The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll is getting a hunk, a hunk of streaming love.
The Elvis Presley Channel is now available on platforms in the U.S. representing 100 million-plus devices, offering a continuous, linear free stream of Elvis concerts, documentaries, specials and movies as well as other lifestyle and entertainment programming. The channel is operated by Cinedigm, which launched it in partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises and Authentic Brands Group.
“It’s about honoring Elvis and the brand, and doing it in a big way,” said Erick Opeka, Cinedigm’s chief strategy officer and president. “Elvis Presley is an iconic performer whose global appeal transcends across generations and a diverse range of fans.”
The Elvis Channel features two 12-hour blocks (aka “wheels”) of content. Cinedigm will regularly refresh the programming on the channel, with upwards of 175 hours of Elvis and Elvis-adjacent material expected to be featured each month.
Programming on the channel will include films and specials such as “Singer Presents…Elvis” (aka “The ’68 Comeback Special”),” “Elvis Aloha From Hawaii,” and both the broadcast and unedited versions of TV movie “Elvis by the Presleys.”
Themed programming blocks include Elvis’s Favorites, Friends of Elvis, Elvis-Inspired Reality and Lifestyle Programming, African American Artists That Inspired Elvis, and 50’s Rock N’ Roll Rebel Movies. The channel also is stocked with some of Presley’s favorite TV shows and films including “The Beverly Hillbillies,” John Wayne movies such as “Angel and the Badman,” “Blue Steel” and “Riders of Destiny,” and movies starring Bruce Lee — who was a fan of Elvis, and vice versa — like “Warrior’s Journey” and “The Man, The Myth.”
Originally, Cinedigm was eyeing an early 2022 launch for the Elvis Presley Channel. But the company decided to time the rollout for the release of Warner Bros.’ “Elvis,” directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Tom Hanks and Austin Butler, which opened nationwide on Friday, June 24, according to Cinedigm chairman and CEO Chris McGurk.
The development of the Elvis Presley Channel stemmed out of Cinedigm’s 2020 launch of the Bob Ross Channel, stocked with endless reruns of his cult-favorite public television series “The Joy of Painting.” “After the extraordinary success of Bob Ross, a lightbulb went off in our head and we had our radar up for similar opportunities,” McGurk said.
The Elvis Presley Channel free, ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channel is now available in the U.S. on LG Channels, Amazon Freevee (formerly IMDb TV), Vizio’s WatchFree+, Comcast’s Xumo, Plex, Allen Media Group’s Local Now and Dish Network’s Sling TV. Additionally, the Xfinity What to Watch channel on Xumo will feature a curated collection of films and documentaries from the Elvis Channel during primetime starting the weekend of July 2, and continuing weekly throughout the rest of July.
For now, the Elvis Presley Channel is not on three of the most popular free-streaming services: the Roku Channel, Paramount’s Pluto TV and Tubi. Opeka said “we have conversations brewing with everybody” in the space and that Cinedigm expects the channel to be “fully distributed” in due course.
In addition to Luhrmann’s “Elvis,” this year Graceland will commemorate the 45th anniversary of Elvis’s death with Elvis Week 2022 from Aug. 9-17 in Memphis. Netflix is slated to launch animated action-comedy Elvis series “Agent King” and Sony Music plans to release two Elvis albums later this year.
The renewed interest in Elvis Presley made it easy for Cinedigm to move forward on the channel, Opeka said, noting that internet searches for the artist are the highest they have been in a decade.
“The Elvis fandom is incredibly passionate, and when it comes to serving enthusiastic fan bases, no one does it better than Cinedigm,” said Matt Abruzzo, senior director of brand management for entertainment at ABG, which owns Elvis Presley Enterprises.
With the Elvis Presley Channel, Cinedigm expands its portfolio of free and subscription-based streaming channels focused on fandoms, including as AsianCrush, Bloody Disgusting, Screambox, Comedy Dynamics, CONtv, Dove Channel, Docurama, El Rey Network, Fandor and the Country Network.
Presley, who died in 1977, won three Grammy Awards (and was nominated for 14) and sold more than 1 billion records worldwide. The King also starred in 33 films and made numerous TV appearances. Graceland, Elvis’s Memphis home, claims to be the second most-visited home in the U.S. after the White House, drawing over 600,000 visitors annually.