JustWatch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ Going in Opposite Market Directions

Since launching service in 2019, Disney+ has acquired 18% market share of the SVOD ecosystem, according to new data from JustWatch, which tracks more than 20 million users’ monthly streaming decisions across 100 countries.

At the same time, SVOD pioneers Netflix and Amazon Prime Video have seen their respective market shares decline 5% and 4% to around 30% since January 2021. Other gainers include HBO Max, up around 13%, while Hulu and Apple TV+ have realized market share declines.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Report: Ads Could Boost Netflix Revenue 21%

With Netflix planning to launch an ad-supported subscription option by the fourth quarter, a new report suggests the move could generate a 21% spike in the streamer’s annual revenue. The company reported $3.35 billion in North American fiscal 2021 revenue, which was up from $3 billion in FY 2020 revenue.

Netflix currently charges $9.99 monthly for the basic plan, $15.49 monthly for the standard plan, and a $19.99 monthly for the premium plan.

The Information, citing data from SVOD competitors employing ad-supported options, contends Netflix would have to charge less when subjecting streamers to targeted ads. How much less remains to be seen.

Assisting Netflix in the ad-revenue generation would be its scale of subscribers. The service currently has about 221 million subscribers, including 74.5 million in North America. That’s more than HBO Max, Paramount+, Discovery+ and Peacock combined.

Hulu reportedly subjects streamers to the most ads per hour, while Paramount+ streams 50% fewer commercials than Hulu, according to Paramount Global CFO Naveen Chopra speaking at a recent investor event. HBO Max streams fewer ads as well.

“[Ad-supported subscription streaming] gives us the ability to package what is becoming increasingly scarce linear inventory with digital video inventory, which is a way to differentiate that inventory versus what some other platforms will be able to offer,” Chopra said.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Hulu Offering $1 Monthly Plan for New and Returning Subs Through May 27

Disney’s majority-owned subscription streaming service Hulu is offering new and returning subscribers the ability to stream the platform for $1 monthly fee for three months through if activated by May 27.

The promotion is part of an ongoing industrywide “National Streaming Day” marketing effort as the market grapples with Wall Street’s fallout regarding subscriber losses at industry behemoth Netflix.

Hulu, which is normally available with advertising for $6.99 monthly ($12.99 without ads), added 3.6 million subs in the most-recent fiscal period to end the period with 41.4 million.

Disney also markets Hulu with ESPN+ and Disney+ in a monthly bundle for $13.99 monthly.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Disney Executives Expect Most Disney+ Subs to Choose Ad-Supported Option

With Disney planning to launch a less-expensive, ad-supported subscription option for Disney+ later this year, questions about the pending plan featured prominently May 18 for Disney CFO Christine McCarthy and Rita Ferro, president of Disney advertising sales and partnerships, at the MoffettNathanson Annual Media & Communications Summit.

With Disney expecting to operate its branded SVOD platform in 150 markets by the yearend, McCarthy reiterated management confidence that Disney+ could reach 230 million to 260 million global subscribers by the end of fiscal-year 2024. The service ended the most-recent quarter with almost 138 million subs — up from nearly 104 million subs in the previous-year period.

Christine McCarthy

“We still expect a strong second half [2022] of subscribers, because we have two things going on: We have a lot of great content coming [to the platform] … and we were also launching in several new international markets,” McCarthy said.

Ferro, who has been tasked with mining incremental revenue from pending Disney+ ad-supported subscribers, said the company internally has been strategizing about an ad-supported option since the SVOD platform launched in late 2019. To help sort through the challenges of an ad-supported plan, Ferro said the company looked no further than Hulu, which Disney owns and operates, with Comcast as a minority stake holder.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“Hulu was the first … AVOD platform. They had 14 years’ experience in this space,” Ferro said. “Since we took operational control of Hulu, we’ve doubled the ad revenue, [and] we’ve doubled the number of advertisers.”

Rita Ferro

Hulu ended the fiscal period with 41.4 million SVOD subs, of which upwards of 66% subscribe to the ad-supported $6.99 monthly plan, with the rest opting for the $12.99 ad-free plan, according to Ferro.

Disney has not disclosed pricing for the ad-supported Disney+ option.

“We expect about the same percentage [of ad-supported subs] for both Disney+ and Hulu, just based on the experience curve that we’ve witnessed,” Ferro said. “We do expect there to be a premium from that [Disney+] advertising that will enhance the [average revenue per user]. So, we feel really feel good about this opportunity.”

Ferro said the Disney+ ad-supported plan would include about four minutes of commercials per hour (which is less than on Hulu) and include children’s programming, although the user data among that demo would not be collected, unlike other age groups. Targeted ads would differ between episodic content and feature-length movies.

“We know that the movies are the reasons people come to the platform and movies have a different ad load … and different ad breaks,” Ferro said. “We want to start slow, and so we’re not going to just start with 15-second and 30-second spots, but we’ll evolve to a full suite of ad products as we learn and understand how people come online and use the platform.”

Candy

STREAMING REVIEW: 

Hulu;
Drama;
Not rated.
Stars Jessica Biel, Pablo Schreiber, Melanie Lynskey, Raúl Esparza, Timothy Simons.

This true crime drama follows the story of Candy Montgomery, a 1980 Texas housewife and mother with a good husband, two kids and a nice house who also seems to be a cold-hearted ax murderer.

Portraying incidents before, after and during the death of her “friend” Betty Gore — not in any chronological order — the series unveils Candy’s secrets slice by slice, like a potluck pie, but ultimately leaves her somewhat of a fascinating enigma, prompting viewers to ponder the question: Does anyone really know the housewife next door?

While many true crime dramas play it straight, Jessica Biel’s portrayal of Candy leans toward the satirical, reminiscent of Nicole Kidman’s turn as the naughty, husband-murdering teacher in To Die For. This is a woman who can wield an ax to kill before lunch and help out with a smile at the church Bible school after. The facade of suburban homemaking chatter and activity contrasted with the gory murder and the ugly secrets behind it make for some very dark humor. Biel’s husband Justin Timberlake makes a supporting appearance as a cop investigating the crime as does Jason Ritter, the husband of Melanie Lynskey, who portrays Betty, further adding to the sardonic tone.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Lynskey’s aggrieved and doomed Betty comes off as such a milquetoast whiner that her murder seems almost deserved — though the actress gives her a despondent gravitas. Her ghostlike appearances toward the end leave us wanting a bit more verve, but then maybe Betty doesn’t have it in her.

Candy, on the other hand, is engaging, funny, sexy and exciting, the kind of gal you’d like to have over for gossip. Amongst the supporting players in the churchgoing, backyard-barbequing, casserole-baking neighborhood, Candy’s a star.

Depicted in all her sickly sweet and horrifyingly sour glory, Biel’s Candy makes suburban murder very entertaining — though we learn little about what really drives her. At the end of the story, she is still a mystery. And perhaps that’s the point. Candy is somewhat of a facade. What goes on behind the face she shows the world is unknowable. What’s clear is that we don’t know the whole truth. 

In Hollywood, nothing succeeds like imitation, so viewers will get another chance to delve into this character. Elizabeth Olsen is set to take her turn playing Candy in yet another adaptation for HBO Max. She’ll have a hard act to follow.

Disney+ Adds 7.9 Million Q2 Subs, Reaches 138 Million Globally

The Walt Disney Co. May 11 said it added 7.9 million Disney+ subscribers in the second quarter (ended April 2). The streamer ended the period with almost 138 million subscribers worldwide, which includes 50.1 Hotstar subscribers in India.

The streamer, combined with ESPN+ and Hulu and Hulu + Live TV, brings Disney’s direct-to-consumer bundle to almost 206 million subs, up from 196.4 million during the previous-year period.

Specifically, Disney+ added 7.1 million North American subs, to bring the region’s total to 44.4 million, up from 37.3 million in the previous-year period. Internationally (excluding Hotstar), Disney+ added 12.1 million subs to bring its overseas base to 43.2 million, compared with 31.1 million a year ago.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

ESPN+ added 9 million subs to reach 22.8 million, up from 13.8 million last year. Hulu ended the quarter with 41.4 million subs, up from 32.8 million subs in the prior-year period. Hulu + Live TV, Disney’s online TV streaming platform, finished the quarter with 4.1 subs, up from 3.8 million subs last year.

“Our strong results in the second quarter … once again proved that we are in a league of our own,” CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. “Quite simply, we believe Disney+ is one-of-a-kind streaming service.”

At the same time, direct-to-consumer business increases also result in increased costs. Segment revenue for the quarter increased 23% to $4.9 billion, and operating loss increased $600 million to $900 million. The increase in operating loss was due to higher losses at Disney+ and ESPN+ and lower operating income at Hulu.

Lower results at Disney+ reflected higher programming and production, marketing and technology costs, partially offset by an increase in subscription revenue. Higher subscription revenue was due to subscriber growth and increases in retail pricing. The increases in costs and subscribers reflected growth in existing markets and, to a lesser extent, expansion to new markets.

Lower results at ESPN+ were due to higher sports programming costs and a decrease in income from Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view events, partially offset by an increase in subscription revenue due to subscriber growth. Lower UFC pay-per-view income was due to a decrease in average buys per event.

The decrease at Hulu was due to higher programming and production, marketing and technology costs, partially offset by subscription revenue growth and higher advertising revenue. The increase in programming and production costs was primarily due to higher subscriber-based fees for programming the live-TV service due to the carriage of more networks, an increase in the number of subscribers and rate increases. Subscription revenue growth was due to an increase in subscribers and higher average rates, primarily due to increases in retail pricing. The increase in advertising revenue was due to higher rates and impressions.

Gravitas Ventures Launches Theatrical Shingle With Diane Keaton Film

Gravitas Ventures has launched a new theatrical release label, Gravitas Premiere. The first release under the shingle will be the comedy Mack & Rita, starring Diane Keaton, which will debut theatrically in North America Aug. 12.

Streaming service Hulu is a Pay-1 U.S. partner on the film, and Hulu subscribers will be able to stream Mack & Rita beginning Dec. 20.

Gravitas Premiere will acquire four to six cast-driven, high production value films per year and release them wide theatrically with significant P&A support, according to the company.

In Mack & Rita, Mackenzie Martin (Elizabeth Lail) is tired of doing all the things she has to do to keep up and get ahead in her 30s. Since she was a little girl, Mack’s deepest wish is to be just like her Grammie: comfortable in her own skin, great at saying “no,” and largely unburdened by what others think of her. While at her best friend’s bachelorette party in Palm Springs, Mack stumbles into a sound bath regression pod and emerges a 70-year-old woman. Now transformed as “Aunt Rita” (Keaton), Mack thinks she will finally find self-acceptance, but quickly learns the reality of skipping to old age isn’t quite what she imagined.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

“We are delighted to launch Gravitas Premiere with the acquisition of Mack & Rita, which solidifies our commitment to championing the cinematic in-theater experience,” said Nolan Gallagher, Gravitas Ventures founder and CEO. “People love going to the movies and this film is an excitingly fresh and insightful comedy that needs to be experienced on the big screen. Mack & Rita is the type of high-quality, independently-produced story we are seeking to acquire through Gravitas Premiere, and we look forward to collaborating with our exhibition partners in bringing the film to theaters wide across North America.”

“We’re so thrilled to be working on Mack & Rita with the incredible team at Gravitas Ventures as they launch their new label, Gravitas Premiere. Their support and collaborative spirit, as well as their commitment to a wide theatrical release, are a dream for us as filmmakers,” said Mack & Rita director Katie Aselton and producer Alex Saks.

Hulu Taking ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Off Netflix Platform in October

Disney-owned Hulu will take over streaming all six seasons of the popular comedy series “Schitt’s Creek” from Netflix, beginning Oct. 3. The series, which co-stars Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Daniel Levy and Annie Murphy, has become a hit for Netflix since landing on the platform in 2017 through a distribution agreement.

The series regularly ranks among Nielsen’s top 10 acquired streaming shows on a weekly basis. In 2020, the series won seven Primetime Emmy awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series.

“Based on the number of ‘Schitt’s Creek’ GIFs we Slack every day, it’s no surprise that we are absolutely thrilled to welcome … the wonderfully unique residents of [the show] to Hulu,” Joe Earley, president of Hulu, said in a statement. “We can’t wait to share the award-winning, blisteringly-funny, yet heartwarming series and characters with our subscribers. We know they’ll fit in nicely.”

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Parrot: Netflix Share of Streaming Originals Dropped in Q1 as Competition Increased

Netflix’s demand share of streaming originals once again hit new lows in Q1 2022, sitting at 45.2% globally (down from 45.4% in Q4 2021) and 42.4% in the United States (down from 43.6% in Q4 2021), according to Parrot Analytics.

Meanwhile HBO Max, Paramount+ and Disney+ — all SVODs backed by traditional media conglomerates — saw significant gains in the most recent quarter. 
 
Global demand for original content from all of Netflix’s competitors grew 80.8% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2022, more than triple the 25.5% growth for Netflix originals over the same time, according to Parrot.
 

From Q1 2020 to Q4 2021, Netflix’s global subscribers grew from roughly 183 million to 222 million, a 21.3% increase in total subscribers. This is remarkably similar to the 22.8% growth in total demand global for Netflix originals from Q1 2020 to Q4 2021, showing the key link between demand for original content and subscriber growth, according to Parrot.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The gap between the growth in demand for Netflix’s competitors’ original content and its own is further evidenced in Netflix’s market share dropping dramatically in the past two years — from 55.7% to 45.2% globally, and from 52.4% to 42.2% in the United States between Q1 2020 and Q1 2022.

Netflix’s global demand share for streaming originals is down from 50.2% in Q1 2021 and 55.7% in Q1 2020. Disney+ and HBO Max have grown from a combined 6.7% share in Q2 2020 (the first quarter they were both available) to 15.5% in Q1 2022. That 8.8 percentage point gain from these Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery owned streamers accounts for the vast majority of the 9.8 percentage point drop that Netflix has taken over the same time period, showing how much these traditional media companies are directly eating into Netflix’s streaming dominance, according to Parrot.

Netflix remains the dominant service for original content demand with its 45.2% global share, which is still larger than that of its six closest competitors combined — Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, HBO Max, Apple TV+, Hulu and Paramount+, which make up a total of 42.4% share globally. That said, its competitors are catching up — in Q2 2020 (HBO Max’s launch quarter), Netflix’s six closest competitors combined for 33.4% global demand share, while Netflix stood as 55%. HBO Max (6.7%) jumped ahead of Apple TV+ (6%) this quarter, as demand for “Ted Lasso” faded while Max launched a trio of hit originals targeting significantly different audience sectors with “Station Eleven,” “Peacemaker” and “Our Flag Means Death,” according to Parrot.

Netflix had a steeper decline with U.S. consumers, dropping from 43.6% in Q4 2021 to 42.4% in Q1 2022. Netflix’s U.S. share was 48.1% in Q1 2021 and 52.4% in Q1 2020. Paramount+ and HBO Max had very strong quarters in the United States, and accounted for much of Netflix’s losses in demand share in Q1 2022.  HBO Max grew from 6.2% to 6.9%, and overtook Apple TV+ in the category with a hits such as “Our Flag Means Death,” “Peacemaker” and “Station Eleven.” Paramount+ grew from 4.4% to 5% on the back of “Yellowstone” spin-off “1883,” as well as a new season of “Star Trek: Picard.”

Netflix is doing well in on-platform demand share, especially considering a plurality of demand for content available on Hulu is non-exclusive licensed content, which has less of an impact on subscriber growth and retention, according to Parrot. While there is currently a major drop from second to third place in HBO Max on-platform demand with U.S. audiences, a combination of HBO Max and Discovery+, which Warner Bros. Discovery leadership has repeatedly emphasized is in the works, would make up 18.3% share, just 0.4 percentage points behind Netflix. “This imminent platform combination represents a strong competitor to Netflix for second place in on-platform demand share, showing how much of a direct threat Warner Bros. Discovery poses to Netflix’s grasp on the entertainment habits of tens of millions of American consumers,” according to Parrot.

Disney+’s “The Book of Boba Fett” narrowly beat out Netflix’s “The Witcher,” both of which debuted in late December 2021, as the most globally in-demand series in Q1 2022. Netflix did account for four of the top 10 streaming originals with global audiences for the quarter, tied with Disney+, which also had four. While that is a strong showing, it still represents a significant decline from recent times. Just last quarter Netflix had four of the top five global originals, and in Q1 2021 Netflix accounted for seven of the top 10 originals worldwide. Once again, competition from traditional media — Disney+ in this case — is cutting into Netflix’s core areas of streaming dominance, according to Parrot.

‘Moon Knight,’ ‘Death on the Nile’ Top Weekly Whip Media Streaming Charts

The Disney+ Marvel series “Moon Knight” led the chart of top streaming originals while Death on the Nile again led the Whip Media chart of top streaming movies among U.S. consumers the week ended April 10.

“Moon Knight,” which started streaming in weekly episodes March 30, rose from No. 2 to the top spot. Based on Marvel Comics characters, the series stars Oscar Isaac as a mild-mannered gift shop employee who finds he’s been given the powers of an Egyptian moon god.

Disney-owned 20th Century’s Death on the Nile, which started streaming on both Hulu and HBO Max March 29, is director Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1937 murder mystery novel of the same name. In addition to Branagh as detective Hercule Poirot, the film also stars Tom Bateman, Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders and Letitia Wright.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

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.

The Shonda Rhimes series “Bridgerton,” season two of which began streaming March 25, fell from the top spot to No. 2 on the streaming originals chart. It’s a costume romance drama inspired by Julia Quinn’s novels that follows the eight close-knit siblings of the Bridgerton family as they seek love and happiness in London high society.

Rising from No. 5 to No. 3 on the streaming originals chart was Apple TV+’s “Severance.” The sci-fi thriller series, featuring Adam Scott, John Turturro, Christopher Walken and Patricia Arquette, follows employees whose work memories are separated from non-work memories. It started streaming Feb. 18 with the finale debuting April 8.

Remaining at No. 2 on the streaming movies chart was The Adam Project, released on Netflix March 11. It’s a science-fiction action film, starring Ryan Reynolds, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Garner, that follows a man who travels through time and meets his younger self.

Remaining at No. 3 on the streaming movies chart was Turning Red, the latest Pixar animated feature. It started streaming on Disney+ March 11 and follows Mei Lee, a 13-year-old torn between staying her mother’s dutiful daughter and the chaos of adolescence. As if changes to her interests, relationships and body aren’t enough, whenever she gets too excited, she “poofs” into a giant red panda.

Follow us on Instagram

Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended April 10:

  1. “Moon Knight” — Disney+
  2. “Bridgerton” — Netflix
  3. “Severance” — Apple TV+
  4. “Halo” — Paramount+
  5. “Star Trek: Picard” — Paramount+
  6. “The Dropout” — Hulu
  7. “The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On” — Netflix (Series Premiere)
  8. “Young Justice” — HBO Max
  9. “The Girl From Plainville” — Hulu
  10. “Upload” — Prime Video

 

Top Streaming Movies Among U.S. Consumers April 8-10:

  1. Death on the Nile — HBO Max/Hulu
  2. The Adam Project — Netflix
  3. Turning Red — Disney+
  4. The Bubble — Netflix
  5. Encanto — Disney+
  6. Free Guy — HBO Max/Disney+
  7. All the Old Knives — Prime Video
  8. Scream — Paramount+
  9. Metal Lords — Netflix
  10. Eternals — Disney+