Parrot Analytics: Netflix Original Titles Accounted for 64.6% of Expressed Demand Globally in Q1

Netflix original digital titles accounted for 64.6% of expressed demand globally in the first quarter, according to the latest edition of The Global Television Demand Report from Parrot Analytics.

Each quarter, the report analyzes the global market share of the leading SVOD services, based on how much demand exists in each market for their original content offering over the last 24 months. Parrot Analytics operates the world’s largest TV content analytics dataset, enabling it to analyze demand for content in 100-plus territories around the world, for all content genres, across all TV platforms, according to the firm.

Covering 10 global markets, the latest report takes a look at SVOD market share trends, genre trends and the content demand distribution of selected digital originals in each market.

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Findings in Q1 revealed the audience demand for Netflix Originals compared to all digital original series in each market. Based on audience demand data for digital originals, Netflix’s market share in each market is:

– South Africa (67.9%)
– Hungary (67.4%)
– Russia (67.3%)
– Belgium (66.9%)
– Ireland (66.4%)
– United Kingdom (62.3%)
– United States (63.1%)
– Netherlands (62.9%)
– Japan (60%).

Domestically, Netflix’s “Stranger Things” was the most in demand digital original series in Q1, according to the report.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with research based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

‘Double Dragon’ and ‘The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog’ Racing to DVD From MVD

Two 1990s animated TV series based on Sega game franchises, “The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” and “Double Dragon: The Animated Series,” are coming to DVD Aug. 13  from MVD Entertainment Group and Invincible Entertainment.

“The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog” is coming in a six-disc set featuring all 65 episodes. In the series, Sonic the Hedgehog is on the run with his faithful sidekick Tails to outpace the despicable Dr. Robotnik, foiling his plans to “robotize” and enslave the population of Planet Mobius. Jaleel White (“Family Matters”) is the voice of Sonic the Hedgehog. The release comes in time for the bow of a Sonic the Hedgehog theatrical live action movie starring Jim Carrey and James Mardsen.

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The entire series of “Double Dragon” is coming to home video for the first time on three DVDs. In the animated series, a martial-arts master and his twin brother fight. Billy and Jimmy Lee are twins separated at birth and raised by opposing factions. Following the Code of the Dragon, “never to harm others intentionally and not fight if one can help it,” Billy trains to become the Dragon Master by his 18th birthday. Billy Joins forces with policewoman Marian Martin and together they fight to protect The City from the Shadow Warriors, a criminal organization led by the mysterious Shadow Master, who secretly instructs Jimmy Lee in the dark ways of the Black Flame. Can long-lost brothers reunite to become the legendary Double Dragon?

 

HBO Max Gets Streaming Rights to ‘Doctor Who’ Series in New Deal with BBC Studios

Pending streaming service HBO Max has secured the exclusive streaming rights to BBC’s longest-running global franchise, “Doctor Who.” All 11 seasons of the modern version of the British sci-fi hit drama will be available on WarnerMedia’s SVOD service at launch in spring 2020.

As part of HBO Max’s new long-term deal with BBC Studios, the streamer will also be the exclusive SVOD home for future seasons after they air on BBC America.

In addition to “Doctor Who,” HBO Max has licensed 700 episodes of iconic BBC series such as “The Office,” “Top Gear,” “Luther” and “The Honorable Woman.”

“‘Doctor Who’ is one of television’s all-time, most beloved series, on both sides of the pond, and we are happy to be the exclusive streaming stewards for this BBC gem” Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max and president, TNT, TBS, and truTV. “Another series to further define the high-quality content experience consumers can expect from HBO Max.”

“As any ‘Doctor Who’ fan knows, the iconic TARDIS [fictional time machine] is ‘bigger on the inside’ — and it’s a good thing because the TARDIS is about to welcome a whole new slew of fans coming to the show through this deal with HBO Max,” said Nigel Gaines, interim president, BBC Studios — Americas. “HBO Max’s ambitious content line-up is the perfect complement to the ‘Doctor Who’ global franchise, in addition to some of our most award-winning and game-changing U.K. dramas and comedies.”

“‘Doctor Who’ is a program like no other — an incredibly rich world of stories, packed with adventure, regeneration, heart (two actually) and hope. Our audience is incredibly dedicated and engaged, and we can’t wait to work with HBO Max to tell our stories from across all of time and space,” said Sally de St Croix, “Doctor Who” global franchise director.

The BBC deal also includes original British television mockumentary “The Office,” created, written and directed by Golden Globe and Emmy winners Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. The show follows the day-to-day lives of office employees of the fictional Wernham Hogg paper company. The deal includes two seasons and two specials.

Long running car show “Top Gear” featuring several seasons with original hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May plus the most recent casts including Matt LeBlanc, Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness and Freddie Flintoff. The deal includes multiple seasons.

British crime drama “Luther” stars Idris Elba as Detective John Luther working for the Serious Crime Unit who becomes consumed by the crimes he investigates. Created and written by Neil Cross, the series has received eleven Primetime Emmy Award nominations with Elba also receiving a Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Television Award, NAACP Image Award, and Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance.  Deal includes all five seasons.

Nine-part mini-series “The Honorable Woman” centers on Nessa Stein, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal, who inherits her father’s arms business and finds herself in an international maelstrom as she continues to promote the reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. It was created, written and directed by Hugo Blick.

The deal also includes new titles “Pure”, “Trigonometry”, “Stath Lets Flats”, “Home” and “Ghosts” which will all be available exclusively to HBO Max upon launch of the service.

All of these shows join HBO Max’s library, which is anticipated to boast 10,000 hours of programming at launch, including key licensed third-party programming and a rich array of content that brings the HBO service together with WarnerMedia’s portfolio of powerful brands: Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Hello Sunshine, Looney Tunes and more.

In addition to HBO Max’s vast selection of beloved library titles, the service will also feature the entire HBO library of hits including fan favorites “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” “Veep” and “Game of Thrones,” as well as previously announced acquisitions “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Pretty Little Liars” and all 236 episodes of“Friends.”

HBO Max will also be the exclusive out-of-season streaming home to a string of new Warner Bros. produced dramas for The CW, including the highly-anticipated new DC series “Batwoman” and “Katy Keene” (a spinoff of “Riverdale”). The streamer will also be home to the critically acclaimed DC series “Doom Patrol,” with the first-season available at launch and new episodes set to debut simultaneously on DC Universe and HBO Max.

The SVOD is also developing a strong originals slate with film and television projects geared toward all audience segments in the home.

Avengers: Endgame

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 8/13/19;
Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $857 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language.
Stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Paul Rudd, Brie Larson, Karen Gillan, Danai Gurira, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Pom Klementieff, Dave Bautista, Letitia Wright, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Evangeline Lilly, Tessa Thompson, Benedict Wong, Jon Favreau, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rene Russo, John Slattery, Tilda Swinton, Hayley Atwell, Natalie Portman, Marisa Tomei, Taika Waititi, Angela Bassett, Michael Douglass, Michelle Pfeiffer, William Hurt, Cobie Smulders, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Redford, Josh Brolin.

A satisfying ending is a beautiful thing.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe began as one of the boldest gambits in movie history: a comic book company financing its own movies, based on relatively unknown characters, with the hope of someday uniting them in a crossover.

While no one could have predicted that 2008’s Iron Man would be as big a hit as it was, the other early films of the MCU were much more modestly received, and it wasn’t until the first Avengers film in 2012, the sixth in the MCU canon, that the true potential of what they were trying to pull off came into focus.

With Avengers: Endgame, the 22nd film in the MCU, that effort has resulted in the highest-grossing film of all time worldwide. Say what you will about the corporate structure of Hollywood and the surging dominance of all things Disney, which owns Marvel, but the industry-shattering creative forces of producer Kevin Feige and his team simply have to be admired for their shear audicity.

Avengers: Endgame brings together just about every notable character to play a role in the previous 21 MCU films to close out a number of storylines that have been weaving through the films for 11 years.

Foremost among them was the aftermath of last year’s Avengers: Infinity War, which ended with one of the biggest cliffhangers in the history of cinema, as the villainous Thanos (Josh Brolin) assembled all six Infinity Stones and caused half of all life in the universe to disappear with a snap of his fingers.

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Like the best series finales, Endgame manages to capture the essential elements of what fans love most about these films, providing both a feeling of nostalgia and a sense of how far things progressed from the beginning to now, all while giving the characters a sense of closure that honors who they are and what they’ve fought for.

And yet, Endgame is not the end of the MCU. The currently in theaters Spider-Man: Far From Home provides a nice little epilogue to it, and Feige at Comic-Con showed off a roadmap of the MCU’s next phase. However, Endgame is certainly a well-earned conclusion for several chapters of it.

Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, and written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Avengers: Endgame is a testament to narrative efficiency despite its three-hour running length.

The Marvel movies have hit upon a winning formula of consistency, and Endgame is really no different. There are certain things the audience expects of it, but that’s not to say it approaches these goals in expected ways. The screenplay manages to defy expectations in its plot twists but remains true to the characters and provides a number of emotional payoffs that will particularly hit home for fans who have managed to follow the story arcs through all the films. This is simply a level of catharsis that stems from a 20-film journey that simply cannot be matched by most other cinematic achievements.

Endgame perfectly balances its sense of seriousness and tension with appropriate levels of humor and fun, resulting in a brisk pace that keeps the viewer eager to see what comes next. The film also warrants multiple viewings just to absorb the level of detail layered into the film.

The story is something of a love letter to the fans in the way it ingeniously re-visits some of the previous MCU films from a new perspective, deepening those films in small ways retroactively. Yet it wouldn’t be an “Avengers” film if it didn’t also culminate in what has to be the ultimate big-screen superhero battle.

The Russos have become masters of visual storytelling, which is a rather important quality to have when the goal is to adapt a comic book. Endgame is perhaps the biggest comic book movie ever made in terms of its scope, and the Russos are especially adept at framing their shots for maximum impact. It comes as no surprise that the film looks great on Blu-ray, with bright colors and sharp visual effects.

Another challenge brushed off with aplomb is balancing the sheer number of characters involved in a story of this magnitude, especially given the assemblage of performers of the magnitude the MCU has the clout to get. The closing credits of Endgame include the names of at least eight Oscar winners, and five of them appeared together in one of the film’s key scenes. Needless to say, the performances all around do not disappoint.

The film’s effectiveness is also given a huge boost by a phenomenal musical score by Alan Silvestri, who is perhaps the greatest living film composer who has yet to win an Oscar. Unlike Infinity War, in which the primary musical identities were Thanos and the Avengers as a group, Endgame revisits several character themes from the previous films, resulting in a deeply satisfying musical narrative. This approach only heightens the emotional connection between the audience and the characters, particularly when it comes to Captain America (unsurprising, since 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger was Silvestri’s first MCU effort).

These are details that, when combined, make it easy to overlook those parts of the film (and the MCU) in general that probably shouldn’t be thought about too much, and instead appreciate what the film has managed to accomplish.

The Blu-ray provides a great feature-length commentary from the Russos and the screenwriters as they reflect on their long MCU careers, analyze the various moving parts of the franchise, and provide some great insights on the making of the film and the challenges of cleanly telling a story that is complicated by its nature. The Russos also offer a short introduction to the film.

There are also 36 minutes of featurettes, many of which shine a light more on the history of the MCU and how things evolved into this particular film. There are spotlights on the story arcs of Captain America, Black Widow, Thor and Iron Man (the latter also including Robert Downey Jr.’s screen test for the role). The Russos and their impact on the MCU is the subject of another featurette.

There’s a vignette that celebrates the many female heroes of the MCU. Also, the disc includes a seven-minute tribute to Stan Lee and a look back at his many cameos in the MCU movies.

Other extras on the Blu-ray include a funny two-minute gag reel and six deleted scenes, which offer a mix of fun and poignancy, especially the ones that make light of perceived plot holes from earlier movies. The excised footage features unfinished visual effects and runs about five minutes.

Digital versions available at Movies Anywhere and many digital retailers, such as Vudu, offer these extras as well as a six-minute featurette about the relationship between Captain America and his true love, Peggy Carter.

Parks Associates: Average Standalone Pay-TV Service Revenue Per User Declined 10% from 2016 to 2018

Research from Parks Associates finds the average standalone pay-TV service average revenue per user declined 10% from 2016 to 2018, when consumer-reported monthly spending on pay TV declined from $84 to $76.

According to 360 View: Entertainment Services in the US, pricing pressure for consumer services is forcing increasing conflict in carriage negotiations, which in turn fuels the interest among providers in continued vertical and horizontal consolidation.

Self-reported expenditures on non-pay-TV home video entertainment also declined 30% per month over the past seven years, peaking at nearly $40 in 2014 to slightly over $20 at the end of 2018, according to the study. Spending on DVD and Blu-ray packaged media has steadily declined since 2012, while spending on movie theaters declined by 50% from 2014 to 2018. Spending on internet video is the only category to hold steady throughout the time frame, staying at $8-9 per month since 2014, showing the power of streaming and downloaded content from the internet.

“Traditional pay-TV providers (MVPDs) have faced continued subscriber losses due to increasing consumer choice from OTT services, so they are deploying skinny bundles and vMVPD services to create more choice among viewers,” said Elizabeth Parks, president, Parks Associates, in a statement. “For pay-TV service providers, traditional and online, they are exploring new areas in content ownership and development, and to be successful in these efforts, understanding consumer activity and motivation related to adoption and use of their services is critical.”

“Subscription online video is the only growth category for consumer-paid video entertainment beyond pay TV. Operators, struggling with declining ARPU for standalone pay-TV services, are anxious to leverage this trend,” said Brett Sappington, senior research director and principal analyst, Parks Associates, in a statement. “Operators are taking differing approaches. Some, including Comcast and DISH, are offering subscriptions to third-party OTT video services and are integrating them into their discovery interfaces. Partnering gives operators a chance to serve as content aggregator, a familiar position. Others, including AT&T and DISH, are expanding their competitive reach online and have introduced vMVPD services.”

Other highlights of the study include:

  • 20% of U.S. broadband households do not have a pay-TV services;
  • NPS for traditional pay-TV services is weaker than for other content service types;
  • in 2018, the average number of connected devices per broadband household, excluding smart home devices, reached 8.4;
  • and 12% of US broadband households eliminated pay-TV service (cut the cord) in 2018.

‘Alita: Battle Angel’ Fights to Top of Disc Sales Charts

The 20th Century Fox sci-fi actioner Alita: Battle Angel debuted at No. 1 on the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart the week ended July 27.

Based on a 1990s Japanese manga series, Alita earned $85.7 million at the domestic box office.

Lionsgate’s remake of Hellboy bowed at No. 2 on both charts. The film earned $21.9 million in U.S. theaters.

The previous week’s top seller, Warner’s Shazam!, dropped to No. 3 on both charts.

Fox’s faith-based Breakthrough slid to No. 4 on both charts.

Disney’s Captain Marvel maintained the No. 5 spot on both charts.

The animated movie Missing Link, from Fox, debuted at No. 6 after a $16.6 million haul at the domestic box office.

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Blu-ray Disc formats accounted for 82% of first-week sales for Alita. The 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc combo pack, which also included a 3D version of the film, comprised a whopping 30% of total Alita unit sales.

Hellboy had 68% of its sales come from Blu-ray, with 17% of its total sales from 4K UHD Blu-ray. Missing Link had 56% of its sales come from Blu-ray.

On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended July 28, Shazam! held onto the top spot for a second consecutive week.

Alita bowed at No. 2, with Hellboy at No. 3.

Breakthrough dropped to No. 4, while Paramount’s Pet Sematary remake slid to No. 5.

Top 20 Sellers for Week Ended 7-27-19
Top 20 Rentals for Week Ended 7-28-19
Top 20 Selling Blu-ray Discs for Week Ended 7-27-19
Top 20 Blu-ray Market Share for Week Ended 7-27-19
Sales Report for Week Ended 7-27-19
Digital Sales Snapshot for Week Ended 7-29-19

Networks Sue Online TV Service for Copyright Infringement

Major broadcasters Disney-owned ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC Universal have filed a lawsuit against an upstart online TV service offering free over-the-air digital TV service.

The suit — filed July 31 in U.S. District Court in New York — alleges Locast owner, New York-based non-profit advocacy group Sports Fans Coalition NY, violates broadcaster copyrights streaming content to users for free.

The suit is similar to 2013 litigation brought by studios against Aereo, the defunct OTT service that transmitted digital signals to subscribers via over-the-air antennas.

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The litigation also pits broadcasters against AT&T, which owns and operates WarnerMedia — although the telecom is not party to the lawsuit.

Aereo, unlike Locast, charged subscribers for access. The latter asks users for a $5 monthly donation. AT&T last month gave Locast a $500,000 donation.

“This donation will support SFCNY’s mission to make free broadcast content available to consumers and offer them more choice,” AT&T said in a statement.

Broadcast plaintiffs aren’t buying the charity.

“Locast is not a public service devoted to viewers whose reception is affected by tall buildings,” read the complaint. “Nor is Locast acting for the benefit of consumers who, according to Locast when promoting its purportedly free service, ‘pay too much.’ Locast is not the Robin Hood of television; instead, Locast’s founding, funding, and operations reveal its decidedly commercial purposes.”

Locast counters its service provides a free, public service retransmitting free over-the-air broadcasts permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976.

“We look forward to defending the claims — and the public’s right to receive transmissions broadcast over the airwaves — in the litigation,” Locast lawyer David Hosp told Consumer Reports.

Broadcasters disagree.

“Locast is simply Aereo 2.0, a business built on illegally using broadcaster content,” read the suit. “While it pretends to be a public service without any commercial purpose, Locast’s marketing and deep connections to AT&T and Dish make clear that it exists to serve its pay-TV patrons.”

Plaintiffs are seeking unspecified financial damages, including Locast’s profits, in addition to “maximum statutory” damages.

Drama ‘The Parting Glass’ Coming to Digital Sept. 10 From Sony

The family drama The Parting Glass will come out on digital Sept. 10 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In his feature film directorial debut, Stephen Moyer helms an emotional drama about an estranged family coming back together when the youngest sibling, Colleen (Anna Paquin), mysteriously dies. Left to sort through her belongings, Colleen’s father (Ed Asner), three siblings (Melissa Leo, Cynthia Nixon and Denis O’Hare), and ex-husband (Rhys Ifans) revisit their memories and make peace together.

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Inspired by autobiographical events, Denis O’Hare makes his feature screenplay debut.

TiVo Narrows Q2 Fiscal Loss

DVR pioneer TiVo is in the process of transitioning its hardware and intellectual property (i.e. patents) into separate operating businesses.

In the meantime, the current combined company continues to right its fiscal ship — narrowing the second-quarter (ended June 30) net loss nearly 54% to $9.54 million from a net loss of $20.5 million during the previous-year period.

Total revenue increased nearly 2% to $176.1 million from $172.8 million last year. Through the first six months of the fiscal year, TiVo revenue is down about 8% at $334.4 million from $362.6 million.

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The bulk of revenue comes from TiVo’s portfolio of IP patents enabling third-party pay-TV operators to offer subscribers on-demand content, video recording, content recommendation and related viewership data.

Indeed, TiVo said it has expanded its third-party advertising functionality to include promotions surrounding VOD movie transactions.

 

The company said promo campaigns deliver strong performance results, including an 81% increase in digital transactions for a Hollywood studio using the software over three weekends to promote a new movie title.

Licensing, services and software revenue increased 3% to $174.4 million, while hardware sales fell about 50% to $1.67 million.

CEO Dave Shull said TiVo remains on track to separate the businesses.

“Based on my experience with strategic transactions and operational transformations, we are making great progress on the separation of TiVo’s Product and IP Licensing businesses,” Shull said in a statement. “We remain on track to complete the separation in the first half of 2020.”

Verizon Widens Q2 Fios TV Sub Loss 37%

Verizon Aug. 1 disclosed it lost 52,000 Fios TV subscribers in the second quarter, ended June 30. That compared with a loss of 38,000 pay-TV subs in the previous-year period.

Through the first six months of the fiscal year, Verizon has shed 107,000 video subs, which is up 75% from a sub loss of 61,000 subs during the previous-year period.

The wireless carrier ended the period with 4.27 million Fios TV subs — down 217,000 subs since last year as consumers migrate to alternative distribution channels, including over-the-top video.

At the same time, Verizon saw high-speed Internet subscription growth declined 22% to 28,000 from growth of 36,000 last year. Through June 30, the carrier has 76,000 broadband subs – down 22% from the addition of 98,000 subs last year.

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Verizon ended the period with 5.83 million Fios Internet connections, which was up 3.1% from 5.66 million connections last year.

Separately, Verizon continues to promote 5G wireless network mobility.

The carrier July 31 rolled out 5G networks in Atlanta, Detroit, Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. The cities followed similar 5G functionality launches in Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Providence, R.I., and St. Paul, Minn.

“Verizon made history this quarter by becoming the first carrier in the world to launch 5G mobility,” CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement. “We are focused on optimizing our next-generation networks and enhancing the customer experience while we head into the second half of the year with great momentum.”