3 Reasons Your Screener Site is Costing You Coverage (and How to Fix It)

We reached out to 200 press writers, bloggers and reviewers and asked for their opinions about what they love and what they hate about screener sites.

Networks and studios want reviewers to view and write about new shows and movies. Writers want an easy experience to access pre-release content. Both parties want to keep content secure. But despite these closely aligned goals, the relationship between content producers and reviewers can sometimes get contentious. The reason? Reviewers hate screening sites. 

We reached out to 200 press writers, bloggers and reviewers and asked for their opinions about what they love and what they hate about screener sites. Through in-depth interviews and surveys, we learned about the current issues surrounding the screener ecosystem. Incredibly, only 9% of reviewers are somewhat satisfied with the current state of affairs and none are “very satisfied”. Clearly, there is nowhere to go but up in serving a key audience disillusioned with tools critical to performing their jobs.

Frozen Out

So what do reviewers dislike so much about digital screening platforms? Their number one complaint: Lack of reliability. In fact, 50% of reviewers said they have missed a deadline or failed to write a review at all due to technical issues with a screener. 

“Often times, because there is so much television these days, it is a last minute thing when I am getting to a show,” explains Rob Owen, TV Critic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “And then to get to it, and not being able to watch because it stops every 10 seconds is very frustrating.” 

“It’s assumed that screeners are going to be poor quality.” 

Colleen Kelsey, Assoc. Editor, Interview Magazine

There are multiple reasons why a video might not work, with many on the user’s end including unsupported browsers, bad wi-fi connections and internet outages. But since most online screening solutions don’t offer dedicated support, reviewers are left to reach out to their PR contacts, who in turn must get help from their IT or operations department. If the issue happens after hours to a reporter on deadline—well, you can kiss that coveted coverage goodbye.

Log-in Chaos

The second most common complaint reviewers have about screeners is the need to juggle multiple logins and ways of accessing content. Half of reviewers have access to more than 20 screener sites, all of which require different URLs and usernames and utilize different password rotation and complexity requirements. The end result: frustrated reviewers and an alarming number of potential loopholes in security.

“Just managing the variety of ways you have to get screeners is now a huge part of the job for everybody…sometimes it’s like ‘how much trouble is this worth?”

Ellen Gray, TV Critic, The Philadelphia Inquirer

While distribution is increasingly going digital, press reviewers still get about 25% of their screeners via DVD. About half of those discs are never destroyed or thrown away. Even more worrisome, only 8% of reviewers use unique passwords stored in a password manager.

To manage the proliferation of screener destinations and credentials, the rest leave passwords scribbled on Post-It notes, keep the same password across all sites, store them in Google Sheets shared with colleagues, and use other less than desirable password management strategies. The end result? Many screening sites are shockingly susceptible to attack by enterprising hackers willing to cross-reference a reporter’s publicly posted email address with the latest password dump.

Relegated to a small screen

Critics are just like the rest of us – they prefer to watch shows and movies on a big screen, perhaps with a bowl of popcorn or beer in hand. Even though reviewers are paid to watch new content, they tend to do it after office hours; peak viewing time for screeners is between 8-9 PM in any given time zone.

“There are certainly some shows that you want to see on a bigger screen…viewing on a laptop is really not the ideal situation.”

Rock Ellis, Managing Editor, AllYourScreens

This viewing pattern has a few ramifications. First, reviewers are often accessing content when there is no longer any technical support available at the network or studio, should they run into a problem. Secondly, despite the fact that most people in the industry now have Apple TVs, Rokus, Fire TV Sticks, or other devices, most screeners are still only offered online and must be viewed on a PC, laptop or tablet. The lack of a compatible TV app was listed as the third most common pain point for reviewers.

“My main problem with any screener site is that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to find ways to cast it on to regular television,” says Randee Dawn, entertainment writer for and “I’m not a huge fan of watching on my computer screen because I spend hours in front of my computer anyway. It’s kind of a turnoff for me in terms of trying to invest time to watch screeners.”

Is There A Better Way?

Reviewers want to give network content an honest, timely review and, as industry professionals, they’re just as concerned as creators about keeping pre-release content safe until premiere date. They’re even willing to jump through some additional hoops if the overall experience is easy and seamless.

“If the industry would adopt a centralized solution with everything in one place, I would happily accommodate much tighter security.”

Alyssa Rosenberg, Culture Writer, The Washington Post

Dawn proposes a potential solution: “What would be nice is having some sort of central site where you have just one log-in, and all networks have just agreed to use it.”

While the idea of a destination screening site seems radical, it’s reality for many reviewers today. Think about the problems a centrally managed site solves. Networks and studios are all doing duplicate work to achieve good playback. By banding together on one platform, content creators could ensure better quality of service and enterprise-level security, offered with 24/7 high-touch support. All while freeing PR and marketing professionals to develop relationships with reviewers and promote content, rather than troubleshooting technical issues.


The future of screeners is here. addresses all of the issues cited by critics, making it easy to view all of the content they’ve been invited to preview in one frustration-free destination. We’ve also taken the requests of PR and marketing teams (and the IT teams that support them) to heart, providing turnkey, branded screening rooms protected with industry-leading security.

World Class User Experience provides critics and reviewers with a simple interface with a video player that just works. No buffering, no broken connections. And if for some reason your reviewers do have an issue, we provide industry leading customer support so that your team doesn’t have to field angry phone calls.

Simple and Secure

Leave your password log-in and security issues in the past. uses secure Magic Link technology so that your reviewers can just worry about watching your content: no passwords, no frustration. When combined with SafeStream visible and forensic watermarking, your PR team can be a hero to critics and the content security team.

Let Viewers Watch Where They Want To

The critics have spoken: give us the ability to watch on the big AND small screen. lets viewers watch your pre-release content on a native Apple TV app, cast to other connected devices, or watch on their PC or laptop. By giving reviewers a simple experience across platforms, you’ve eliminated the barriers to getting the coverage your content deserves and giving you a better shot during awards season.

Happy Press Reviewers = Good Reviews keeps you in control of your content and brand, while keeping some of your most important viewers happy and engaged. It’s time to implement a simple, secure, and frictionless system for both you and your reviewers, and always keep them coming back the next time. The more barriers you can remove between your content and your reviewers, the better off everyone will be.

“I’m genuinely thrilled when something new pops up in rather than other screening sites.”

Jacqueline Cutler, Freelance Journalist

Learn more about sharing pre-release content with reviewers, critics, and other stakeholders with

EditShare’s video workflow and storage solutions power the biggest names in entertainment and advertising, helping them securely manage, present, and collaborate on their highest-value projects. To learn more about how EditShare can help your video production team, contact us today.