Mance Media, a film and TV distribution company based in Los Angeles, has launched 4KUNIVERSE, a multiplatform Ultra HD channel that is initially available over-the-top and one that will also seek carriage deals with cable operators, IPTV providers and other types of MVPDs.
The 4K offering, billed as a “general entertainment” UHD channel, is getting off the ground with support of two global satellite operators – SES and AsiaSat.
4KUNIVERSE is currently offered for $5.99 per month (or the local currency equivalent) via YouTube and Vimeo. In addition to North America, the channel will also be available to other regions of the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Poland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Taiwan and Brazil. 4KUNIVERSE will make its international market debut in April in Cannes at MIPTV, Mance Media said.
The ad-free channel features programming that includes documentaries such as Circles of Life, Grand Canyon, and Timescapes, and feature films such as The Rumperbutts, Scarlet’s Witch and The Toy Soldiers. Some content will be offered in HDR (high dynamic range).
Mance Media said 4KUNIVERSE will start to test UHD linear feeds with SES and AsiaSat in Q2 2016, and that its content will also be distributed on Ultra HD Blu-rays.
The company noted that it’s also in talks with private equity and VC firms about raising capital for the new 4K channel.
Mance Media has not announced any distribution pacts with MVPDs, but is entering the mix as several large North American pay TV operators launch or prepare to launch 4K offerings, including DirecTV/AT&T, Dish Network, Comcast, Rogers Communications and Videotron. Notably, Mance Media was one of the content partners identified by Dish for an initial slate of 4K VOD fare that will be offered on its new Hopper 3 DVR and 4K Joey device.
“Having strategic partners on board like satellite companies SES and AsiaSat allows our channel to enjoy the largest possible audience and adds immediate value at launch,” Matthew Mancinelli, founder and CEO of 4KUNIVERSE, said in a statement.
“Mance Media and 4KUNIVERSE represent exciting additions to the compelling and growing Ultra HD channel line up on our SES satellite-based Ultra HD platform,” added Steve Corda, VP of business development in North America for SES. “4KUNIVERSE provides the compelling content that Ultra HD TV owners are demanding, and SES’s unique end-to-end platform, designed for cable TV systems, 4KUNIVERSE will be delivered in a linear-channel format to virtually every cable TV headend and household in North America.”
“We are very pleased to welcome 4KUNIVERSETM on board our UHD platform on AsiaSat 4. Their exciting range of UHD theatrical movies and documentaries together with the powerful footprint of AsiaSat 4 will bring more choice of compelling content to the Asian audience. We are very excited to play a part of their global distribution and wish Mance Media every success,” said Sabrina Cubbon, vice president, marketing and global accounts, AsiaSat.