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DIRECTV Joins Netflix in the Original Series Business; Will Audiences Come?

DIRECTV Joins Netflix in the Original Series Business; Will Audiences Come?

Many companies are jumping into original production to keep their customers from falling away, from Netflix to DIRECTV. But Netflix has more to offer its subscribers at this point in the way of sophisticated taste algorithms than DIRECTV, which is ordering up its first original series, suspense thriller "Rogue," from Entertainment One and Greenroom Entertainment. And Netflix is going A-list with David Fincher's "House of Cards," starring Kevin Spacey, as well as Eli Roth's werewolf saga "Hemlock Grove."

Clearly, Roth has drunk the Netflix Koolaid; during a must-hear NPR interview, he described how he's making a thirteen-part independent movie; audiences now watch entire seasons of shows all at once, and rely on recommendation software to find things to see. DIRECTV, on the other hand, is dipping its toe in the original series waters with a relatively B-tier series, ordering ten episodes of "Rogue," starring Thandie Newton ("Crash"), which goes into production in August 2012 and is set to premiere in summer 2013 on DIRECTV’s four-year-old Audience Network, available only to DIRECTV subscribers.

The question with both Netflix and DIRECTV is how audiences will discover and find these shows if there isn't substantial marketing behind them. If they don't brand them, will they come?

In "Rogue," Newton plays a cop who is tormented by the possibility that her own actions contributed to her son’s death. She's having a relationship with a crime boss who may be implicated in the crime. DIRECTV is home to "Damages" and "Friday Night Lights" and also runs exclusive first-run series "Underbelly," "The Slap," and the upcoming UK series "Hit & Miss."

Chris Long, senior vice president Entertainment and Production at DIRECTV describes "Rogue" as "the first original series on the Audience Network that will be built from the ground up with the specific goal to provide DIRECTV customers with a premium entertainment experience they can’t get anywhere else. The unique partnership that Patty Ishimoto, vice president and general manager of Audience Network, struck with eOne and Greenroom Entertainment and her relationship with Momentum Entertainment has helped realize that goal."

"Rogue" will be executive produced by UK Producer/Director Nick Hamm for Greenroom Entertainment; John Morayniss and Michael Rosenberg for eOne; and Steven Marrs from Momentum Entertainment Group, who also helped broker the deal with DIRECTV. Series creator Matthew Parkhill ("The Caller") will also serve as writer and supervising producer. In addition to airing on DIRECTV’s Audience Network, ROGUE will air on Astral’s The Movie Network (Eastern Canada) and Corus Entertainment’s Movie Central (Western Canada).

eOne will handle worldwide rights to the series in all media.

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