Comcast Adds Apple TV+ Streaming Service to Xfinity X1 Platform

Comcast has added the Apple TV+ subscription streaming video service to its broadband-based Xfinity X1 set-top platform. The addition now adds the $4.99 service to a platform that includes Peacock, YouTube, Hulu, Spotify, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3, Pandora, iHeartRadio and Prime Video.

As a result, Apple TV+, which launched a week ahead of Disney+ in 2019, will also be available on Comcast platforms Flex and Sky Glass, among others. Comcast said that the Xfinity Stream app will also be available on Apple devices. The app enables Xfinity subscribers to stream broadcast channels, cable channels, recorded programming and video-on-demand without the need of a set-top boxes.

“We’re working together with our partners to deliver the best apps and experiences on our platforms,” CEO Brian Roberts said on the earnings call. “And our teams are sharing capabilities and collaborating across the Company collectively drawing on our scale and leadership and broadband aggregation and streaming to innovate and profitably serve new and existing customers.”

Apple Services Q4 Revenue Up 26% to $18.3 Billion

Apple Oct. 28 reported fourth-quarter (ended Sept. 25) services revenue of $18.3 billion, up 26% from revenue of $14.5 billion during the previous-year period. Services revenue includes sales of movies and TV shows on iTunes, the App Store, Mac App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay, Apple TV+, Apple Arcade and Apple News+, among others.

For the fiscal year, services revenue spiked 27% to $68.4 billion, from $53.7 billion a year ago. Quarterly margins in the segment remained strong, generating almost 70% in gross income in the quarter, up slightly from 67% in the previous-year quarter.

Meanwhile, iPhone sales skyrocketed 47% to $38.8 billion, compared with $26.4 billion in the previous-year quarter — underscoring the appeal of the new iPhone 13 model. For the fiscal year, iPhone revenue reached $192 billion, up more than 39% from $137.7 billion a year ago.

Mac sales increased 2% to $9.2 billion, from $9 billion a year ago. Apple iPad revenue increased 21.5% to $8.2 billion, from $6.8 billion. Wearables and home accessories revenue rose 11.5% to $8.7 billion, from $7.8 billion.

The record September revenue of $83.4 billion, up 29% year-over-year, prompted CEO Tim Cook to look beyond the finances, focusing on Apple’s loftier goals.

“We are infusing our values into everything we make — moving closer to our 2030 goal of being carbon neutral up and down our supply chain and across the lifecycle of our products, and ever advancing our mission to build a more equitable future,” Cook said in a statement.

Amazon Q3 Online Sales, Prime Video Subscription Revenue Up

Amazon Oct. 28 reported third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) online sales of $49.9 billion, up 3% from online revenue of $48.3 billion during the previous-year period.

Online sales include myriad products, including both physical and digital books, music, videos (DVD, Blu-ray Disc), games and software. Product sales include digital content sold on a transactional basis.

Subscription services revenue increased 24% to $8.1 billion, from $6.5 billion. Subscriptions include annual and monthly fees associated with Prime memberships, as well as digital video, audiobooks, digital music, e-books and other non-AWS subscription services.

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Meanwhile, in the quarter, Prime Video released the Amazon Original movie Cinderella, starring Camila Cabello, which was the No. 1 streamed
movie across all films on streaming platforms during its opening weekend and the No. 1 streamed musical of the year.

The streaming platform announced that “The Lord of the Rings” series will premiere Sept. 2, 2022, on the streaming service, and an untitled spinoff will be produced for “The Boys” series.

In the fourth quarter, Amazon Original Movies The Tender Bar, starring Ben Affleck and directed by George Clooney, and Being the Ricardos, starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Aaron Sorkin, will release in theaters and follow on Prime Video.

Prime Video debuted 28 local originals internationally, including in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the U.K. Prime Video also launched Prime Video Channels for customers in India, giving Prime members the option for add-on subscriptions of over-the-top services, and the Prime Video Store in Brazil, giving customers the opportunity to rent or buy new movie releases.

Prime Video streamed its first-ever Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League soccer matches in Germany and Italy, and the first Ligue 1 soccer matches in France. In the United Kingdom, the U.S. Open final featuring 18-year-old rising star Emma Raducanu was the most-streamed tennis match in Prime Video history, following the
historic partnership with Channel 4 to share live broadcast rights.

Prime Video continued its move into live sports streaming with the NFL Thursday Night Football kickoff, which introduced player tracking, a new feature driven by artificial intelligence (AI).

Finally, in its first global expansion since launching in the U.S. in 2019, IMDb TV launched in the U.K. to provide free premium steaming content to customers via Prime Video. The service will soon become available as a standalone app on Fire TV devices.

Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ Top Returning Show, Disney+ Actioner ‘Hawkeye’ Top New Show Anticipated in November

Netflix’s “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem & Madness” was the most anticipated returning show, Disney+ and Marvel’s “Hawkeye” was the top anticipated new show, and Eternals was the top anticipated movie on the Whip Media/TV Time charts for November.

In season two of “Tiger King,” which begins streaming Nov. 17, Joe Exotic is behind bars and Carole Baskin is closing in on ownership of his disreputable zoo, as newfound revelations emerge on the motivations, backstories, and secrets of America’s most notorious big cat owners.

The Disney+ series “Hawkeye,” which debuts Nov. 24, follows the exploits of the title Marvel Comics character played by Jeremy Renner as he works with a young avenger (Hailee Steinfeld) who wants to take over his role.

Disney’s Eternals, hitting movie screens Nov. 5, is debuting only in theaters and not on Disney+ as had some previous features. The latest Marvel Studios superhero film stars Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek, among others.

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TV Time, owned by Whip Media, is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

Most Anticipated New Shows for November:

  1. “Hawkeye” (2021) (Disney+) — Nov. 24
  2. “The Wheel of Time” (Prime Video) — Nov. 19
  3. “Mayor of Kingstown” (Paramount+) — Nov. 14
  4. “Cowboy Bebop” (2021) (Netflix) — Nov. 19
  5. “The Shrink Next Door” (Apple TV+) — Nov. 12

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for November:

  1. “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem & Madness” (Netflix) — Nov. 17
  2. “The Great” (Hulu) — Nov. 19
  3. “Yellowstone” (2018) (Paramount+) — Nov. 7
  4. “Hanna” (Prime Video) — Nov. 24
  5. “Narcos: Mexico” (Netflix) — Nov. 5

 

Most Anticipated Movies for November:

  1. Eternals (Disney) — Nov. 5
  2. Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony) — Nov. 19
  3. Red Notice (Netflix) — Nov. 5
  4. Encanto (Disney) — Nov. 24
  5. House of Gucci (MGM) — Nov. 24
  6. Finch (Apple TV+) — Nov. 5
  7. The Harder They Fall (Netflix) — Nov. 3
  8. Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (Sony) — Nov. 24
  9. King Richard (Warner) — Nov. 19
  10. Spencer (Neon/Topic) — Nov. 5

OTT.X Adds Two New Board Seats, Appoints Amagi’s Srinivasan Ka and Crackle’s Philippe Guelton

OTT.X on Oct. 28 announced two new board seats on the trade group’s board of directors, going to Amagi co-founder Srinivasan KA and Crackle president Philippe Guelton.

“These additions display our continued growth alongside the entire OTT industry,” said Mark Fisher, OTT.X president and CEO. “And I am sure that each director will bring an important perspective, wealth of experience, and desire for growth benefiting our continued mission of connecting and nurturing the OTT ecosystem enabling innovation, collaboration, and competition.”

KA and Guelton will broaden the 17-member OTT.X board’s representation across all segments of its community, OTT.X says.

The appointments are effective immediately. Directors will serve until the annual OTT.X organizational board meeting in 2023.

Chinese Anime Fantasy ‘The Monkey King: Reborn’ Due Digitally and on Disc Dec. 7 From Well Go

The Chinese anime action-adventure fantasy The Monkey King: Reborn will be released digitally, and on Blu-ray and DVD Dec. 7 from Well Go USA Entertainment.

Playing off the three “Monkey King” live-action films, The Monkey King: Reborn follows the short-tempered trickster after he is insulted while visiting a temple with his master Tang Monk. Outraged, he destroys a magical tree and accidentally releases the ancient King of Demons, who kidnaps Tang Monk as revenge for his long imprisonment. Now, Monkey King and his fellow disciples must rescue their master within three days, before the demon king regains his full power and unleashes his armies to destroy the Earth.

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Directed by Wang Yun Fei (four-film “Yugo & Lala” franchise), The Monkey King: Reborn features an all-new English dub for this release.

Nielsen: Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ Sets All-Time Streaming Record

The Netflix original series “Squid Game” dominated Nielsen’s weekly chart of the most popular movies and original series streamed to U.S. households the week ended Oct. 3.

The South Korean show about cash-strapped game contestants subjected to fatalistic consequences didn’t just lead all streamed content, it crushed the competition. The nine-part series generated more than 3.2 billion minutes streamed — topping the next four top-charting programs (all Netflix) combined.

The series, which entered the chart in mid-September with 206 million minutes, exploded last week with more than 1.9 billion minutes as buzz about the show radiated globally.

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“Almost two-thirds of the [Squid Game”] audience is multi-cultural, which is unusual,” Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy at Nielsen, said in a recent webcast.

Netflix’s The Guilty was the most-streamed movie with 469 million minutes, while licensed show “Cocomelon” generated 635 million minutes across 12 episodes.

Original Series:

Rank
 

SVOD Provider

 

Program Name

 

Number of Episodes

 

Minutes Streamed (Millions)

1 Netflix Squid Game 9 3,260
2 Netflix Midnight Mass 7 1,171
3 Netflix Lucifer 93 536
4 Netflix The Great British Baking Show 67 534
5 Netflix Sex Education 24 469
6 Apple TV+ Ted Lasso 21 455
7 Amazon Goliath 32 359
8 Netflix The Circle 37 266
9 Hulu Only Murders In The Building 7 263
10 Disney+ What If…? 8 223

Licensed content:

Rank
 

SVOD Provider

 

Program Name

 

Number of Episodes

 

Minutes Streamed
(Millions)

1 Netflix Cocomelon 12 635
2 Netflix NCIS 353 560
3 Netflix Criminal Minds 316 515
4 Netflix Greys Anatomy 377 425
5 Netflix Heartland 215 421
6 Netflix Gilmore Girls 153 382
7 Netflix Manifest 42 337
8 Netflix Downton Abbey 50 301
9 Disney+ The Simpsons 535 284
10 Netflix Supernatural 328 283

Movies:

Rank
 

SVOD Provider

 

Program Name

 

Number

 

Minutes
Streamed (Millions)

1 Netflix The Guilty (2021) 1 469
2 Netflix My Little Pony: A New Generation 1 393
3 Netflix The Starling 1 322
4 Netflix Britney Vs Spears 1 300
5 Netflix Grown Ups 1 211
6 Disney+ Hocus Pocus 1 196
7 Disney+ Cruella 1 177
8 Disney+ Luca (2021) 1 170
9 Netflix Intrusion (2021) 1 161
10 Netflix No One Gets Out Alive 1 152

 

StarzPlay SVOD Service Adds South Asian Channels in Deal With Star TV

Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region SVOD service StarzPlay has signed a deal with Star TV network to feature six of its entertainment channels, expanding into the South Asian entertainment segment.

StarzPlay has introduced an all-new dedicated South Asian entertainment package that features Star Plus ME, Star Gold International, Jalsha Movies, Asianet Movies, Star Vijay International and Asianet ME channels.

“Over the years, we have built strategic partnerships to offer rich and relevant content to our diverse audience,” Maaz Sheikh, CEO of StarzPlay, said in a statement. “Our latest association with Star TV network is an expansion of our content offering as we enter the Asian entertainment space which is hugely popular and loved in this region. This new deal is dedicated to our South Asian subscribers who can enjoy the very best of TV entertainment with our new package. Star TV is a much-loved TV network in the region, and we are proud to associate with them to further expand their reach across the MENA region.”

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“We are delighted to associate with StarzPlay to offer world-class entertainment to South Asian audiences in the region,” Sudhir Nagpal, SVP and head of international business at Star India, said in a statement. “The MENA region has a large number of South Asian expatriates, and we are excited to bring our compelling and multi-lingual portfolio through the region’s leading streaming service — StarzPlay. We constantly explore opportunities to reach our audiences through new avenues and this association with StarzPlay is a step further to reach out to viewers across the Middle Eastern region.”

Subscribers can find an assortment of multi-lingual programming via the six new Star TV channels. Three cricket channels, CricLife Max, CricLife and CricLife 2, that StarzPlay already has access to through a separate deal with Etisalat also will be part of this package.

Trio of Comedies Starring Screen Greats Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon and Others Due Dec. 14 From Kino Lorber

Three classic comedies starring such Hollywood heavyweights as Marlon Brando, Jack Lemmon, Tony Randall and David Niven will be released Dec. 14 on DVD and Blu-ray Disc under the Kino Lorber Studio Classics Line.

Bedtime Story is a 1964 comedy about two cunning conmen in which Brando shares top billing with Niven and Shirley Jones. Brando portrays the caddish Freddy Benson, who enjoys setting up elaborate ruses to seduce women. The suave Lawrence Jameson (Niven) likes to pose as a prince to swindle the wealthy. When the two men meet, each perceives the other as an interloper and a threat. Upon the arrival of vacationing soap heiress Janet Walker (Jones), the two sweet-talking scoundrels compete to trick her out of both her clothes and her fortune.

The film will be issued on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc from a new 2K master. Bonus features include a new audio commentary from film historians Howard S. Berger and Nathaniel Thompson and newly restored theatrical trailers and teasers.

Two other comedies will be issued on Blu-ray Disc only.

The Brass Bottle is a 1964 comedy in which Randall portrays a modern man who accidentally acquires the friendship of a long-out-of-circulation genie. The film also stars Barbara Eden and Burl Ives and inspired the hit TV series that made Eden an icon, “I Dream of Jeannie.”

And Mass Appeal is a 1984 comedy-drama starring Lemmon as Father Tim Farley, a complacent priest in a wealthy suburban parish who drives a Mercedes and cracks jokes from the pulpit. When idealistic Mark Dolson (Željko Ivanek), a radical seminarian, accuses him of “song and dance theology,” the result is a head-on clash that teaches each man the true meaning of faith.

ViacomCBS to Acquire Stake in Spanish-Language Content Producer

ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in the Spanish-language content producer Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico from The Walt Disney Co. and the founding family of Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico.

ViacomCBS International Studios’ VIS, a division of VCNI, will operate Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico as a collaborative partnership with the founding family. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and customary closing conditions.

Through this transaction, VCNI will gain access to Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico’s studio operations in both Colombia and Mexico, as well as many hours of library content, including premium series, telenovelas, films, documentaries, unscripted, kids and family, branded and digital content, and live sports shows produced for various audiences. This content will fuel ViacomCBS’s global streaming platforms including Paramount+ and Pluto TV, and its linear networks around the world, according to the company. Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico will also bolster ViacomCBS’ Spanish-language content production capabilities to capitalize on significant content demand in the region and worldwide, the company noted.

“The acquisition of Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico, combined with ViacomCBS’s existing Spanish-language portfolio including Telefe and Chilevisión, reinforces the company’s position as a leading worldwide producer of Spanish-language content,” Raffaele Annecchino, president and CEO, ViacomCBS Networks International, said in a statement. “This content will fuel ViacomCBS’ global ecosystem across Paramount+, Pluto TV and its linear networks.”

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“This announcement is very fulfilling and I feel very honored that Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico will continue its expansion and growth in the hands of such an amazing company as ViacomCBS and its talented and visionary executives,” Samuel Duque Rozo, founder and CEO of Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico, said in a statement. “The extraordinary work that our team has made during all these years, combined with ViacomCBS’s vision, iconic brands, experience, professionalism, creativity among much more, will bring nothing less but the best for both businesses.”

Rozo will continue to exclusively support the business from a creative and strategic advisory position, and Samuel Duque Duque, current president, will lead the business. Fox TeleColombia & Estudios TeleMexico will fall under the remit of Juan “JC” Acosta, President of ViacomCBS International Studios and Networks Americas.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.