HBO Max No. 3 SVOD in Spain Since Launching in October

WarnerMedia in late October launched the HBO Max subscription streaming service in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra as part of a broader European rollout in 2022.

One month later, Max is reportedly the No. 3 SVOD service in Spain with nearly 5% market penetration, according to published data from Smartme Analytics. The replacement to HBO España, Max passed Disney+, which has 4.3% market penetration since its European launch in March 2020.

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Assisting Max’s rollout: A 50% price cut on the standard €8.99 ($10.40) monthly fee through Nov. 30 for the lifetime of the subscription, unless canceled.

Spain’s SVOD market leader continues to be Netflix with 20.7% market share, followed by Amazon Prime Video with 8.7% share.

‘Home Fires,’ More ‘Walter Presents’ Series Among Titles Coming to PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in November

The period drama “Masterpiece: Home Fires,” the Australian drama series “RFDS: Royal Flying Doctor Service” and more “Walter Presents” series are among the titles heading to the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in November.

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

Two seasons of the series “Home Fires,” based on the novel Jambusters, start streaming Nov. 7. The series opens in August 1939. War with Germany is all but certain, and the citizens of the isolated village of Great Paxford are each facing it in their own way. Men of fighting age are mostly enlisting or waiting to be called. Some of the women are joining the female military services; others already have essential jobs, such as farming; and still others are planning to “dig for victory,” planting gardens to reduce the need for food imports. Since German submarines will be attacking merchant ships, any task that adds to the nation’s self-sufficiency is vital. Frances (Samantha Bond, “Downton Abbey”), whose husband owns a local factory, believes that the Women’s Institute has an important role to play. Joyce (Francesca Annis, “Reckless”), the longtime president of the institute, vehemently disagrees and proposes suspending activities until the war is over. So begins a quarrel that mirrors the fragmentation affecting the wider world. In Great Paxford, this crisis ends up cementing the friendships of a group of women who have their own personal troubles, but who now have a shared mission that will lead them to their finest hour.

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Eight episodes of the drama “RFDS: Royal Flying Doctor Service” start streaming Nov. 11. Based on real-life stories and filmed on location in and around Broken Hill, this series captures the beauty and brutality of Australia’s vast center where doctors, nurses, pilots and support staff of the RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service) negotiate the unique challenges of emergency retrievals across some of the most inhospitable places in the country. The series opens with a doctor escaping her past and joining the Royal Flying Doctor Service on a day in which a catastrophic emergency retrieval hits the team personally. Together they will deal with the fallout, while continuing their highly skilled work, fighting the clock and the elements to save people having the worst day of their lives.

Season two of “Walter Presents: The Defence” begins streaming Nov. 19. The Polish series adapted from a renowned crime-thriller novel follows the courageous and rebellious lawyer Joanna Chyłka as she fights for her clients till the bitter end. Season two sees Chyłka go head-to-head with murderers, gangsters, the police and even her own law firm.  After a double murder, Chyłka is assigned to defend the son of a well-known businessman; however, he refuses to say a word to anyone.

Other titles coming to the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel in November include “Masterpiece: Dark Angel,” “The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes” seasons one and two, “Walter Presents: A Different View,” “Walter Presents: Madame K,” “Walter Presents: Sisters 1968” and “Walter Presents: The Empress.”

Bing Crosby Bio, ‘The First Silent Night’ Among Titles Streaming on PBS Living Channel in November

Bing Crosby: Rediscovered from “American Masters,” and The First Silent Night, a documentary on the Christmas carol, are coming to the PBS Living streaming channel in November.

The subscription rate for PBS Living is $2.99 per month with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription. The channel is also available on Apple TV Channels in the Apple TV app at $2.99 per month with no additional fees.

American Masters — Bing Crosby: Rediscovered, which starts streaming Nov. 26, explores one of the most popular and influential multi-media stars of the first half of the 2oth century. For over three decades, through radio, film, television and records he reigned supreme. A brilliant entrepreneur, Crosby played an important role in the development of the postwar recording industry. Crosby recorded nearly 400 hit singles, an achievement only Sinatra, Elvis or the Beatles have matched. Almost 40 years after his death, he remains the most recorded performer in history. Narrated by Stanley Tucci and directed by Robert Trachtenberg, the film explores the life and legend of the iconic performer, revealing a personality far more complex than the image the public had known.

Actor Simon Callow discovers the hidden meaning of one of the most popular Christmas carols in The First Silent Night, which begins streaming Nov. 30. Callow journeys to the Austrian village of Oberndorf as well as the city of Salzburg, where the story of the world’s favorite carol originated. The First Silent Night introduces us to two impoverished children — Joseph Mohr and Franz Gruber — who grew up in Austria’s cobbled streets and wooded villages. The hard years that shaped them also destined them to meet one day in a poor country church, where they united Gruber’s music and Mohr’s text into this classic carol about the birth of a third poor boy on a quiet night in ancient Palestine.

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Also coming to the channel Nov. 30 is Ken Burns: Seeing, Searching, Being, which explores the life William Segal, the great philosopher, publisher, writer and painter. Segal searched relentlessly and compassionately for meaning in the 2oth century. He helped bring Eastern and Western spiritual traditions together, always stressing what connected humanity rather than what differentiated it. In the last decade of his life, Segal befriended the documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, and the two collaborated on this film, which focuses on Segal as he paints and discusses the creative process and the intimate personal and spiritual relationship between the artist and the work of art. This documentary also visits the painter in his studio and in a gallery as he prepares an exhibition of his lithographs. In his on-camera interviews, Segal talks about his life and the practices he uses to live in the moment, embracing all that is around him.

Also coming to the PBS Living channel in November are The Oratorio: A Documentary With Martin Scorsese, Da Ponte’s Oratorio: A Concert for New York, Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America, Independent Lens: Storm Lake and Road Food.

Amazon Unveils Trailer for ‘I Love Lucy’ Film ‘Being the Ricardos’

Amazon Studios on Oct. 19 dropped a trailer for Being the Ricardos, a behind-the-scenes look at the famed husband-and-wife team behind the iconic “I Love Lucy” sitcom, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

The film, which opens in theaters on Dec. 10 and starts streaming on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 21, stars Nicole Kidman as Ball and Javier Bardem as Arnaz — known on the show as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.

Written and directed by Aaron Sorkin, the film also stars Jake Lacy, J.K. Simmons, Nina Arianda, Tony Hale, and Alia Shawkat.

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It follows Ball and Arnaz through a single production week on the set of “I Love Lucy,” as they contend with shocking personal accusations, a political smear and cultural taboos.

The film was produced by Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal and Steve Tisch of Escape Artists. Executive producers include Ball and Arnaz’s two children, Desi Arnaz Jr. and Lucie Arnaz, alongside Stuart Besser, Lauren Lohman, and Escape Artists’ Jenna Block and David Bloomfield.

Amazon Prime Video, Not Netflix, Tops Japan Video Streaming Market

Amazon Prime Video leads the subscription VOD market in Japan with 26% of video streaming minutes and more than 15 million monthly active users, according to new data from Media Partners Asia. That bests perennial market leader Netflix, which has 10% of video streaming minutes and 6 million subscribers. Hulu Japan, which is owned by Nippon TV, has three million subs.

Amazon first entered the Japanese market in 2000 selling books online. The e-commerce segment has helped drive Prime Video awareness since its arrival in 2016 — a year after Netflix entered the market.

Interestingly, about 25% of Netflix consumer consumption is driven by Korean dramas, while U.S. content drives 15%. Netflix’s original programming drive 10% of platform viewership.

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The MPA data, which covers the time period from January to August, found that 44 million Japanese subscribed to a SVOD service during that time.

Notably, Netflix trailed two other Japanese streaming services. TVer is a TV consortium that streams local dramas, variety, news and sports. TVer captured 16% of the video streaming market, while ad-supported VOD platform AbemaTV had 11% market share. The platform, co-owned by CyberAgent and TV Asahi, is driven by sports, including Major League Baseball, original dramas, local content and live events.

“The premium video segment in Japan is increasingly competitive,” Vivek Couto, executive director at MPA, said in a statement. “Local content is critical, as illustrated by broadcast TV-consortium owned TVer’s growth over 2020-21, while Prime Video and Netflix’s licensed anime libraries have contributed over 40% of consumption on the platforms during 2021. More competition and category expansion is imminent as Disney+ expands with Star and local content in October.”

‘Lucifer’ Top Streaming Original, ‘Malignant’ Top Movie on Weekly TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Lucifer” led the TV Time chart of top streaming originals and Malignant the TV Time chart of top movies among U.S. consumers for the week ended Sept. 19.

The charts replace TV Time’s weekly binge and rising show charts.

“Lucifer,” the sixth and final season of which debuted on Netflix Sept. 10, follows Lucifer’s exploits on Earth.

Malignant, which debuted in theaters and on HBO Max Sept. 10, is a possession thriller from director James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious).

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app with 18 million global users. The streaming originals chart rankings are determined by streaming original TV series with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app. The movie rankings are determined by theatrical or streaming movies with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app.

Disney+’s “What If …?” came in at No. 2 on the streaming originals chart. The Marvel Universe animated anthology series debuted Aug. 11. It explores major Marvel moments had they gone differently.

Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso,” which garnered four Emmys Sept. 19, including Outstanding Comedy Series, landed at No. 3 on the streaming originals chart. Jason Sudeikis won an Emmy for Lead Actor, Hannah Waddingham for Supporting Actress, and Brett Goldstein for Outstanding Supporting Actor in the series, season two of which began streaming July 23.

Among movies in the top 10, the latest Marvel feature Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, only showing in theaters, took the No. 2 spot, while Netflix’s Kate, an actioner about a poisoned assassin who has less than 24 hours to find out who ordered the hit and exact revenge, landed at No. 3.

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Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Sept. 19:

  1. “Lucifer” — Netflix
  2. “What If …?” — Disney+
  3. “Ted Lasso” — Apple TV+
  4. “Sex Education” — Netflix (Season Premiere)
  5. “The Circle” (U.S.) — Netflix
  6. “Only Murders in the Building” — Hulu
  7. “Titans” — HBO Max
  8. “Nine Perfect Strangers” — Hulu
  9. “Y: The Last Man” — Hulu (Series Premiere)
  10. “Evil” — Paramount+

 

Top Movies Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended Sept. 19:

  1. Malignant — Warner Bros.
  2. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings — Disney
  3. Kate — Netflix
  4. The Suicide Squad — Warner Bros.
  5. Cruella — Disney
  6. Cinderella — Amazon Prime Video
  7. Black Widow — Disney
  8. Reminiscence — Warner Bros.
  9. Candyman — MGM
  10. The Voyeurs — Amazon Prime Video

Amazon Inks Deal With Eddie Murphy

Amazon Studios has announced a three-picture and first-look film deal with Academy Award-nominee and Emmy Award winner Eddie Murphy.

Under the pact, Murphy will star in three films for Amazon Studios and develop original film projects for Prime Video and Studios with the potential to star.

The deal formalizes Murphy’s relationship with Amazon Studios on the heels of the success of Coming 2 America, according to Amazon. Following its March 5 release on Prime Video, the comedy was the No. 1 streamed movie of the weekend, with the No. 1 opening weekend of any other streaming movie in 2021 to date, and No. 1 opening weekend of any streaming movie in the past 12 months (post-COVID theater closures),  per third-party Screen Engine/ASI’s weekly PostVODTM ranking, Amazon noted. The film also topped Nielsen’s weekly streaming rankings among all streamed SVOD content.

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“Eddie is a legend both in front of and behind the camera,” Jennifer Salke, head of Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “With undeniable comedic and dramatic genius, he consistently delivers entertaining, original stories and characters to audiences around the world. We could not be more excited to help carry on the tradition and to officially welcome Eddie into the Amazon family.”

Murphy will next produce and star in Netflix’s Beverly Hills Cop 4 and star opposite Jonah Hill in a Kenya Barris-directed comedy for Netflix.

Parks: More Than 50% of Households Combine Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu With Fourth OTT Video Service

New consumer data from Parks Associates finds that 54% of U.S. broadband households combine Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or Hulu with at least one other subscription video service.

Currently, 82% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to an OTT service, and OTT service stacking has grown exponentially as new services such as Paramount+ launch, according to the Dallas-based research firm. As cord-cutters migrate away from traditional pay-TV, they increasingly seek video service offerings that more closely meet their content needs, with the added value of lower cost and flexible use cases.

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Parks notes that cord cutters used to spend $117 per month on pay-TV services and are now paying $85 per month for OTT video services.

“Subscription fatigue and ad intolerance are pervasive in the streaming industry, and consumers are becoming more selective about where they spend their time and money,” said Lexie Knauer, senior product marketing manager at Brightcove, which contributed to the report. “It’s important for streaming services to go to market with a strong acquisition strategy to clearly promote the value of their content across the right channels and ultimately capture their target audience.”

Michael Ribero, chief subscription officer with The Washington Post, said increased SVOD service stacking underscores the fact that no one service satisfy all consumers.

“I think this [data] helps services with a clear identity, while others will need to clarify how they fit into the customer’s bundle,” Ribero said. “And I believe this has downstream ramifications especially for discovering new shows and content.”

Amazon Prime Video Eyeing NFL’s ‘Sunday Ticket’ Rights

With week one of the 2021-22 NFL season almost in the books, Amazon reportedly is in the hunt to expand upon its “Thursday Night Football” exclusive rights. After wresting the mid-week game rights from Fox, Amazon now wants “Sunday Ticket,” the out-of-market game package DirecTV has sold to subscribers for the past 27 years.

With AT&T spinning off DirecTV to a private equity group, and the satellite TV operator’s latest NFL agreement set to expire in 2022, the league is shopping the rights to interested parties for a reported $2.5 billion annual fee. DirecTV currently pays $1.5 billion a year.

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Few companies have the fiscal resources Amazon has entertain such as price tag. The e-commerce behemoth earlier this year agreed to pay the NFL $1 billion annually for 11 years for exclusive rights to “Thursday Night Football” on Prime Video. Other media giants expressing interest in “Sunday Ticket” include Apple and Disney-owned ESPN.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service is not expected to make a bid, according to CNBC, which originally broke the story. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the network last week that the league was looking for unified streaming partner that would also be willing to invest in the league-owned NFL Network and NFL RedZone, the latter switching to live action when any team on offense is close to scoring.

Amazon has not officially commented on the negotiations, which remain ongoing.

South America Projected to Reach 131 Million SVOD Subs by 2026

Driven by subscription streaming video pioneer Netflix, in addition to Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+ and HBO Max, South America is projected to reach 131 SVOD subscribers by 2026, according to new data from Digital TV Research. That compares with 76 million subs by the end of this year.

Brazil will remain the market leader, with 49 million subs by 2026, followed by Mexico with 32 million.

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“Five U.S.-based platforms will account for 91% of the region’s paying SVOD subscriptions [over the next five years],” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in a statement.

Netflix will continue to lead the market, but its market share will fall. Disney+ will have 33 million subs by 2026, with HBO Max boasting another 10 million. The region continues to attract U.S. players. Paramount+ launched in March, followed by Max in June and Disney’s Star+ in August. Discovery+ is also in the region.