Screen Junkies Plus (SJ+ or Plus) was Screen Junkies' paid streaming service which ran from 2015 - 2017. Plus offered a slate of original programming available through either the website or an app for a monthly subscription fee of $4.99. Screen Junkies Plus was created in late 2015 in an effort to grow the Screen Junkies brand. In addition, it made the channel less dependent on Facebook and YouTube ads for revenue. Screen Junkies Plus offered fans more ways to interact directly with Screen Junkies hosts, for example by Skype calling during live shows.
Screen Junkies Plus ceased operations in 2017. In 2018, the cost of setting it up was described as overly-aggression expansion on the part of Defy Media, and was cited as a contributing factor in Defy Media's shuttering.
Screen Junkies Plus was announced during the 56th episode of Movie Fights (air date 11/8/15) and was marketed as an exclusive, premium service. New subscribers were offered a free 3-month trial and other package options. The service was officially launched on November 17, 2015.Dan Murrell explained the reason for starting a second channel was to create programming around the personalities of Screen Junkies employees. Dan noted that it wasn't feasible to put personality-driven programming on the main Screen Junkies channel because many subscribers are only there for Honest Trailers.
An article published on Medium explained the business theory behind the move to a paid subscription model: "The move comes on the heels of a massive shift in the YouTube economy triggered by the launch of YouTube’s SVOD service, YouTube Red. With even traditionally ad-supported platforms like YouTube looking to capture subscription revenue, and an ever-expanding array of SVOD options ranging from aggregators like Watchable, Go90 and Vessel to niche providers like SeeSo. Defy will be competing with media players large and small for a piece of a rapidly disappearing subscription pie."In a 2017 interview, Defy Media's VP of Programming explained that Plus meant that Screen Junkies wasn't so dependent on the YouTube ever-changing algorithm for views and revenue, saying, "You need to make sure you have multiple ways to reach [your audience] because at the end of the day YouTube’s algorithm can change however they want–they can flip a switch and suddenly your numbers start going away."
According to Tubefilter, the goal of Screen Junkies Plus was to create premium content. This included a series hosted by Hollywood director Kevin Smith, the scripted sitcom Interns of F.I.E.L.D., the animated series After Credits, and a planned documentary about Galaxy Guest fans. According to Defy Media's VP of Programming, this "premium" content was designed to show audiences the value of the paid subscription service.
Some Screen Junkies Plus shows were taped in blocks but released over a number of weeks, including What's In the Box? with Kevin Smith, Movie Games with Jeremy Jahns, and First and Worst with Chris Stuckmann. Jahns and Stuckmann lived in different parts of the US and were flown out to California to tape their shows.
The popularity/financial viability of Plus has never been made public. In May 2017, Fast Company claimed that the "supplemental revenue stream has allowed Screen Junkies to venture into new territory, namely documentaries," however Plus ceased production approximately one month later in June 2017.
The End of Plus Edit
Screen Junkies Plus ceased operations as a paid subscription service in June 2017. Subscribers were offered refunds for any pre-paid months. Some Plus shows ceased production altogether, but others were moved to the Screen Junkies News YouTube channel and continued production e.g. SJU, Honest Trailers Commentaries and TV Fights. All existing Plus content remained accessible on the website and app until early 2018. The paywall was dropped, meaning that 2 years worth of content became free-of-charge to everyone.
In April 2018, Defy Media made a business decision to stop supporting the website and app and all content was removed. The removal of this content was not linked to the firing of Andy Signore or FANDOM's purchase of Screen Junkies. All the Plus content still exists, but Screen Junkies has no way of releasing it at present.After Defy Media ceased operations in November 2018, some media coverage mentioned Plus. This Digiday article suggested Defy had "spent millions to build a subscription streaming service for ScreenJunkies." An unnamed source implied Plus was unrealistic and proved to be a "catastrophic" mistake for the company. The same article proposed that the plan to sell content to platforms like Go90 made sense in 2016. However, "as Go90 shut down and other platform buyers pivoted their content-buying strategies" Defy wasn't making as much money from selling content and had to rely almost exclusively on Google and Facebook advertising.
In November 2018, Dan Murrell theorized that part of the reason that Screen Junkies Plus failed was that the app never worked properly - Defy Media never fixed the app, despite repeated complaints. Dan said, the app "was never properly functional. It was so frustrating.” He also said, “We knew three months in that this was probably not going to work, and yet we continued doing it for two years. Partly because we have a very passionate core fan base that loved it.”
List of Screen Junkies Plus Shows Edit
Below is a complete list of shows that were available on Screen Junkies Plus:
- What's in the Box? - A toy unboxing show hosted by Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes. All episodes have since been uploaded to Kevin Smith's YouTube channel.
- Mundy Night Raw - A comedy talk and movie review show hosted by Nick Mundy and Dan Murrell. One episode was uploaded to YouTube and can be viewed here.
- Movie Games - A movie trivia game show hosted by Jeremy Jahns. One episode was uploaded to YouTube and can be viewed here.
- TV Fights - A debate show based on the Movie Fights format. Hosted by Roxy Striar. Continued on the Screen Junkies News YouTube channel for a few months in 2017, before ceasing production after Andy Signore was fired.
- Does It Hold Up? - Hosted by Spencer Gilbert. Spencer and guests decide if old beloved movies still hold up. One episode was uploaded to YouTube and can be viewed here.
- Mega Movie Get Together - Hosted by Andre Meadows. Andre and guests participated in live movie watch-alongs.
- After Credits - A collaboration with the How It Should Have Ended crew. An animated comedy series that parodied what happened to fictional characters immediately after their movies ended. The series often featured the voices of Jon Bailey and several members of the Screen Junkies crew. Several episodes were uploaded to the HISHE YouTube channel, and many are available on Screen Junkies' Facebook page.
- Screen Junkies Universe - Featuring a panel of hosts who answered fan questions, Skype-called with viewers, and showed sneak peaks of upcoming videos. From July 2017, SJU continued on the Screen Junkies News YouTube channel, hosted by Roth Cornet. The OG format of SJU is illustrated in this video.
- Honest Trailers Commentaries - Hosted by Andy Signore, Spencer Gilbert, Dan Murrell and Joe Starr. From July 2017, the show continued on the Screen Junkies News YouTube channel
- Dan's Labyrinth - Hosted by Dan Murrell. A talk and review show focused on new movie releases. A regular part of the show was Dan's Movie Club, in which Dan and guests discussed old movies. One episode was uploaded to YouTube and can be viewed here.
- First and Worst - Hosted by Chris Stuckmann. Chris and a guest debate the best and worst films from filmmakers and performers.
- Cult Classics with Casper Van Dien - Casper Van Dien interviewed the filmmakers behind cult classic movies.
- Interns of F.I.E.L.D. - An original scripted sitcom about the misadventures and shenanigans of four interns who work in the basement of a top secret Superhero Agency. Created by Spencer Gilbert, Dan Murrell and Andy Signore. The first episode was uploaded to YouTube.
- Screen Junkies Roasts - Featuring comedians performing sets as fictional characters. Hal Rudnick and Joe Starr both performed multiple characters in various Roasts. Various clips were uploaded to YouTube.
- Flash and Friends - The Flash and Arrowverse recap show, hosted by Joe Starr and Roxy Striar. Still available as a podcast.
- Watching Thrones - Game of Thrones recap show. Continued on the Screen Junkies News YouTube channel. Still available as a podcast.
- Debugging Mr Robot - Mr Robot recap show. Still available as a podcast.
- Knocking Dead - The Walking Dead recap show. Still available as a podcast.
- Pitch Off - Hosted by Doug Benson. Several guests pitch fictional movies. Their efforts are judged by Doug, who acts as a studio exec who can only greenlight one movie. The format of the show is illustrated in this video.
- Gamer Fights - A debate show based on the Movie Fights format. Hosted by Matt Raub. Several episodes were uploaded to the Smosh Games channel, for example this video.
- After the Fight - A Movie Fights after show. Featured viewers Skype-calling in to talk to the contestants.
- Screen Junkies Show Extras - Extended junket interviews.
- Summer Movie Report - (aka Dan's Movie Report). A Box Office analysis show hosted by Dan Murrell and Sasha Perl-Raver. Continues on the Screen Junkies News YouTube channel as Charting With Dan.
- Movie vs Movie - Hosted by John Flickinger. John and two guests decide which movie to watch. One episode was uploaded to YouTube and can be viewed here.
- Honest Trailers Anime - spinoff of Honest Trailers that parodied anime series. One episode (Naruto) was uploaded to YouTube and some episodes have since been uploaded exclusively to Screen Junkies' Facebook page.
- Honest Game Trailers Commentaries - featuring Matt Raub, Spencer Gilbert and others. The writers of Honest Game Trailers watched and reacted to an episode of the series. They shared their thoughts on the game, behind-the-scenes information about the writing process and deleted jokes.
List of references Edit
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Dan Murrell Interview - 1 on 1 with Kristian Harloff [Podcast] YouTube, November 22, 2018
- ↑ The planned feature-length documentary was about the fan response to the 1999 film Galaxy Quest. In 2019, Screen Junkies/FANDOM released a feature-length documentary called Never Surrender about the Galaxy Quest fandom. It is unknown how much, if any, of the earlier project was used.