Report: Disney+ Tops App Download Chart in U.S., Netflix Globally in 2020

Disney+, which launched Nov. 12 in the United States, posted the top number of app downloads domestically while Netflix was No. 1 in app downloads globally in the first three months of 2020.

That’s according to a study by Apptopia and Braze.

Disney+ scored 14.1 million app downloads domestically while No. 2 Netflix tallied 11.9 million and No. 3 Hulu racked up 8.1 million. Globally, Netflix with 59.1 million downloads was followed by YouTube with 39.4 million and Amazon Prime Video with 27.1 million. In Europe, Netflix also ruled with 14 million downloads, followed by Amazon Prime Video with 6.6 million and YouTube with 5.8 million.

Follow us on Instagram

As far as the top streaming apps by time spent in the app, YouTube Kids ruled everywhere — globally, in Europe and domestically. Coming in at No. 2 in all territories was Netflix with YouTube at No. 3. Amazon Prime Video was No. 4 globally and in Europe, while Disney+ landed at No. 4 domestically, No. 6 globally and No. 7 in Europe.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

As the coronavirus pandemic hit, March saw a 30.7% increase in streaming sessions, according to the report.

Disney+ Launching in India on April 3

Eager to expand its branded subscription streaming video service worldwide, Disney+ will launch April 3 in India with sister over-the-top platform Hotstar.

Disney acquired Hotstar, which reportedly has 100 million monthly views, as part of the $71.3 million 20th Century Fox transaction.

India, with the second highest population behind China, has become hotbed for American media companies seeking to tap a consumer base that exceeds 1 billion.

Follow us on Instagram

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week ordered citizens not to leave their homes in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

“To save India, every citizen of India is being banned from 12 o’clock tonight, on exiting homes, completely,” Modi said in a series of March 24 tweets.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Roy Morgan: Disney+ Attracts 1.8 Million Subs in Australia

New data from Roy Morgan reveals Disney+ is now Australia’s fourth most-popular subscription streaming video service four months after its launch.

The Aussie research company said Netflix remains the nation’s most-watched subscription television service, with 12.20 million residents having access to it, an increase of 942,000 on a year ago. It is followed by Foxtel on 4.85 million (-98,000) and Stan on 3.70 million (+1.09 million).

Disney+, which entered the Australian market in November 2019, is ahead of Amazon Prime Video on 1.48 million (+914,000) and YouTube Premium on 1.48 million (+244,000).

Follow us on Instagram

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says that while Netflix is the clear leader in subscription television services, there is growing competition to secure the attention of Australian viewers.

“Since entering the Australian market in 2015, Netflix has reshaped how we watch television,” Levine said in a statement. “It created a product which allows users to make their own selection of uninterrupted television to watch whenever they want. Its success not only brought other players into the market, it forced commercial television to adapt by creating its own online streaming channels.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Levine said the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many Australians to self-isolate at home indefinitely, presents an unexpected opportunity for streaming services such as Disney+ to continue the momentum of customer growth in the months ahead.

The research firm said Netflix and Stan remain the most popular SVOD combination in Australia, with 3.44 million viewers having access to both services and closely followed by Netflix and Foxtel (3.14 million).

The report — based on online survey of 12,082 respondents over the age of 14 — found that 1.67 million Disney+ subs also have access to Netflix. This represents 93% of Disney+ viewership but only 14% of Netflix viewers.

Nearly 900,000 Aussies have access to both Disney+ and the locally owned Stan. This level of viewership is equal to half of all Disney+ viewers and represents nearly a quarter of Stan’s 3.7 million viewers. A far higher rate than for rival streaming service Netflix.

Significantly for traditional pay TV service Foxtel, only 11% of their viewers have signed up for Disney+, a lower rate than for either Netflix or Stan.

PBS WWII Series ‘World on Fire’ Begins Streaming on Masterpiece Prime Video Channel April 6

The PBS World War II series “World on Fire” will begin streaming on the Masterpiece Prime Video Channel beginning April 6.

A new episode will debut every Sunday following April 6 with the full series available May 17.

The subscription rate for PBS Masterpiece is $5.99 a month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription.

Academy Award-winner Helen Hunt (As Good as It Gets, “Mad About You”) and Sean Bean (“Lord of the Rings,” “Game of Thrones”) star in the series taking place during the first year of the war following the intertwining fates of ordinary people in four countries, Britain, Poland, France, and Germany, as they grapple with the effects the war has on their everyday lives.

Hunt stars as an American broadcaster reporting from Warsaw and then Berlin as fighting erupts. Bean plays a World War I veteran-turned-pacifist trying to cope with chronic shellshock while looking after his working-class family. And Academy Award-nominee Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) stars as a British fascist sympathizer who finds herself sheltering a young refugee.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In Manchester, England, Douglas Bennett (Bean) is fighting a losing battle for pacifism as his country spirals into war. His lawbreaking son, Tom (Ewan Mitchell, “The Last Kingdom”), is given the choice of prison or the military. His daughter, Lois, is a factory worker and talented singer, involved in a romance with upper class translator Harry Chase (Jonah Hauer-King, “Little Women” on Masterpiece) — much to the dismay of Harry’s aloof mother, Robina (Manville).

Follow us on Instagram

Posted to the British embassy in Warsaw, Harry forgets Lois when he falls in love with local waitress Kasia Tomanszeski, becoming close to her family, including her studious little brother, Jan. Harry also befriends Nancy Campbell (Hunt), an American radio reporter trying to uncover the truth about the Nazi regime.

From the Nazi invasion of Poland, to the near debacle at Dunkirk, to the fall of Paris, “World on Fire” brings to life the devastating effect of war.

Also starring are Blake Harrison (“A Very English Scandal”) as a stalwart English sergeant, Julia Brown (“Shetland”) as an armed services entertainer, Zofia Wichłacz (“The Romanoffs”) as a Polish resistance fighter, Brian J. Smith (“Sense8”) as an American doctor in occupied Paris, and Parker Sawyers (“Southside with You”) as a Parisian jazz musician.

Amazon Streaming Free Kids Programing; No Prime Membership Required

With schools shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon Prime Video has begun offering select children’s and family-themed entertainment free to anyone with a free Amazon — not Prime — account.

To access the content doesn’t require a Prime membership, just an Amazon.com account registration, which is free. Content can be streamed through the Prime Video app, which can be downloaded for free on Google Play, iTunes, compatible smart TVs, mobile devices, Fire TV, Fire TV stick, Fire tablets, Apple TV, game consoles, Chromecast or via PrimeVideo.com.

Follow us on Instagram

Licensed content includes: “Arthur,” “Bali,” “Caillou,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Design Squad,” “Dinosaur Train,” “FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman,” “Kratt’s Creatures,” “Martha Speaks,” “Nature Cat,” “Odd Quad,” “Peep and the Big Wide World,” “Peg + Cat,” “Postcards from Buster,” “Reading Rainbow,” “Ready Jet Go!,” “Wild Kratts,” “WordGirl,” “WorldWorld.,”Zoboomafoo,” “Rugrats All Grown Up” and “Knight Squad.”

Amazon Originals include: “Click, Clack, Moo: Christmas at the Farm,” “Big Diaries,” “Costume Quest,” “Creative Galaxy,” “Danger and Eggs,” “Dangerous Book for Boys,” “Gortimer Gibbons Life on Normal Street,” “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie,” “Jessy and Nessy,” “Just Add Magic,” “Just Add Magic: Mystery City,” “Little Big Awesome,” Lost in Oz,” “Niko and the Sword of Light,” Pete the Cat,” Sigmund and the Sea Monster,” The Snowy Day,” The Stinky and Dirty Show,” “The Kicks,” “Tumble Leaf” and Wishenpoof.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Amazon Prime Rolls Out User Profiles

SVOD service Amazon Prime is rolling out user profiles, a feature long present on competing services such as Netflix.

In selected countries, one subscriber account can have up to six user profiles (one default primary profile plus five additional profiles, either adult or kids).

One general and one account for kids appears by default. When adding profiles, users can designate them for kids.

Prime Video will serve up only age-appropriate TV shows and movies (maturity rating 12 and under) to the kids’ profiles. However, all downloads including those from an adult’s profile, will still be available and can be accessed through the kids’ profiles. Search results and search suggestions are also filtered.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The feature is supported across a range of devices.

French Telecom Asks for Disney+ Launch Delay; Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube Throttle Streaming Speed in Europe

With hundreds of millions of Europeans quarantined in their homes to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, the CEO of French telecom Orange has called on Disney to postpone the planned March 24 launch of branded subscription streaming video service Disney+.

In an interview with French daily Le Figaro, CEO Stephane Richard requested “a few weeks delay” for the Disney+ launch, citing heightened ISP demands throughout the country during the pandemic that has infected nearly 300,000 people globally, with the death toll around 5,000. Orange is one of four major ISPs in France.

Disney already canceled a major SVOD launch party slated for March 5 in London.

Follow us on Instagram

Separately, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube have joined Netflix in Europe reducing streaming bit rates in an effort to not overwhelm  local networks during the crisis. The slowdown means subscribers with high-definition access, including 4K, could be throttled as low as 600kbps, limiting resolution to about 360p on mobile devices and 670p on TV.

The move follows Netflix’s decision to reduce streaming speeds by 25% after CEO Reed Hastings met with European Union commissioner Thierry Breton — the latter requesting all major streaming video services voluntarily throttle bit rates.

“We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default,” YouTube said in a statement.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Parks: Industry Awards Boost SVOD Platforms

Everyone loves a winner. New research from Parks Associates suggests over-the-top video services — and their large slate of original programming — will benefit as their recognition during awards season in video entertainment continues to expand.

For this year’s Golden Globes, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon earned a total of 47 nominations, nearly double the 25 they received last year, with the three services winning two awards each.

“Apple TV+ streaming service found success with its flagship series ‘The Morning Show,’ starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, which won awards from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Critics’ Choice Award,” analyst Steve Nason said in a statement. “These accomplishments mark Apple TV+’s first industry awards since its launch in November 2019.”

Follow us on Instagram

Nason said awards recognition brings legitimacy to a platform’s original content and can be a significant boost, especially in the early days after its launch.

“Such recognition certainly helped Netflix when the company first ventured into original content, and now the service scored 24 Oscar nominations this year, led by The Irishman and Marriage Story.”

Netflix’s long-term investment in premium original content has helped the service become very difficult for consumers to relinquish, according to Parks.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Among Netflix subs, 64% feel it would difficult to give up the service, including 47% who feel it would be “very difficult,” the highest among top OTT video services measured by the Dallas-based research company.

Parks finds that as of Q3 2019, pay-TV and OTT services reach roughly the same number of consumers — around 72% of U.S. broadband households. Pay-TV’s long-reigning dominance has dwindled as the OTT video service market booms.

Sketch Comedy Show ‘Kids in the Hall’ Making Comeback on Amazon Prime

The sketch comedy series “The Kids in the Hall” will be making a comeback on Prime Video.

With the return of all of the original stars, the eight-episode Amazon Original series, which will be a continuation of the original show, will be available to Prime members in Canada and around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.

First premiering in 1989, the original Emmy Award-nominated “The Kids in the Hall” starred Canadian comedians Dave Foley, Kevin McDonald, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson, who will be reprising fan-favorite characters (and assuming some new ones) for the series’ next iteration. The original series earned multiple Gemini Awards along with the cast being honored with the Canadian Screen Awards Icon Award in 2019.

Follow us on Instagram

The series will be executive produced by “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels.

“Even after 30 years, ‘The Kids in the Hall’ has retained its brilliance and originality,” Michaels said in a statement. “We are happy to be bringing back all of the original ‘Kids’ for the new series.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We’ve been investing in Canada for several years and are excited to add to that momentum by making ‘The Kids in the Hall’ the first Canadian Amazon Original series,” said James Farrell, VP of international originals for Amazon Studios, in a statement. “‘The Kids in the Hall’ is an iconic show with a deep-rooted fan base. Several of our global hits, including ‘The Boys,’ ‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’ and ‘The Expanse’ have been filmed in Canada, and we are looking forward to continuing our work with talented producers and crew teams across the country to bring this series to our Prime members around the world.”

 

Amazon Studios Pulls Out of SXSW as Calls Grow to Cancel Annual Media Festival

Amazon Studios has become the latest media company to pull out of the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Music Festival, March 13-22, in Austin, Texas.

Amazon joins Facebook, Twitter, Mashable, TikTok, Dell, Intel, China Gathering and other companies that are dropping out of SXSW over concerns of the coronavirus’ possible impact on company employees.

To date, more than 91,000 people globally have been infected with 3,100 deaths attributed to the disease. There are more than 100 confirmed cases in the United States, including nine deaths.

Follow us on Instagram

Amazon, which just disclosed that an employee in its Seattle headquarters had contracted the COVID-19 virus, had planned to unveil several projects through its Prime Video unit, including a co-promotion with Entertainment Weekly.

“Due to health concerns Amazon Prime Video has decided to pull back from the festival and will be cancelling all activities, including the Blue Room Photo/Video Studio over the weekend and the Entertainment Weekly party on Sat evening,” the publication said in a statement. “We regret any inconvenience this may cause. The health of our team members and guests is our priority. Thank you for your understanding.”

Despite an online petition and calls from some, including Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, to cancel this year’s festival, organizers say the show will go on. Indeed, the show actually pushed-back with the March 2 announcement of new big-name speakers, including former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Democratic Presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

In a statement on its website, organizers said they are working “closely on a daily basis” with local, state, and federal agencies to plan for a safe event.

“As a result of this dialogue and the recommendations of Austin Public Health, the 2020 event is proceeding with safety as a top priority,” SXSW said in a statement. “We hope that people follow the science, implement the recommendations of public health agencies, and continue to participate in the activities that make our world connected.”

In addition to festivals, Sony Pictures shuttered three offices in Europe (Paris, London and Gdynia, Poland) due to coronavirus concerns.

Microsoft canceled its “Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Summit,” slated for March 16 in Seattle. The Google I/O developers conference, May 12-14 in Mountain View, Calif., also has been canceled.