Netflix Testing Speeding Up Movie Playback on Mobile Devices

Users of portable media devices gravitate toward short-form video. It’s the premise for the Quibi SVOD start-up.

Now Netflix has begun testing playback of movies up to 1.5 times their original speed.

“We’re always experimenting with new ways to help members use Netflix,” the company said in a boilerplate response to media inquiries.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Indeed, Netflix pioneered binge viewing making all episodes of a series available at launch, launched the first recommendation software and ushered in Q&A fiscal webcasts devoid of perfunctory balance sheet readings.

The concept has produced blowback from some content holders, including longtime Netflix fans such as director Judd Apatow and “Breaking Bad” star Aaron Paul.

“No @Netflix no. Don’t make me have to call every director and show creator on Earth to fight you on this. Save me the time. I will win but it will take a ton of time. Don’t fuck with our timing. We give you nice things. Leave them as they were intended to be seen,” Apatow tweeted.

Netflix contends the app helps viewers seeking to consume longer form content on the go.

“As with any test, it may not become a permanent feature on Netflix,” said the company.

Actor Paul hopes so.

“There is NO Way Netflix will move forward with this,” he tweeted. “That would mean they are completely taking control of everyone else’s art and destroying it. Netflix is far better than that. Am I right Netflix?”

Netflix Says 25 Million Households Streamed ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie in First Week

Netflix officially disclosed streaming data for original movie El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie, which launched Oct. 11.

The title, featuring Aaron Paul as meth-cooking Jesse Pinkman, who escaped in a 1978 Chevy El Camino at the conclusion of the “Breaking Bad” TV series, was watched by 25,753,392 million households in its first seven days, according to Netflix.

The service reported 6.5 million homes streamed the movie in the first three days, which is less than the 8.2 million Nielsen reported earlier this week.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The data suggests continued strong appeal for the “Breaking Bad” brand on par with Kevin Costner’s The Highwaymen. 

The Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston original comedy Murder Mystery set an all-time weekend Netflix streaming record with 30.87 million views. Another 20 million streamed The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus.

Netflix traditionally doesn’t disclosed viewership data for original programming, citing a lack of advertisers to satisfy.

Did Netflix’s ‘El Camino’ Run Out of Gas?

Netflix’s big-budget “Breaking Bad” movie sequel (El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie) from creator Vince Gilligan offers a lengthy tale of morality and redemption through the gritty eyes of Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) — the meth-cooking partner-in-crime to high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), whose character perished in the 2013 series finale.

El Camino — name of the 1978 Chevrolet Pinkman made his escape in the series conclusion — premiered on Netflix Oct. 11, reportedly generated 8.2 million viewers in the United States opening weekend, including an average of 6.5 million per minute, and 2.6 million per minute opening day, according Nielsen.

The viewership was on par with the “Breaking Bad” series run, with opening day streaming of El Camino topping the 1.5 million average household views for “Breaking Bad” episodes.

Some media reports say the data portended a strong theatrical weekend if Netflix bothered to distribute original movies via industry norms.

The data made news largely based on the “Breaking Bad” legacy and the fact Netflix remains secretive about ratings data of original programming.

Netflix has downplayed Nielsen data in the past contending it is limited to TV households and excludes portable devices and international viewership.

It also suggests the possibility El Camino hasn’t generated as much traction with subscribers as might be expected compared with other high-profile Netflix movies. Or perhaps Nielsen disclosed incomplete data.

Regardless, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and CCO Ted Sarandos made no mention of the movie during the service’s Oct. 16 fiscal webcast — which was noteworthy.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The service last year said a lot early about Bird Box, Sandra Bullock’s dystopian thriller that attracted 45 million households during its first week of release.

Kevin Costner’s Bonnie & Clyde thriller, The Highwaymen, generated 40-million first-month views, and Ben Affleck auctioneer Triple Frontier attracted 52 million households in 30 days.

The Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston original comedy Murder Mystery set an all-time weekend Netflix streaming record with 30.87 million views. Another 20 million streamed The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as Santa Claus.

On the Oct. 16 webcast, however, Sarandos just talked about pending movie releases 6 Underground, The Irishman, Marriage Story and The Two Popes, among others.

“It’s our first time we’ve seen the scale and this volume of films in one quarter, so we’re really excited about it,” Sarandos said.

So where’s the El Camino excitement?

‘Breaking Bad’ Movie a Streaming Sensation

El Camino, the feature film sequel to the TV series “Breaking Bad,” was seen by nearly 6.5 million viewers its opening weekend, according to Nielsen, the ratings company.

According to Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings, the film reached nearly 8.2 million unique viewers in the United States during its first three days of availability on Netflix.

El Camino has Aaron Paul reprising his role as Jesse Pinkman, who in the series finale had been enslaved by a drug lord and ordered to cook meth, only to be set free by his former partner, Walter White (Bryan Cranston. He’s last seen driving off in an El Camino that belonged to a drug lord.

Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings does not include mobile or PC streaming.

Netflix’s ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie ‘El Camino’ Bowing in Theaters Oct. 11

Breaking from tradition, Netflix’s much-anticipated feature length film based upon the acclaimed “Breaking Bad” series is debuting in select theaters Oct. 11 – 13.

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie will also stream on Netflix Oct. 11, in addition to airing later on AMC Networks, which broadcast the original Emmy-winning series from 2008 to 2013.

While the theatrical offering is part of Netflix’s desire to satisfy industry awards rules, it will likely not appease exhibitors’ mandate for an exclusive 90-day release window.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The movie revolves around the series’ meth-making Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) character dealing with the aftermath of his infamous partnership with terminally ill chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston).

Cranston’s White character remains an integral component of the movie.

“Jesse must come to terms with his past … in order to forge some kind of future,” reads a promo tagline.

“Breaking Bad” celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.

Netflix Premiering ‘Breaking Bad’ Sequel Movie Oct. 11

Netflix will make El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie available for streaming worldwide Oct. 11.

Set after the events of the “Breaking Bad” television series, the movie focuses on Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) as he deals with his past in order to forge some kind of future. The thriller is written and directed by series creator Vince Gilligan, and produced by Paul, Mark Johnson, Melissa Bernstein, Charles Newirth and Diane Mercer in association with Sony Pictures Television.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

On “Breaking Bad,” which ran from 2008 to 2013 on AMC, Jesse was depicted as a low-level drug dealer who finds himself in near constant danger from the larger criminal underworld after being recruited by Walter White (Bryan Cranston) to help cook and distribute crystal meth.

Paul’s performance as Jesse on the show earned him three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Netflix also debuted a trailer for the film, which features former Pinkman associate Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) refusing to divulge Jesse’s location to law enforcement.

Report: OTT Video Platforms Upping Original Content to Bridge Netflix Divide

With Netflix reportedly spending upwards of $13 billion on original content in 2018, over-the-top video competitors Amazon Prime Video, Facebook, Apple and Google-owned YouTube are ratcheting up their content spend in an effort to remain competitive.

Netflix has greenlighted more than 250 original titles – double the output from two years ago as Disney begins to pull original movies from the service for its own OTT ventures, according to Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm said Apple, YouTube Premium (formerly You Tube Red) and Facebook have greenlighted 65 combined original productions, with YouTube slating 50 original shows by the end of 2019.

Upstart OTT video services from Disney, Britbox and WarnerMedia’s DC Universe have disclosed original content forays – including 19 titles from Disney that include spin-offs High School Musical and Monsters Inc.

AMC Networks’ Acorn TV and rival BritBox are in a race to stream original British fare to American viewers. Acorn TV just announced a new co-production for “Blood,” a six-part thriller. Other titles include Agatha Christie’s “The Witness for the Prosecution,” “Love, Lies & Records,” and “Striking Out.” It also has exclusive rights to season two of “Jack Irish.”

In April, the company also acquired exclusive digital and home video rights from DCD Rights for Season 2 of the critically-acclaimed mystery series “Jack Irish.”

BritBox, the OTT video service from BBC Studios and ITV, is developing “Dark Heart,” “Three Girls,” “Bancroft,” daytime drama, “Shakespeare & Hathaway,” “Hold the Sunset,” and “The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco.”

Sony Crackle, the ad-supported OTT video service, original content includes comedy “Accident Park,” and dramas “The Butcher,” “CAPO,” “The Row,” “RPM,” “The Transplant,” and “Tribes,” among others.

“With so much new content being produced across a range of subscription services, [Apple, Facebook, YouTube] are under increasing pressure to create content that not only attracts new audiences but also prevents existing consumers from churning,” analyst Richard Cooper said in a statement.

Specifically, Cooper said OTT players are increasingly opting for niche titles in an effort to differentiate themselves across different genres. Indeed, comedy is the most greenlighted genre, followed by science fiction.

Apple TV’s high-profile content includes a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s 1980s anthology series “Amazing Stories,” in addition to “Are You Sleeping,” Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”); psychological thriller “Calls”; musical comedy “Central Park,” and “Dickinson,” starring Oscar-winner Hailee Steinfeld.

Ampere said Amazon is focusing on drama for 29% of its originals compared to 17% for Netflix. It said YouTube and Facebook have upped scripted content, with YouTube focusing on youth-orientated comedy.

“They are shying away from reality content with just 6% of new commissions compared to 32% of their current catalog,” Cooper said.