MPAA Relaunches Web Guide to Promote Legal Entertainment Sources

WheretoWatch.com is an update to the whitelist website Hollywood trade group bowed last year


MPAA — upping efforts to help consumers find legal sources of content instead of pirating it — has rolled out WheretoWatch.com, an advertising-free entertainment search engine designed to point people to TV shows and movies from authorized sources.

The site is effectively a refresh of WheretoWatch.org, the online video entertainment guide the trade group launched last spring.

MPAA has been highly critical of major search engines for not making greater efforts to strip out links to pirated content from their results. Last month, responding to content owners’ concerns, Google said it updated its search algorithms to more effectively demote sites that have received an unusual number of copyright-infringement notices and in certain cases deliver ads for legal digital-video sources.

In the meantime, the movie industry has beefed up its own search engine, which unlike other entertainment sites such as Moviefone.com or CBS Interactive’s TV.com doesn’t carry ads. WheretoWatch.com includes info and links from providers including Netflix, Apple’s iTunes, Amazon.com and Hulu as well as smaller sites like SnagFilms and WolfeOnDemand. MPAA said it expects to expand its list of partners in the coming months.

“WheretoWatch.com offers a simple, streamlined, comprehensive search of legitimate platforms — all in one place,” MPAA CEO Chris Dodd wrote in a blog post.

While critics of Hollywood have said the biz doesn’t make enough content available through digital channels, the MPAA says more than 100 legal online services deliver movie and TV content in the U.S. today. As of December 2013, 94% of 808 top films analyzed were legally available in the U.S. through online video-on-demand services, according to a study by KPMG. The study also found that 85% of 724 of the most popular and critically acclaimed TV shows were available to American consumers through online video services. “The fact is, consumers have more access to content online today than ever before,” Dodd said.

Industry execs, of course, praised the launch of the new website.

“Over-the-top video on desktop, mobile, connected TVs — we are constantly innovating to meet consumers wherever they want to be,” Sony Pictures Television president Steve Mosko said. “WheretoWatch.com is another great step toward facilitating a terrific viewing experience for everyone who loves TV shows and movies.”

Greg Silverman, Warner Bros.’ president of creative development and worldwide production, called WheretoWatch.com “a showcase for the tremendous amount of talent and creativity that goes into making your favorite shows and movies… It helps create an environment where creativity is rewarded, encouraged and allowed to flourish.”

WheretoWatch.com lets users enter their ZIP code to provide show times and locations for movies in local theaters. It also hosts movie trailers and behind-the-scenes features produced by the MPAA’s online magazine, The Credits. In addition, the site lets users set alerts powered by GoWatchIt to receive notifications when content they’re interested in becomes available.