Samba TV: ‘Westworld’ Season 4 Premiere Lagged Behind Other Pandemic-Delayed HBO Programs

Due to the pandemic, it’s been two years since there was a new season of HBO/HBO Max’s dystopian series “Westworld.” The June 26 debut of season four generated 915,000 U.S. households during the live plus three-day window, according to data from Samba TV. That was down 46% from the 1.7 million multi-platform viewers for the debut of season three.

Samba, which says it tracks an addressable footprint of 46 million opted-in devices worldwide, said the season four premiere lagged significantly behind the debuts of two other high-profile HBO programs also delayed by the pandemic.

The research firm said 1.3 million U.S. households watched the second season launch of “Euphoria” during the L+3D window, while 1.2 million U.S. households watched the third season debut of Succession 301 during the L+3D window.

“[The return of ‘Westworld’] to HBO and HBO Max after more than a two-year hiatus … fell short of several other HBO original programming also paused during the pandemic,” Cole Strain, VP of measurement products at Samba TV, said in a statement.

The decline in “Westworld” viewership appears to be a trend. Separate data found that an average of 810,000 viewers watched the third season. The first season was the show’s most popular, with 1.82 million average total viewers and a 0.8 rating within the 18 to 49 demographic, according to Statista. Ratings dropped each season, with the 18-49 rating for the third season.

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Peacock Tops Ad-Supported Usage as Percentage of Service Streamers

As the subscription streaming VOD market embraces advertising, new data from Hub Entertainment Research finds that NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform has the highest percentage of ad-supported users.

The data, based on an online survey of 1,600 respondents, age 16-74, in April published by eMarketer, found that just 20% of Peacock users pay the $9.99 monthly fee for no advertising when accessing programming. That compared with 73% who prefer to pay $4.99 monthly to watch ads. Another 8% of respondents weren’t sure what option they use.

Peacock ended the first quarter with 13 million paid subs and 28 million monthly active accounts.

On the flip-side, 67% of HBO Max subs pay $14.99 monthly to avoid ads, while 28% pay $9.99 to watch ads, and 5% don’t know. HBO and HBO Max reached 48.6 million domestic subs through March 31, up 1.8 million from 46.8 million at the end of 2021.

The data comes as Netflix and Disney+ plan to roll out a less-expensive ad-supported subscription tier later this year. Netflix, which lost 200,000 net subs in he most-recent fiscal quarter, has projected a loss of 2 million net subs in the current quarter ending June 30. The streaming behemoth is working with third-party platforms to accommodate ad sales.

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Merchandising: Secrets of ‘Fantastic’ Exclusives

All three of the major national home entertainment retailers offered exclusive editions for Warner’s Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, released June 28.

Best Buy offered its typical Steelbook edition for the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack, for $34.99.

Best Buy’s ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ 4K Steelbook

Target offered the Blu-ray/DVD combo with a packed-in 16-page “Newt’s Journal” booklet containing beast sketches and more, for $27.99. In addition, all copies of the new “Fantastic Beasts” movie and the three-movie collection at Target came with an offer for a free 14-day trial of HBO Max. The promotion code must be redeemed by Aug. 2.

Target’s ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ Blu-ray with Newt’s journal

Walmart offered the Secrets of Dumbledore 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack in a collectible box styled as Newt’s suitcase, which included pop-up artwork when opened, for $39.96.

Walmart’s ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore’ 4K gift box

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Study: Streamers Most Satisfied With Disney+ and HBO Max, Less So With Netflix

Consumers are most satisfied with HBO Max and Disney+, while Netflix has dropped to fourth place in satisfaction among the top services, according to a Whip Media survey.

More than 80% of respondents in the survey said they were either satisfied or very satisfied with HBO Max (94%) and Disney+ (88%). Netflix (80%) fell behind Hulu, following a 10% decline from 2021. Apple TV+, meanwhile, enjoyed the biggest jump from last year, increasing 14% to 76% overall. 

In the survey, HBO Max also led in satisfaction for both quality of original content and variety of original content.

HBO Max and Disney+ were also seen as the best value in streaming as well, when factoring in both content and price for each service, according to the survey. Hulu followed closely behind HBO Max and Disney+ to grab the third-place spot. Netflix came in last, with 61% of respondents saying the service was worth the price. Apple TV+ is competitive on quality, but less so on content variety and quantity. 

Among respondents who canceled Netflix, nearly 70% said it was due to its price hikes.

Still, Netflix remains sticky among viewers, perhaps due to its first-mover advantage. Netflix remains the most popular choice for subscribers if they could “only keep one” SVOD service — although the number of respondents who agreed to that statement dropped from 41% to 30% in the last year. Another factor that could be helping Netflix is that respondents said it offers the best SVOD user experience and best program recommendations. 

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The findings were based on a survey of 2,460 TV Time users from the United States. Results have been balanced to reflect U.S. census population gender and age (13-54). The survey data was compiled between April 29, 2022, and May 4, 2022. 

Doc Series ‘Edge of the Earth’ to Debut on HBO and HBO Max July 12

The four-part documentary series from HBO and Teton Gravity Research “Edge of the Earth” will debut July 12 on HBO and HBO Max. 
 
A blend of action-adventure sport, travel journal and nature documentary, the series follows four groups of elite action-adventure athletes on four unique, never-before-accomplished missions. Taking place around the globe, within awe-inspiring, undiscovered realms of nature, each installment features a different team of adventurers journeying into the wild to take on endeavors of physical prowess and mental fortitude. 

As the athletes venture up and down mountains, down rivers and across oceans, they rise to meet intense, life-threatening challenges that test their decision-making and athletic capacity.
 
Directed by Steve Jones and Todd Jones and produced by Drew Holt, the series features aerial photography and immersive video in some of the world’s least accessible and rarely seen locations. Taking part are snowboarders Jeremy Jones and Elena Hight and skier Griffin Post; kayakers Ben Stookesberry, Nouria Newman and Erik Boomer; climbers Emily Harrington and Adrian Ballinger; and surfers Ian Walsh and Grant “Twiggy” Baker.
 
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Episodes include “Into the Void” on July 12, which follows a human-powered ski and snowboard expedition in the icy wilderness of Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska; “Raging Torrent” on July 19, about a first descent attempt of the potentially impassable Chalupas River in the vast jungle of the Llanganates National Park in Ecuador; “Reaching for the Sky” on July 26, about an attempt to accomplish the first individual free climb ascent of a near impossible free route on Pik Slesova in Kyrgyzstan; and “The Great Unknown” on Aug. 2, which follows a pursuit of never before ridden big waves along the remote West Coast of South Africa. 

‘Bob’s Burgers Movie’ to Stream on HBO Max and Hulu Starting July 12

The 20th Century Studios animated film The Bob’s Burgers Movie will debut July 12 on streaming services HBO Max and Hulu.

The animated musical comedy-mystery-adventure is based on the long-running Emmy-winning series. The story begins when a ruptured water main creates an enormous sinkhole right in front of Bob’s Burgers, blocking the entrance indefinitely and ruining the Belchers’ plans for a successful summer. While Bob and Linda struggle to keep the business afloat, the kids try to solve a mystery that could save their family’s restaurant.

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Voice talent includes Kristen Schaal, H. Jon Benjamin, John Roberts, Dan Mintz, Eugene Mirman, Larry Murphy, Zach Galifianakis and Kevin Kline. The film was directed by Loren Bouchard and Bernard Derriman. The screenplay is by Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith. The producers are Loren Bouchard, Nora Smith and Janelle Momary.

Season Two of ‘Fboy Island’ Debuts July 14 on HBO Max

Season two of the HBO Max Original reality dating series “Fboy Island,” hosted by comedian and actress Nikki Glaser (HBO’s upcoming comedy special and nationwide comedy tour “One Night with Nikki Glaser”), debuts July 14 on HBO Max with the first three episodes of the 10-episode season, followed by three additional episodes on July 21, two episodes on July 28 and the final two episodes on Aug. 4.

The series concept was created by Elan Gale (“The Bachelor” franchise) with Sam Dean (Max Original “12 Dates of Christmas,” “Love Is Blind”) as co-showrunner with Bill Dixon. The second season of “Fboy Island,” from STXalternative, was filmed earlier this year in Cabo San Lucas.

Season two follows three new women, Mia Emani Jones, Louise Barnard and Tamaris Sepulveda, who move to a tropical paradise where they’re joined by 26 men — 13 self-proclaimed “Nice Guys” looking for love, and 13 self-proclaimed “FBoys,” there to compete for cold, hard cash. The women will navigate the dating pool together with the hope of finding a lasting love connection. By the finale, all will be revealed: who is a Nice Guy, who is an FBoy, who the women ultimately choose, and who walks away with the prize money. The new season will see the return of some familiar faces and a bombshell twist that changes everything.

Season one had the biggest launch for a Max Original reality series since the platform launched in Spring 2020, with viewership growth week over week.

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Max Original Series ‘Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin’ to Debut July 28

The HBO Max Original series “Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin” will debut its 10-episode season on July 28 with three episodes. Two new episodes will follow on Aug. 4 and 11, with the final three episodes debuting Aug. 18.
 
Executive produced and written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (“Riverdale,” “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”) and co-executive produced and written by Lindsay Calhoon Bring (“Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”), the dark, coming-of-age, horror-tinged drama is set miles away from Rosewood, but within the existing “Pretty Little Liars” universe — in a new town, with a new generation of “Little Liars.”
 
In the series, 20 years ago, a series of tragic events almost ripped the blue-collar town of Millwood apart. Now, in present day, a disparate group of teen girls — a brand-new set of “Little Liars” — find themselves tormented by an unknown Assailant and made to pay for the secret sin committed by their parents two decades ago, as well as their own. 

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The series stars Bailee Madison, Chandler Kinney, Zaria, Malia Pyles and Maia Reficco as the new generation of “Liars.” The series also stars Mallory Bechtel, Sharon Leal, Elena Goode, Lea Salonga, Eric Johnson and Alex Aiono.

HBO Max Renews Emmy Award-Winning Comedy Series ‘Hacks’ For Third Season

HBO Max June 16 announced it has renewed Emmy Award-winning comedy series “Hacks” for a third season. The show stars Jean Smart, an Emmy, SAG Awards and Critics Choice Awards winner for her performance in season one of the series, along with Hannah Einbinder, Carl Clemons-Hopkins and Jane Adams, who were all nominated for Emmys in season one.

Season two, which explored the evolving dark mentorship between legendary Las Vegas comedian Deborah Vance (Smart) and her young, entitled writer Ava (Einbinder), premiered to critical acclaim on May 12 and is streaming now on Max.

“We congratulate ‘Hack’s’ extraordinarily gifted executive producers and cast, and our partners at Universal Television,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max, said in a statement.

“We’re thrilled that our HBO Max partners have renewed this standout series for a third season, and we can’t wait to see what’s next for Deborah, Ava and the rest of our outstanding ensemble,” added Erin Underhill, president of Universal Television.

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‘Stranger Things,’ Latest ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Film Top Weekly Whip Media Streaming Charts

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” again topped the Whip Media chart of streaming originals, while Warner Bros.’ Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, streaming on HBO Max, led the chart of streaming movies among U.S. consumers the week ended June 5.

Season four of the Duffer Brothers’ science-fiction horror drama “Stranger Things,” part one of which started streaming May 27, follows the characters six months since the Battle of Starcourt, which brought terror and destruction to Hawkins. Struggling with the aftermath, the friends are separated for the first time and are navigating the complexities of high school. Meanwhile, a new and horrifying supernatural threat surfaces, presenting a gruesome mystery that, if solved, might finally put an end to the horrors of the Upside Down.

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore is the latest installment in the series from J.K. Rowling about adventures in the wizarding world. It started streaming on HBO Max May 30.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app  with 21 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 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.

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Remaining at No. 2 on the streaming originals chart was “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which started streaming on Disney+ May 27. The series, released in weekly episodes, follows the “Star Wars” Jedi 10 years after his battle with Anakin Skywalker, who becomes Darth Vader.

Landing at No. 3 was “The Boys,” season three of which started streaming on Prime Video June 3. The black comedy series, based on the comics, follows the battle against abusive superheroes.

The original Top Gun, a movie from 1986, came in at No. 2 on the streaming movies chart as a new installment in the series, Top Gun: Maverick, continued to rule theaters. The classic is streaming both on Prime Video and Paramount+.

Rising from No. 4 to No. 3 on the streaming movies chart was Netflix’s Senior Year, which debuted May 13. The comedy stars Rebel Wilson as a cheerleader who lands in a 20-year coma after a stunt gone wrong. Awakened at 37, she’s ready to live out her high school dream of becoming prom queen.

 

Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended June 5:

  1. “Stranger Things” — Netflix
  2. “Obi-Wan Kenobi” — Disney+
  3. “The Boys” — Prime Video (Season Premiere)
  4. “Hacks” (2021) — HBO Max
  5. “Ozark” — Netflix
  6. “Love, Death & Robots” — Netflix
  7. “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” — Paramount+
  8. “The Flight Attendant” — HBO Max
  9. “The Lincoln Lawyer” — Netflix
  10. “The Orville” — Hulu (Season Premiere)

 

Top Streaming Movies Among U.S. Consumers June 3-5:

  1. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore — HBO Max
  2. Top Gun (1986)— Prime Video/Paramount+
  3. Senior Year — Netflix
  4. The Lost City — Paramount+
  5. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 — Paramount+
  6. The Batman — HBO Max
  7. Chip ’n Dale: Rescue Rangers — Disney+
  8. The Northman — Peacock
  9. Fire Island — Hulu
  10. A Perfect Pairing — Netflix