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DISCOVERY+ hits 20 Million subs, former DISNEY+ head Kevin Mayer to consult
NETFLIX launches mobile gaming on Android / NY TIMES has best Q3 digital growth ever / ZACK SNYDER sets lead for NETFLIX sci-fi pic
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY November 3, 2021.
Where congrats to the WORLD SERIES champion ATLANTA BRAVES who blanked the ASTROS 7-0 last night to win the series 4 games to 2.
Otherwise we’re back to a lot going on in the Media Business today, looking at new DISCOVERY+ #s, NY TIMES #s, a deeper look at PEACOCK $$ and…
BUT: Good news - MICROSOFT has also decided to build a Metaverse. 🙌 Hopefully it’s ZUNE friendly 🤞 or I’m gonna start looking really dumb for still holding on to mine.
AND: Kristen Stewart not only has a new movie this weekend #Spencer but also a new soon-to-be wife, screenwriter Dylan Meyer (the NETFLIX Amy Poehler movie “Moxie”) who recently proposed. The two have been together for about 2 years. Slainté! 🍻
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
Downey playing Lewis Strauss, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission who questioned Oppenheimer’s patriotism.
Damon playing Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves, director of the Manhattan Project during WWII. Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt of course already cast as Mr & Mrs Oppenheimer. /THR
Sofia was in “The Kingsmen” and “Atomic Blonde” - her IMDB is here. It’s about a colony at the edge of the galaxy who sends a young woman to find warriors from neighboring planets to help them fight invading armies.
Zack also co-wrote with his “Army of the Dead” co-writers. /Deadline
ALSO IN MOVIES
LIONSGATE gets highly sought after spec script from “X-Men” franchise leader Simon Kinberg. Jessica Chastain producing, Michael Showalter (“The Big Sick”, “Eyes of Tammy Faye”) directing. Called “Wayland”, an ensemble mystery thriller but not much known beyond that. Chastain co-stars in Kinberg’s directorial debut “The 355” at UNI in Jan. /Deadline
THE CHIPMUNKS are for sale - the Bagdasarian family is having talks to sell for a $300 Million-ish price tag, but no specific deals currently in motion. It’s not Roald Dahl money (NETFLIX’s $700 Mil) but now is definitely the time to take the 💵 for known IP. /CNBC
📺 THE TV SET
APPLE TV+ adds Matt Dillon, Bernadette Peters, Brad Garrett to Patricia Arquette comedy “High Desert”
Jay Roach (“Bombshell”, “Austin Powers”) directing all 8 episodes, about a former addict who starts over as a PI after her mother dies, and deals with a town of eccentric characters in Yucca Valley, CA. /THR
SNL Hosts for rest of November:
NOV 13: Jonathan Majors with TAYLOR SWIFT
NOV 20: Simu Liu with SAWEETIE
ALSO: ED SHEERAN also now cleared to perform this Saturday, finishing quarantine and no longer has an active covid case after testing positive for Covid last week.
ALSO IN TV
If you were sent this email or… just kinda found it:
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
#medianerd🤓 return alert
No word how many of those were US vs. International, both in regards to the growth, or the 20 Million total.
Or - how many are Ad-free vs. Ad-supported.
Or - Avg Revenue Per User #ARPU. So not a lotta info here but will update if any comes out in subsequent news today.
They’ve also hired former DISNEY+ (and briefly US TIKTOK) head Kevin Mayer as a consultant as they prepare to integrate WARNER MEDIA. Kevin is still also working on his new media company with Tom Staggs (HELLO SUNSHINE, etc). And still chairman of boxing/sports streaming service DAZN a competitor to DISCOVERY’s EUROSPORT in Europe.
In the linear US TV business, revenue increases seem to be coming mainly from increases in $$ paid by cable companies to carry their networks…
But cord-cutting continues to hurt the business: DISCOVERY Networks lost 4% of their subscribers / households vs. a year ago.
Otherwise they had a huge boom in International advertising (+28% vs a year ago), a combo of beating Covid lows last year, and having International rights in Europe for THE OLYMPICS this Summer.
320k were for the main news product, 135k across lower-cost Games, Cooking, and Wirecutter products.
Now has 8.3 Million paying subscription accounts (1 Million are overseas):
5.6 Million digital NYT news subs (+21% from a year ago)
795k print subs (-4% from a year ago)
1.9 Million other digital subscribers - Cooking, Games, etc (+38% from a year ago)
2020 was an advertising disaster so comps are tough, but compared to Q3 2019 - Ad revenue was down 2%, but subscription revenue is +28%.
Swung to a $49 Million profit in the quarter, as costs rose significantly - mainly increases in staff and audio & video production costs.
Includes 2 “Stranger Things” games, only avail to adult accounts (no kids/under parental controls). Will come to APPLE iOS version of the NETFLIX app “soon”. /THR
Renown industry analyst Rich Greenfield interprets NBCU CEO Jeff Shell’s “added a few more (million)” Q3 PEACOCK subscribers comment from the COMCAST earnings call to mean it has around 21.5 Million Monthly Active Accounts. So Rich then took the definitely officially stated PEACOCK $$ losses in Q3, did the math and there ya go.
NBCU stated a revenue target of $6 to $7 a month per PEACOCK user in 2024 when they launched it, so a lotta ground to make up.
Also most PEACOCK PREMIUM Active Accounts aren’t really paying for it, but rather get it for free as COMCAST & COX customers.
Greenfield advised investing a lot more $$ in Original Programming & Movie events to attract people who don’t get it for free, which… if you add up trades headlines, is a conclusion PEACOCK already came to about 5 or 6 months ago. /NextTV
COX being the 4th largest Cable + Broadband company in the country, based in Atlanta. No word on the size of their investment, only that it values the company at $430 Mil and they’re buying out stakes from investors in earlier rounds.
DC based AXIOS had previously been in talks for a sale or big investment with German media company AXEL SPRINGER (owner of INSIDER and MORNING BREW), but now… no.
AXIOS is targeting $85 Million in revenue for 2021, no figures released on profitability. /Axios
The main way you used this is when you uploaded a pic to FB, it would recognize/suggest who the people were in photos, and sounds like that will be no longer. Obviously I’m sure FB used it in many other ways we are not aware of as well.
FB said it’s deleting the info on 1 Billion accounts… although there are at least 2.9 Billlion accounts globally - and no explanation why the math isn’t adding up here.
Me reading between the lines: FB has already faced and lost costly privacy lawsuits on this, including a $650 Million one in ILLINOIS, and is likely doing this in regions where it thinks it might face more and doesn’t like it’s hand. Gotta think the EU, AUSTRALIA etc would or already are presenting similar problems.
So - don’t take this as the good will / ”we took a look at it and it’s for the better of society” gesture that FB is kinda spinning this as. /Quartz
ALSO IN MEDIA
US Justice Department sues to stop PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE from buying SIMON & SCHUSTER from VIACOM CBS for $2.1 Billion over anti-trust concerns that authors would have too few outlets to sell & compete for their projects. So the VIACOM earnings call just went up a notch tomorrow morning. 👍 /Variety
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
Relatively quiet day for Media Stocks. But not elsewhere.
Kudos if you owned AVIS stock, which popped up 110% yesterday 🤯 just on broad news that they’ll be adding electric cars to their fleet. Not even a signed deal to do so.
Or… ZILLOW which inexplicably just found out that flipping houses is a volatile business, and announced they’re closing that division and laying off 25% of employees. Z stock was down about 17% yesterday including after hours.
And… BED BATH AND BEYOND popped over 50% this morning on news that grocery chain KROGER would test some BBB pop-ups in their stores. 🤷♂️
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
NETFLIX ”The Harder They Fall” - A “modern” Western with Idris Elba, Regina King and Jonathan Majors, Jay-Z among the producers. Stream or Add to Your List here
Also ROKU announces earnings in late afternoon.
Writer and friend of mine who I’m pretty sure reads at least half of this email each day JOEL STEIN did a fun piece where he asked TV execs what he’s doing wrong when he pitches TV shows.
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
SONY / MARVEL “Morbius” trailer - In Theaters Fri Jan 28
HBOMAX “Station Eleven” teaser trailer - Post-apocalyptic limited series with multiple timelines across many years… before and after a devastating flu knocks out most of the world’s population. I mean if there’s a more proper way to close out 2021… Based on the best selling book, Premieres Thu Dec 16.
LIONSGATE “Moonfall” teaser #2 - Director Roland Emmerich destroys earth again, this time dragging the moon into it 🌚. In Theaters Fri Feb 4.
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
New CANNONS “Ruthless” - If you’re a “new age 1980s” music fan, this is for you.
If you need new tunes:
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