AMC Networks Says Yeah! to Mobile Movie Rentals

New iPad app is Yeah! first major platform expansion since service launched in March; smartphones, Roku, videogame consoles to follow

AMC Networks launches the Yeah! iPad

Yeah! is going mobile, with AMC Networks set to launch an iPad version of the online movie rental service.

AMC introduced Yeah! in March as an alternative way to rent movies. Titles on the site are older films that are enhanced with interactive elements like polls, links to IMDB and exclusive interviews with the films’ directors and stars on the making of the movies offered up as it plays. There are typically 400 to 500 curated elements of information per pic.

Current enhanced titles include “Pulp Fiction,” “The Shining, No Country for Old Men,” “Dirty Dancing,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Blair Witch Project,” “Caddyshack,” “Superman: The Movie,” “Scream,” “Apocalypse Now Redux,” “The Expendables,” “Kick-Ass,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “Kill Bill 1 & 2,” “The Terminator,” “Clerks,” “Child’s Play,” “This is Spinal Tap,” “Jackie Brown” and “The Road Warrior,” with films staying on the service from one to two years.

Directors Richard Donner, Rob Reiner, Wes Craven, Catherine Hardwicke, Kevin Smith, Francis Lawrence and thesps Peter Facinelli, Miranda Cosgrove and Christopher Mintz-Plasse have provided interviews for the service.

The iPad app, available now, is the first significant expansion for Yeah!, with AMC planning on putting the service on Roku next year. It’s also developing versions for smartphones and videogame consoles from Microsoft and Sony.

To launch the new iPad app, “The Walking Dead’s” Michael Rooker is helping Yeah! kick off an “Anti-Social Holiday” campaign on TV and online that promotes the app as a way to escape the stresses that come with holiday chores, travel and, sometimes, family gatherings.

“What could be worse this holiday season than flesh-eating zombies? Your in-laws, of course!” Rooker jokes.

Yeah! operates as a separate business from AMC’s TV networks, which include AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel, WEtv and IFC Films, generating all of its income from rentals. Titles enhanced with interactive features cost $4.99, while those without are $1.99.

The service brokers its own deals with the studios for films, of which it will have 300 and double by the end of 2014. Of those, 80 will feature enhanced interactive elements by the end of next year; 30 are available now.

AMC Networks created the venture as a way to complement the types of films the channels air and create a new way to connect with its viewers while generating a new source of revenue at the same time.

“AMC Networks really wanted to understand where their audience was going with the growth of digital and serve that audience with a programming experience,” said Lisa Judson, general manager of Yeah!

When Yeah! launched, the company thought it would initially focus on targeting the fanboy audience, of males 18-35, “but we realized this was a more mainstream experience,” Judson said.

AMC has been able to lock down the rights to the higher profile titles because studios see the service as an additional platform through which they can generate digital revenue from their libraries. While Yeah! only offers rentals now, it plans to start selling digital copies of movies by July.

“The studios understand there’s value of what we’re offering on top of the usual distribution platforms for streaming or DVD,” Judson said, especially if you’re providing people with an experience that further develops their relationship with a movie and gets them to watch it again and again.

Campaign will wrap up with a Yeah! sponsored marathon of “The Walking Dead” on Dec. 31.