Netflix’s Lisa Nishimura Shares Personal Experience Promoting Streamer’s Tribute to Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

At a time when racism and xenophobia towards Asian Americans has become a national issue, Netflix is co-sponsoring the 3rd annual National AAPI Day Against Bullying+Hate set for May 18.

Lisa Nishimura, VP, documentary and independent films at Netflix, shared personal insight growing up as the only Japanese-American in her family in a mostly white Northern California town.

Lisa Nishimura

“I remember moments of feeling like a foreign exchange student in my own home,” Nishimura writes in a May 10 blog post. “I say that with a lot of love as I’m incredibly close to my family. But as the only one in my family born in the United States, I don’t think I realized until I was well into adulthood that the threshold of my home represented an invisible transition from the outside western world and the Japanese home in which I was raised.”

Nishimura, whose production credits over a 14-year career at Netflix include “The 13th,” “American Factory,” “Chef’s Table,” 2017 Oscar-winning The White Helmets, “Making a Murderer,” “Tiger King,” and “Wild Wild Country,” recounts growing up in a “inherently reserved” Japanese household that called for becoming comfortable with “quietude.”

In the classroom, Nishimura writes she felt Asians were contextualized primarily as wartime opposition, and never as contributors to the fabric of this country. This led in part to her shunning other Asian students to “dilute our Asian-ness,” as well as a bad hair decision to become blonde during her teenage years — a comical move that Nishimura says turned her hair “chaotic orange.” Another attempt to better assimilate with her predominantly white friends.

“All of this was pretty confusing and horrifying to my family,” she writes.

Fast-forward to the present, and Nishimura has helped drive Netflix’s push toward creating content that better reflects its global subscriber base — including offering stories by, for and about the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.

Programming includes “Bling Empire,” offering new glimpses into different communities through jokes, food, fashion and music. Movies such Finding ‘Ohana, which celebrates Hawaiian culture, romantic comedies The Half of It and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, and animation feature Over the Moon, among others.

“As Asian Americans, we represent more than 20 distinct countries of origin and an even greater number of cultures and ethnicities,” Nishimura writes. “Our route of passage and reasons for coming to America are vast. No one story could or should express the experience of all Asian Americans.  As part of Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage month, we want to celebrate these stories and creators that introduced new perspectives to our members around the world.”

 

 

 

 

Parks: Lower Smart Home Device Pricing Could Add Broadband Households

A new industry report from Parks Associates reveals that among the 42% of U.S. broadband households who do not own and do not plan to buy a smart home device, 17% admit they would likely buy a device if the cost were lower. Capturing these consumers at the right price point would add 7.9 million more households to the population of smart home owners.

Smart home devices include appliances, thermostats, lights, alarms, doorbells, cameras, televisions, Blu-ray Disc players, sound bars and voice-activated speakers, among other devices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Parks’ Q4 2020 survey, affordability of smart home devices ranks as the most important purchase consideration among purchase intenders. Discounting product prices and bundling products in ways that strengthen value are critical strategies to attract the majority of consumers who rank affordability in their top three purchase considerations. Bundling of smart home devices such as smart plugs, smart light bulbs, or smart thermostats with a smart speaker can introduce the smart home experience to consumers through a leading entertainment device that can be used to stream music and control smart home functions, according to Parks.

More than 50% of U.S. broadband households that do not own or intend to purchase a smart home device, report they do not see any benefits to smart home ownership, although this attitude is more prevalent among older consumers.

“Messaging that highlights strong product value helps overcome price sensitivity and counters the perceived lack of a viable value proposition,” analyst Patrice Samuels said in a statement. “Familiarity with devices is increasing, but value perception is not. Brands must emphasize pragmatic value propositions such as energy savings, loss prevention, and safety to persuade the broad swatch of broadband households that do not see any benefit or value in owning smart home devices.”

Report: Global SVOD Subscriptions to Reach 1.5 Billion by 2026

Spurred in part by a pandemic, global streaming video subscriptions are projected to reach 1.5 billion through 2026, according to new data from Digital TV Research. The London-based firm attributed the rise in part to 201 million SVOD subscriptions added in 2020 when increasing numbers of consumers worldwide were quarantined in their homes due to COVID-19. In addition, the report finds that the average consumer will pay for 2.14 SVOD subscriptions by 2026 – up from 1.74 subscriptions in 2020.

“There will be 700 million SVOD subscribers by 2026; up by 35% from 518 million at end of 2020,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “The 2026 total represents 39% of TV households, increasing from 30% in 2020.”

Overall, Digital TV Research contends that SVOD membership across 138 countries will increase by 591 million through 2026 to reach 1.495 million, up 65% from 2020.

The report suggests China and the U.S. will combine for 48% of global SVOD subs by 2026, down from 59% in 2020 — with the U.S. usurping China as the main SVOD subscription country. Yet with the U.S. a maturing SVOD market, subscriber growth in other countries is skyrocketing. India will nearly triple subscriptions through 2026 to 155 million, accounting for 10% of the global total.

Jason Statham’s ‘Wrath of Man’ Tops Domestic Weekend Box Office

Following consecutive weekends of fantasy monsters and Japanese anime ruling the domestic box office, down-to-earth shoot-’em-up Wrath of Man reclaimed theatrical supremacy. The MGM/United Artists Releasing title, starring Jason Statham, is reportedly projected to take in $8.1 million in revenue across 2,800 screens through May 9. To date, the title, which is not concurrently available to stream, has taken in $17.6 million internationally.

In doing so, the action thriller would top recent vigilante box office openings for Universal Pictures’ Nobody ($6.8 million) and Open Road Films’ The Marksman with $3.1 million.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Another box office newcomer, Sony Pictures comedy Here Today, starring Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish, took in $900,000 across 1,200 screens.

Meanwhile, recent box office leaders such as Funimation’s Demon Slayer: Mugen Train ($3 million, $435 million globally), Warner Bros. Pictures’ Godzilla vs. Kong ($1.9 million, $422 million) and Mortal Kombat ($2.3 million, $72 million), and Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon ($1.8 million, $105 million), all remained resilient at movie screens, while also available on streaming and digital platforms.

The total domestic box office, which encompassed most screens operating at 50% capacity due to the pandemic, approached $20 million.

 

CEO: Paramount+ Free Trial Conversion Better Than CBS All Access

When Paramount+ launched March 4, absorbing the existing CBS All Access subscription streaming service, new subscribers were offered a generous 30-day free trial period. That policy, which ended March 31, resulted in higher conversion rates to paid subscriptions ($5.99 monthly with ads; $9.99 without) than had occurred at All Access, according to Bob Bakish, CEO of ViacomCBS.

Speaking May 6 on the company’s fiscal call, Bakish said a strategy of frontloading Paramount+ with movies and the Super Bowl helped reduce churn and increase the paid base.

“Believe it or not, the conversion rate was actually marginally above our historical trial conversion rates,” Bakish said. “So we are happy about that.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

According to Parks Associates, about 30% of free trial users convert to paid subscriptions, with just 1% of users becoming so-called “serial trialers,” jumping from one free subscription period to the next. Most SVOD platforms have reduced free trial periods to seven days.

“Most consumers use trials for their intended purpose of trying out a service before deciding whether or not to continue as a paid subscriber,” read the Parks report.

Bakish said Paramount+ is focused on “ramping up” original content from throughout the ViacomCBS brands, in addition to releasing a new movie weekly on the platform, beginning in 2022. The platform will exclusively debut Mark Wahlberg’s new sci-fi thriller Infinite in June.

“Both conversion and churn [at Paramount+] improved in April, both versus prior-year and versus March,” Bakish said. “We feel great about what we’re seeing in this area.”

Paramount+ ended the quarter with 36 million subs globally when combined with Showtime OTT. The two services topped 19.4 million subs in the U.S. through Feb. 24.

Cinemark Announces New Deals With Studios to Exhibit Movies Theatrically

Cinemark, the nation’s No. 3 movie theater chain, May 7 announced it has reached agreements to theatrically showcase films from five major studio partners across its U.S. screens.

This announcement builds upon the exhibitor’s November agreement with Universal Pictures and includes agreements with Warner Bros. Pictures, The Walt Disney Co., Paramount Pictures and Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Collectively, the agreements secure a consistent supply of content and demonstrate a shared commitment to offering consumers the ultimate movie-viewing experience, with compelling content exhibited within the theatrical environment, according to Cinemark.

The agreements come on the heels of Cinemark inking distribution of Netflix original movies in an abbreviated theatrical window — the first for the streamer. Cinemark isn’t divulging specifics on the studio deals, citing “unique attributes” specific to each studio that mutually benefits both parties.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

With many studios also operating direct-to-consumer distribution through streaming and premium VOD, exhibitors are having to re-visit legacy theatrical window agreements to remake them to better reflect the changing consumer access to screen entertainment.

“In our ongoing efforts to maximize attendance and box office during the pandemic and beyond, our goal is to provide the widest range of content with terms that are in the best long-term interests of Cinemark, our studio partners and moviegoers,” CEO Mark Zoradi said in a statement. “We are pleased with these recent developments and are confident we are taking positive steps toward reigniting theatrical exhibition and evolving the industry for a post-pandemic landscape.”

The new distribution agreements come as Cinemark attempts to claw its way out of a financial hole caused by the pandemic. The chain said it attracted 7.7 million moviegoers and $114.5 million in revenue in the first quarter (ended March 31). That compared with $543.6 million in revenue during the previous-year period. Its net loss ballooned to $208.2 million, compared with a loss of $59.6 million in the previous year period.

AMC Theater Chain Draws 6.8 Million Q1 Moviegoers, Narrows Loss

AMC Entertainment, parent of the world’s largest theatrical chain, AMC Theatres, May 6 reported that 6.8 million moviegoers worldwide frequented its screens in the first quarter (ended March 31). While that’s a 89% drop from 60+ million moviegoers in the same quarter a year ago, it’s a positive re-start for a company that has had scant new movie releases, and many observers left for dead during the height of the pandemic.

Adam Aron

Operating at 15% to 60% seating capacity across 585 domestic theaters, AMC operated an additional 97 international leased and partnership theaters, with limited seating capacities, representing approximately 27% of international theaters.

Revenue plummeted 84% to $148.3 million, from $941 million in the previous-year period. Net loss narrowed to $567.2 million from more than $2.1 billion a year ago.

“We finally can now say that we are looking at an increasingly favorable environment for moviegoing and for AMC as a company over the coming few months,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “This is the result of a successful and steadily growing vaccination program in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East — especially so across the United States.”

Over the past five months, AMC has raised around $2 billion in fresh equity and debt capital, including the conversion of $600 million of convertible notes into equity at a price of $13.51 per share. Over the past 13 months, AMC raised approximately $2.9 billion of cash proceeds from new debt and
equity capital, secured $1.2 billion of concessions from lenders and landlords, obtained more than $150 million of assistance from European governments, and generated more than $80 million from asset sales.

“Taken together, we have made well more than $4 billion of progress from our implementing a myriad of capital actions to help us make it through this global storm,” Aron said.

Roku Posts Record Q1 Revenue, Active Accounts, Minutes Streamed

Roku May 6 reported it grew first-quarter (ended March 31) active accounts 35% year-over-year to a record 53.6 million, from 39.8 million accounts, driven by sales of players and Roku TV models in both the U.S. and international markets. Roku users streamed a record 18.3 billion hours, an increase of 49% year-over-year from 12.3 million. Prior to lapping COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in mid-March, both active account and streaming hour year-over-year growth rates were trending ahead of those in Q4 2020.

On The Roku Channel, the streaming media device manufacturer drove another quarter of record growth, reaching U.S. households with an estimated 70 million people. Account reach and streaming hours on the AVOD platform more than doubled year-over-year — a growth rate that is over twice as fast as the overall Roku platform.

“Our exceptional performance in Q1 demonstrates how our business model serves consumers, content owners, and advertisers alike in the TV ecosystem,” founder/CEO Anthony Wood and CFO Steve Louden wrote in the shareholder letter. “Though there will be difficult COVID-19-related comparisons in 2021, we believe that the shift to streaming is inevitable. It will be global and will transform the way content is distributed and monetized.”

Nielsen: Disney’s ‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Returns Atop Weekly SVOD Chart

The fourth episode of Marvel Comics Universe original series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” proved a winner for Disney+, generating 748 million minutes streamed across four episodes on family televisions for the week April 5-11. The episode generated 19.1% more minutes than the last time it sat atop Nielsen’s weekly chart of top streamed shows on the family television with 628 million minutes.

New Amazon Prime Video series “Them” was No. 2 with 439 million minutes across 10 episodes. The horror series about Black families stalked by creepy home invasions,marked Prime Video’s third original series to crack the Top 10 chart.

Netflix’s “The Serpent” moved up five spots to make the podium with 406 million minutes — 152% more minutes streamed than during the previous-week period.

Netflix’s new movie Thunder Force took the top spot among original movies, generating a whopping 950 million minutes to easily distance the streamer’s runner-up, What Lies Below, with 294 million minutes. Concrete Cowboy rounded out the Netflix podium with 270 million minutes — about 30% more minutes than the 194 million minutes streamed during the previous week period.

Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television.

 

Original Movies:

Rank

SVOD Provider

Program Name

Number

Minutes
Streamed (Millions)

1 Netflix Thunder Force 1 950
2 Netflix What Lies Below (2020) 1 294
3 Netflix Concrete Cowboy 1 270
4 Netflix Saving Private Ryan 1 212
5 Netflix Sniper: Ghost Shooter 1 209
6 Disney+ Moana 1 172
7 Netflix Legally Blonde 1 165
8 Disney+ Raya and the Last Dragon 1 165
9 Netflix The Little Rascals 1 145
10 Netflix Friends with Benefits  1 142

Licensed Content:

Rank

SVOD Provider

Program Name

Number of Episodes

Minutes Streamed
(Millions)

1 Netflix “NCIS” 353 701
2 Netflix “Grey’s Anatomy” 369 627
3 Netflix “Criminal Minds” 310 567
4 Netflix “Cocomelon” 7 475
5 Netflix “Schitt’s Creek” 80 430
6 Netflix “Heartland” 166 405
7 Netflix “Gilmore Girls” 153 315
8 Netflix “Supernatural” 328 292
9 Netflix “New Girl” 146 266
10 Netflix “Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir” 76 250

 

NBCUniversal, Telemundo Partner on Streaming Content Studio

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises is creating Telemundo Streaming Studios, which it bills as the first-ever Spanish-language studio in Hispanic media exclusively dedicated to serving the growing Latino streaming audiences in the United States and around the world.

Following the creation of original titles “El Señor de los Cielos,” “La Reina del Sur,” “El Recluso,” “No Te Puedes Esconder,” “Jugar con Fuego” and, most recently, “Dime Quien Soy,” “100 Dias para Enamorarnos,” “Falsa Identidad” and “Mariposa de Barrio,” Telemundo is expanding production capabilities to create original scripted content exclusively for direct-to-consumer platforms. In addition to developing and producing its own IP, the new studio will offer production services to third-party direct-to-consumer platforms.

“Latinos are pacesetters of cultural and technological change,” Beau Ferrari, chairman, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, said in a statement.  “We are … super serving the Latinos of today with the best original, premium and culturally relevant content across all platforms.”

According to Nielsen, driven by streaming video consumption, Hispanics spend more time per day on video through TV-connected devices and video-focused app usage compared to “total adults.” Hispanics are often 50% or more of the average audience to shows that center on Hispanic characters and stories, which is a remarkable over index considering they are roughly 20% of the population.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Based out of Miami, Telemundo Streaming Studios will be housed under Telemundo Global Studios, led by Marcos Santana, who will continue to oversee all original scripted productions for the network, including international co-productions. The new production unit launches with more than 35 projects in development and in production, including the dramedy “Armas de Mujer” for Peacock, “El Marginal” seasons four and five for Netflix, as well as the remake of “Historia de un Clan,” upcoming seasons of “El Recluso,” a new version of “El Diario de un Gigolo” and the action-packed series “El Immortal.”

“As pioneers in the production of scripted Spanish-language content for U.S. Hispanics, we have a wide range of experience to invest in producing the best scripted content for the growing number of Latinos who consume their favorite shows across streaming platforms,” Santana said in a statement. “With these new studios, Telemundo will be the go-to source for Latino streaming content in the US and around the world.”