2014 was a banner year for Shout! Factory. For those of you that want a peek into how we look at ourselves as a company, I bring you the Top 10 Most Important Initiatives of 2014 (with a hint of what’s to come in the next year).
MST3K Turkey Day Marathon
Last year we brought back the beloved MST3K Turkey Day Marathon, and it was a smashing success! In fact, we won an award: the Cynopsis Model D award for Live Solo Event. While not quite as prestigious as the Oscars or the Emmys, we had some extremely stiff competition such as HBO, E!, MTV and Oprah Winfrey. You may have heard of them. We had to bring it back this year, of course, with brand-new segments from Joel featuring his trusty robot sidekicks, Tom Servo and Crow. Maybe we’ll win some more awards, but simply producing an event loved by our fans is rewarding enough for us!
Power Morphicon Live
The key reason Shout! Factory exists is to connect fans with the properties they love, and Power Rangers is one of those "tentpole" properties. Last year we released the Legacy Collection — the first 20 seasons packaged in a Red Ranger helmet. So we thought, “What else could we offer to the Power Rangers fan?"
With Power Morphicon being held in our back yard this past year, we decided to create a livestream event from the fan convention so that Power Rangers fans around the world could get a taste of the magic. We featured eight hours of programming, including interviews with cast members and executives, live panels, fans and cosplayers, even bonus featurettes from our DVD releases.
Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Shout! Factory is developing a knack for spotting high-quality foreign animated films. Following our success with A Monster in Paris, we were able to secure all North American rights for Jack And The Cuckoo-Clock Heart, a Tim Burton-style story of romance and adventure. By securing all rights, we were in the unique position to offer the movie across all platforms, from theaters to television to DVD to iTunes to Netflix and beyond. No matter how you want to watch, it will be available.
We did the same thing for another great animated film, Thunder And The House Of Magic!
Scream Factory’s Summer of Fear
This promotion was our most successful digital promotion... Ever. Not only was great for sales (yes, we are a business), but it gave our Scream Factory fans a new way to experience cult horror films. We conducted a series of livestream screenings of classic horror from John Carpenter and Kevin Tenney, themed to the '70s-style drive-in theater. The screenings included new interviews with the directors and talent. It was like having a private party and inviting our closest friends (fans) to hang out, watch movies and socialize. One day we’ll figure out how to enjoy virtual popcorn and peanuts!
With the launch of the new ShoutFactory.com store (see below), we now have the ability to offer exclusive premium products to the hardcore fan. Nightbreed was a perfect example of what we could do: if you ordered Nightbreed from ShoutFactory.com, you got a numbered edition, and you got it early. If you are a true fan, you know the importance of getting it first (and getting a low number).
My Little Pony
We released eight My Little Pony DVD sets this year, from the Friendship Is Magic: Season Four complete set to the new Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks movie. In fact, Rainbow Rocks represented our largest theatrical release ever!
WKRP In Cincinnati
When we announced that we were releasing a complete series box set for WKRP In Cincinnati, fans were skeptical that it would include the original music. Prior to our set, only Season One had been released, and with little original music; fans were livid. However, Shout! Factory prides ourselves on the quality of our releases, and we are more than pleased that the music cleared has satisfied the needs of WKRP fans. With our legacy in music, this is a project that only Shout! Factory could have pulled off successfully.
Did you know that Pee-wee’s Playhouse was originally shot on film, then transferred to tape in standard-definition with effects added later? Shout! Factory went back to the original film masters and transferred them to HD. We then went through and digitally recreated the effects to create a true, high-definition version of this very popular program. This gave fans a completely new way to see the show and to fully appreciate Paul Reubens' attention to detail. To give fans a sneak peek, we held a Saturday morning online screening as a throwback to the old days when Saturdays were packed with children’s television.
MST3K Social Media
In 2014, we took a bold step in helping to expanding the social media presence for MST3K. As we watched the Official MST3K Facebook Page shoot past 100,000 fans, we knew there was a demand for more places for fans to discuss and debate all things MST3K. So we launched the Official MST3K YouTube Channel, the new home of the Turkey Day Marathon. In an industry first (as we know it), we now offer annotated, full-length episodes so fans can learn the meaning behind all the riffs and brag to their friends about how much they know. Look for more industry firsts from Shout! Factory with the MST3K franchise in the future!
The New ShoutFactory.com Website
We re-launched the ShoutFactory.com website with more compelling graphics, better search functionality, video, social components, a new blog and more. Shopping on ShoutFactory.com is easier and more fun than ever. With special promotions, exclusive products, sales and other fun stuff, Shout! Factory fans will want to come hang out and buy stuff… Just like the old days of hanging out at your local record or video store.