VIACOM hits 42.5 mil paid streaming user total, PAR+ sets SKY partnership
APPLE buys $200 mil (ish) spy movie / ROKU viewing hours decrease 5% / Tim McGraw & Faith Hill starring in YELLOWSTONE prequel
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on THURSDAY Aug 5, 2021.
Where NETFLIX extended its “Zone A” TV & Movie set vaxx policy to… their offices, requiring all employees who come to NETFLIX offices, as well as all visitors to be vaxx’d. Offices are open for those who want to come in, but no mandatory policy lies on the horizon despite CEO Reed Hasting’s stated belief last year that working from home is a “pure negative”.
ALSO: VIACOM officially postponed a return to offices until October 18. Employees who currently are coming into offices need to be vaxxd, and they’re currently considering mandating it for all come mid-October as well. /Deadline
AND: The NY Auto Show decided to cancel it’s annual planned Javitz Center extravaganza later this month…
BUT: Broadway had its first play performance in 17 months yesterday, with a packed house for “Pass Over” at the August Wilson Theater.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
APPLE TV+ spends about $200 Million for next movie from “X-Men: First Class” & “Kingsmen” director Matthew Vaughn
It’s called “Argylle”, centers on the world’s greatest spy (or at least according to his coffee mug) as he embarks on a globetrotting adventure. Hope is it turns into a franchise, and book source material is coming out next year. And - I’m personally keeping 🤞 for a De’voreaux White cameo. #DieHardDeepCut
Cast already lined up - Henry Cavill, Sam Rockwell, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, John Cena and Sam Jackson. /Deadline
ALSO IN MOVIES
LIONSGATE adds Mike Colter (“Luke Cage”) to Gerard Butler’s next action pic “The Plane”, about a pilot who has to crash land a small plane on an island where he and the passengers are met by a Welcoming Committee that could use some work on the hospitality. /THR
APPLE TV+ premiering taped, live theater performance of “Come From Away” on Friday, Sept 10, the weekend of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. /THR
📺 THE TV SET
PARAMOUNT+ sets Tim McGraw & Faith Hill as leads of their “Yellowstone” prequel, “1883”
“Yellowstone” creator Taylor Sheridan also created this show, which centers on the Dutton family as they make their way out West to Montana across the Great Plains. Sam Elliot also signed on as a series lead.
Will begin shooting before the end of the year. /Variety
New “Jeopardy!” host looks to be the show’s Exec Producer, Mike Richards
He’s reportedly in “advanced negotiations” after his stint earlier this Summer as one of the guest hosts.
He hosted a couple of GAME SHOW NETWORK shows over the years, and back in the day he was the co-host of TheCW uh… classics 🤷♂️ “Beauty and the Geek” and “High School Reunion”. /Variety
HBOMAX passes on JJ Abrams’s “Overlook”, a spinoff of “The Shining” - now being shopped elsewhere
Elsewhere meaning NETFLIX of course, although sounds like there’s a lot of interest un-suprisingly.
The project was greenlit under the Kevin Reilly HBOMAX tenure, and if JJ’s BAD ROBOT doesn’t find another home for the show, HBOMAX will have to write them a big check 💰💰. /THR
ALSO IN TV
HBOMAX adds Leslie Jones and Nat Faxon to their 1800’s pirate comedy “Our Flad Means Death”, loosely based on a real-life aristocrat played by Rhys Darby who leaves it all behind to become a pirate, and Taika Waitit plays “Blackbeard”. /Variety
OLYMPICS ratings still trailing 2016 Games for NBC by 40 to 50%. Return of Simone Biles didn’t provide too much of a bump on Tuesday in linear ratings, drawing just under 15 Million. Still no PEACOCK or website streaming data available. /Deadline
FOX buys Gordon Ramsay’s TV business, creating new production outfit STUDIO RAMSAY GLOBAL. Will produce Food & Lifestyle unscripted programming for FOX and TUBI, as well as “other platforms”. /THR
ADULT SWIM renews “Tuca & Bertie” Tiffany Haddish & Ali Wong animated series for Season 3. /Variety
APPLE renews “Physical” for Season 2. /Variety
But cancels the dramedy “Little Voice” after Season 1. Sara Bareilles did original music for the series, JJ Abrams was an Exec Producer. /Deadline
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
(get ready for busy day. Or just scroll down to the SHE’S ALL THAT remake trailer. or the STAR WARS Hotel trailer. No that’s not a joke)
PARAMOUNT+ sets distribution partnershp with COMCAST’s SKY
And VIACOM adds 6.5 total million streaming customers in 2Q - couldn’t decide which one to put in the headline. So - off to Europe first.
PARAMOUNT+ will be added free for subscribers to SKY’s movie channel bundle package, SKY CINEMA in SKY’s major European country footprint (UK, Germany, Italy, etc) in 2022 TBD. I think SKY CINEMA runs around $12/month? But I couldn’t find a handily available subscriber number for it 🧐
PAR+ will also roll out in those European countries overall in 2022 as well… schedule and price TBD.
But… VIACOM still not revealing how many subscribers PARAMOUNT+ has specifically
Main stat is 6.5 Million new paid streaming subscribers “led by PAR+”, to hit 42.5 Million. They added 6 Million in Q1 so overall momentum is continuing.
BUT: This 42.5 Million total includes PAR+ (both ad-supported and ad-free) global subscribers, SHOWTIME subscribers, and BET+ subscribers. Nothing is broken out between services… or between US and International… so take that as you will.
All of these subscription services have very different price points and business models so “a subscriber” is not equal across all of VIACOM, and no ARPU numbers given.
They did say that ad revenue from streaming is up 100% from this time last year, although that was back when PAR+ was CBS ALL ACCESS, and that also includes things like CBSN and… PLUTO. So yeah… not a lot of specifics here. Kinda makes that “54 Million signups” info at PEACOCK look like a helpful number.
PLUTO, their free, ad-supported streaming service hit 52 Million Monthly Active Users / MAUs globally, that’s up 2 million since April. Will hit $1 Billion of revenue by end of 2021. VIACOM bought it for $340 million about 2.5 years ago 👍👍
Again main 2nd place competitor TUBI didn’t reveal new MAU numbers yesterday, and AMAZON’s IMDBTV… well good luck there 🙇♂️.
BIG VIACOM PICTURE: Revenue for the company hit $6.5 Billion in the quarter, that’s lower than YOUTUBE ($7 Bil), NETFLIX ($7.3 Bil) and NBCU (about $8 Bil) for reference, but +8% from this time last year.
HBOMAX ad-supported version launches branded content studio “House of MAX”
Will launch in Q4 to produce marketing content for advertisers that incorporates HBOMAX IP and Talent to run on the streaming service. So if you’ve had an idea for decades about using Paulie Walnuts as your pitchman… your ship has come in 💪.
Will additionally work with brands to create ad content that “presents” certain shows with limited / no ad breaks, and da House will also “develop creative” for brands in WARNER MEDIA family (TBS, TNT etc).
WARNER MEDIA SVP of Entertainment Marketing solutions Maureen Polo will lead the deal side, and SVP of Creative Elaine Andrade will lead… uh well the creative naturally #Reporting. /NextTV
ROKU user growth slows to 1.5 Million in 2nd Qtr, but revenue grew 81% from last year
New ROKU user base is 55 Million, but the 1.5 Million user adds was the lowest in at least the past couple of years.
Ad revenue continues to boom though, with total revenue hitting $645 Million. (or about 8% of what NETFLIX made in the quarter as a reference). Avg Revenue Per User (ARPU) up $4 to $36.46.
But the big number Wall Street didnt like was that total streaming hours dropped by 5% vs the 1st quarter. That’s the first time that number has dropped in a quarter in at least the past 5 years. Stock was down over 8.5% in after hours trading last night. /Roku Earnings Report
VIZIO hits 14 million active accounts for streaming via their Smart TV’s
Up 600k in the 2nd Quarter. So, their SMARTCAST service (the area where people stream TV apps on VIZIO TV’s) is now about 25% of ROKU’s userbase size.
But VIZIO SMARTCAST is likely somewhat close to APPLE TV’s streaming box userbase size.
In terms of hours watched, VIZIO only streams about 20% the amount of actual TV viewing that ROKU does in a month.
VIZIO is still the #3 TV brand in the US behind SAMSUNG and LG. /Deadline
But the amount of Ad revenue VIZIO makes from those 14 million SMARTCAST users is up 90% from this time last year, and +15% just from April, hitting $16.76 Avg Revenue Per User.
ALSO IN MEDIA
Louis CK returning for 30 city US comedy tour starting Aug 13 in NYC. /THR
HBOMAX makes its upcoming podcast “Batman: The Audio Adventures” their first exclusive podcast on the streaming service. Jeffrey Wright is voicing “Batman”, Rosario Dawson is “Catwoman”, John Leguizamo is “The Riddler”. Some other details on HBOMAX’s recent expansions in podcasting (of the non-exclusive variety) are in the link for the inclined. /Variety
TIKTOK testing a SNAP / IG Stories-like function, as all social media platforms continue their momentum to becoming one giant Rat King. And yes, I’m watching “30 Rock” reruns again #DennisRules. /TheVerge
EROS STX, the Indian / Bollywood parent company of STX FILMS, has 18% stock drop after announcing it’s in the process of trying to restructure debt… but cannot assure investors that it will be able to do so (not a great sign).
Also said it has to delay its fiscal report for the year because they’re reviewing internal accounting practices (also not great).
It also receiving inquries about deals for STX’s 42 film library, but didn’t clarify what those were. The stock is now trading below $1 a share. /Deadline
FACEBOOK’s former head of… essentially their entire ad business, Carolyn Everson is now the new CEO of INSTACART. Many in the Ad world are on the record that FB made a mistake when she was passed over for a promotion / she left earlier this year. /Ad Age
NBCU putting NOTRE DAME FOOTBALL home opening game exclusively on PEACOCK PREMIUM on Sat Sept 11. /YahooSports
FOX doesn’t offer any TUBI Monthly Avg User updates, only says they don’t plan on making any major original programming investments in the free streaming service.
At FOX Networks, ad revenue had impressive percentage gains vs this time last year… but given that was the depth of the ad-freeze in the pandemic… not really worth noting. /THR
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
NY TIMES +7.5% as Wall Street liked the increased ad revenue and profitability… and chose not to focus on the low main-news product subscriber adds.
SNAPCHAT up about 5%. Just havin a nice Wednesday
AMC THEATERS -11%. CINEMARK & CINEWORLD (Regal Theaters) also down 5 to 6%. Oh right… covid
👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
FOX NFL Pre-season kickoff Steelers v Cowboys Hall of Fame game at 8pm
PEACOCK “Hart to Heart” - Kev Hart has chats with famous folks over wine… from Kev’s winery. Takes BYO to a new level. Watch or Add to your List here.
LIONSGATE and NEWS CORP announce earnings late afternoon.
If you were sent this newsletter or… just kinda found it:
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
DISNEY “Star Wars” Galactic Starcruiser Hotel trailer. A Trailer. For a Hotel. Well this is certainly a… groundbreaking moment for the newsletter? But - if you ever wanted to spend $6,000 for 2 nights in a hotel with your family at Walt Disney World… the floor is yours. Likely because no one else can afford a room on it. Naturally it’s Bring Your Own Pool. Seriously - there’s no pool. Opens Spring 2022.
FX “Impeachment: American Crime Story” teaser. Really intriguing work from FX as per usual - story of the Clinton-Lewinsky affair, Premieres Tue Sept 7.
APPLE TV+ “Truth Be Told” Season 2 trailer. Premieres Fri Aug 20.
NETFLIX “Kate” trailer. Mary Elizabeth Winstead as an assassin who is poisoned on a gig, leaving her with 24 hours to live and… surprisingly she’s totally fine with it. Oh no wait - she knocks off a lotta Yakuza members as revenge / tries to figure out what’s up. Woody Harrelson co-stars as her handler guy. Premeires Fri September 10, also in “select theaters” on the same day…
NETFLIX “He’s All That” trailer. TIKTOK’er Addison Rae takes the Freddie Prinze Jr role, and Rachel Leigh Cook takes… the mom role in this role-reversal of the 1999 Millenial classic. If you need a refresher on the plot - good news: this trailer packs a lot of it in here…. as well as hard-core abs on misunderstood loners. Premieres Fri Aug 27
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
New LUKE HEMMINGS - “Motion”. New solo single with sleek summer vibes from the 5SOS singer - kinda Harry Styles-ish but with a Cali falsetto? Diggin this one tho.
If you need new tunes:
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Great write up!!!