Netflix Inks Movie Production Deal with Jennifer Gardner; ‘Yes Day’ Sequel in the Works

Netflix has signed a multiyear production deal with Jennifer Garner covering multiple new films for actress to star in and produce. The partnership builds on the streamer’s ongoing relationship with Garner who starred in and produced Yes Day, a family comedy also starring Edgar Ramirez and Jenna Ortega. The film was seen by 62 million households in the first four weeks and is Netflix’s biggest ever kids & family film release.

Netflix said a sequel to Yes Day is currently in development with Garner set to produce and reprise her role as “Allison Torres”. The deal was set up by Scott Stuber, head of global film at Netflix.

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“Having known Scott for 15 years, there is a reason his relationships in the business stand the test of time,” Gardner said in a statement. “He is as true blue as he is smart and intuitive about filmmaking. I am honored to join the awesome group of creatives in the Netflix family, and I am extremely excited to work with their passionate and innovative teams across all departments.”

Outside of the deal, Garner will next star in sci-fi film The Adam Project alongside Ryan Reynolds, Zoe Saldana and Mark Ruffalo, and is also set to star in and produce comedy film Family Leave inspired by New York Times Bestselling author Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s book Bedtime For Mommy.

“I first worked with Jen on The Kingdom 14 years ago and consider myself very lucky to still be in business with her today,” Stubler said. “As an actor, she approaches every aspect of her work with such detail and preparation, which makes her an extremely valuable partner and producer. We look forward to celebrating another YES DAY with Jen and collaborating on many other exciting projects.”

‘Loki’ Back on Top of Parrot’s Digital Originals Chart Following Season Finale

“Loki,” the latest Marvel Cinematic Universe series from Disney+, returned to No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. chart the week ended July 23. It had been No. 1 two weeks earlier before slipped to No. 2 a week ago. The series had 44.1 times the demand of an average series after a 1.9% dip in demand expressions. The “Loki” season one finale debuted July 14, ending with a confirmation that there would be a season two. “Loki” was No. 6 on Parrot’s list of all TV shows.

Netflix’s perennially popular “Stranger Things” dropped back to No. 2 with 40.7 times the demand of an average series and an 11.4% drop in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity. It was No. 8 on Parrot’s list of all TV shows.

Another Disney+ Marvel series, “WandaVision” climbed a spot to No. 3 on the digital originals chartwith a 1.7% rise in demand expressions, giving it 34.7 times average demand as it picked up a slew of Emmy nominations.

The Disney+ live-action “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian” dropped a spot to No. 4 on the digital originals chart, garnering 33.4 times the demand of the average show after a 4.7% drop in demand expressions.

The Apple TV+ comedy “Ted Lasso” rose to No. 5 on the digital originals chart, pulling in 32.8 times demand for an average series after an 11.3% jump in demand expressions surrounding the July 23 premiere of its second season.

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A “digital original” is Parrot’s term for a multi-episode series in which the most recent season was first made available on a streaming platform such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or Disney+.

The No. 1 overall TV series in terms of online demand was “SpongeBob SquarePants,” with 71.9 times average demand.

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Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures demand for TV content in a given market through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites. Results are expressed as a comparison with the average demand for a TV show of any kind in the market.

 

Hasbro Ups Q2 Entertainment Revenue Thanks to Netflix Cartoon Series Licensing

Hasbro July 26 reported TV, film and entertainment revenue of $196.2 million for the second quarter, ended June 30. That was up 48% from revenue of $132.2 million in the previous-year period.

The game manufacturer attributed the gain to content deals for several properties, including “My Little Pony,” “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks” for Netflix Kids, as well as growth in YouTube advertising revenue. Television revenue grew with deliveries, including teen drama “Cruel Summer” for Disney’s Freeform and “The Rookie” for ABC TV, among other scripted and unscripted programs.

Overall entertainment revenue, which includes movie, TV content distributor eOne, increased 47% to $226.7 million from $154.1 million, with adjusted operating income of $9.9 million, compared with adjusted operating income of $9.1 million last year.

“Strength across Hasbro’s brands and business backed by strong execution from the entire team drove superb results for our second quarter,” chief financial officer Deborah Thomas said in a statement.

Indeed, total revenue, which includes board games and consumer products, increased 54% to more than $1.32 billion from $860.3 million last year. Net loss narrowed to $22.9 million, attributed in part to a charge of $101.8 million related to the loss on eOne Music assets held for sale and $7.3 million in related transaction costs.

Netflix, Disney+, Hulu Take on Peacock in Tokyo Olympics Ad Competition

On the first prime time competitions broadcast July 24 of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics on NBC, Netflix made a quiet entry into the TV commercial competition.

The 30-second spot highlighting original content aired during broadcast of Team USA’s first medals at the Games, when male and female swimmers snatched six medals, including the country’s first Gold by Chase Kalisz in the men’s 400-meter individual medley.

Disney+ and Hulu carried ad spots on the second primetime broadcast on July 25.

The price for a 30-second prime-time commercial at the Tokyo Games reportedly exceeds $1 million.

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The Netflix spot was the only SVOD promo to go up against NBCUniversal’s non-stop run of commercials for Peacock, the hybrid SVOD/AVOD platform launched a year ago. The Games NBC Sports host Mike Tirico shrewdly called out Peacock screen shots that viewers could toggle to watch ongoing competition in other sports (women’s softball) as well as VOD recaps of the men’s cycling road race.

Netflix ended the most-recent fiscal period with almost 210 million global subscribers. It also lost 430,000 net subs in North America.

NBCUniversal is pulling out the stops in an effort to jumpstart Peacock, which reported 42 million sign-ups through the first quarter (ended March 31), but reportedly just 10 million paying subscribers — suggesting the service needs an Olympian boost.

Peacock is featuring live coverage of some the Games’ biggest events, including gymnastics, track & field, and the U.S. Men’s Basketball Team’s pursuit of their fourth straight gold. In addition, Peacock will feature new daily live shows, original programming, Olympics channels and curated highlights of NBC Olympics’ coverage. All of Peacock’s Tokyo Olympics programming will be available to stream for free, with exception of USA Men’s Basketball live coverage that will only be available to Peacock Premium subscribers.

Regardless, the Games’ appeal to U.S. TV viewers could be declining. The network’s broadcast of the opening ceremony reportedly drew 16.7 million viewers, the smallest U.S. TV audience for the event in the past 33 years. At the same time, streaming viewership increased to 17 million across all digital platforms, including NBCOlympics.com.

Doc ‘Blood Brothers’ on Malcolm X, Muhammad Ali Friendship Debuting on Netflix Sept. 9

The documentary Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali, about legendary icons Malcom X and Muhammad Ali and featuring never before seen archival footage, will debut on Netflix Sept. 9.

The documentary feature is inspired by the book Blood Brothers: The Fatal Friendship Between Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X written by Randy Roberts and Johnny Smith.

Directed by Marcus A. Clarke and produced by Kenya Barris for Khalabo Ink Society and Jason Perez, Blood Brothers: Malcolm X & Muhammad Ali tells the story behind the friendship of two of the most iconic figures of the 20th century: Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. Ali was the charismatic and outspoken Olympic champion who charmed the nation, and Malcolm X the ex-con-turned intellectual revolutionary who railed against the evils of white oppression by speaking truth to power.

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“Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali are two of the most iconic and revered African Americans of the twentieth century, and yet the depths of their friendship and the influence they had on each other is largely unknown,” said Clarke in a statement. “Blood Brothers provides a deeper understanding into what made these two men tick, the intense role faith played in their bond and ultimately how their budding friendship came to an abrupt end.”

Clarke directed three of six installments of Netflix’s documentary series “Unsolved Mysteries: Volume 1,” as well as three episodes of the Netflix docuseries “Rapture.”

Barris and Khalabo Ink Society are also producing an upcoming documentary on civil rights attorney Ben Crump for Netflix.

Nielsen: ‘Manifest’, ‘Luca’ Top Weekly Streamed TV Show, Movie Through June 27

Netflix’s pick-up of canceled NBC TV series “Manifest” continued to pay dividends for the streaming behemoth, generating a whopping 2 billion minutes streamed across 29 episodes on U.S. household televisions for the week ending June 27, according to new data from Nielsen.

The series, which tracked 2.49 billion minutes in its premiere over-the-top video week, stayed atop the chart for the second consecutive week, besting Disney+ original movie Luca with 1.7 billion minutes. “Loki” finished No. 1 for original TV shows with 713 million minutes streamed across three episodes on Disney+.

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Licensed TV Shows:

Movies:
Rank

SVOD Provider

Program Name

# of Episodes

Minutes (Millions)

1 DISNEY+ LOKI 3 713
2 NETFLIX LUCIFER 83 603
3 AMAZON BOSCH 64 423
4 NETFLIX WORKIN’ MOMS 57 394
5 NETFLIX SWEET TOOTH 8 359
6 NETFLIX BLACK SUMMER 15 297
7 HULU THE HANDMAID’S TALE 46 266
8 NETFLIX WORLD’S MOST AMAZING VACATION RENTALS 8 253
9 NETFLIX TOO HOT TO HANDLE 13 190
10 NETFLIX ELITE 31 171

Original Movies:

Rank

SVOD Provider

Program Name

# of Episodes

Minutes (Millions)

1 DISNEY+ LUCA (2021) 1 1.71 Billion
2 NETFLIX FATHERHOOD (2021) 1 885 Million
3 NETFLIX THE ICE ROAD (2021) 1 714
4 DISNEY+ RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON 1 407
5 NETFLIX WISH DRAGON (2021) 1 346
6 NETFLIX GOOD ON PAPER (2021) 1 279
7 NETFLIX HOME (2015) 1 136
8 DISNEY+ MOANA 1 135
9 NETFLIX THE MITCHELLS VS. THE MACHINES 1 131
10 DISNEY+ CRUELLA 1 101

Pachter: Netflix Foray Into Video Games a Mistake

NEWS ANALYSIS — Netflix’s recent behind-the-scenes maneuvering to establish a foothold in mobile video gaming isn’t sitting well with longtime Wall Street bear Michael Pachter. The Wedbush Securities media analyst, who specializes in video games, for years has considered Netflix shares overvalued, underscoring his sentiment with the streamer’s erstwhile (until 2020) negative free cash flows.

Michael Pachter

Thus, while Netflix reported $1.8 billion in second-quarter (ended June 30) operating income, the service burned through $175 million in free cash on content. Netflix generated $899 million in free cash in the previous-year (pandemic) period.

Free cash is the amount of money a company has left over after paying for operating expenses.

Pachter says that as Netflix burns cash, it is expanding content offerings to include lower cost podcasts and video games, as the former is relatively inexpensive to produce. Gaming is a different ballgame — one that has seen many high-profile players enter and stumble.

“We think this is not smart [by Netflix],” Pachter wrote in a July 21 note.

To be sure, the gaming market is booming. Through the end of May, total revenue of hardware, games and accessories was up 17% to $24 billion from $20.5 billion in the previous-year period, according to The NPD Group.

While Netflix says it will initially focus on mobile games, Pachter questions whether the SVOD pioneer has any idea how difficult the mobile games business has become. The business graveyard is littered with the corpses of content companies that have failed at making mobile games, with Disney the most prominent failure.

“Video game publishing [heavyweights] like Activision, EA, Take-Two, Ubisoft and Nintendo have tried for years to create compelling mobile content, and each has had lasting success only through acquisition [of content],” Pachter wrote.

The analyst wonders why Netflix hired gaming veteran Mike Verdu to spearhead the venture — claiming the executive hasn’t produced games in about 20 years.

“While [Verdu] worked for mobile developers, his experience is limited, given that Zynga produced its first mobile game after he left the company, Kabam was sold only two years after he arrived, and he was at EA during a period of no growth,” Pachter wrote.

Netflix expects to create games based on its intellectual properties such as “Stranger Things” and “Bridgerton,” among others. Pachter says only one TV show in the past 20 years has morphed into a successful video game: “The Walking Dead.” Successful movie franchises translated into strong-selling games are largely limited to “Spider-Man,” “Harry Potter,” “Star Wars” and “Lord of the Rings.”

“If [Netflix] hopes to monetize its valuable television and movie IP, it would be less costly and more effective to follow Disney’s example of licensing its content to competent [game] creators,” Pachter wrote.

Reed Hastings: Streaming Video Still in Growth Phase

Coming off its slowest fiscal quarter in subscriber growth, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings contends the SVOD pioneer has plenty of runway left to significantly increase subscribers and revenue over the coming years.

While the service lost 430,000 net subs in North America in the second quarter (ended June 30), Hastings, speaking on the July 20 fiscal interview, said streaming video represents just 27% of the U.S. home entertainment market behind leader linear television. Of that streaming percentage, Netflix holds a market-leading 7% share followed by YouTube TV (6%), Hulu (3%), Amazon Prime Video (2%) and Disney+ (2%), according to Nielsen.

To Hastings, those numbers suggest Netflix’s future is still in the early innings, with unlimited potential.

“Does Internet streaming slow down? That’s seems pretty unlikely,” he said. “At least for the next several years, the growth story as a whole is very intact.”

The CEO said that when it comes to increased secular competition from platforms such as Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max and Peacock, Netflix is not seeing a negative impact on its domestic Nielsen weekly streaming metrics (which the streamer has dominated since inception), or in foreign markets.

“That gives us comfort,” Hastings said, adding that when streaming video represents 50% to 60% of home entertainment in the United States, there will be “shakeout” among the competition.

The executive believes the global streaming market could tally more than 800 million before reaching saturation. Netflix ended the quarter with almost 210 million.

“We want to be prepared and lead in that,” Hastings said. “But in the next several years, streaming is still in the early stages.”

CFO Spencer Neumann agreed that the streamer’s growth across multiple indices remains “remarkably” steady despite the ongoing “choppiness” brought on by the pandemic. He said the business continues to perform well, with viewer engagement up nearly 20%, subscriber churn down and comparable to the pre-COVID period in 2019.

But we still feel a little bit of that drag in terms of our acquisition growth as we’re kind of working through.

Neumann says the streamer is on track to add 54 million subs over the past two years through the end of the year, which he said translates to 27 million annually — a benchmark comparable to 2018 and 2019.

“We remain on that growth trajectory,” he said, adding that once the market overcomes the pandemic and Netflix moves into its second half-year content slate, smoother waters await.

“We expect to end the year on a much-more normalized growth trajectory,” Neumann said.

Netflix Adds 1.54 Million Q2 Subs Globally; Lost 430,000 North American Members

Netflix July 20 reported it added 1.54 million subscribers worldwide for the second quarter, ended June 30. The count beat company expectations of 1 million, but still tracked the smallest quarterly gain in the streaming video era. The service added 10 million subs in the previous-year period. Netflix lost 430,000 net subs in the U.S. and Canada, after adding 2.94 million last year.

The service ended the quarter with 209.1 million subscribers worldwide, up from 192.9 million subs in the previous-year period.

“We believe our large membership base in [North America] coupled with a seasonally smaller quarter for acquisition is the main reason for this dynamic,” co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos and CFO Spencer Neumann wrote in the shareholder letter.

They said the pandemic created unusual choppiness in the streamer’s growth and significantly distorted year-over-year comparisons as acquisition and engagement per member household spiked in the early months of the pandemic.

“In Q2 ’21, our engagement per member household was, as expected, down vs. those unprecedented levels, but was still up 17% compared with a more comparable Q2 ’19 period, demonstrating how much our members value Netflix and that as we improve our service we can charge a bit more,” they wrote.

Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead

Netflix original movies continue to register with subscribers. Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead generated a record 75 million member households in its first 28 days of release. As an extension to Army of the Dead, a prequel, Army of Thieves, will be released in Q4 ’21, along with a spinoff anime series later in 2022. Fatherhood, a dramedy starring Kevin Hart, was another hit, drawing an estimated 74 million member households in its first 28 days.

Netflix tracks a viewer after 120 consecutive seconds of streaming.

The quarter also featured Netflix’s most-watched animated film to date with 53 million member households streaming The Mitchells vs. The Machines.

The platform’s ongoing foray into original episodic programming continues to bare fruit, with the streamer citing the launch of “Shadow and Bone,” a fantasy series based on the popular Grishaverse book series, generating 55 million subscriber households in its first 28 days of release. The show has been renewed for a second season. Separately, “Sweet Tooth,” based on the beloved DC comic, was another hit series with 60 million member households streaming title in its first four weeks.

Management said the streamer’s move into nonfiction series is going well. Standout unscripted titles included season two of dating show “Too Hot to Handle” and social experiment reality program “The Circle,” which saw an estimated 29 million and 14 million households, respectively, in the first 28 days. True crime docuseries “The Sons of Sam” generated 19 million households.

“We’re building out some of these unscripted titles with local versions of the same formats,” Hastings & Co. wrote. “As one example, ‘Too Hot to Handle: Brazil’ and ‘Too Hot to Handle: Latino’ will be launching later in July and September, respectively, to serve our [Latin America] region.”

Finally, Netflix generated $96 million in revenue from its legacy by-mail disc rental service through six months of the fiscal year. That’s less than half the $239 million Netflix generated renting DVD and Blu-ray Disc movies throughout 2020.

Parrot Analytics: Netflix Share of Streaming Business Sinks to Record Lows

As Netflix prepares to announce its latest earnings, Parrot Analytics data released early on July 20 suggests the streaming giant’s share of digital original audience demand during the second quarter of this year sunk to record lows, dropping to 48.3% globally and just 46% in the United States.

This is the first quarter Parrot has ever measured in which Netflix’s digital original demand share slipped below 50% globally, the research company reported. The 48.3% share is down from 50.1% in Q1 2021, and down from 54.9% Q2 2020.

Meanwhile, Disney+ grew its share from 6.0% to 7.3% globally on the back of its original Marvel content.

Netflix’s 46% U.S. share is also a record low for a quarter, representing a 2.1% drop from Q1 2021 and a 5.3% drop from Q2 2020.

Disney+ grew its audience share from 7.0% to 8.1% in the U.S. thanks to the success of Marvel hits “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki.”

“These latest numbers follow a steady trend of shrinking dominance for Netflix in the industry, that was spurred on by the launches of Disney+ and Apple TV+ in November 2019,” Parrot stated. “These platforms, along with HBO Max, Paramount+ and more, continue to establish themselves with consumers and grow their subscriptions numbers by releasing highly in-demand original content. Netflix has struggled to push out breakthrough original content in the last few quarters — with the exception of season three of ‘Cobra Kai’ — and likely won’t have another massive original hit until Q4 with season two of ‘The Witcher.'”

The Parrot report concludes, “Netflix is still the global leader in the streaming space, but its lack of new hit original programming and the increased competition from other streamers is going to ultimately have a negative impact on subscriber growth and retention.”