After seven years of multiple acquisitions, Cinedigm CEO Chris McGurk has bundled 30 of his company’s major streaming properties (along with The El Rey Community, Fandor, Documrama and The Elvis Presley Channel) into the free, ad-supported community Cineverse , which launched on April 15, began September. McGurk believes Cineverse could end up competing with top streamers “if we get our highest aspirations.”
How elegant are these desires? Your response may depend on how religious you are about Elvis’ deepfake.
In a phone interview with IndieWire, McGurk mentioned that he sees his bundles as “a Spotify-like format” — just for TV and neutral movies. He believes that Cineverse represents a possibility that mainstream streamers have ignored, and it has done them a great disservice. He believes they are “losing $10 billion a year”.
Cineverse is powered by Cinedigm’s proprietary Matchpoint expertise, which enables its customers to “build and handle compelling ad-supported and subscription-based video streaming providers effectively and cost-effectively on any platform.” Plus, it offers third-party licensing; McGurk says that as we speak, building Matchpoint “would cost $100 million” to build.
“I prefer to assume we’re a model of AMC Networks with higher expertise, a larger library and a mixed revenue model,” he said. “We’re ahead of them in promotion and FAST.” He also sees Cineverse ahead of similarly structured Soul Casual Cock Soup, which owes $69 million. Cinedigm does not.
Cineverse has 87 million monthly viewers across Cinedigm’s footprint on cellular, related TV and social media. The service includes 40,000 library titles (“almost all unbiased”) that have been viewed “billions of minutes,” McGurk said.
McGurk also has a great idea to raise a flag in real sports. “On our Bob Ross channel and Elvis channel, we’re considering deepfakes of Bob Ross and Elvis,” he said. “Bob Ross died in 1992; we now have his library. It’s a lucrative channel. It’s probably our most profitable channel. Think if we can use AI to create new productions and new shows Deepfakes of Bob Ross. AI synced overseas in 10 completely different languages.”
Yeah, just think about it while staring at this man’s face, his face is just crazy enough to do this.
McGurk mentioned that he is in preliminary discussions with representatives of Presley and Ross manufacturers. No one is talking about the new Elvis movie at this level, but deepfake expertise is likely being used to create digital presenters and channel interstitials.
McGurk mentioned that it could be “low-cost” to do so, and that Genuine Manufacturers, the trademark management firm that controls Elvis’ rights, “is very likely” to agree. “There are so many deepfakes Elvis on the market, why not manage yours personally?”
While McGurk is the owner of Cinedigm, such a transfer could take place, it is the shareholders his Boss and now they really don’t feel any love. While Cinedigm was busy digitizing theaters, CIDM shares traded on the Nasdaq were worth as much as $133 per share, giving the company a combined market capitalization of more than $1 billion. Currently, the share value is south of 50 cents, and the company has a market capitalization of less than $85 million. On the plus side, Cinedigm had $1.8 million in revenue last year.
McGurk, who owns 5 percent of the company, believes Cineverse can turn things around. “I feel like we’re seriously undervalued,” he advised us. “Everyone in streaming and tech has been hit, but no one has recovered.”
So McGurk may be out for another year or two (of course, he mentioned having potential clients). “We need to get a little bigger, we need to build the Cineverse,” McGurk said. Then Probably they will advertise, it’s not fake.
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Deepfake Elvis and Bob Ross: The Way Forward for Cinedigm and the Cineverse