Hulu’s ‘Love, Victor’ Top New, Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons Why’ Top Returning Show on June Anticipated Series Chart

Shows about teen angst took the top spots on the TV Time anticipated series chart for June.

Hulu’s “Love, Victor” was the most anticipated new show, while Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why” was the top anticipated returning show for the month.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

Inspired by the 2018 film Love, Simon, the romantic dramedy “Love, Victor” shares Victor’s challenges and self-discovery as he adjusts to a new high school and struggles with his sexual orientation. Taking the silver on the new show chart was HBO’s “Perry Mason,” about a down-and-out criminal defense lawyer in 1930s Los Angeles. Coming in third was the Italian fantasy thriller “Curon,” followed in fourth by Amazon Prime’s “Alex Rider,” about a reluctant London teenager who is recruited by the British MI6 to infiltrate a remote boarding school for the ultra-rich. Rounding out the anticipated new show chart at No. 5 was HBO’s “I May Destroy You,” a new series from “Chewing Gum” creator Michaela Coel.

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The fourth and final season of “13 Reasons Why” hits Netflix June 5.  In the top anticipated returning show, the senior class at Liberty High School is preparing for graduation, but before they can say goodbye, they’ll have to keep a dangerous secret buried. Netflix also swept the rest of the returning shows chart. The German drama “Dark,” at No. 2, debuts its third season June 27. The supernatural horror series “The Order,” at No. 3, launches season two June 18. Creator Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician,” at No. 4, bows season two June 19. Finally, season four of the animated series “F Is for Family,” at No. 5, debuts June 12.

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Most Anticipated New Shows for June:

  1. “Love, Victor” (Hulu) — June 19
  2. “Perry Mason” (HBO) — June 21
  3. “Curon” (Netflix) — June 10
  4. “Alex Rider” (Amazon Prime) — June 4
  5. “I May Destroy You” (HBO) — June 7

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for June:

  1. “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix) — June 5
  2. “Dark” (Netflix) — June 27
  3. “The Order” (Neflix) — June 18
  4. “The Politician” (Netflix) — June 19
  5. “F Is for Family” (Netflix) — June 12

HBO Max Launches — With More Than 10,000 Hours of Content

WarnerMedia’s much-hyped subscription streaming video service — HBO Max — launches today (May 27) as the most-expensive over-the-top video platform ($14.99) and last to join a crowded SVOD market dominated by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney-owned Hulu  and  Disney+.

“Today we are proud to introduce Max — a dream that was created and nurtured by an incredible team of talented executives who dedicated the last year-and-a-half to making it a reality for consumers nationwide,” Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer, said in a statement.

The service, which will include a less-expensive ad-supported option, bows with more than 10,000 hours of content targeting as wide an audience (kids included) as possible — unlike traditional HBO, HBO Go or HBO Now.

Among the movies featured on the new service: all eight films in the “Harry Potter” franchise.

“There’s got to be more frequent [viewer] engagement,” John Stankey, who will soon succeed Randall Stephenson as AT&T CEO, said during Max’s media unveiling last October.

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That means HBO’s “True Detective” and “Game of Thrones” viewership has to expand to include families seeking libraries of Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies and Hanna-Barbera content, in addition to re-runs of “Friends,” which WarnerMedia paid $425 million to itself (Warner Bros. Television) for exclusive streaming rights. A big-budget re-union special episode was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic shuttering production.

Backed by a $4.8 billion war chest over the next several years (relatively small compared to Netflix’s reported $17 billion spend this year alone), with plans to secure 50 million subscribers by 2025, Max is setting itself a high bar for achievement — or failure.

Max is also appealing to DC comics fans with pledges to release every Batman movie on the platform, in addtion to Aquaman and Wonder Woman, among others. This strategy puts Max at odds with DC Universe, the $8 monthly streaming service that features a slew of original series. Currently only “Doom Patrol” is migrating over to Max.

“The competition is actually more about content than anything else, and whatever’s on Max is not going to be available to Netflix or Disney+,” Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, said.

Pachter contends that with the HBO brand already available to about 140 million households, it’s just a matter of time before a percentage of them migrate. Max is now available to existing HBO and HBO Now subs at no extra cost.

Pachter said the only question is how many households will keep pay-TV in a global recession due to the virus pandemic.

“My guess is that conventional HBO loses a lot of subscribers (probably 5 million) over the next year or so, while Max adds 2 – 3 x that many, so net, they probably grow from 140 million to 150 million subs,” he said.

Indeed, HBO Now direct-billed subs, as well as those who are billed through Apple, Google Play, Samsung, Optimum and Verizon Fios Internet get access to Max at no extra cost, with the Now app automatically updating to the Max app on supported devices.

Current HBO subs who are direct-billed through AT&T, AT&T TV, DirecTV, AT&T U-verse TV, Cox, Hulu, Optimum, Spectrum, Suddenlink, Verizon Fios TV and select independent cable, broadband, and telco providers through the NCTC like WOW!, Atlantic Broadband, RCN and MCTV, among others, also have access to Max at no extra cost.

All that is required is downloading the Max app and then electing to access the service on supported devices or via desktop and log in using an existing provider’s username and password.

Notably missing from Max’s debut: distribution via Amazon Fire TV (and Amazon Prime Channels) and Roku — the latter with more than 40 million subs. The platforms have traditionally been key for third-party OTT launches — including HBO Now, which generated much of its 8 million sub base through Amazon and Roku.

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Amazon and Roku typically take a cut of subscription revenue, in addition to keeping control of user data, among other conditions.

“While we don’t typically comment on specific deal terms or negotiations, the fact is that in this instance while we believe that HBO Max would benefit greatly from distribution on Roku at launch, we do not currently have an agreement in place,” a spokesperson for the streaming media device manufacturer told Lightshed Partners’ Richard Greenfield earlier this month.

“These guys are going to divide up the [pay-TV] world … I expect some to count ‘only’ domestic subscribers [in the beginning], so it’s going to be noisy,” Pachter said.

HBO’s ‘His Dark Materials’ Hits Disc Aug. 4

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release His Dark Materials: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 4. The first eight episodes of the HBO series are available now through digital retailers.

Adapted from Philip Pullman book trilogy of the same name, which has sold more than 22 million copies worldwide, “His Dark Materials” takes place in a world parallel to our own, where a human’s soul exists outside one’s body in the form of a talking animal called a “daemon.” The all-powerful Magisterium rule over this world where they suppress any knowledge that attempts to challenge its ideas, particularly around the theory that multiple worlds exist.

Season One follows Lyra (Dafne Keen), a young orphan who was left as a baby at Oxford’s Jordan College by her uncle Lord Asriel (James McAvoy) and desires a life of adventure beyond the confines of her bookish, scholarly surroundings. But when Lyra’s best friend goes missing, her search for her kidnapped friend uncovers a plot involving stolen children and transforms into a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon known as Dust. Over the course of the season, as she journeys through the different worlds, including our own, Lyra encounters extraordinary beings and dangerous secrets, with the fate of both the living and the dead at stake.

The cast also includes Ruth Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Clarke Peters, Lewin Lloyd, James Cosmo, Anne-Marie Duff, Will Keen and Ariyon Bakare.

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Home video extras include the featurettes “Adapting His Dark Materials,” “The Daemons of His Dark Materials,” “Dressing His Dark Materials,” “Building His Dark Materials,” “Dafne Keen: Bringing Lyra Belacqua to Life,” “Ruth Wilson: Bringing Mrs. Coulter to Life,” “Lin-Manuel Miranda: Bringing Lee Scoresby to Life” and “James McAvoy: Bringing Lord Asriel to Life.”

The Blu-ray Disc and DVD will also include a “Making His Dark Materials” featurette. In addition, the Blu-ray will include a digital code for the season.

The first book of the novels was previously adapted as the 2007 film The Golden Compass.

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WarnerMedia Solidifies HBO Ownership in Latin America Ahead of Max Launch

With the launch of subscription streaming video platform HBO Max just weeks away, WarnerMedia has finalized its acquisition of Ole Communications’ minority stakes in both HBO Ole Partners and HBO Brasil Partners, the joint ventures between WarnerMedia and Ole Communications, and now owns 100% of all HBO, Cinemax and HBO Go services in Spanish-speaking Latin America and Caribbean, as well as in Brazil.

HBO services in Latin America, which will aggressively promote HBO Max, will now fall under the purview of Gerhard Zeiler, president, WarnerMedia International Networks.

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“We are pleased to complete this strategic acquisition, which will allow us to fully realize the potential of a combined WarnerMedia in Latin America, creating more value for fans, business partners and content creators,” Zeiler said in a statement. “First and foremost, with this acquisition, we plan to launch localized versions of our upcoming U.S. streaming service HBO Max to consumers throughout the region.”

WarnerMedia and Ole Communications brought HBO programming to the region for the first time in 1991 when they founded the HBO Ole Partners joint venture and launched a Spanish-language HBO-branded premium channel that same year. In 1994, a Portuguese-language service was launched in Brazil.

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Separately from this acquisition, WarnerMedia and Ole Communications will continue their basic TV channel distribution business in Latin America.

HBO’s ‘Run’ Top Rising Show, Netflix’s ‘Money Heist’ Again Top Binge on TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Money Heist” was again the top binge show while HBO’s new comedy “Run” was the top rising show on the TV Time charts for the week ended April 19.

“Run” is a half-hour comedy thriller from the team behind “Fleabag” that premiered April 12. It follows a woman whose humdrum life is thrown upside down when she receives a text from her college sweetheart inviting her to drop everything and meet him in New York to fulfill the pact they made 17 years previously.

Taking the silver on the rising show chart was “Four More Shots Please!,” a comedy about four women who live, love, blunder and discover themselves through friendship in millennial Mumbai. The second season of the Amazon Prime show bowed April 17.

Season four of the Spanish series “Money Heist,” the top binge for a third consecutive week, premiered April 3. In the fourth installment, the gang is going through one of its toughest moments, and the rise of an enemy among its ranks will put the heist in serious danger.

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TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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 Top Binge Shows Week Ended April 19 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Money Heist” (Netflix) — 3.60%
  2. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.85%
  3. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.81%
  4. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.66%
  5. “Community” (NBC) — 1.42%
  6. “The Office” (NBC) — 1.42%
  7. “Elite” (Netflix) — 1.23%
  8. “The Walking Dead” (AMC) — 1.13%
  9. “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS) — 1.10%
  10. “Vis a vis” (Antena 3) — 1.09%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended April 19 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Run” (HBO) — 99.8%
  2. “Four More Shots Please!” (Amazon Prime) — 94.4%
  3. “Men?” (Comedy Central Latin America) — 93.4%
  4. “Candice Renoir” (France 2) — 87.9%
  5. “Bosch” (Amazon) — 84.2%
  6. “Insecure” (HBO) — 83.2%
  7. “El Dragon: Return of a Warrior” (Univision) — 83%
  8. “What We Do in the Shadows” (FX) — 82.4%
  9. “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” (Fox) — 75.8%
  10. “Fauda” (YES) — 74.5%

HBO Streaming 500 Hours of Free Content

As part of its #StayHomeBoxOffice coronavirus campaign, HBO April 2 announced it would stream multiple series, documentaries and movies for free on HBO Now and HBO Go beginning April 3.

The WarnerMedia Entertainment subsidiary is joining other distributors and content holders rolling out free access to content to for millions of Americans (and non-subscribers) under government orders to remain at home if at all possible to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.

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“My bosses want me to tell you these series will be available to stream on HBO Now and HBO Go for free,” HBO tweeted on its Twitter page. Series include “Ballers,” “Barry,”  “Silicon Valley,” “Six Feet Under,” “The Sopranos,” “Succession,” “True Blood,” “Veep” and “The Wire,” among others.

Movies include: Pokémon Detective Pikachu, The Lego Movie 2 and Sucker Punch, among others.

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AT&T Giving Subs Free Access to Premium Content

AT&T March 26 became the latest media company offering limited free access to proprietary and third-party content during the coronavirus pandemic.

The telecom is offering DirecTV, U-Verse, AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now subscribers free access to HBO, Starz, Cinemax and Epix into April. Starz and Epix are owned by Lionsgate and MGM, respectively.

Starz will be available from March 26 to April 4, Epix from April 4 to April 16, and HBO and Cinemax available from April 17 to 20.

CBS All Access earlier announced it would give a free 30-day trial to new subscribers.

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The strategy comes as AT&T readies the May launch of HBO Max — the $14.99 SVOD platform it hopes to carry initially on the backs of existing pay-TV subscribers. For the telecom, unfortunately, those subs have been leaving in droves.

AT&T lost 1.2 million streaming video and pay-TV subs in the most-recent fiscal period. It lost 2.9 million subs in the previous three fiscal quarters combined.

And with 3.3 million people filing for unemployment benefits this week — the highest tally since 1982 — due to the drastic economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, pay-TV might become an unnecessary luxury to millions more.

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Warner Sets HBO’s ‘The Outsider’ for DVD and Blu-ray Release

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the first season of HBO’s “The Outsider” on Blu-ray and DVD July 28. The 10-episode limited series is available now to buy through digital retailers.

Based on the bestselling Stephen King novel, the mystery series follows a seemingly straightforward investigation into the gruesome murder of a local boy. When 11-year-old Frankie Peterson’s body is found mutilated in the Georgia woods, police detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) sets out to investigate — with eyewitnesses and physical evidence pointing to Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman), a popular high school teacher, Little League coach, doting husband and father. While the case appears ironclad, Ralph is baffled by the emergence of contradictory evidence that places his suspect in a neighboring city at the time of the murder. The mysterious set of circumstances surrounding this horrifying crime leads Ralph, a seasoned cop still grieving the recent death of his own son, to bring in unorthodox private investigator Holly Gibney (Cynthia Erivo), whose uncanny abilities he hopes will help explain the unexplainable.

The cast also includes Bill Camp, Mare Winningham, Paddy Considine, Julianne Nicholson, Yul Vázquez, Jeremy Bobb and Marc Menchaca.

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The Outsider: The Complete First Season DVD and Blu-ray will offer more than 40 minutes of behind-the-scenes bonus content, including the featurette “El Cuco. The Bab Yaga. The Outsider,” about the real-world origins and supernatural abilities of the being at the center of the story.

Other extras include the featurettes “Invitation to Set,” “Stephen King and The Outsider,” “Jason Bateman and The Outsider” “Adapting The Outsider,” “Analyzing Holly Gibney” and “The Outsider: Inside Episodes 1-10.”

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Update (4/27/20): The original street date of June 9 was changed to July 28 by Warner.

Hulu’s ‘Little Fires Everywhere’ Top New, HBO’s ‘Westworld’ Top Returning Shows on March TV Time Anticipation Charts

Hulu’s “Little Fires Everywhere” was the top anticipated new show and HBO’s “Westworld” was the top anticipated returning show on the TV Time charts for March.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

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Hulu’s new “Little Fires Everywhere” miniseries, starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, hits screens March 18. Based on the Celeste Ng novel, the eight-episode show follows the fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and an enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. Coming in at No. 2 on the new show chart was Hulu’s sci-fi thriller “Devs,” debuting March 5. In the series, when a software engineer’s boyfriend disappears, she suspects foul play and investigates the secretive division of her tech company. Behind HBO’s “The Plot Against America” at No. 3 was “Amazon Stories” (No. 4) from new streaming service Apple TV+. The series is a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s 1985 anthology series.

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Among returning shows, coming in No. 2 behind the HBO sci-fi series “Westworld,” returning for its third season March 15, was Netflix’s Spanish teen drama “Elite,” with its season three hitting screens March 13. Netflix also cleaned up on the rest of the returning shows chart with its series taking the No. 3 through No. 5 spots.

 

Most Anticipated New Shows for March:

  1. “Little Fires Everywhere” (Hulu) — March 18
  2. “Devs” (Hulu) — March 5
  3. “The Plot Against America” (HBO) — March 16
  4. “Amazon Stories” (Apple TV+) — March 6
  5. “Dispatches From Elsewhere” (AMC) — March 1

 

Most Anticipated Returning Shows for March:

  1. “Westworld” (HBO) — March 15
  2. “Elite” (Netflix) — March 13
  3. “Paradise PD” (Netflix) — March 6
  4. “Ozark” (Netflix) — March 27
  5. “Castlevania” (Netflix) — March 5

 

American Streaming Video Services Grapple With Global Politics

Over-the-top video is a global market with distribution as easy as creating an online network and the click of a button. While globalization is a boon for American media companies and Hollywood, there is an inconvenient flipside that comes with the territory: censorship.

The Feb. 23 broadcast of HBO’s political commentary/satire show “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” was blocked Feb. 25 in India by Disney-owned Hotstar — a streaming service with more than 100 million monthly viewers. Disney acquired the service through it $71 billion purchase of select 21st Century Fox assets.

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The episode featured a lengthy criticism by Oliver of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist President Trump is currently meeting with in India.

Disney has big goals for Hotstar (which will soon be rebranded Disney+ Hotstar), believing the service can not only help Disney+ gain a footing in one of the world’s largest markets, but also successfully compete with Netflix.

IHS Markit estimates that Netflix has 1.2 million subscribers in India, less than half of Hotstar’s three million.

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At the same time, Disney, like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, is discovering that carving out niche markets abroad can require agreeing to a type of government oversight unheard of in the United States.

Rather than air the Modi episode, Hotstar streamed an older episode of “Last Week.”

When Netflix found itself in the crosshairs of Saudi Arabian officals for an episode of “Patriot Act with Hasan MinHaj” critical of Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, the SVOD behemoth deleted the episode. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings later defended the decision, saying the service was in the entertainment business, not the “truth to power business.” CCO Ted Sarandos then attempted to clarify the comment, claiming Netflix was indeed in the “truth to power business,” but that sometimes that also meant agreeing to the whims of local government.

Amazon last November took down the fifth season of “Madam Secretary” in India after government objections to the political drama’s reported focus on Hindu nationalism and violence against Muslims and other minorities in India.