‘The Ranch,’ ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ ‘Voltron’ Return to Top 10 Digital Originals Chart

Driven by double-digit gains in demand, three digital originals returned to the top 10 the week that ended Dec. 15, according to Parrot Analytics Data.

“The Ranch,” with a 42.9% increase in average daily Demand Expressions, shot up to No. 7 from No. 15 the prior week. The Netflix sitcom, which debuted in 2016, is set on a ranch in a fictitious small town in Colorado and follows a dysfunctional family consisting of two brothers, their rancher father, and his divorced wife and local bar owner.

“Star Trek: Discovery,” from CBS All Access, came in at No. 8, with just over 20 million average daily Demand Expressions, an 18.6% gain from the prior week, when the sci-fi series was ranked at No. 13.

And “Voltron: Legendary Defender,” from Netflix, rode a 37.6% increase in average daily Demand Expressions to the No. 9 spot, up from No. 21 the prior week.

Demand Expressions is a proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. The metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Elsewhere on the chart, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” tumbled from No. 1 all the way to No. 5 with a 20% decline in average daily Demand Expressions, just one week after the supernatural teen-witch series regained the top spot on the digital originals chart it had held for five of the past six weeks.

Taking its place at No. 1 was perennial favorite “Stranger Things,” whose rise from No. 4 was powered by a 45.6% gain in demand.  The likely trigger was the release earlier in the month of a teaser for Season 3, which is expected to bow in 2019, most likely in the summer or early fall.

Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s, the first season focused on the disappearance of a young boy amid various supernatural events, including the appearance of a girl with psychic powers who helps look for the boy. Season 2 is set a year later and focuses on the town’s attempts to return to normalcy.

The DC Universe series “Titans” rose to No. 2 from No. 5 the prior week, with an 8.7% uptick in demand, while Amazon Prime Video’s award-winning comedy “The Marvelous Mrs, Maisel” continued its climb up the chart, landing at No. 3, up two spots from the prior week, thanks to a 10.5% spike in demand.

“Narcos: Mexico” slipped to No. 4 from No. 2 the prior week.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

 

IHS: Netflix Needs More Than ‘Sacred Games’ to Drive Consumer Adoption in India

There’s a reason Netflix is emphasizing localized content and talent when expanding service abroad: Consumer adoption.

With over-the-top video by nature offering loss-leader pricing, services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video haven’t yet engaged in price warfare against regional competitors.

But simply regurgitating Hollywood movies and TV shows is a strategy of the past in markets such as India and China – two regions of the world Netflix and Amazon want to establish significant presence in.

In India, OTT video services will add 25 million subscriptions over the next five years, three million more new subs than pay-TV. It will exceed 35 million OTT video subs by the end of 2022, according to new data from IHS Markit.

When it comes to choosing connected video services, IHS found that more than 76% of connected consumers in India feel local content is important – with 74% citing the importance of quality subtitling and dubbing. Pricing also remained important across all markets surveyed.

As Netflix & Co. increase their focus on the Indian video market, including investment in local content, they continue to face competition from India’s well-established local OTT players.

The country’s successful domestic film and network TV markets pose challenges for newcomers lacking local content libraries. Despite launching “Sacred Games” this year, featuring Bollywood star Saif Ali Khan, IHS says Netflix still has a long way to go to grow its Indian subscriber base.

Star India launched Hotstar, an ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) service in 2015, followed by SVOD service, Hotstar Premium, in 2016. The service is forecast to grow its Indian subscriber base 60% this year, accounting for 25% of all online video subscriptions in the market.

Its success has largely been supported by content investments, including premium sports, local-language content and international content from HBO, Disney and Fox.

Although pricing is the most important factor in a video service across all country markets surveyed by IHS, Indian consumers were most likely to cite price as an important factor in their video service decisions.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) among pay-TV subs in India reached $4 monthly in the satellite heavy market, while local OTT subscription services cost less than $1 per month. In comparison, the basic Netflix subscription in India costs $7.

To succeed and grow in India’s content-hungry market, IHS says global OTT video players need to provide the correct mix of content at the right price.

‘Beautiful Boy’ to Stream on Amazon Prime Video Beginning Jan. 4

Beautiful Boy, which has earned Timothee Chalamet a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actor, will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime Video starting Jan. 4.

Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

The film also stars Steve Carell, Maura Tierney and Timothy Hutton.

It has earned $7.4 million in theaters since it opened in October.

‘Mrs. Maisel,’ ‘F is for Family’ Zoom Onto Top 10 Digital Originals Chart

Two digital originals shot into the top 10 the week that ended Dec. 8, according to Parrot Analytics Data.

The Dec 5 release of Season 2 propelled Amazon Prime Video’s award-winning comedy “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” to No. 5 from No. 21 the prior week, with 30.4 million average daily Demand Expressions, twice as many as in the prior week.

The animated Netflix sitcom “F is for Family” soared to No. 9 from No. 48 with 18.2 million average daily Demand Expressions, up from 7.2 million the prior week. Again, the catalyst was the recent (Nov. 30) release of a new season, Season 2.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is a period comedy-drama created by  Amy Sherman-Palladino. The series stars Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a housewife in 1950s New York City who finds she has a talent for standup comedy. The series won two Golden Globe Awards (Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress – Musical or Comedy for Brosnahan) and five prime-time Emmy Awards.
“F is for Family,” created by Bill Burr and Michael Price, revolves around Francis X. “Frank” Murphy (voiced by Burr), a hot-tempered, foul-mouthed Korean War veteran and father of three who lives in the fictitious Rust Belt city of Rustvale during the 1970s.

Elsewhere on the chart, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” regained the No. 1 spot on the digital originals chart it had held for five weeks prior to last week, when “Narcos: Mexico” jumped into the top spot, sending “Sabrina” to No. 2.

“Sabrina” generated nearly 36.7 million average daily demand expressions in the week that ended Dec. 8, to 34.6 million for the latest “Narcos” season.

Demand Expressions is a proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. The metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

The No. 3 spot on the digital originals chart went to “Marvel’s Daredevil,” up from No. 4 the prior week. Demand rose 12% as the fan backlash to Netflix’s decision to cancel the superhero series continued to grow.

Rounding out the top five on the digital originals chart was “Stranger Things” at No. 4, down a notch from the prior week.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

 

Comcast Xfinity Digital Store Seventh Digital Retailer to Join Movies Anywhere

Digital movie collection service Movies Anywhere on Dec. 5  added Comcast’s Xfinity Digital Store as its seventh digital retail partner.

Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, Apple’s iTunes and Walmart’s Vudu were partnered with the service at launch last October. FandangoNow, Fandango’s on-demand video service, came aboard in March, joined in August by Microsoft Movies and TV.

Comcast’s 22 million Xfinity TV subscribers are now able to synchronize their accounts with Movies Anywhere,  combine eligible movie purchases from the Xfinity Digital Store with those from other Movies Anywhere digital retailers, and access them on Xfinity X1, the Xfinity Stream app and other Xfinity TV platforms.

Comcast is the first pay-TV provider to join Movies Anywhere. For a limited time, consumers who sync for the first time with Xfinity or one of the other participating digital retailers will receive a free digital copy of Happy Feet, a 2006 computer-animated musical family film with a domestic box office gross of nearly $200 million. Those who sync for the first time with two digital retailers also receive digital copies of The Martian and The Fate of the Furious.

“Comcast is one of the country’s leading pay-TV providers, with a customer base that, like ours, consists of people who are passionate about the movies they love,” said Karin Gilford, general manager of Movies Anywhere. “We are thrilled to now include Comcast’s Xfinity TV customers among those who can benefit from Movies Anywhere’s ability to bring their favorite movies together in one place that can be accessed across a multitude of devices using the Movies Anywhere app and across Xfinity TV platforms.”

“Xfinity X1 is the only platform that provides customers with seamless, integrated access to all of their entertainment choices within one user interface, whether that content is live, on demand, streamed, recorded, rented or owned,” said Daniel Spinosa, VP of entertainment services at Comcast Cable. “And by joining Movies Anywhere, Xfinity TV customers can now easily link their accounts across participating digital retailers and watch their consolidated digital library on X1, or anywhere in the country via the Xfinity Stream app and portal.”

With the addition of Comcast to the Movies Anywhere lineup, Movies Anywhere collections owned by the cable company’s customers will be accessible for the first time directly on the TV through Xfinity On Demand, and on devices via the Xfinity Stream app and web portal. All Movies Anywheres users are also able to access their collections via the Movies Anywhere app and web portal on an array of additional platforms.

One of the top digital retailers for new releases, the Xfinity Digital Store offers Xfinity TV customers the ability to easily purchase and access thousands of movies, many featuring enhanced extras via X1 and across devices via the Xfinity Stream app and web portal.

Movies Anywhere is backed by five Hollywood studios — Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures (including Focus Features, DreamWorks and Illumination Entertainment), The Walt Disney Studios (including Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm) and Warner Bros. Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate are not part of the service, which also does not feature television programming.

In October, Movies Anywhere celebrated its one-year anniversary, announcing that since launch fans have streamed more than 35 million movies on more than 100 different devices. The service turned 1 with 6 million registered users, 150 million movies collected and more than 1 billion minutes viewed.

Movies Anywhere in February 2018 won Media Play News‘ inaugural “Fast Forward” award, honoring people, technologies, organizations, products or services that move the home entertainment industry forward. The awards are an outgrowth of the Home Entertainment Visionary Awards, which were launched in 2002 by the now-defunct Home Media Magazine. Comcast’s Brian Roberts was the 2017 honoree.

Movies Anywhere also was nominated for “Fan Favorite App” in the Google Play Best of 2018 Awards.

Consumer spending on digital purchases of movies, TV shows and other filmed content rose 18% in the third quarter of this year compared with the same quarter in 2017, a significant uptick from the single-digit gains posted in prior years, according to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group.

Comcast Adds Amazon Prime Video to X1 Platform

Comcast Dec. 5 announced that Amazon Prime Video will launch over the next week on its broadband-based Xfinity X1 platform. Prime Video joins Netflix and YouTube as major third-party over-the-top video services afforded direct access to Comcast subscribers.

The move underscores Comcast’s ongoing tug-of-war between branching out into branded OTT video and staying true to its pay-TV legacy.

“Prime Video is a fantastic extension of the programming choices available to our customers,” Matt Strauss, EVP, Xfinity Services, Comcast Cable, said in a statement.“By integrating hundreds of thousands of live and on demand choices from the best networks, studios and streaming services, our customers can instantly search, control and watch all of their entertainment in one place with their voice.”

X1 subs will be able to search Prime Video original programming, including Homecoming with Julia Roberts, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Marvelous Mrs. MaiselThe RomanoffsGoliath, Bosch, The Man in the High Castle, The Grand Tour  and a growing library of Prime Video programming in 4K Ultra HD and HDR.

Comcast users can launch the Prime Video app by saying “Amazon Prime Video” into the voice remote or by navigating to the X1 apps menu.They can also search an entire genre of programming, such as saying, “Watch The Americans, ”Show me Sneaky Pete,” or “Find comedies” into the voice remote.

“The launch arrives just in time for Season 2 of Emmy-winning “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 3 of “The Grand Tour” and holiday classics like It’s A Wonderful Life, which is now available exclusively on Prime Video,” said Greg Hart, VP of Amazon Prime Video.

In addition to the thousands of titles included with a Prime Video subscription, subscribers can access titles for rental or purchase, or choose from more than 150 Prime Video Channels to add to their video service, including Showtime and Starz.

 

Hulu Eyeing 23 Million Subs by Year’s End

Hulu is reportedly expected to top 23 million subscribers by the end of the year, according to comments made Dec. 4 by CEO Randy Freer at the Business Insider’s Ignition confab in New York.

The SVOD service co-owned by Disney, Fox, Comcast and WarnerMedia includes online TV platform Hulu Live with TV as part of its subscriber growth. The tally suggests Hulu added more than 3 million subs since it disclosed reaching 20 million subs at its upfronts content presentation earlier this year.

“I think our numbers will be really impressive,” Freer said, as reported by TechCrunch.com. “But we need to get 30, 40, 50 million homes in a way that we can scale.”

Indeed, even reaching an improbable 50 million subs would keep Hulu seven million shy of Netflix’s Q3 domestic count.

“Netflix has solidified their place for now,” said Freer. “Everybody else is going to fight out over what those four or five other selections are.”

Hulu has achieved one distinction even Amazon Prime Video can’t match: “The Handmaid’s Tale” remains a weekly Top 10 streaming favorite, according to Parrot Analytics.

Launched in 2008, Hulu is the only streaming service that offers both ad-supported ($7.99) and commercial-free ($11.99) subscription streaming options. Hulu with Live TV ($39.99) bowed in May, reaching 1 million subs in September.

The service features libraries of network TV series and movies; in addition to original content such as Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning drama “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Emmy-nominated series “I Love You, America With Sarah Silverman,” Emmy-nominated series “The Looming Tower,” “Future Man,” “Marvel’s Runaways,” “Castle Rock,” “The First” and Golden Globe-nominated comedy “Casual,” as well as upcoming series “Catch-22,” “Ramy” and “Little Fires Everywhere.”

 

‘Apple Tree Yard’ on PBS Masterpiece Amazon Prime Video Channel

The series “Apple Tree Yard” is available now on the PBS Masterpiece Amazon Prime Video Channel from PBS Distribution.

The channel is available by subscription for $5.99 per month after a seven-day free trial.

The four-part series, based on the best-selling novel by Louise Doughty, stars two-time Academy Award nominee Emily Watson (Everest, The Theory of Everything) and Ben Chaplin (The Legend of Tarzan, Cinderella).

Yvonne Carmichael (Watson) has a high-flying career, a beautiful home and the perfect family. Smart, successful and highly renowned within her field of genetics, Yvonne has a conventional and apparently contented life, married to husband Gary (Mark Bonnar), complete with two grown up children. After confidently presenting to a Commons Select Committee on her specialist subject, she is approached by a charismatic and mysterious stranger, who seems interested in what she has to say — and interested in her. Suddenly, she finds herself alone and intimate with him in the deserted crypt beneath the House of Commons. It’s a completely out of character moment of madness. Despite Yvonne’s expectations that she will never see Mark Costley (Chaplin) again, their encounter builds to a passionate affair. Despite Yvonne’s careful plans to keep her career and home life separate, fantasy and reality soon start to overlap, and everything she values is put at risk when an act of violence ultimately leads to a Crown Court trial.

British Regulator Calls on Country’s Public TV Broadcasters to Create Netflix Rival

With British-centric programming at the core of subscription streaming video-on-demand services such as Netflix, BritBox, Acorn TV and Amazon Prime Video, Sharon White, CEO of media regulator Ofcom, said the country’s public TV broadcasters should join forces to create a competing over-the-top video platform.

The United Kingdom represents the second-largest SVOD markets for Netflix and Prime Video.

Speaking Nov. 28 at the Outside the Box confab in London, White called on broadcasters responsible for popular series such as “Broadchurch,” “Bake Off” and “Blue Planet,” to combine existing OTT video platforms — BBC’s iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 — into a single service that could compete against Netflix and Amazon Prime Video more effectively.

“It would make it easier for viewers to access content across a range of devices, with a single login,” White said, adding that Ofcom has been encouraging U.K. broadcasters to collaborate and harness the power of technology to capture the audiences migrating online.

White cited the BBC/ITV collaboration around the 2017 launch of BritBox in the United States, which streams original series such as “Blackadder”, “Fawlty Towers” and “East Enders,” as a blueprint.

Indeed, Ofcom contends any joint venture hinges on the BBC — a prolific producer of original content for Netflix — which launched the iPlayer in 2007, the same time Netflix began streaming video with a branded Roku device.

“I remain convinced that collaboration is vital to the success of our industry,” White said.  “The sea-changes of recent years will not be the last. Nor can anyone be sure what competition and technology lie over the horizon. But while we cannot hold back the tide, our broadcasters can swim more strongly with it by working together.”

 

 

Facebook Reiterates No ‘Premier League’ Soccer License Bid

Facebook reportedly confirmed it will not seek to license Britain’s Premier League soccer for the social media’s Watch over-the-top video platform.

Speaking recently at the Broadcasting Press Guild Lunch in London, Patrick Walker, director of media partnerships, EMEA at Facebook, said a Premier League license bid was “not on the cards” at the moment.

“We’re not going out with the intention of acquiring lots of football rights specifically,” said Walker. “It’s more testing different sorts of ideas and seeing how they work and collaborating with rightsholders.”

Specifically, Walker said Facebook’s strategy revolves around enhances and enticing online usage and consumption for sports leagues and then working with them or a third-party on distribution.

“Facebook, in a way is like the world’s biggest sports stadium,” he said. “There’s around half a billion people who follow a football club somewhere in the world on Facebook.”

Facebook, along with Google, Amazon and Netflix, had been rumored as parties possible seeking to secure exclusive access to the world’s most-popular professional soccer league.

While Netflix steadfastly refuses to consider live sports, Facebook, YouTube and Prime Video have embraced sports, including Major League Baseball, the National Football League and Champions League soccer.

Amazon, which streams NFL Thursday Night Football, reportedly is also considering licensing Fox Sports Regional Networks.