NETFLIX US growth mostly flat, adds 4.3 Million Int'l subs in 3Q
COMCAST enters Smart TV business / OZARK sets finale / FACEBOOK about to rebrand parent company
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY October 20, 2021.
Where I’m not one for reviews here really but will say I caught the premiere of “Queens” on ABC last night as I started writing and really enjoyed it! Especially as someone who came of age in the 90’s. EVE was a particular stand out for sure 👏 .
Now - if we can just get a “Girls5Eva” crossover episode… I mean isn’t this what the Metaverse is all about, or am I totally not getting it?
SPEAKING OF WHICH: FACEBOOK is reportedly going to rebrand the name of its parent company by next week. Said TBD holding company would then house subsidiary companies INSTAGRAM, WHATS APP, OCULUS, etc and of course FACEBOOK. Kinda how GOOGLE became ALPHABET, and GOOGLE was then a division of ALPHABET alongside YOUTUBE etc. Place your bets on a “Metaverse” themed name now…
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
Young British soldier returns from Afghanistan suffering from PTSD, and heads to the Amazon with ideas of killing himself. But instead he finds a reason to live while taking care of an injured baby ocelot wildcat.
Produced by 30 WEST, who also did “Tiger King” and the “Fyre” music fest docu. Movie currently in post-production. /Deadline
ALSO IN MOVIES
DEADLINE has more detailed IATSE - AMPTP deal particulars here for the inclined. Including an “up to 30%” pay rate increase for crews on many streaming productions. Full deal to be sent to IATSE union members this weekend for ratification process.
LIONSGATE takes North American distro rights to Morgan Freeman, Frank Grillo, Juliette Binoche pic “Paradise Highway”. Binoche plays a truck driver forced to smuggle illicit cargo to save her brother (Grillo) from a deadly prison gang. Turns out the cargo is a teen girl. Freeman is the FBI Agent on the case. No price revealed. /Deadline
📺 THE TV SET
Not sure how one would celebrate a show like this with a party… but you have 3 months to figure it out. Here’s a 1 minute date announcement tease spot they dropped with it. /Variety
APPLE TV+ sets Meryl Streep, Kit Harrington, Sienna Miller and David Schwimmer for climate change anthology series
Called “Extrapolations”, it’s from “Contagion” screenwriter Scott Z. Burns - 8 episodes telling interconnected stories related to how climate change will affect love, faith, work and family.
Currently shooting, former HBO Programming exec Michael Ellenberg’s MEDIA RES producing. /THR
Colin Woodell from “The Purge” series on USA is the lead, playing the younger version of the Ian McShane character from the movies, and other casting choices are in the link for the inclined. Mel Gibson already cast as a lead of course. This spinoff is set in 1975.
The next “John Wick” movie is set for release in May with Keanu, so this will follow that. /THR
ALSO IN TV
Uma Thurman playing Arianna Huffington in SHOWTIME show about UBER, “Super Pumped” (the company featured will change each season). Arianna was one of the original UBER board members. /Variety
HBOMAX & CNN doing docu on Carole King & James Taylor. Famed movie producer turned music docu director Frank Marshall (the HBO “Bee Gees” docu) will direct the pic centered on the King/Taylor 2010 world tour. Will air on CNN, and stream on HBOMAX… sorry CNN+. /Variety
FOX’s TUBI picks up 8 episode Animated stoner-comedy series “The Freak Brothers”, voiced by Pete Davidson, Woody Harrelson, John Goodman and Tiffany Haddish. First 2 eps premiere Sun Nov 14. /Variety
NETFLIX picks up Freida Pinto-led series “The Henna Artist”. She plays the titular character in 1950’s INDIA, who gains access to the secrets of wealthy women in newly-independent India, but her status is threatened by past secrets. /Variety
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
(if you’re not here for #MediaNerd 🤓 talk… there’s an appropriately great trailer for “The Great” Season 2 to scroll down to 👍)
Pretty much all from Asia Pacific (2.2 Million) and Europe & Africa (1.8 Million) regions.
US & Canada - basically flat at 74 Million (+70k in 3Q, after losing over 400k in 2Q).
BUT - Avg Revenue Per User #ARPU keeps growing in all global regions, up almost 10% vs 3Q last year in most regions.
AND: They’re projecting 8.5 Million subscriber adds in 4Q, which would result in well over 2X the NETFLIX subscriber adds in the 2nd half of 2021 vs. the 1st.
HOWEVER - NETFLIX’s total Revenue Growth rate vs. 3Q last year was the lowest rate in NETFLIX’s modern history. Their $7.48 Billion of revenue from July thru September is still +16% over that time period last year, but this rate has been well in the +20s to +30s every quarter for the past several years. So, it’s decidedly slowing.
And numbers of accounts that watched at least 2 minutes of the following in their first 4 weeks on the service:
“Squid Game” on track to be started by 142 Million accounts (or 66% of all NETFLIX subscribers)
“Money Heist” season 5, part 1: 69 Million
“Sweet Girl” (Jason Momoa movie): 68 Million
“Maid” series: 67 Million (estimated - only been up for 19 days so far)
“Kissing Booth 3”: 59 Million
“Sex Education” season 3: 55 Million
NETFLIX is changing its reporting metric from # of accounts that started watching something to overall hours viewed
They will no longer reveal how many accounts started watching 2 minutes of a new show or a movie in the first 28 days, and will instead say how many overall hours that something was watched.
So if someone watched say, the latest “Kissing Booth” movie 10x in the first month… that may kinda skew how popular something is if you judge “popularity” mainly by the old fashioned metric of ya know - the number of people who chose to watch it.
But hey as we all know, every TV Series and Movie has the same length, so it definitely makes comparing the popularity of all programming this way a valid metric.
This move is also being positioned as a move to better line-up with how NIELSEN reports its streaming numbers, since we all know how much people love NIELSEN. /THR
So… NETFLIX went from reporting:
Accounts that watched 70% of a Movie or TV series episode to…
Accounts that watched 2 minutes of a Movie or TV series to…
How many total hours something was watched… with no info on # of accounts that chose to watch it.
All due respect to NETFLIX, this cutesy stuff is getting tired. Just reveal meaningful info, or don’t. Also - releasing total hours watched doesn’t mean you have to stop reporting # of accounts who started to watch something. Or the 70% metric for that matter. The notion of “hey we can only tell you one thing” is a construct with no rationale.
A key tenet of NETFLIX’s success has always been it’s direct simplicity - from it’s business model, to subscriber reporting, and the product itself - frankly it’s the gold standard in streaming for these categories.
Why they keep making moves away from this simplicity and “radical transparency” in regards to reporting viewership numbers, and are now choosing to defer to an inferior “industry standard”, while also spinning it as “Revealing More Viewership Data” (the actual VARIETY headline on this)… is both baffling and troubling.
Not to mention, it makes a mockery of what’s been reported as “most popular” for the past few years, as evidenced by the changes in these charts. Charts that both could still easily be reported going forward btw.
Gotta say tho - the #4 rank of the“Sex/Life” series in “accounts that watched it” chart… and it’s disappearance on the “hours viewed” chart certainly tracks given my years at HBO / CINEMAX.
ALSO: Co-CEO Ted Sarandos admits he “screwed up” with his memos to employees on the Chappelle special, but still stands by his decision. THR has a full Q&A with Ted in the link for the inclined.
AND: The company faces a walkout by perhaps as many as 1,000 employees today over the matter.
Will run on their XFINITY OS, the first time it’s being offered outside the COMCAST footprint, and to non-subscribers of COMCAST cable TV & internet services. Will also of course push PEACOCK: TV’s come with a free year of the ad-supported version ($60 value).
Now puts COMCAST in competition with AMAZON’s new FIRE TV’s, and long established ROKU TVs and VIZIO’s as well.
Although at $300 for a 43”, and $350 for a 50” COMCAST TV… good luck to anyone trying to sell an HDTV at a profit these days. /Variety
ALSO IN MEDIA
TIKTOK releases first talent “Discover” list, featuring leading creators having the most impact across categories, just 2 of which remotely make any sense to me: Innovators, Foodies, Change makers, Icons, and Originators. /THR
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
Relatively quiet day in Media Stocks.
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
NETFLIX “Found” - Docu about 3 women who were babies adopted from China, who find out they’re cousins via 23andMe testing, and embark back to China to find answers. Stream or Add to Your List here
HBO “Four Hours at the Capitol” - Docu about January 6th, Premieres at 9p
If you were sent this newsletter or… just kinda found it:
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
HULU “The Great” Season 2 trailer. This looks really good! Dialogue is as sharp as you’d hope it would be to follow up Season 1. Premieres Fri Nov 19.
AMAZON PRIME “Being the Ricardos” teaser trailer. A week in the life of Lucy & Desi with Nicole Kidman & Javier Bardem (even though we don’t get a clear moment of Nicole in this spot). Written & Directed by Aaron Sorkin. In theaters Fri Dec 10, on PRIME Tue Dec 21.
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
JASON ISBELL AND THE 400 UNIT dropped an album of classic Southern music covers that he promised to do if GEORGIA went Democratic in the election. It’s called “Georgia Blue” and here’s the take on “Midnight Train to Georgia”
If you need new tunes:
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