DISNEY+ growth still mostly in INDIA, HULU growth hits low
WB exec clean-out continues / SONY buys Tom Hanks - Zemeckis pic / PEACOCK gets BORAT 2 director’s new series
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on THURSDAY May 12, 2022.
Where frankly it’s a super busy day so… we barely have time for the gif. Barely.
ALTHOUGH: I gotta say it was entertaining to see ads for both SHOWTIME and PEACOCK on HBOMAX last night when I was watching the “Hacks” Season 1 finale. cc: NETFLIX
AND: Here are your MTV Movie & TV Award nominees for anyone inclined.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
LIONSGATE & AMAZON greenlight “A Simple Favor” sequel with Anna Kendrick & Blake Lively
Paul Feig back to direct, Jessica Sharzer is back to write. First pic grossed $97 Million worldwide.
Exact rights not specified here… but thinking that means it’s LGF for the US and AMAZON streaming worldwide 🤷♂️. /Deadline
SONY buys US rights to Tom Hanks / Robert Zemeckis / Eric Roth pic “Here”
Robin Wright also now re-joining the “Forrest Gump” re-team 🤝 in a story based on a graphic novel, set in New England, and revolves around couples and families over generations so…. take that as you will.
No price disclosed, for 2023 release, MIRAMAX is producing and selling rest of the global rights. /Deadline
NEON buys US rights for Jessica Chastain & Anne Hathaway psychological thriller “Mothers Instinct”
Will shoot end of month, no price indicated, based on a 2018 Belgian film.
Story of 2 best friends, mothers and neighbors in the 1960s living a seemingly perfect suburban life that’s torn asunder by a tragic accident, leading to a “darker side of the maternal instinct” coming to light 😳. /THR
ALSO IN MOVIES
Rosamund Pike will star in next pic from Emerald Fennell (“Promising Young Woman”).
Apparently called “Saltburn” and about a “grand, aristocratic English family”, will shoot in the Fall. No word on production co or if a studio is involved etc. /Deadline
PARAMOUNT adds Hayden Panetierre to “Scream 6”, reprising her “Scream 4” role. /THR
Next “South Park” movie “The Streaming Wars” will hit PAR+ on June 1. /THR
CANNES Market will see a pic with Kevin Spacey in a leading role for sale next week. It’s a… Hungarian/Mongolian/UK co-production about the grandson of Gengis Khan, to shoot this Fall. /Deadline
LA’s LANDMARC PICO 12 screen movie theater is closing after 15 years. /Variety
TURNER NETWORKS EXECUTIVE EXODUS
TNT, TBS & TruTV General Manager Brett Weitz is out after a 14 year stint in the WARNER empire - further evidence that Zaslav is reducing resources/💰💰 at the TURNER cable networks. The GM role will not be replaced. /Deadline
WARNER Kids, YA and Classic head Tom Ascheim is also out after 2 years (CARTOON NET, WB ANIMATION, TCM etc), position was also eliminated. /Deadline
WB Head of Global Comms Johanna Fuentes is… also out after 2 years. /Variety
APPLE TV Film Marketing strategy head JP Richards resigns after about a year at the company. No next destination indicated. /Variety
Longtime ICM indie film agent Christina Bazdekis joins UTA MP group. So does CAA get a pro-rated refund on their purchase price at some point? Of note - Her longtime colleague Bart Walker is still at ICM. /THR
CAA Film financing agent Maren Olsen joins 30 WEST film production/financing outfit as EVP of Film. /Deadline
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📺 THE TV SET
PEACOCK buys series from “Borat” sequel director Jason Woliner
Only described as:
being in the vein of that film
“mind bending” and “mixing fact and fiction”
10 years in the making
So yeah… take from that what you will. Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg are Exec Producers, LIONSGATE is the production co. /Deadline
NBC orders George Lopez sitcom “Lopez vs. Lopez” for Fall schedule
He’ll co-star with his daughter Mayan in the working-class family sitcom from Bruce Helford and Debby Wolfe (“The Conners”). Bruce also co-created George’s ABC previous sitcom “George Lopez”. /Deadline
NBC holds their Upfronts session on Monday.
E! looking to do for Rom-Coms what HALLMARK CHANNEL has done for Christmas movies
Orders 6 original Rom-Com pics that will begin airing in 2023… but oddly no other details announced. Sounds like more could come tho.
Also ordered new unscripted series “Celebrity Beef” with Joel McHale and a travel show with Anthony Anderson & his mom. /Variety
ALSO IN TV
CBS cancels “United States of Al” after 2 seasons. Was a Chuck Lorre series. /Deadline
APPLE TV+ adds Ken Jeong to “The Afterparty” Season 2, which is set around a murder at a wedding. /Deadline
AMAZON renews “Upload” for a Season 3. /THR
J Lo producing limited series of “Rogers & Hammerstein Cinderella” at SKYDANCE TV. No streamer on board yet (#AppleTV?), Rachel Shukert (”The Baby-Sitters Club”) is writing and will be showrunner. /THR
AMAZON PRIME’ college-set spinoff of “The Boys” adds Patrick Schwarzenegger and Sean Patrick Thomas to the revised cast. /Deadline
PAR+ adds Garrett Hedlund to Stallone’s “Tulsa King” mob series. /Variety
DISNEY+ sets Kat Corio (“Marry Me”, “She Hulk” series) to direct first 2 episodes of “The Spiderwick Chronicles”.
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
#medianerd 🤓 in high gear. or… just scroll down to the new PHYSICAL trailer
DISNEY+ adds 7.9 Million subscribers from Jan thru March, majority from INDIA. HULU growth hits low
Will launch their Ad-supported version by end of year in the US (a la #NETFLIX), and internationally in 2023. No indication of pricing.
DIS+ Subscriber total now stands at 137.7 Million total, and the 7.9 Million subs addition beat Wall Street expectations.
Here’s where they are, and where they grew in Q1:
INDIA / Southeast ASIA (Disney+Hotstar): 50.1 Million (+4.2 Million - extra Cricket season start boost)
US: 44.4 Million (+1.5 Million)
LATAM & EUROPE: 43.2 Million (+2.1 Million)
DIS+ lost $900 Million in the first 3 months of this year. That’s roughly 2X the losses at PEACOCK and PAR+. It’s also 3X as much as DIS+ lost a year ago.
Thankfully DISNEY’s Cable TV Networks & ABC are still throwing off a pre-tax margin of $2.8 Billion a quarter. (AKA: Why ESPN does not offer a full streaming product despite folks still asking Chapek about it. #HugeCableAffiliateFees)
DIS+ Q1 Revenue was roughly $1.77 Billion:
INDIA: $114 Million
DISNEY+ made just $114 Million total from over 1/3 of their subscriber base in Q1. That’s not even a single season budget for one STAR WARS show. AND: It’s going in the wrong direction 👇
Avg Revenue Per User #ARPU: $0.76 /month, -26% from January
US: $841 Million
#ARPU: $6.32 /month, -5% from January (see Image at the top of this section)
LATAM & EUROPE: $820 Million
#ARPU: $6.33 /month, even from January
DIS+ is now avail in 80 countries & territories, and launching in 41 more in June (mostly MIDDLE EAST), and will be in 133 countries by end of year.
So as the territory expansion growth lever ends… it’ll be replaced by the launch of the Ad-supported tier growth nicely, and DISNEY is still maintaining DIS+ will be profitable and almost double its subscriber count in about 2 years time (+100 to 130 Million). Somehow. They added 34 Million in the past year.
TAKEAWAY - Remember all “Subscribers” are not created equal
DISNEY+ subscriber growth is still coming directly at the expense of ya know, actually making any money on the thing. #NotGreatBob. In fact it’s getting worse.
Discounting is great to get the Subscriber headlines in the trades… terrible for the actual Revenue on the balance sheet:
DISNEY+ Q1 Revenue: $1.8 Billion, $900 Million loss
NETFLIX Q1 Revenue: $7.8 Billion, $1.6 Billion profit
Would you say these companies are rivals? It’s also not like series are any cheaper for DISNEY to produce than NETFLIX. Also Remember - NETFLIX DOES NOT DISCOUNT THEIR PRODUCT.
ALSO: If you remove DISNEY’s (inherited from FOX) India DIS+HOTSTAR business, DISNEY+ looks a lot like HBOMAX with 87 Million global subscribers (and still far less Revenue).
AND: While 1.5 Million new US subscribers (where it does make decent money per subscriber) is a good number in principle - how much of it comes from discounting the product like HULU & DISNEY+ for $10 a month deals, and other $4 a month discounted deals they offered in the US in Q1? (I personally got emails for both). DISNEY does not disclose this.
DISNEY also still makes close to the same amount of money from HULU as it does from DISNEY+ (and definitely more when you incl the HULU CableTV bundle).
Q1 DISNEY DtoC / STREAMING Revenue (approx):
DIS+: $1.8 Billion
HULU: $1.6 Billion
HULU+ LIVE TV: $1.1 Billion
ESPN+: $316 Million
Although the Ad-Supported tier will really help not just the DIS+ subscriber count boom, it will also help their Revenue (Ad-Supported streaming tiers often hit similar or even higher #ARPU than Ad-Free versions for services that offer both).
BUT: Costs are only going UP
There was a lot of talk on their earnings call of rising Sports rights costs and Programming costs across the board in the year ahead, so the steep losses show no horizon of ending anytime soon. If anything they have a good shot at increasing this year.
AND: DISNEY still has a huge INDIA problem, and a looming Cricket one
Revenue issue aside, their
likely possible loss of IPL Cricket rights in the Fall could be disastrous for their subscriber count - something reinforced by their 4.2 Million bump in Q1 due to the IPL Season starting in March.
Those rights will be decided in mid-June (linear & streaming separately) so if DISNEY loses, they’ll likely take the hit then. FWIW - GOOGLE is now rumored to also be entering the very crowded IPL rights auction alongside AMAZON, SONY, VIACOM and some major INDIA companies. IPL is third only to the NFL and UK PREMIERE LEAGUE in global audience size according to FRONT OFFICE SPORTS, and rights will certainly go for over $1 Billion a year. Again - DISNEY+HOTSTAR only brings in about half of that amount each year in total Revenue.
Granted, an IPL loss will not be disastrous for DIS+ finances… since they don’t make any money from their DIS+ INDIA subscribers anyway. But the subscriber loss optics could be a mess. Right as Chapek might likely be in final negotiations for his new deal (it’s up in December).
Now at 41.4 Million subscribers, +500k in Q1. This is their lowest quarterly growth % and total number in recent memory (if not ever). But - still growing, unlike NETFLIX which is probably HULU’s only comp in terms of market maturity.
#ARPU was down slightly (again, see discounting Image at the top) to $12.77 but that’s still a very healthy number, and 2X DISNEY+’s.
HULU +LIVE TV
Lost 200k subscribers since January, now at 4.1 Million. Although this number has long since hit its apparent ceiling, fluctuating up and down between 3.7 Million and 4.3 Milllion for almost the past 2 years.
GOOGLE doesn’t even bother reporting their YOUTUBE TV faux Cable TV bundle subscriber count anymore, and DISH’s SLING TV also seems to have hit its ceiling around 2.3 Million and lost subs in Q1 too.
+1 Million since January, now at 22.3 Million, or about the same size as DISCOVERY+. #ARPU was down 8% from January though, at $4.73 /month. While I think the ESPN+ tech, features and interface are pretty terrible… this has turned into a nice little business for what it is.
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ALSO IN MEDIA
SLATE picks former HUFFPO editor in chief Hillary Frey as their new Editor-In-Chief. /NY Times
TIKTOK is coming for E-comm business. They’re making a dent in stealing marketshare from the AMAZON of CHINA, ALIBABA, and expect $240 Billion of E-comm biz to happen on the platform this year there. /The Information
No US plans specifically, but they are launching efforts in the UK and Asia-Pacific region this year.
WBD makes deal in UK / IRE to merge BT SPORT service with their EUROSPORT UK service. Will have some PREMIERE LEAGUE rights, CHAMPIONS LEAGUE, The OLYMPICS, UFC, PREMIERE RUGBY and some other items. There are caveats in the deal for BT to request WBD pay them to buy out their stake over the course of the deal. /Deadline
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
DISH -20% ($17.46) Their “Investors Day” presentation… did not go well
AMC THEATERS -12% ($10.37)
ALTICE -12% ($8.77)
LIONSGATE -10% ($11.15)
SPOTIFY -7% ($91.94)
NETFLIX -6% ($166.37)
ROKU -6% ($78.72)
CINEWORLD (REGAL Cinemas) -5% ($0.31)
APPLE -5% ($146.50)
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👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
HBOMAX “Hacks” Season 2 - STREAM HERE
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
APPLE TV+ “Physical” Season 2 trailer - Premieres Fri June 3
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
New SIGRID “A Driver Saved My Night” - Just a fun dance-ish tune to work out to or spin to after reading a longer than normal newsletter.
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