Stuck at Home: What are You Watching?

For the past two weeks, the vast majority of us have been stuck at home. Schools are closed, offices are closed, businesses are closed — and even those of us who are still working are finding more leisure time, with our movie theaters, gyms and favorite restaurants shuttered, and no cross-town meetings or appointments.

Screen time, not surprisingly, is up — way up. And here at Media Play News, we thought we’d start a conversation on what everyone is watching in the hopes that as people run out of ideas they can peruse the “comments” section down below for some suggestions.

Specifically, we’d like to know:

  1. What new movies are you watching on DVD, Blu-ray Disc or digital?
  2. What about classic movies?
  3. TV shows?
  4. Other programs?
  5. What about streaming? What original series or movies are you watching on Netflix? On Amazon Prime? On Disney+? On Apple TV+?
  6. Any little-known streaming services you are utilizing?

Let us know, by commenting on this story.

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And to get the conversation started, here’s what the Media Play News team is watching:

Editor in chief Stephanie Prange and her husband, Michael, and daughters Sydney (22) and Mia (17), have collectively or individually watched a wide range of programs, including “Tiger King” on Netflix, “The Act” on Hulu, “Hunters” on Amazon Prime and Captain America: Winter Soldier on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc. Mia has also enjoyed Frozen, Frozen II and Hercules on Disney+.

John Latchem, our executive editor, hasn’t changed his viewing regimen much: He’s still watching and reviewing new releases, mostly on Blu-ray Disc. Aside from that, he says he’s watching “Curb Your Enthusiasm” on HBO Go and “Ozark” on Netflix (season 3 just dropped and I’m eager to tune in as well).

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John Boezinger, our sales chief, has watched digital 4K versions of No Mercy and Queen & Slim.  He’s also watched multiple episodes of “Dirty Money” on Netflix.

And from Erik Gruenwedel, our East Coast-based senior editor: “Facing self-isolation and ignoring for a moment the guilt and myriad legalities, I’ve always wondered if it’s possible to commit the perfect murder. So I’m watching endless episodes of ‘Forensic Files II’ on HLN for clues. With today’s forensic technology, the answer would appear to be no. What a relief. I’ve also been watching catalog episodes of ‘Shark Tank’ on ABC. A woman got $120,000 from one of the sharks for her wedding undergarment creation that makes it easy for a bride to go to the bathroom in her gown. Very clever. Finally, from MHz Networks Home Entertainment, I’ve been watching the second season of the Swedish crime series ‘Detective Inspector Irene Huss’ on DVD with English subtitles — which keeps me awake.”

As for me, I’ve watched a few more historical dramas on Blu-ray Disc — Nixon, JFK, Parkland — as well as Parasite and Richard Jewell. For the past week, my two younger sons and I have also enjoyed a horror marathon in which we consumed all six “Wrong Turn” movies (yes, I love that stuff) while my wife has been sequestered upstairs watching “Outlander” on Starz and “Tiger King” on Netflix.

Disney+ Launching in India on April 3

Eager to expand its branded subscription streaming video service worldwide, Disney+ will launch April 3 in India with sister over-the-top platform Hotstar.

Disney acquired Hotstar, which reportedly has 100 million monthly views, as part of the $71.3 million 20th Century Fox transaction.

India, with the second highest population behind China, has become hotbed for American media companies seeking to tap a consumer base that exceeds 1 billion.

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week ordered citizens not to leave their homes in an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

“To save India, every citizen of India is being banned from 12 o’clock tonight, on exiting homes, completely,” Modi said in a series of March 24 tweets.

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Roy Morgan: Disney+ Attracts 1.8 Million Subs in Australia

New data from Roy Morgan reveals Disney+ is now Australia’s fourth most-popular subscription streaming video service four months after its launch.

The Aussie research company said Netflix remains the nation’s most watched subscription television service, with 12.20 million residents having access to it, an increase of 942,000 on a year ago. It is followed by Foxtel on 4.85 million (-98,000) and Stan on 3.70 million (+1.09 million).

Disney+, which entered the Australian market in November 2019, is ahead of Amazon Prime Video on 1.48 million (+914,000) and YouTube Premium on 1.48 million (+244,000).

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Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says that while Netflix is the clear leader in subscription television services, there is growing competition to secure the attention of Australian viewers.

“Since entering the Australian market in 2015, Netflix has reshaped how we watch television,” Levine said in a statement. “It created a product which allows users to make their own selection of uninterrupted television to watch whenever they want. Its success not only brought other players into the market, it forced commercial television to adapt by creating its own online streaming channels.

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Levine said the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many Australians to self-isolate at home indefinitely, presents an unexpected opportunity for streaming services such as Disney+ to continue the momentum of customer growth in the months ahead.

The research firm said Netflix and Stan remain the most popular SVOD combination in Australia, with 3.44 million viewers having access to both services and closely followed by Netflix and Foxtel (3.14 million).

The report — based on online survey of 12,082 respondents over the age of 14 — found that 1.67 million Disney+ subs also have access to Netflix. This represents 93% of Disney+ viewership but only 14% of Netflix viewers.

Nearly 900,000 Aussies have access to both Disney+ and the locally owned Stan. This level of viewership is equal to half of all Disney+ viewers and represents nearly a quarter of Stan’s 3.7 million viewers. A far higher rate than for rival streaming service Netflix.

Significantly for traditional pay TV service Foxtel, only 11% of their viewers have signed up for Disney+, a lower rate than for either Netflix or Stan.

Ampere: Netflix Primarily Dubs Content in Germany, France and Japan

With the majority of its subscribers outside the United States, Netflix’s ongoing strategy offering global content to local markets requires extensive dubbing and/or subtitle use.

New data from Ampere Analysis suggests Netflix opts to prioritize dubbed content in Japan, France and Germany, while focusing on subtitle use in smaller markets. In most non-English speaking territories, Netflix’s catalog comprises 90% foreign-language content, making localization, either through audio dubbing or subtitles, extremely important.

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Despite the SVOD pioneer’s pledge to make at least 30% of content in markets native, locally-produced titles still represent the minority of its content portfolio in all its markets, according to Ampere. This means Netflix has to rely on subtitling and dubbing for audiences in its many territories.

Indeed, the streamer largely uses subtitles in most markets, with dubbing representing less than 30% of Netflix’s foreign content.

“For Netflix, the level of localization of foreign language titles largely depends on the markets,” analyst Tingting Li said in a statement.

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In large markets like Japan, where local content is extremely important, over 40% of titles are dubbed and nearly every show has subtitles. Netflix’s dubbing is currently focused on the four largest EU markets — France, Germany, Italy, Spain — with 60% of foreign content in these territories is dubbed.

As the languages spoken in these markets cover multiple territories, investments in expensive dubbing processes can often be spread across other markets too — including Latin America, Africa & Canada, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland, among others.

These levels seen in the largest European markets are still typically lower than local SVOD competitors such as Maxdome (now Joyn) in Germany and Mediaset Infinity in Italy — both featuring almost 100% dubbed content.

Netflix’s catalog is typically larger than it competitors and its subtitling coverage is often superior, according to Ampere.

“In English-speaking countries, Netflix’s strategy is to localize foreign titles via English subtitles, while in other key markets, such as France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan, the streaming giant makes certain that most foreign titles are either subtitled or dubbed — catering to local content preferences,” Li said. “For other markets, such as Russia and Turkey, which represent a smaller portion of Netflix’s subscriber base, and thus harder to justify extensive localization investments, between 13% — 28% of content is localized — but we expect this to change as market penetration grows.”

For some markets, dubbing may be unnecessary — in Scandinavia, Netflix has low levels of dubbing coverage. But this is echoed by local Nordic players such as Viaplay, which has equally low levels of dubbing — and even lower levels of subtitling, partly because audiences in the region are used to watching English-language programming.

For English-speaking markets, local language content comprises 70% of titles. The remaining 30% are mostly subtitled, as in these markets, consumers are less accustomed to watching non-local content, and many of those consumers who watch foreign content prefer subtitles. The size of opportunity for audio dubbed content is thus minimal in these markets.

For French, German, Italian and Spanish-speaking markets, Ampere says around 90% of titles are foreign language, and dubbing is much more common. This is partly due to the scale of the markets, and partly due to the ubiquity of the languages themselves.

Ampere says that outside of Japan, India, South Korea and the Nordics, any markets that rely on other languages feature far lower levels of subtitling or audio dubbing, with many titles not featuring any localization at all.

‘Stranger Things’ Takes Top Spot on Parrot’s Originals Chart for Seventh Week; ‘Mandalorian’ No. 2

Netflix’s “Stranger Things” remained No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals rankings the week ended March 28, its seventh-consecutive week back in the top spot.

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+.

“Stranger Things” registered 69.4 million average daily Demand Expressions, the proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. That was up 0.3% compared with the previous week.

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The Disney+ “Star Wars” spinoff “The Mandalorian” rose to No. 2 with 57.5 million expressions, up 6.3% from the previous week. The show received some publicity in the past week over reports that Rosario Dawson had been cast to play the live-action version of fan-favorite character Ahsoka Tano in season two.

Speaking of Ahsoka Tano, the animated Disney+ series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which is in the midst of showing an Ahsoka Tano story arc, slid to No. 3, dropping 0.2% in expressions to 55.3 million.

The CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Picard” climbed to No. 4 with a 15.2% jump in expressions to 47.6 million. The finale of the show’s first season debuted March 26.

Netflix’s “The Witcher” rose a spot to No. 5, with expressions down 4.3% to 42.7 million.

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The Demand Expressions metric draws from 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.

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 global demand for TV content 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.

WarnerMedia Latest to Establish $100M Employee Virus Relief Fund

WarnerMedia has joined a number of entertainment companies  creating funds for employees and related staff affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The parent to Warner Bros., HBO and Turner, set up a $100 million fund to assist production workers and others idled by the shutdown in Hollywood.

“We are stepping up with a commitment of more than $100 million to assist team members of those productions during this time. And as things evolve, we’ll continue to evaluate how we can best respond to the challenges we face as an industry as a result of this pandemic,” CEO John Stankey said in a March 27 memo to staff, as first reported by Variety.

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The move follows similar actions taken by Netflix ($100 million), NBCUniversal ($150 million) and others in the entertainment industry, citing concern for the “health and safety of employees, cast, crew and community” as a virtual shutdown of productions and theater closings has ground most aspects of the ecosystem to a halt.

The National Association of Theatre Owners previously pledged $1 million to a fund to assist laid-off theater workers. Actor Ryan Reynolds and his wife, Blake Lively, are donating $1 million to food banks in the U.S. and Canada, while New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and his wife donated $5 million to coronavirus aid groups in Louisiana.

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The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees — which represents more than 150,000 members employed in stagecraft, motion picture and television production — earlier this month pledged a combined $2.5 million to the Actors Fund, the Motion Picture and Television Fund, and the Actors Fund of Canada.

“These charities have been assisting and supporting IATSE members and entertainment industry workers for a very long time,” Matthew D. Loeb, international president of IATSE, said in a statement. “They understand the needs of these workers and are perfectly situated to act as our partners to help those experiencing hardship caused by the current health crisis.”

Netflix to Bow ‘Angry Birds’ Series Worldwide in 2021

The new animated series “Angry Birds: Summer Madness,” based on the world of the “Angry Birds” made famous by the game and movie series, will debut globally on Netflix starting in 2021.

The 40, 11-minute episode series will be “taking its cue from the humor and tone of The Angry Birds Movie franchise while revealing a fresh new look,” according to a Netflix release.

“Angry Birds: Summer Madness” sees much-loved birds Red, Bomb and Chuck, as well as a cast of new feathered friends, as tween birds at summer camp under the questionable guidance of their counselor Mighty Eagle. Explosive antics, improbable pranks and crazy summertime adventures see the birds pushing boundaries and breaking all the rules while fending off the brash and obnoxious pigs on the other side of the lake.

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This is the latest collaboration in a long-term partnership between CAKE and Rovio Entertainment, which includes international distribution rights to Rovio’s expanding library of non-dialogue shorts.

“Angry Birds are about to smash the small screen and we are thrilled to be making the journey with Netflix as our global partner,” Ed Galton, CCO and managing director of CAKE, said in a statement.

“Angry Birds animated content plays a key role in our long-term franchise strategy,” Ville Heijari, CMO of Rovio, said in a statement. “After more than a decade in hit games, blockbuster movies and licensed products, this is the Angry Birds’ first foray into a long-form series. We’re delighted to continue our partnership with CAKE and can’t wait to unveil the world of ‘Angry Birds: Summer Madness’ to viewers on Netflix.”

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“Angry Birds have been a true phenomenon for kids around the world and we’re excited to bring them home to the nest at Netflix where they will be angrier and bird-ier than ever,” Curtis Lelash, Netflix director of original animated series, said in a statement.

Netflix Announces Unscripted Lineup, Including New Series From Marie Kondo

Netflix has announced new and returning unscripted shows.

“Rhythm + Flow,” “The Circle” and “Love Is Blind” will all return with second seasons premiering in 2021, along with a new series from decluttering expert Marie Kondo (“Tidying Up With Marie Kondo”).

“It’s been incredible to see Netflix members everywhere respond to the raw, authentic stories of real people and real stakes,” said Brandon Riegg, Netflix VP of nonfiction series and comedy specials, in a statement. “We pride ourselves on creating a favorite show for any taste, and we’re thrilled fans embraced all of these series with such enthusiasm and shared passion. We look forward to sparking more joy for our members.”

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New series “Sparking Joy with Marie Kondo” features Kondo and her team setting out to tidy one small town in America (visit TidyMyTown.com to nominate a town for Kondo’s mission).

Returning series include:

  • Rhythm + Flow” season two, in which judges Cardi B, Chance the Rapper and Tip “T.I.” Harris return, looking for the next hip-hop sensation in the music competition series (auditions are now open at RhythmAndFlow.com);
  • “The Circle” seasons two and three, in which host Michelle Buteau returns as all new contestants and catfish enter “The Circle” vying for a $100,000 prize in a game where anyone can be anyone (casting is open at TheCircleCasting.com); and
  • “Love Is Blind”seasons two and three, in which hosts Vanessa Lachey and her husband Nick Lachey again ask the question if love is blind as new singles prepare to enter the pods for the dating experiment (season two is currently casting in Chicago with season three).

 

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Netflix Teen Series Rule TV Time Charts With ‘Greenhouse Academy’ Top Rising Show and ‘Elite’ Again Top Binge

It was a big week for boarding school teen series.

Netflix’s “Greenhouse Academy” was the top rising show while the service’s “Elite” was again the top binge on the TV Time charts for the week ended March 22.

“Greenhouse Academy,” a teen drama set in a Southern California boarding school, debuted its fourth season March 20. HBO’s “Westworld,” based on the movie, had its season premiere March 15, landing it at No. 2 on the “Rise” chart.

Top binge for the second consecutive week, “Elite” (No. 9 on the “Shows on the Rise” chart), is a crime drama about teens at an exclusive private school in Spain. Its third season debuted March 13.

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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 March 22 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Elite” (Netflix) — 9.50%
  2. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.73%
  3. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.69%
  4. “Riverdale” (The CW) — 1.55%
  5. “On My Block” (Netflix) — 1.55%
  6. “Greenhouse Academy” (Netflix) — 1.54%
  7. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.51%
  8. “Vikings” (History) — 1.29%
  9. “The Walking Dead” (AMC) — 1.20%
  10. “The 100” (The CW) — 1.17%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended March 22 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Greenhouse Academy” (Netflix) — 94.2%
  2. “Westworld” (HBO) — 85.2%
  3. “Beastars” (Fuji) — 77.2%
  4. “9-1-1” (Fox) — 71.3%
  5. “Celebrity Hunted: Manhunt” (Amazon Prime Video) — 69.2%
  6. “The Circle Brazil” (Netflix) — 67.7%
  7. “Kingdom” (Netflix) — 59.8%
  8. “Prodigal Son” (Fox) — 56.1%
  9. “Elite” (Netflix) — 50.4%
  10. “Legacies” (The CW) — 49.4%

Season One of ‘Narcos: Mexico’ Due on DVD May 12 From Lionsgate

Season one of “Narcos: Mexico” arrives on DVD May 12 from Lionsgate.

Set in 1980s Mexico during the rise of the Guadalajara Cartel, “Narcos: Mexico” is the follow-up to the “Narcos” series (both of which stream on Netflix), with new characters and a new storyline that shifts the action from 1970s Colombia. The series explores the origin of the modern war on drugs and the violent reality of marijuana in Mexico.

Co-created by Chris Brancato (TV’s “Godfather of Harlem”), Carlo Bernard, and Doug Miro (The Great Wall, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Uninvited), “Narcos: Mexico” season one stars Michael Peña, Diego Luna, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Alyssa Diaz, Matt Letscher, Joaquín Cosío, and Alejandro Edda.

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In the series, in his quest to build a drug empire in the 1980s, Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo (Luna) takes the helm of the Guadalajara Cartel, unifying traffickers. Meanwhile, DEA Agent Kiki Camarena (Peña) moves his wife and young son from California to Guadalajara to take on a new post. As Camarena gathers intelligence on Félix and becomes more entangled in his mission, a tragic chain of events unfolds, affecting the drug trade — and the war against it — for years to come.