Tag Archives: Netflix

Netflix Says “Game On”

Evidently, this month had gotten away from me –at least in term of blog updates– so this is most definitely old news, but remember how I noted that Netflix was getting into podcasts?

Well, apparently they’re getting into video games as well.

Shall we play a Netflix game? (Photo: the 1983 film WarGames)

Per the Vox/Recode article, they’re looking to start with games based on their existing properties (e.g. Stranger Things) and their hire of a former Oculus executive may bode a move towards virtual reality and interactive media (mainly my non-groundbreaking speculation, not the article’s assertion).

Meanwhile, not just a few people are wondering about this move into video games. This is an area where I’m not ready to speculate, but I am very interested in what happens next.

Do You Hear What Netflix Hears?

The podcast hills may soon be alive with the sound of Netflix. That’s what I’m gleaning from this Bloomberg article about the new Netflix executive in charge of podcasts.

N’Jeri Eaton (photo via Netflix)

N’Jeri Eaton comes to Netflix by way of Apple and NPR. An award-winning storyteller, she has roots in documentary filmmaking, something near and dear to many a DC filmmaker.

While that’s all cool, the big surprise from the article for me was that not only that Netflix has a number of podcasts already –many being deeper dives into their TV shows and films– but that they are building up publishing and social media presences. That growth as an overall media company is, I suppose, something one might expect, but I confess to still thinking of Netflix as the streaming enfant terrible vs. “another media conglomerate.”

I’m also, for obvious reasons, wondering if they’re going to start making moves into original audio fiction.

James Bond Will Return… With Free Shipping

Last week, I mentioned the big news that was AT&T’s retreat from WarnerMedia (still to be approved). And, as many people have noticed, media consolidation continues apace.

This week’s revelation? Amazon is looking to buy MGM.

“Do you expect me to talk, Goldfinger?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to increase our market share!”

Now, since MGM has been trying to sell itself for a while, this may not come as a surprise, but what this means for consolidation… well, who knows?

Disney+ has added a lot of subscribers

I guess this is turning out to be the week that my eye keeps catching articles about streaming services, given Monday’s post.

Yesterday, Peter Kafka over in Vox mentions how Disney+ now has over 28 million subscribers. While that’s nothing compared to Netflix’s well-above 160 million subscribers, it is impressive on top of its already impressive debut in November with 10 million subscribers. It also makes Disney’s stated goal to get to 60-90 million subscribers by 2024 very doable.

In fact, I won’t be surprised if they get over 40 million before the end of the year as they appear all ready to entice additional viewers with the upcoming Marvel shows starting in August — and then there’s the return of the Mandalorian in October.

I’ve searched for a succinct chart that lists the various streaming services, their last reported subscriber numbers, and their/analysts’ projections. I haven’t found anything yet, but a CNBC piece highlighted Disney+ and its debut subscribers and reporter Alex Sherman did provide some numbers of other services for comparison.

If there’s a “FiveThirtyEight” style chart out there, definitely let me know.

Netflix and a “Less is More” Strategy

I know I’m not the only one who’s noticed how much content seems to be slipping away from Netflix as more and more companies take their metaphorical Matchbox cars and go home. And by “home,” I mean “create their own streaming service.”

Rani Molla, writing in Vox, goes into how Netflix is trying to do more with less content, including more subscribers and more awards.

The article itself covers a number of topics, including how –two years after I was reading about it– Netflix really has succeeded in getting more of its content to be homemade.

I mean, I understand they want to have some legitimacy, prestige, and a glowing reputation. I just want it to have over 10,000 titles. And, by gum, I want it to be an online streaming archive akin to the old Leonard Maltin Movie Guides. How about that, Turner Classic Movies (TCM)? How about you work on curating all that awesome content you do and just let Netflix distribute it. Change money as makes sense.

What’s that you say? TCM is part of Warner Brotheres which is part of AT&T and that’s doing it’s own streaming service so there’s no chance in Hell or Gotham that might idea of Netflix-as-distributor will come to pass?

Rats.

Clash of the Streaming Titans, Revisited

Just about a year ago, I was musing about the future of streaming TV –which seems to pretty much be “the future of TV”– and well…

Things have gotten a lot more complicated.

Content to be the Content Gorilla, Disney is poised to unleash its streaming juggernaut this Fall, basically giving us the Vault in on-demand form. All those lovely Disney properties on Netflix, of which there are many, will be gone too soon.

Meanwhile, AT&T, still digesting its acquisition of Time Warner, is planning its own streaming service. And it too is planning to pull its goodies from Netflix and elsewhere.

Something tells me things will get messy.

A Titan Against a Titan (aka Netflix and Amazon square off about streaming TV)

Regular readers of this blog may recall that I often post about both the future of TV and Netflix in particular. So of course I was interested in Daniel D’Addario’s piece in Variety about both Netflix and Amazon pitching their visions of streaming futures at the TCA press tour.

Enjoy the speculation.

I guess in this context, “the Eye” is CBS All Access.

Increasingly, Netflix Prefers Its Shows Homemade

Netflix is spending billions of dollars each year on content, so –love ’em or hate ’em– it’s usually good to know what they’re up to.

Adam Levy, over at the Motley Fool, has a piece that goes over Netflix’s drive to spend billions in creating original content is actually trying to save money in the long run (even if Fools don’t think Netflix is going to be truly “50% originals” as sometimes reported).

For indie filmmakers, definitely check out the last paragraph relating to I.P.

The Future of Netflix in the Fall of 2017

Note: This remains one of my more popular posts on the site, so if you’re here because you too are pondering about the future of TV, I’ve done several posts since this one under the unsurprising tag “Future TV.”

Last night, CBS made its play to remain relevant in the streaming sphere by using Star Trek: Discovery as a carrot for viewers to sign up for its CBS All Access service (which has actually been around for three years).

It’d be unfair to ask any one show to sell a streaming service, but of course that’s some of what HBO Go has done with Game of Thrones and Hulu has done more recently with Handmaid’s Tale. When Netflix was first getting into the original content game in a big way, it could be said they did that with House of Cards.

Netflix has spent so much on original content now that the shows added are benefitting from being on Netflix. Ironically, outside of the U.S. and Canada, Star Trek: Discovery benefits from being another hot, new show on Netflix: the streaming service helps sell the show.

But this doesn’t mean Netflix isn’t dealing with struggles. In fact, it’s planning to up its spending on content with the looming 2019 departure of evergreen Disney content from its service. And it hasn’t backed down from trying to get A-list names to create that content, what with this summer’s announcement that the powerhouse writer-producer Shonda Rhimes has decided to move to Netflix.

David Sims explores Rhimes’ reasoning in an article for The Atlantic. There’s creative freedom and less of a workload with Netflix series, which usually doesn’t top 13 episodes for a season while broadcast usually remains around 22 or 24 episodes. That is, as project managers like to say, a non-trivial amount. And Netflix is clearly hoping to copy something of brand management with its luring of creative talent to helm projects — since it doesn’t own copious IP like Disney.

Hollywood hand-wringing about what nightmares may come is explored further by Todd VanDerWerff in a piece in Vox, which also details the challenges the streaming services like Amazon and Netflix are having. Cancellations are now possible and debt is mounting. Nevertheless, does anyone really think we’ll go back to broadcast or even a streaming replica of it?

One of the biggest fears I hear voiced is that various streaming services will present the worst possible version of a la carte pricing — long the dream of consumers dissatisfied with bloated cable bundles full of channels they didn’t use. If CBS All Access succeeds, who else will follow suit? True, NBC is linked to Comcast and ABC is linked to Disney, but will new, more labyrinthine bundles appear de facto? For example, will Disney apportion streaming services for ABC and ESPN and Disney and, perhaps have a Marvel channel and Star Wars channel? How many nickels and dimes will come into play?

In the next two years, I think we’ll get a whole new idea of how “channels” and “networks” and “streaming services” are defined — and most of the definition will come from the media corporations eyeing profit over service or convenience. I’d love for their to be 21st century aggregators curating content, but so many of the players want as close to complete vertical integration that I don’t know if that kind of consumer-centric model will be allowed. And in fairness, I’m not sure consumers agree on a model beyond “I want to watch what I want to watch when I want to watch it,” which will likely never work 100% of the time.

If readers have additional articles and analysis they want to share, I’m sure to be writing more about this in the months to come.

(BTW, for those wanting more on Star Trek: Discovery, here’s a review from Nerdist and a review with clearly marked spoilers from Vox. I liked it, flaws and all, and will be checking out episode 3 next week).

Conflict in a Cannes

Netflix, via its movie premieres at the celebrated Cannes Film Festival, has gotten a resounding, “Non!” (no) from the famously film-loving French. Well, at the very least there were boos.

Jordan Zakarin has a piece in Inverse from last Friday about how this really reflects on Hollywood more than Netflix. Essentially, Netflix is making a bet on films Hollywood no longer wants to (because they’re so enamored of franchises and tentpole films). Alissa Wilkinson has a piece in Vox from yesterday that explains the controversy in terms of competing film cultures… which also goes into how Netflix is filling a vacuum left by Hollywood.

I’ll be interested to see how this plays out, but as I noted back in February, when Netflix greenlit Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman, I’m pleased to see the how they’re trying to make ducats and lots of content by letting known talents make films the studios no longer deem bankable.