Dish: Smoking Scenes Decline in Movies

Actors lighting up cigarettes (or vaping these days) in movies seems to be common, but new data from Dish Network contends just 6% of feature films today depict characters smoking. That’s down from 39% in 1970. The percentage skyrockets going back further to the Golden Age of Hollywood when characters were so often seen with cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and alcohol, it almost seemed like extensions of their bodies.

Back then smoking was viewed as a status symbol, and tobacco brands often sponsored film studios. Some actors even had their own endorsements. Since smoking was such an accepted practice in society, the habit easily made its way onto the big screen.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Dish took to IMDb and analyzed movies from 1950 to September 2020, sticking to titles with a rating of 3 stars or more (out of 10) and at least 1,000 votes by IMBb users to ensure the film’s quality. The result was more than 3,000 movies tabulated.

Interestingly, Clint Eastwood topped the list of actors smoking in scenes largely due to his spaghetti westerns at the beginning of his career — a habit the actor apparently stopped after playing vigilante cop Dirty Harry and every movie character thereafter. Betty Davis topped the list of female characters lighting up

Cigar smoking was the overall most popular smoking category (see Eastwood) in films — reaching a peak of 24% in 1973. Pipe smoking was consistently more popular than cigarette smoking, probably due to the 1964 Surgeon General’s report that claimed pipe smokers lived longer than cigarette smokers. Hint: They don’t.

While John Wayne admitted to a six-pack-a-day habit during his cancer-shortened life, contemporary actor Jon Hamm actually smoked fake cigarettes in his breakout role in “Mad Men,” including inhaling 74 cigarettes alone in the pilot episode.

Other facts: Smoking was most commonly (54%) found in movies with an ‘R’ rating, and comedies (29%), while largely absent in Disney and Netflix original titles, reflecting changing societal norms and more assertive healthcare campaigns.

Sling TV Entering Sports Wagering Market

Live sports gambling will soon have another player. Dish Network March 3 announced a partnership with DraftKings Sportsbook, the online platform that supplies game statistics, odds, fantasy sports and wagering.

The agreement calls for the first-of-its-kind DraftKings app integration on the Dish TV Hopper platform. The agreement also allows for subsequent DraftKings sportsbook and daily fantasy experiences to be available on Dish-owned online TV platform Sling TV and Boost Mobile in the future.

Online sports gambling is becoming a coveted feature among online TV services, including Fox Corp.’s Tubi, Disney-owned ESPN and FuboTV. The American Gaming Association estimates Americans bet $6.8 billion on last year’s Super Bowl, with an estimated $500 million bet online in this year’s Super Bowl .

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Dish satellite TV subscribers with an Internet-connected Hopper receiver will be able to access the DraftKings app to view betting odds and fantasy contests. They can initiate bets or contest entries with DraftKings directly from their TV, then set recordings and watch the live sports that correspond with those bets or fantasy teams. Placing bets is limited to customers living in states where sports betting is available to DraftKings account holders.

Once a bet or fantasy contest entry is initiated, customers will be prompted via text message through DraftKings-created technology to complete the transaction within the app on their mobile device. Once launched, Dish subs can initiate bets for NCAA basketball, NBA, and NHL from the app via Hopper, with additional features to come.

“Our deal with Dish TV and the technology behind it immerses customers within a next-generation viewership experience and reaches these fanbases in a completely new way,” said Paul Liberman, co-founder/president of product and technology at DraftKings.

Subs can open and use the app while watching any live, on-demand or recorded Dish TV content. DraftKings can be accessed via the Dish voice remote simply by saying “Launch DraftKings” or from the apps menu.

 

Sling TV Reverses Q4 Sub Loss, Still Down for Fiscal Year

Online TV market founder Sling TV Feb. 22 reported a gain of 16,000 subscribers for the fourth quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2020). That compared with a loss of 94,000 subs in the previous-year period. It was the second-consecutive quarterly subscriber gain after three quarters of losses. The Dish Network-owned subsidiary ended the fiscal year with 2.47 million subs, down 118,000 subs from the end of 2019.

Dish’s legacy satellite TV service lost 133,000 subs in the quarter, in addition to 578,000 in the year. The operator ended 2020 with 8.81 million subs compared with 9.4 million in 2019.

On the fiscal call, Dish CEO Charlie Ergen lamented the lost opportunities around Sling’s first-mover advantage in online TV.

“We stumbled a little there with the quality of the user experience,” Ergen said. “Our network was the best and the first, but we got a little complacent.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

When Sling launched in early 2015, it was the first time a pay-TV operator had offered a standalone online TV service, including landmark access to ESPN outside the traditional cable bundle. The market, which quickly included DirecTV Now (now AT&T TV), Charter Spectrum TV Plus, YouTube TV, Philo, Fubo TV, and (now shuttered) Sony PlayStation Vue, among others, was seen as a strategic alternative to cord-cutting and the exploding over-the-top video ecosystem driven by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

Interestingly, Hulu’s branded online TV platform, Hulu+Live TV, now leads the online TV market with more than 4 million subscribers, compared with 3.2 million at the end of 2019. Hulu is now the fifth-largest pay-TV operator in the country.

While Hulu’s growth is due in part to being bundled with Disney+ and ESPN+ in a promotional $12.99 monthly package, the online TV market has upped availability of transactional VOD movies to drive subscriber growth and retention.

Parks Associates found that 60% of pay-TV subs (accounting for nearly half of U.S. broadband households) stream movies and TV shows from an online video service as part of their legacy subscription. Linear-TV subs subscribing to online video services has increased 50% in the past year.

Report: ‘Friends’ Most-Watched TV Show Over Thanksgiving Weekend

In addition to football, TV show re-runs dominate viewer interest around the Thanksgiving holiday, according to new data from USDish, a reseller of Dish Network. While movies dominate around Christmas, TV show episodes rank high among viewers over Thanksgiving, with “Friends” the most popular TV show. Of the 15 TV show episodes that ranked most-popular, 10 were “Friends” episodes.

In compiling its data, USDish analyzed the top 15 holiday episodes for each holiday using IMDb data. To qualify, each episode had to meet the following criteria: Contain the keywords “Thanksgiving,” “Christmas,” or “New Year’s Eve,” respectively; be produced between 1990 and 2020; have more than 1,500 IMDb votes; and achieve a rating of 7.5 and above.

“Once we narrowed down our search, we found each episode’s viewership count using the viewership archive on TV Listings,” wrote Travis Peterson, author of the study. “Then we ranked each episode from most popular to least-popular based on viewership.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

To find the most-searched TV show in each state for November, December and January, respectively, USDish analyzed Google Trends data.

The study found that comedy and romance are hits around Thanksgiving, with more than 93% of the top episodes categorized as comedy. Thirteen out of the 15 TV episodes (87%) are also categorized as romance.

Apparently Thanksgiving is a perfect time for a little throwback TV. Seven out of the top 15 episodes aired in the ’90s, while six aired in the 2000s. The average running time of all episodes on the list is 24 minutes.

 

Sling TV Q3 Sub Growth Cools; Dish TV Sub Loss Increases

Dish Network Nov. 6 said it added 203,000 Sling TV subscribers during the three months ended Sept. 30, down 5.2% from the addition of 214,000 subs during the same period in 2019. This decrease in sub additions was primarily related to lower Sling TV activations, increased competition, including competition from other SVOD and live-linear OTT service providers, and delays and cancellations of sporting events as a result of COVID-19.

Dish ended the quarter with 2.46 million Sling TV subs, which is down 8.6% from 2.69 million subs a year ago.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

At the same time, Dish lost 87,000 legacy pay-TV subscribers, 32% more than a sub loss of 66,000 last year. This increase in subscriber losses primarily resulted from lower Dish subscriber activations, partially offset by a lower churn rate.

The Colorado-based satellite TV operator ended the period with just 8.96 million pay-TV subs, down almost 6% from 9.49 million subs the same time last year.

Sling TV Bows ‘Watch Party’ Featuring Voice, Text

With most TV viewers multitasking on social media, Dish Network’s online TV streaming service, Sling TV, Sept. 23 launched a new feature in beta, “Sling Watch Party,” which enables subscribers to connect via voice and text with non-subscribing friends and family in remote locations to stream programming together — a first for the live television industry.

Through a special beta preview of Sling Watch Party ending Sept. 30, invited guests may attend a Watch Party simply by creating a Sling TV account.

“We know that for so many, it’s not just about what you are watching, it’s who you are watching with,” Jon Lin, VP of product, said in a statement. “We could all use more time together to enjoy our favorite sports and entertainment, which is why we created this new feature.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Sling Watch Party features include:

  • Video and text chat: Connect in real-time with other SLING Watch Party guests while viewing a program, via video or text chat.
  • Audio and visual controls: All participants have full control over their own video camera, the volume of their individual content stream and volume of video chat streams received from other participants.
  • Player controls: Slingers hosting a Watch Party can manage player controls, including play, pause and rewind for on-demand programming.
  • Sling TV programming: Choose from live or on-demand content available in Sling Orange, Sling Blue, Sling Latino and Sling International services, or any Sling TV Extra, depending on a customer’s current subscription.

 

The feature is available on Google Chrome web browsers and allows subscribers to invite up to three guests to for shared TV viewing.

To host a “watch party,” sign in on sling.com via Google Chrome web browser. Select any eligible live or on-demand title from a Sling TV ribbon; a Watch Party may be created up to 60 minutes prior to air time, for live program. Click “create watch party” from the title’s information screen. Invite up to three guests to join via a unique, shareable link or email. Click “start watching” when the selected title is scheduled to begin.

Dish Loses 96,000 Pay-TV Subs in Q2, Including 56,000 Sling TV Accounts

Dish Network Aug. 7 said it lost 96,000 pay-TV subscribers in the second quarter (ended June 30), including 56,000 Sling TV paid members. That compared with a loss of 79,000 pay-TV subs during the previous-year period, in addition to a gain of 48,000 Sling TV customers.

The company closed the quarter with 11.27 million pay-TV subscribers, including 9.02 million Dish TV subs and 2.25 million Sling TV subs. The online TV service has now lost more than 200,000 subs in the previous 12 months of the fiscal year, ending the prior-year period with 2.47 million subs.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The satellite TV operator attributed the subscriber losses to ongoing economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, including unemployment and loss of live sports programming. Sling TV launched in 2015 as the first online TV service, including the first to offer ESPN as part of non-traditional pay-TV bundle.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruption in certain commercial segments served by Dish, including the hospitality and airline industries,” the company said in a statement.

Follow us on Instagram

Dish said increased competition, including competition from other subscription video on-demand and online TV service providers have negatively impacted sub growth. Indeed, with the exception of Sony killing PlayStation Vue, the online TV market now includes AT&T TV, YouTube TV, Philo, FuboTV and Hulu with Live TV, among others.

Dish reported quarterly profit of $452 million on revenue of $3.19 billion. That compared with profit of $317 million on revenue of $3.21 billion in the previous-year period.

Sling TV Gets New Group President

Michael Schwimmer has been named group president of Sling TV, following the departure of Warren Schlichting, Dish Network Corp. announced.

Schwimmer, who returned to Dish in June 2019 to lead international business development and strategy, will report to Dish CEO Erik Carlson.

During his career at Dish, which began in 1996, Schwimmer led the company’s marketing, programming and media sales organizations and played a key role in launching the Dish International and DishLATINO brands. In addition to his work on Sling TV’s international business, he honed his over-the-top expertise at Fuse Media, where he served as president and CEO. In his new role, Schwimmer will be responsible for all aspects of the Sling TV business. He has also assumed responsibility for Dish Media Sales.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Kevin Arrix, SVP, Dish Media Sales, will now report to Schwimmer, and will continue to be responsible for the company’s advertising sales, analytics and operations.

Dish Lost Record 413,000 Q1 Pay-TV Subs; Sling TV Down Too

Citing the ongoing coronavirus health care crisis, Dish Network May 7 said it lost a record 413,000 pay-TV subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31). That included 250,000 commercial accounts the satellite TV operator suspended due to a lack of sports programming and shuttered retail establishments. Dish lost 259,000 pay-TV subs in the previous-year quarter.

Meanwhile, Dish’s pioneering online TV platform, Sling TV, ended the quarter with 2.31 million subs — down from 2.42 million subs during the previous-year period. The company closed the quarter with 11.32 million pay-TV subs, including 9.01 million Dish subs.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Net income attributable to Dish Network totaled $73 million for the quarter, compared with $340 million from the year-ago period.

“We have faced, and could continue to face, fewer subscriber activations and increased subscriber churn rate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the worsening of the global business and economic environment,” Dish said in a statement.

Follow us on Instagram

The distributor said the pandemic caused “severe disruption” in certain commercial segments, including the hospitality and airline industries — both virtually shut down since March.

CEO Charlie Ergen has called for a refund from Disney-owned ESPN due to a lack of live-sports programming, among other grievances.

Follow us HERE on Twitter

Sling TV Offering Free Service During Coronavirus Crisis

Sling TV March 18 announced a new promotion to provide consumers without a subscription free access to select news and entertainment content as the nation confronts the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Launched in 2015 by Dish Network, Sling TV was the first standalone online TV platform featuring premium channel ESPN and marketed as an alternative to the traditional pay-TV bundle and SVOD.

“To stay informed in these uncertain times, Americans need access to news from reputable sources,” Warren Schlichting, group president, Sling TV, said in a statement. “With many Americans finding themselves staying at home, we have an opportunity to use our platform to help them deal with this rapidly evolving situation.”

Follow us on Instagram

Free access includes ad-supported movies and shows suitable for kids and families, in addition to ABC News Live, a 24/7 streaming video news channel for breaking news and live events. Access is available through an app download on a Roku, Amazon or Android device, or by visiting sling.com on a Chrome, Safari or Edge browser and following the instructions on the welcome screen.

Current Sling TV subscribers can access free content within the user interface on any supported device, without changing their service plan.

Dish is also offering the Sling Blue service plan for $20 the first month (a $10 discount). In addition to free content, Sling streams channels, including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, through its base services, Sling Orange and Sling Blue, starting at $30 per month.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!