Netflix: ‘Bodyguard’ Topped 23 Million Households in First Four Weeks

Netflix original series “Bodyguard” was streamed by more than 23 million households in the four weeks following its Aug. 26, 2018 debut.

CCO Ted Sarandos disclosed the data Jan. 17 during the SVOD pioneer’s fourth-quarter fiscal webcast.

The British series, which won Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones”) a surprise Golden Globes award for Best Actor in a TV Drama, features Madden as an ex-Afghanistan war veteran suffering from PTSD now working as a police sergeant assigned to protect the U.K. Home Secretary (played by Keeley Hawes) – a noted war hawk.

Netflix co-produced the show with ITV, with the BBC broadcasting “Bodyguard” in the United Kingdom concurrent with Netflix’s global distribution.

Sarandos said the mini-series was one of 140 co-productions Netflix greenlighted in 2018. He said there are 180 co-productions planned this year.

“When I say co-production, I mean, we come in at the script stage, we come in at the first money stage, we’re involved creatively with the production of that show,” Sarandos said. “[‘Bodyguard’] is a good example of taking a show from anywhere in the world to the rest of the world.”

 

 

 

 

Report: Netflix Set to Pass Comcast-Owned Sky in U.K. Subscribers

Netflix is projected to pass Comcast-owned satellite pay-TV operator Sky in subscribers by the end of the year, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The London-based research firm expects Netflix to end 2018 with 9.78 million subscribers compared to 9.64 million for Sky – which is down 55,000 subs from the end of 2017, according to The Guardian.

Netflix entered the U.K. market in 2011 – its second foreign market after Canada. The SVOD pioneer launched global access (130 countries) in January 2016.

Ofcom, media regulator in the U.K., in July projected Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Sky’s Now TV over-the-top video service would reach a combined 15.4 million subs by the end of the year – surpassing 15.1 million pay-TV subs.

With British-centric programming at the core of American SVOD services such as BritBox and Acorn TV, Ofcom in November called on U.K. public TV broadcasters to join forces to create a competing over-the-top video platform.

The U.K. represents the second-largest SVOD markets for Netflix and Prime Video.

“It does indicate the growing power of subscription video-on-demand services that Netflix has managed to achieve greater household reach in the U.K. than one of the most successful satellite TV companies in the world,” Ampere analyst Richard Broughton said in a statement.

At the same time, Broughton says Sky’s average-revenue-per-subscriber (ARPU) dwarfs Netflix.

“Netflix makes just £7.99 a subscriber; Sky makes on average almost £50 per subscriber per month,” he said.

 

Ted Sarandos: 20 Million People Streamed ‘The Christmas Chronicles’ the First Week on Netflix

Netflix doesn’t release ratings or viewership data for original programming.

But that didn’t stop Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos from disclosing that 20 million people streamed original feature-length movie The Christmas Chronicles, starring Kurt Russell as a brash-talking (and singing) Santa Claus, during its first week of release.

Speaking Dec. 3 at the UBS 46th Annual Global Media and Communications confab in New York, Sarandos conveyed that Russell told him none of his movies had ever attracted that many viewers in the first seven days of release.

“That’s a testimony … we can bring to the market for storytellers today,” Sarandos said. “We probably couldn’t have done that 10 years ago.”

The executive used the anecdote to underscore his long-running battle against the 90-day theatrical window. A mindset that Sarnados believes all theatrical releases should be made available across all distribution channels simultaneously.

“If every one of those views was a movie purchase, that’s a $200 million opening week,” he said. “Even movies that go on to make $1 billion, don’t typically do that the first week. The ability to tap into that big audience differentiates us from everybody else.”

It’s controversial stance that has resulted in exhibitors, film festivals and Hollywood largely shunning Netflix films at the box office and awards circuit. Critics contend the SVOD giant is leaving money on the table, undermining content creators, producers and actors financially by streaming new-release movies globally to subscribers paying $9 a month for access.

Sarandos disagrees, arguing his approach to distribution simply bucks the tradition around the opening box office weekend.

“It’s saying, ‘I really want my movie in the culture. I want people to talk about my movie in line at Starbucks,’” Sarandos said. “I want to be the topic of discussion with my story that I’ve invested my entire life telling.”

Sarandos said studio executives grew up in a world where that was the definition of the Zeitgeist: Being the No. 1 movie at the box office.

Separately, the executive expressed little concern about pending over-the-top video platforms from Disney and WarnerMedia.

He said the new competition has been on management’s mind for a while and prompted Netflix’s foray into original programming years ago with “House of Cards,” “Orange Is the New Black,” “Lilyhammer,” “Arrested Development,” and “Hemlock Grove,” among others.

“They represented everything from comedy to drama to horror,” Sarandos said.

Netflix is now a global producer of on-demand content across all genres, including 20 original unscripted TV shows streaming this year compared to zero last year.

The service will stream 70 local-language original shows in 2019. Sarandos said local productions featuring local casts and language are becoming worldwide hits, including most-recently Germany’s “Dark,” Denmark’s “The Rain,” and India’s “Sacred Games”.

“They have been remarkably relevant in their home countries,” he said. “We’re not trying to make Hollywood content for the world. We’re trying to make content from anywhere in the world to the rest of the world.

Netflix just released “Bodyguard,” a joint venture with the BBC, underscoring the fact 80% of new subscriber growth is originating internationally, which mandates global – not Hollywood – content production, according to Sarandos.

“We’re better off deciding our own destiny and making our own choices with the consumer in mind than a bunch of competitors in mind,” Sarandos said. “Some of those things [third-party SVOD services] will successful, but not to the detriment of Netflix.”