DISNEY+ adds 12 million subscribers in Q2 - Mostly in India
AMAZON gets EMILY BLUNT pic produced by THE ROCK/ MACGRUBER show gets villain / New Lizzo! + weekend MOVIE + TV preview
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on FRIDAY August 13, 2021.
Where Britney’s dad has finally agreed to step away from his conservatorship role… at some point. No timeline given, or a plan as to what lies ahead when he does step down. Next court hearing is in September. So - progress, of sorts.
ALSO: General audience tix for that Jon Stewart / Pete Davidson hosted Sept 12 comedy show at MSG go on sale here at 12noon today.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
AMAZON sets Emily Blunt for 1800s action-adventure detective movie produced by The Rock
She’ll play Kate Warne, who was the first female detective for the PINKERTON Agency in the mid 1800s and was also a spy in the Civil War. So, kinda female “Sherlock Holmes” but based on true events.
No director attached yet, script being written. /Deadline
SONY pushing “Venom” sequel release
Going from Sept 24 to Oct 15. Essentially September is definitely being written off for a return to office… or movies. /THR
SONY may also sell off their 4th “Hotel Transylvania” animated movie, currently set for Oct 1. /Deadline
ALSO: WARNER MEDIA sets vaxx requirement for all employees returning to offices, which will be open as of Sept 6, but no requirement for employees to return stated. /Deadline
For those going into the office now to make the donuts, face coverings are now required according to CNN.
AND: January is the new October in tech culture, as FACEBOOK pushes their return to office in the US until early 2022. Vaxx required of course. /Bloomberg
ALSO IN MOVIES
Shia Labeouf signs on to star in Abel Ferrara’s next movie as his first movie since seeking treatment after abuse allegations at the end of last year. Movie is about the younger years of Italian saint Padre Pio, set in post WWI Puglia, Willem Dafoe also circling a role. /Variety
📺 THE TV SET
AMAZON’s “Lord of the Rings” TV series moving from NZ to the UK for Season 2
Despite spending $465 Million in New Zealand to shoot the just-wrapped Season 1, and getting a 20% NZ tax refund… they’re gonna ship all the sets to the UK and set up shop there for Season 2.
It seems covid is the main culprit:
Over half the cast is from the UK and hasn’t been able to go back and forth obviously, some having spent the past 2 years there to make the first season.
It’s also been difficult for AMAZON execs to visit the production, not to mention any press or marketing partners etc.
And the UK home base consolidates the show with a lot of other AMAZON productions, and avails them to more easily shoot in other EUROPE locations.
Though no matter how you cut it - certainly a huge blow to the NZ production community.
HBOMAX sets first look deal with Robert Rodriguez
2 year deal, no financial terms reported. /Deadline
ALSO IN TV
Rachel Maddow enlists Ari Emanuel to do her MSNBC contract negotiation. Her deal is up next year, and she is their most popular show, averaging 2.3 million viewers. Rumors are she is either serious considering leaving (weekly streaming show anyone?) or wants more schedule flexibility (ie a big check but the option for a less rigorous schedule). Either way the conference calls for the deal just got a lot more f-bombs. /THR
“Macgruber” casts Billy Zane as Grubes’s primary nemesis “Enos Queeth” for upcoming PEACOCK series. As if I needed another reason to subscribe to PEACOCK to watch this. /THR
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
DISNEY+ adds 12.4 Million subscribers from April thru June
There were a lot of big year-over-year % numbers cited in coverage yesterday, but a bit of a #MediaNerd dive here into the DISNEY+ trends which show the service is still bleeding $, and that HULU is still the main moneymaker in their overall Streaming business.
OR just scroll down to the FX Bill Clinton Impeachment limited series trailer - it’s a good one!
Now about those 12.4 Million subscriber adds….
The “bulk” of that growth was from INDIA, which as I pointed out yesterday… charges as little as $7-$12 a year for DISNEY+, with the most “expensive” plan being $20 a year. A different and far less profitable business model than any NETFLIX or HBOMAX region worldwide, including NETFLIX INDIA, whose base plan is about $30 a year.
INDIA now makes up “just under 40%” of the 116 Million DISNEY+ total. Let’s give a benefit of the doubt that its 38%. This would mean 44 Million Subscribers are from INDIA.
Given that India reportedly had 34 Million DIS+ subscribers back in the Spring, this would mean that about 10 Million of the 12.4 Million Q2 growth came from INDIA.
And just 2.4 Million basically came from a combo of the US and EUROPE and LATIN AMERICA which… sounds a lot less impressive.
Even more so given that DISNEY did not break out a US Subscriber number, or US growth specifically.
DISNEY+’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) did increase from $3.99 a month to $4.16, But: that’s the first increase since DIS+ began. It has fallen every quarter since launch, when ARPU was $5.56.
This ARPU increase is mainly due to DIS+ raising prices by about a $1 in its most lucrative territories (US & EUROPE) to try and offset that low DISNEY INDIA revenue. NETFLIX ARPU is roughly close to 3X DISNEY+ ARPU.
While losses in the streaming division were cut in half to about $300 Million in Q2 vs this time last year, losses at DISNEY+ increased (gains at HULU accounted for the reduced overall deficit in the division).
If anything, remember this in any “DISNEY+ coming up on NETFLIX” narratives out there:
Total DISNEY+ Q2 revenue: $1.46 Billion
Total DISNEY STREAMING Q2 revenue: $4.2 Billion (mainly from HULU)
Total NETFLIX Q2 revenue: $7.3 Billion
OVER AT HULU:
They lost another 100k subscribers to their HULU + LIVE TV cable bundle service, now stands at 3.7 Million. This peaked at 4.1 Million last October and has been decreasing since.
But they are selling a ton of ads at good rates, increasing ad revenue per user about $2 from April to July.
HULU’s main SVOD service added 1.3 Million subscribers to hit 39.1 Million (all US based) subscribers, and increased ARPU by about $1 / month to $13.15. This is more than HBOMAX and very close to NETFLIX. HULU is doing very well.
HULU SVOD made more revenue in the US than DISNEY+ made globally in Q2 ($1.54 Billion to $1.45 Billion).
AND AT ESPN+:
They added 1.1 Million subscribers from April to July, hitting 14.9 Million. But ESPN+ ARPU decreased slightly from $4.55 to $4.47, the first time that’s done so more than a couple of cents.
BIGGER PICTURE: The company’s traditional Linear TV businesses are doing very well both Domestic & International, the Theme Parks to no surprise continue to bounce back, and HULU is doing very well, so the overall DISNEY business is looking good.
But in Streaming - even though Wall Street continues to give love to the overall subscriber number growth… (the stock was up about 5% in after hours trading), when you look at the $$, the DISNEY+ story is a way different story than their 2 biggest competitors NETFLIX & HBOMAX (sorry AMAZON & APPLE TV - different business models and also you folks don’t report #s).
And DISNEY+’s future is heavily dependent upon India, where one of the main draws for DISNEY+ HOTSTAR (as it’s called there) - Cricket sports rights, is up for renewal next year.
ALSO: DIS+ expanding the offerings for their Japan product in October, and launching in South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong in November which should help the Q4 subscriber growth numbers. Not to mention the ARPU a little bit as it’ll be priced more in line with the US and EUROPE. /THR
AND: DISNEY pays $350 Million to NHL, buying the 10% stake they owned in DISNEY’s streaming tech division (formerly BAM Tech). MLB still owns 15% but has a buy out clause in 2022 for a price of at least $750 Million. /THR
MAILCHIMP exploring sale at $10 Billion valuation
Could be an outright sale, or partial sale / investment. MAILCHIMP had about $300 Million in revenue last year. /Bloomberg
Which is… also the same valuation REDDIT just hit in their recent Series F investment fundraising round.
ALSO IN MEDIA
ESPN adding former WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM QB Alex Smith as an analyst this Fall. FOX is adding former NY JETS QB Mark Sanchez to their analyst roster. /NY POST
The country’s 2nd largest Concert Promoter AEG is requiring proof of vaxx for entry to all venues as of Oct 1 (or before that date at some venues). /MBW
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
AMC NETWORKS -5% but otherwise pretty quiet day in media stocks.
👩💻 THE FSS FEED:
(new Stuff to Watch this weekend)
DISNEYFOX “Free Guy” - Ryan Reynolds plays… eh pretty sure you’re up to speed here.
TO NOTE: This has a 45 day/6 week window in theaters, and will go to HBOMAX for streaming due to 20TH CENTURY’s still existing output deal there. So - DIS+ Premiere Access was never an option to do here.
MGM “Respect” - Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin movie.
SCREEN GEMS/SONY “Don’t Breathe 2”
LIONSGATE “The Protege” - A hitman faceoff movie with Maggie Q, Sam Jackson and Michael Keaton.
APPLE TV+ “CODA” - Sundance movie that APPLE paid $25 million for, and that you’ll likely need a full box of tissues for. Great trailer. Watch or Add to your List here
NETFLIX “Beckett” - John David Washington as an American on the run from a conspiracy in Greece. Watch or Add to your List here
NETFLIX “Grace & Frankie” - Surprise early Season 7 (final season) drop of the first 4 episodes. Watch or Add to your List here
AMAZON PRIME “Modern Love” season 2 - Watch or Add to your List here
NETFLIX “Brand New Cherry Flavor” - Trippy limited series set in 1990’s LA with Rosa Salazar and Catherine Keener. Watch or Add to your List here
ROKU CHANNEL adds 23 new ex-QUIBI titles, 4 of which are brand new / were never added to QUIBI. List here in the link
PEACOCK - the new UK PREMIERE LEAGUE season begins
STARZ “Heels” - Series premiere of the small town wrestling show, Airs at 9p
AMC+ “The Walking Dead” - Final season premiere hits streaming early. Watch or Add to your List here
If you were sent this newsletter or… just kinda found it:
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
FX “Impeachment: American Crime Story” limited series trailer. I’m definitely in for this - Premieres Tue Sept 7.
DISCOVERY+ “Introducing Selma Blair” docu trailer. In theaters Oct 15, on DISC+ Oct 21.
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
New LIZZO! “Rumors” with Cardi B - nuff said.
I definitely misspelled the name of the new “CBS This Morning” co-host yesterday, apologies to Nate Burleson.
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