of road rage killer in hazmat suit holding poison”>

Put it all together and it looks like this: <img src=”/tailgate.jpeg” alt=”movie poster of road rage killer in hazmat suit holding poison” />

The great news is: Website platforms that allow you to add images (i.e.: Amazon, WordPress, HubSpot, etc.) have simple tools for you to add alt text to images without having to build html into your web code or prior to uploading your images. 

The first step is becoming familiar with the tools and functions of your specific platform to utilize these built-in capabilities.

If you are planning to add metadata to an image before uploading, it can be implemented at the time you save an image to your drive; therefore, image metadata will consistently be carried to whichever platform you choose. (Baked in, as it were!)

This can be achieved by a couple of methods:

  • Adding ALT text to image metadata on your PC (no special software required – free!)
  • Adding ALT text to image metadata using Adobe Bridge (subscription required)

Stay tuned to our blog for more tips and tricks to implement alt text and metadata in industry-leading ways to digital platforms!

And, as always, if you want to talk it out, send us a line at studios@ds.aent.com.

Copy That!

A DVD or Blu-ray on a shelf acts as a mini-billboard for itself. And just like that ginormous billboard hovering over the freeway, every single aspect of the artwork is intentional (and sometimes even legally required.)

When it comes to physical goods, a title has to speak quickly and clearly to potential purchasers. We aim to strike a balance between the rational and the emotional parts of the human brain, moving from “Hmmm, this looks like something I might like” to “Yes! (adds to cart)” in the space of a few seconds.

We gave the feedback, our partners at Quiver delivered!

At Distribution Solutions, marketing and design professionals are hard at work to blend art and commerce in a way that’s going to drive purchase intent…for the benefit of our label partners. Everyone wins if we get it right!

Striking imagery is the first thing that likely catches a consumer’s eye, but then the box copy gets right to work. Because we only have a few seconds with a customer in a store aisle in an Amazon search, each and every character of the text on a DVD or Blu-ray cover has to pull its weight.

Design provided by 4Digital; tagline and concept by Distribution Solutions.

At Distribution Solutions, whether we’re designing the art (or providing feedback), our partners know that each element we include (or suggest) supports the recommendations found during our SWOT analysis of the title.

Collaborated concept: ITN Distribution and Distribution Solutions

If you’ve been out in the world and seen a DVD before, then you’ll know the key components of key art copy. But we’ll mention them here anyway so that we can elaborate on what each bit of copy brings to the table.

  • Title Treatment: Color, typeface, and design convey the film’s genre and tone. Great place to weave in genre iconography or go with a font that evokes a time period.
  • Tagline: Adds context and sells the premise of the film. This can be a difficult thing to write. Needs to be concise and as original as possible. (The DS team flat out loves tagline brainstorming, so our partners know they can count on us to get there!)
  • Press Quotes: Communicate the critical acclaim and serve as a hallmark of quality, while the sources contextualize who is recommending. With the right set of quotes, a tagline is rendered unnecessary. A great situation!

Our goal is to make the most out of the few seconds our label partners’ titles have with a potential purchaser, whether it be in the aisles of a big-box retailer or a digital storefront during an at-home browse.

Feedback from Distribution Solutions, final art delivered by Magnolia.

To learn more about our process and talk to us about the intersection of art and commerce, drop us a line at studios@ds.aent.com. And one more for the road…

Horror and twisted humor go together like baby teeth and cash rewards. Design courtesy of ITN Distribution, with creative input from Distribution Solutions.

SWOT did you say?!

No matter what our partners’ content is, it’s our job to figure out how to maximize the appeal in the ol’ marketplace. Our first goal is to figure out just what a film or series is and then we can formulate our sales pitches, creative recommendations, and marketing strategy.

For that, we rely on the tried-and-true, ever-adaptable SWOT analysis. We like to make sure that all bases are covered. For fun, we’ll take you through an actual real-life release…from pre-pandemic times!

High Strung Free Dance

Released February 4, 2020, on DVD, Blu-ray, and Transactional Video-on-Demand, High Strung Free Dance came to us from our partners at GVN Releasing. But the path to release all started with our SWOT analysis.

Here’s a peek at our evaluation:

STRENGTHS

WEAKNESSES

  • Moderate Success at Box Office
  • Teen romance/drama set in the dance world — a very specific niche
  • IMDb rating on High Strung in the 6.4 range

OPPORTUNITIES

  • Producer Involvement:
    • Michael Damien newsletter outreach, Twitter party and FB Live on his personal social channels
    • Janeen Damien Created custom socials graphics for cast ot post
    • Cheri Golub Managed social fan community organic posts on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube
  • Continue theatrical partnerships in dance field:
    • So Danca HSFD dancewear featured in film available for purchase on their site
    • Youth America Grand Prix Ballet competition event: Release support at live events, with cast member Juliet Doherty (past WAGP winner) announcing release date
  • Soundtrack x-promotion with The Orchard, via social, with custom lyric videos

THREATS

  • Tough month to predict competitively — other notable releases circling the month: Doctor Sleep, Knives Out, Ford vs Ferrari, Frozen 2
Courtesy of Janeen Damien

We evaluated all of the above to play into the film’s strengths and leveraged the opportunities. Our marketing plan was an incredible collaboration, with an engaged group of stakeholders who were part of the theatrical and were prepared to support the home entertainment/direct-to-consumer window. We used incredible visual assets, exclusive clips and worked with the cast to get the word out. And we were able to take action to offset weaknesses and handle threats, to plan pro-actively to create the best path toward success.

Now, over a year later, a visit to Amazon shows a 4 1/2 star rating from 531 reviewers (as of today, anyway) showing that we found our people…and High Strung Free Dance is enjoying popularity on Netflix, where it is at home with a fine selection of dance-themed titles appealing to this fan base.

And that, dear friends, is the story of SWOT. It’s not fancy, but it works.

To learn more about our favorite time-tested methods and our emerging new practices at Distribution Solutions, give us a shout at studios@ds.aent.com!

A+ Merchandising

This week, we’re focusing on maximizing consumer appeal on Amazon. Sweet, ubiquitous Amazon. A powerhouse in the online retail space, a hub for just about everything under the sun, Amazon is a behemoth in the retail space…with a seemingly endless parade of products. So many products, in fact, that “being there” just isn’t enough.

When a product is competing with millions of other similar items, it’s important to leverage every possible advantage.

How do we begin to make our partners’ products stand out? For this topic, we turn to our internal experts, Andrea Franco, Senior Account Manager, and Vera Martynets, Marketing Manager. Both are dedicated to our Amazon business and have put in countless hours setting up titles, managing inventory, and merchandising to appeal to consumers.

DS: Thanks for participating in this roundtable discussion! We’d like to focus today on one particular aspect of merchandising on Amazon: the A+ Page. For starters, what is an A+ page ?

AF: A+ pages are Amazon product pages that go beyond the basic product details and offer online customers more information about a release. They can include additional images and product features that otherwise would not be seen.  

VM: Right, they allow you to add more descriptors to a product.

DS: More descriptors are important because…?

VM: With each additional image you get to program more keywords, which helps with the searchability of the product. More pictures = better appearance in search results.

As you can see, this page lets consumers see exactly what the deluxe set includes!

DS: Okay, from a ‘consumer appeal’ and ‘searchability’ perspective, totally makes sense. Any other benefits?

VM: Adding a good-looking A+ page can result in higher conversion rates, increased traffic, and increased sales.

Loads of great keywords here!

AF: And it’s really a better way to engage the Amazon customer. An opportunity to tell them everything you want them to know about your release, like special features, Dove Approval rating, extensive cast. It’s a way to boost your release in search rankings without paying for sponsored ads.  It’s also an opportunity to optimize for mobile customers.

A closer look at Audrey, a documentary about this extraordinary actress, style icon and humanitarian.

DS: So this enhanced page can work on whole lotta levels, got it. What is the cost to our label partners?

VM: Zero, nada, zilch!

AF: That’s right: NOTHING!  This benefit adds value without costing a thin dime.

DS: Well, that’s great…so what do you need from label partners in order to create these awesome pages?

VM: Attractive synopsis, great stills. Photos showcasing talent, production value, storyline intrigue – anything that makes the movie look fantastic! And press reviews, critics’ shout-outs, awards…

AF: We call this EMC (Enhanced Marketing Content). The more photos the better, so I’ll add “beauty shots” of gift sets and talent headshots to Vera’s list. Oh – and expanded synopsis, special feature details. Detailing content by disc on multi-feature or box set products.

DS: Laughing a bit that we don’t escape this discussion without at least one new acronym…but what’s the dream scenario for EMC?

AF: The dream? At least one banner, lots of stills, full synopsis, and feature call-outs. That being said, a little bit can go a long way in making a polished, searchable product page that stands out from the crowd.

Clear photos featuring recognizable talent and a grabby banner to top them off!

DS: So, if I were to summarize our chat, I’d say key takeaways about the value of an A+ page are:

  1. Increases searchability (stand out from the competition)
  2. Adds consumer appeal (better sales tool)
  3. 100% customizable, based on available assets, no reason not to!

Thanks, Andrea and Vera. This has been a great discussion about the Amazon A+ page service we provide to our .com label partners Thank you both so much!

Readers, if you would like to learn more about our A+ page support and features, please reach out to us at studios@ds.aent.com for more information!