Netflix to Open Office in Colombia

Netflix will open an office in Bogotá, Colombia, the company announced.

“Ten years ago Colombia opened its doors to Netflix, a new way to enjoy the best series and movies directly in their homes,” read a Netflix announcement. “A few years later we embarked on our first local production and quickly witnessed the incredible talent of the country and the opportunity to create Colombian stories, by Colombians. This led to series such as ‘Siempre Bruja,’ ‘Distrito Salvaje,’ ‘Chichipatos,’ ‘Frontera Verde’ and ‘El Robo del Siglo’; comedy specials such as those of Liss Pereira, Ricardo Quevedo, Antonio Sanint, Julian Arango and Alejandro Riaño; and movies such as Lavaperros, but our story in Colombia is only starting.”

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The new office “will allow us to be even closer to the creative community and our members, taking Colombian stories to millions of homes around the world so that they can discover the incredible potential, talent, landscapes and culture of this country,” according to the Netflix announcement.

Additionally, through 2022, Netflix will bow more than 30 new projects, which include the already announced “Ritmo Salvaje,” “Locombianos,” “Juanpis,” “Nada Es Igual,” a comedy show starring Alejandra Azcárate, “Goles en Contra,” ‘Pálpito,” “Perfil Falso,” “Diomedes” and “Chichipatos” season two.

The titles are part of Netflix’s local content investment of more than $175 million since 2014, according to the announce.

Netflix Germany’s ‘The Barbarians’ Most-Popular Foreign-Language Series in the U.S. in 2020

Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 chart quantifying Netflix’s most-popular shows suggests U.S. television viewers love network reruns such as “The Office,” “Friends” and “NCIS,” among others.

Now, new data from the SVOD behemoth contends American subscribers covet non-English-language movies and TV shows just as much. Indeed, the streamer’s most-viewed foreign titles in the U.S. in 2020 included The Platform (Spain), a dystopian prison hell where inmates eat food off a platform lowered to the ground between floors; “Kidnapping Stella,” in which a pregnant woman outsmarts her abductors; and Cuties, the controversial French film about young girls coming of age in the social media world.

On the episodic programming side, German original series “The Barbarians” features Germanic warriors holding off Roman Empire soldiers in Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 A.D.; Denmark’s “The Rain” showcases a brother and sister navigating post-pandemic Scandinavia; and “Dark” finds four families in a rural German town looking for two missing children.

“We have local-language original shows and local offices in many countries around the world — the growth in that area is very important to the company,” Bela Bajaria, head of global TV at Netflix, told The Wall Street Journal, which first reported the lists.

Again, Netflix registers a viewer of original programming two minutes after the start of streaming. The SVOD service’s most-popular international movies in the U.S.:

1. The Platform (Spain)
2. Lost Bullet (France)
3. Rogue City (France)
4. #Alive (South Korea)
5. Ip Man 4: The Finale (Hong Kong)
6. Kidnapping Stella (Germany)
7. Cuties (France)
8. The Crew (France)
9. The Paramedic (Spain)
10. Freaks: You’re One of Us (Germany)

Netflix’s most-viewed TV series in the U.S.:

1. “The Barbarians” (Germany)
2. “The Rain” (Denmark)
3. “Dark” (Germany)
4. “Money Heist” (Spain)
5. “Dark Desire” (Mexico)
6. “Ragnarok “(Norway)
7. “Always a Witch” (Colombia)
8. “To the Lake” (Russia)
9. “The Seven Deadly Sins: Imperial Wrath of the Gods” (Japan)
10.” The Protector” (Turkey)

CFO: Amazon Upping AVOD Focus, Growth in Foreign Prime Video Use

Lost in the glow of another colossal fiscal quarter for Amazon was an e-commerce launch in Sweden and increased focus on ad-supported VOD distribution going into 2021.

Speaking on the Oct. 28 fiscal call, CFO Brian Olsavsky said the number of Prime members who stream Prime Video outside the U.S. grew by more than 80% year-over-year in the third quarter, and international customers more than doubled the hours of content they watched on Prime video compared to last year. Prime Video expanded globally in 2016 to more than 2o0 countries.

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While Prime Video, like Netflix, remains ad-free, Amazon isn’t turning its back on ad-supported content and incremental revenue opportunities. The company owns and operates ad-supported IMDb TV, and is working with third-party apps on Fire TV for advertising opportunities.

“We’re seeing some good momentum with that,” Olsavsky said. “I think good momentum and a lot of good learning on some of those initiatives there. I won’t say too much about what we’ll look like next year, but that gives you kind of sense of priorities where we’re spending our time and focused on.”

Netflix Launches Hindi Interface

Netflix Aug. 9 launched its user interface in Hindi. The Netflix experience in Hindi, from sign up to search rows, collections and payment, is available across all devices on mobile, TV and Web.

Netflix members can switch to the Hindi user interface from the “Language” option in the “Manage Profiles” section on their desktop, TV or mobile browsers. On Netflix, members can set up to five profiles in each account, and each profile can have its own language setting. Netflix members outside India will also have the option to switch their user interface to Hindi.

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“Delivering a great Netflix experience is as important to us as creating great content. We believe the new user interface will make Netflix even more accessible and better suit members who prefer Hindi,” said Monika Shergill, VP of content for Netflix India.

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Netflix is investing heavily in Indian films and series across all genres and for all generations, including “Sacred Games,” “Bulbbul,” “Choked: Paisa Bolta Hai” and “Mighty Little Bheem.” The company recently announced a lineup of 17 stories, including “Ludo,” “A Suitable Boy” and “Mismatched” and the upcoming film Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl, which will bow Aug. 12. Netflix members can also view stories from other parts of the world, such as “Stranger Things,” “Extraction, Narcos: Mexico,” The Protector, Klaus, “The Witcher” and “Old Guard” with Hindi dubs or subtitles.

Last year, Netflix introduced the mobile plan in India for Rs. 199 per month.

Johannes Larcher to Head HBO Max International

WarnerMedia has named Johannes Larcher head of HBO Max International. He will join the company in August and report to Gerhard Zeiler, chief revenue officer of WarnerMedia and president of WarnerMedia International Networks.

Larcher will be responsible for the international rollout and management of the WarnerMedia subscription streaming service, which launched in the United States May 27. His first focus will be the launch in Latin America, which is expected in 2021, according to the company.

Larcher will work closely with Whit Richardson, president of WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks in Latin America, and Priya Dogra, president of WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks in EMEA and APAC.

Larcher currently serves as managing director of digital at MBC Group, the Middle East’s leading media company based in Dubai where he successfully transformed the group’s flagship digital product Shahid VIP into the world’s largest Arabic language video streaming service with more than 1.4 million subscribers. From 2016 to 2018, he was co-founder and CEO of SubVRsive in Austin, Texas, a virtual and augmented reality studio. From 2009 to 2013, he served Hulu as SVP, international, where he led the launch and initial growth phase of Hulu Japan. Earlier, Larcher was president and CEO of online video education start-up Academy123, sold to Discovery and served as GM International for paid search pioneer Overture Services until its acquisition by Yahoo! in 2003. Larcher started his career in 1995 at McKinsey in Los Angeles, where he served media, entertainment and technology clients. He holds an M.A. from the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, and an MBA from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

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“I got to know Johannes as a passionate entrepreneur,” Zeiler said in a statement. “His leadership skills, together with his strong direct-to-consumer and digital experience, international business foundations and tech expertise give him the perfect background to drive the growth of HBO Max beyond the United States.”

“Living at the crossroads of digital technology and content, I’m thrilled to help create unforgettable entertainment experiences for consumers in international markets and make HBO Max an indispensable streaming service around the world,” Larcher said in a statement.

‘Scoob!’ Rolling Out Internationally in July Via Theatrical and Premium In-Home Release

Warner Bros. Pictures will roll out Scoob! internationally via a combination of theatrical exhibition and premium in-home release through premium VOD and premium digital ownership.

The international theatrical release will begin on July 8 in France, Holland and Switzerland, with additional countries rolling out over the summer months.

Premium home offerings will begin on July 1 in Australia and New Zealand.

With theaters closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, the animated Scoob! debuted for both rental via PVOD and for digital ownership in the U.S. and Canada May 15. The film is now the No. 2 digital release of all time and the No. 1 digital release for Warner Bros., according to the studio. Scoob! June 26 became available in the U.S. on WarnerMedia’s recently launched streaming service HBO Max.

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“Our decision to release Scoob! as an in-home offering in May came during an unprecedented time in history, and we are delighted by the success of the film and the way it was embraced by long-time fans of this iconic character, families and children,” said Ron Sanders, president of worldwide theatrical distribution and home entertainment, and EVP of international business operations for Warner. “Following its strong domestic debut, our international strategy will combine both theatrical and in-home releases to make it easily accessible to worldwide audiences.”

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The film, which will be released on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray July 21 in the U.S., recounts the meeting of Scooby-Doo and his best pal Shaggy, and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form Mystery Inc. Now, after hundreds of adventures, Scooby and the gang encounter the larger world of the Hanna-Barbera universe, teaming with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt to stop Dick Dasterdly from unleashing the legendary ghost dog Cerberus upon the world. The voice cast includes Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell and Frank Welker.

‘The Last Dance’ Draws 23.8 Million International Household Viewers for Netflix

The Last Dance, the documentary series about basketball star Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls championship team, attracted 23.8 million households outside the United States on Netflix, the service announced May 20.

The miniseries, a co-production of Netflix and ESPN Films, aired on ESPN in the United States April 19 through May 17 with each episode being made available the day after airing to international audiences via the SVOD service.

“23 was always his lucky number! 23.8 million households outside the U.S. checked out The Last Dance in its first four weeks on Netflix,” the service tweeted.

Jordan’s jersey number was 23.

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Starz Rolls Out International Play App

Starz Nov. 25 announced it has launched its international StarzPlay app in Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico and the United Kingdom, with plans to launch in 20 additional countries in 2020.

Lionsgate-owned Starz has more than 5.6 million domestic over-the-top video subscribers. StarzPlay is a separate SVOD service outside the United States.

“Expanding our direct-to-consumer product into the global arena … gives subscribers seamless entry to our platform and premium content on their device of choice, while also providing us with access to key consumer data insights as we continue to position ourselves for success in the evolving content ecosystem,” CEO Jeffrey Hirsch said in a statement.

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StarzPlay ($5) is currently available in Europe and Latin America on Apple TV; in France, Germany, Mexico and the U.K. on Amazon Prime Video channels; Mexico on izzi and Totalplay; in Spain on Orange and Vodafone; in the U.K. on Virgin Media; in France on Orange; and as Starz in Canada in alliance with Bell Media.

Subscribers in select countries have access to hundreds of movies and series, including Starz Originals such as the recently debuted “The Spanish Princess” and “Dublin Murders,” as well as curated series including “The Act” and drama “Mr. Mercedes” and movies like Hitch, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and No Country for Old Men.

Disney+ Appoints Chris Loveall to International Content Post

Disney+ has appointed international programming executive Chris Loveall to the position of VP of content — international.

Loveall will report into Matt Brodlie, SVP of international content development, working closely with him and Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International’s regional teams on the development and production of original scripted and unscripted series, as well as acquisitions for all markets outside of the United States.

“Chris has great instincts and a deep understanding of storytelling opportunities in the international marketplace,” Brodlie said in a statement. “He will be a tremendous asset as we grow a rich, diverse slate of original content that builds on the Disney+ storytelling ethos in ways that are unique to each of our international markets.”

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“I’m excited to be part of the Disney+ team and look forward to working with them to identify and develop stories that resonate with fans of the service around the world,” Loveall said in a statement.

Loveall most recently served as VP of international programming for AMC Networks, including AMC, SundanceTV and BBC America, and was responsible for the development of original international commissions and co-productions as well as select acquisitions for each network. For SundanceTV, he oversaw the co-productions “Liar” with ITV and “Rosehaven” and “Cleverman” with the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Prior to joining the AMC Networks group, Loveall served as VP of original programming at Pivot, developing scripted drama, comedy and animation projects, as well as overseeing international co-productions including “Fortitude” with Sky Atlantic and “Please Like Me” with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. He has also held a number of programming-focused positions at ABC Signature Studios, The CW and other production companies.

Paramount Appoints David Elliott SVP of Physical International Sales and Distribution

David Elliott has been appointed SVP of physical international sales and distribution for Paramount Home Entertainment.

Elliott will replace Charlie McAuley, who is retiring after 13 years with the company.  In this role, Elliott will oversee the physical sales and distribution of the studio’s film and television properties internationally, providing leadership and direction to the international sales teams and developing strategies to maximize revenue.

He will report to Craig White, EVP of worldwide sales and distribution.

“David’s rich and diverse experience in the world’s leading and fast developing markets uniquely positions him to navigate and take advantage of the exciting opportunities our industry offers,” White said in a statement. “I am excited to have David at Paramount and look forward to his contributions.”

Elliott joins Paramount from 20th Century Fox where he served as SVP/managing director emerging markets — APAC, LATAM, EMEA, leading home entertainment content distribution for digital and physical products across all emerging markets and licensee businesses. He previously served as SVP, market development, Asia Pacific, Latin America and Northern Europe, SVP/head of international operations, and VP/head of international finance and accounting for Fox.

McAuley joined Paramount in 2006 as managing director, home entertainment U.K. and Ireland. In 2015 McAuley was promoted to SVP, responsible for international physical sales and managing distribution partnerships and licensing. McAuley has served as vice chairman and later chairman of the British Video Association (BVA) (now BASE). He previously worked at CIC International, Woolworths U.K. and Blockbuster International.

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“Charlie has been a highly successful business leader, as well as a formidable competitor and esteemed colleague and friend to many in the industry in Europe and beyond,” said White in a statement. “He has provided expert stewardship for Paramount’s fabled film library and delivered critical successes throughout his tenure. Charlie’s legacy and impact on the industry and his colleagues is exemplary. He will be sorely missed and we wish him well in his retirement.”