‘The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’ Remains No. 1 on Parrot’s Digital Originals Demand Chart

The Disney+ original Marvel Cinematic Universe series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” spent a second week at No. 1 on Parrot Analytics’ digital originals U.S. chart the week ended April 24. The week of the show’s finale saw a 0.1% drop in demand expressions, the proprietary metric Parrot uses to gauge a show’s popularity, giving it 43.3 times the demand of an average series. It was No. 6 on Parrot’s list of all TV shows.

The top seven digital originals remained the same and in the same positions as the previous week.

Netflix’s perennially popular “Stranger Things” was No. 2, reaching 42 times average demand after a 3.7% rise in demand expressions. It was No. 7 on Parrot’s list of all TV shows. The slight rise in expressions may be due to star Finn Wolfhard suggesting season four might not be released until 2022.

The Disney+ series “WandaVision,” which ended in early March, was No. 3, registering another 0.6% drop in demand expressions, giving it 39.2 times average demand. It was No. 8 on the list of overall TV shows.

Disney+ had a third show in the top five digital originals with the live-action “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian,” which held steady at No. 4, garnering 35.1 times the demand of the average show after a 4.2% dip in demand expressions.

Rounding out the top five for the fifth week was Netflix’s “Cobra Kai” with 28.9 times average demand and a 4.7% drop in demand expressions.

No. 6 was the Disney+ animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” while No. 7 was Netflix’s “The Crown.”

Moving up three spots to No. 8 was Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which had a 13.7% rise in demand expressions as audiences anticipate the April 28 premiere of season four.

Meanwhile, climbing from No. 18 the previous week to No. 9 was the Apple TV+ sports comedy “Ted Lasso, ” which rose 30.3% in demand expressions thanks to a trailer for the show’s second season that bows in July.

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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 64.8 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.

Netflix’s ‘Shadow and Bone’ Tops TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Shadow and Bone” topped the TV Time charts for the week ended April 25.

The series, which debuted April 23 and led both the Shows on the Rise and the Binge Report charts, is based on Leigh Bardugo’s best-selling Grishaverse novels. Set in a war-torn world, the fantasy adventure follows a lowly soldier and orphan who has just unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free. With the monstrous threat of the Shadow Fold looming, she is torn from everything she knows to train as part of an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha.

Taking the second spot on the rising show chart was Netflix’s “Zero,” an Italian series about a shy teen with the power to turn invisible who must get his power under control to help defend his neighborhood, putting aside the pursuit of his artistic dream.

The bronze on the rising show chart went to HBO’s “Mare of Easttown,” which premiered April 18. The series follows an office police investigator (Kate Winslet) in a small Pennsylvania town who investigates a brutal murder as she tries to keep her life from falling apart.

Taking the silver on the binge chart was perennial binge favorite “Grey’s Anatomy” following at No. 3 by the anime series “One Piece.”

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by almost 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 25 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Shadow and Bone” (Netflix) — 3.38%
  2. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC U.S.) — 2.23%
  3. “One Piece” (Fuji TV) — 1.89%
  4. “Modern Family” (ABC U.S.) — 1.80%
  5. “The Circle” (U.S.) (Netflix) — 1.78%
  6. “Attack on Titan” (NHK) — 1.59%
  7. “The Walking Dead” (AMC) — 1.27%
  8. “The Office” (U.S.) (NBC) — 1.16%
  9. “Naruto Shippuden” (TV Tokyo) — 1.10%
  10. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.09%


Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended April 25 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Shadow and Bone” (Netflix) — 100%
  2. “Zero” (Netflix) — 99.9%
  3. “Mare of Easttown” (HBO) — 99.7%
  4. “Luis Miguel: The Series” (Netflix) — 91.4%
  5. “Clem” (TF1) — 89.2%
  6. “A Teacher” (Hulu) — 88.5%
  7. “Locked Up: The Oasis” (Fox Espana) — 82.1%
  8. “9-1-1: Lone Star” (Fox) — 76%
  9. “Love, Death & Robots” (Netflix) — 74.2%
  10. “9-1-1” (Fox) — 54.4%

Reed Hastings Takes Self-Deprecating Shot at Soccer’s Super League

Who knew Reed Hastings was such a soccer fan? The Netflix co-founder/co-CEO took to social media to weigh in on the European Super League Company, or Super League, an upstart group of 12 of soccer’s most well-known and wealthiest clubs launching a private annual tournament in which they keep all revenue, including TV rights, ticket sales, concessions, etc., among themselves.

As word of the Super League spread, backlash from fans exploded, with many dubbing the concept “Super Greed,” or the “Americanization” of soccer, among other criticisms. Already several clubs have backtracked their involvement, putting in doubt whether the league will even happen.

That apparently struck close to home for Hastings, who tweeted on April 23: “Should the Super League Have Been Named Qwikster?”

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It was 10 years ago this summer when Hastings, seemingly unilaterally, from his home sent out a message on social media announcing the launch of Qwikster, a standalone separate business handling Netflix’s legacy by-mail disc-rental service. Netflix, going forward, would just focus on streaming video.

“DVD by mail may not last forever, but we want it to last as long as possible,” Hastings tweeted in the Qwikster blog post, setting off a public relations nightmare in the process.

The pushback from subscribers and investors was immediate. Netflix’s most-popular plan at the time was a hybrid streaming/disc option that resonated with more than 12 million users. More than 800,000 subs dropped the service overnight in protest, sending the company’s stock freefalling. The move, which some suggest should be enshrined into the “Dumb Ideas Hall of Fame” along with New Coke and Prohibition, made global headlines with some calls for Hastings to step down.

To his credit, Hastings took personal responsibility for the decision, apologizing for not respecting subscriber interests and market reality. Disc rental at the time represented Netflix’s most lucrative business, financially supporting the company’s aggressive international forays into subscription streaming video.

A lone silver lining to the mess: Netflix never had to deal with Jason Castillo, the reported former high-schooler who shrewdly already owned the Twitter handle @Qwikster.



Netflix Producing Docu-Series on Black NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace

Netflix is in production on a documentary series following NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace as he competes for the newly formed 23XI Racing team.

The series will take viewers behind the scenes of the 2021 NASCAR season through the eyes of the only Black driver at the top level of the sport, and will explore Wallace, 23XI Racing, and NASCAR’s efforts to advocate for inclusion and equality in racing and beyond.

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Following the murder of George Floyd by a white Minneapolis police officer last year, NASCAR banned display of the Confederate flag at sanctioned events.

When Wallace publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement, calling for racial justice reform within law enforcement, he allegedly received myriad threats, and reported seeing a noose hanging from his service garage (though it turned out to be a rope tied to serve as a handle in a way common for such doors).

Sony Pictures Streaming Deals: Pay-TV Window Shattered, and Disney Plays Second Fiddle to Netflix

NEWS ANALYSIS — While some of the headlines surrounding Sony Pictures’ movie streaming deal with Disney revolve around the future availability of the Spider-Man franchise on Disney+ and Hulu, buried in the details are two important facts: The agreement is secondary to the studio’s mega-pact with Netflix. It also turns the traditional pay-TV movie window on its ear.

For Sony Pictures — which unlike other major studios, does not have its own branded streaming video service — the Disney deal affords the studio incremental revenue opportunity on catalog and new-release movies.

The agreement — which, similar to the Netflix deal, covers new theatrical titles released from 2022 to 2026 — will only make the titles available on Disney+ and Hulu, in addition to Disney’s ABC, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX and National Geographic channels, after their availability on Netflix. How long that wait will be isn’t clear, with some reports suggesting at least a year delay.

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Netflix, however, gets access to upcoming Sony releases Morbius, starring Oscar winner Jared Leto, and Uncharted, featuring “Spider-Man” actor Tom Holland, about six to nine months after their 2022 theatrical and home entertainment debuts. Sony is also producing movies for Netflix.

“This … establishes a new source of first-run films for Netflix movie lovers,” said the streamer’s Scott Stubler.

Both agreements significantly alter the existing Pay 1 TV window currently operated by Starz, HBO, Epix, FX and Showtime, among others.

Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, says the Starz deal has been an eight-year window, but believes Netflix may have a much shorter exclusive — despite reportedly paying Sony $1 billion over the course of the agreement.

“Without seeing the terms, it’s clear that Netflix isn’t getting as good a deal as the headline/hype suggested earlier this month,” Pachter said. “People assumed Pay 1 window meant the same as HBO/Starz/Epix for eight years, and the Disney deal suggests it is a lot shorter than that.”

Netflix Doubles Madrid, Spain Production Facilities

Netflix continues to boost its commitment to Spanish original content production by expanding its studio space in Tres Cantos (Madrid). This hub, opened two years ago, will have double the amount of sets (10 versus five) and will add new post-production facilities.

The hub will also have, among other new features, enhanced filming and editing rooms incorporating the latest innovation and technology. This extension should be completed by late 2022.

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“We are proud to keep strengthening our commitment to Spain. With the new additions, creators will count with the latest tools to keep telling great stories made in Spain,” Diego Ávalos, VP of original content at Netflix Spain, said in a statement. “We will continue to work on fully supporting the sustainable development of Spanish audiovisual productions, in all their diversity.”

Since its arrival in 2015, Netflix has released more than 50 titles made in Spain. These generated more than 7,500 jobs for cast and crew, as well as 41,000 days of work for extras in productions filmed all over the country. This year’s current productions (in different stages) are expected to hire over 1,500 professionals and create over 21,000 days of work for extras.

As part of its goal to support the diversity of stories and formats, Netflix recently revealed its pending made-in-Spain productions. The streamer will also be bringing three Spanish novels to our screensUn cuento perfecto, by Elisabet Benavent, that questions self-expectations as the way to happiness; La chica de nieve by Javier Castillo, the great thriller phenomenon; and Hijas del Camino by Lucía-Asué Mbomío, a ground-breaking debut about identity, family ties and the fight against racism.

Netflix to Bow Animated Family Series ‘Wings of Fire’ With Ava DuVernay

Netflix has announced a new family animated series “Wings of Fire” based on the best-selling series of Scholastic books and produced by Ava DuVernay and her Array Filmworks.

The book series from author Tui T. Sutherland has 14 million copies in print.

The animated adaptation will feature 10, 40-minute episodes. In the story, a bitter war has raged for generations between the dragon tribes who inhabit the epic world of Pyrrhia. According to prophecy, five young dragons will rise to end the bloodshed and bring peace back to the land.  Raised and trained in secret from the time they were hatched, the Dragonets of destiny — Clay, Tsunami, Glory, Starflight and Sunny — embark on an evolving quest that will bring them face to face with their true selves and the overwhelming scope of this savage war they are destined to bring to an end.

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The series is executive produced by DuVernay, Dan Milano, Christa Starr, Justin Ridge, Tui T. Sutherland, Sam Register and Sarah Bremner for Array Filmworks.

“Within this epic book series from the mind of Tui Sutherland is an elegant saga filled with wisdom and wonder, exploring ideas of belonging and bias, camaraderie and community,” DuVernay said in a statement. “On behalf of my colleagues Sarah Bremner and Paul Garnes of Array Filmworks, we’re thrilled to partner with Netflix and Warner Bros. Animation for this dynamic adaptation where five young dragonets fulfill their destiny and show viewers how to fulfill their own.”

“We couldn’t be more proud that Ava has chosen Netflix as the home for her first animated series,” Melissa Cobb, VP of original animation for Netflix, said in a statement. “An epic fantasy saga full of sweep and spectacle, ‘Wings of Fire’ promises to be a must-see event for the whole family.”

“The ‘Wings of Fire’ books have captured the imagination of millions,” said Sam Register, president of Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios. “In Ava, Justin, Christa and Dan we have a visionary creative team that will bring that same sense of wonder and adventure from the books to life with animation and create the next great animated family series at Netflix.”

Reed Hastings: Linear TV, YouTube Biggest Netflix Competitors — Not Disney+

Following a quarter in which global subscriber growth failed to meet internal and market projections, Netflix executives found themselves on the defensive explaining why 43% fewer subs signed up for the service than expected.

Speaking on the investor webcast, CFO Spencer Neumann said COVID-19 skewed the playing field as the record subscription growth from a year ago could not be replicated — also due in part to production of new content coming to a halt for much of 2020.

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“The combination of those two things does create some noise,” Neumann said, adding that when removing the pandemic from the equation, Netflix sub growth over the past two years has increased more than 20%.

“So, the business remains healthy and that’s because the long-term drivers, this big transition from linear-TV to streaming entertainment, remains as healthy as ever,” he said.

Co-founder/co-CEO Reed Hastings said Netflix’s biggest competitors for viewing time remain linear TV and YouTube — with the latter considerably larger than Netflix in viewing time.

“Disney [viewing time] is considerably smaller,” Hastings said.

He said Netflix remains preoccupied with subscriber satisfaction, retention, and word of mouth, which Hastings said drives sub growth.

The executive said Netflix’s goal remains finding stories subscribers can connect with, improving content selections, the best recommendations, and then ultimately, stories that are incredibly compelling.

“We are just quarter-by-quarter, learning more lessons on each one of those which is what improves the member satisfaction, which is what really drives the growth,” he said.

“We have been competing with Amazon Prime Video for 13 years, with Hulu for 14 years,” he said. “It’s always been very competitive with linear TV, too. So there is no real change that we can detect in the competitive environment. It’s always been high and remains high.”

Separately, COO/CPO Greg Peters said the streamer remains upbeat on video games, which is rolling out with interactive children’s programming and the 2018 original movie Bandersnatch.

“We’re going to continue working in that space for sure,” Peters said. “We’ve actually launched games themselves. It’s part of our licensing and merchandising effort, and we’re happy with what we’ve seen so far. And there is no doubt that games are going to be an important form of entertainment and an important sort of modality to deepen that fan experience. So we’re going to keep going, and we will continue to learn and figure it out as we go.”

Netflix: ‘Outside the Wire’ Streamed by 66 Million Subs in Q1

Netflix’s android-themed war actioner Outside the Wire, co-starring Anthony Mackie and Damson Idris, was streamed by more than 66 million subscribers in the first 28 days in the quarter — leading all of the SVOD pioneer’s original programming debuts, the streamer reported. Netflix counts a view after 120 seconds of streaming.

According to Netflix, top streamed episodic content in the quarter included the first season of “Firefly Lane” (49 million), season three of “Cobra Kai” (45 million), “Fate: The Winx Saga” (57 million), and “Ginny & Georgia” with 52 million households. Other top movies included award-winning I Care a Lot (56 million), Jennifer Garner’s Yes Day (62 million), and the last installment of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy (51 million).

Netflix is on target to spend $17 billion on content in 2021.

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“We program across many genres because tastes are very diverse,” co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos wrote in the shareholder letter. “Even for one person, what they desire will vary widely depending on their mood or who they are watching with.”

Netflix Misses Q1 Subscriber Growth Estimate by 43%

In a rare misstep, Netflix reported first-quarter subscriber growth of 3.98 million globally, which was significantly down from a conservative company prediction of 6 million subs. The SVOD behemoth added almost 16 million subs in the previous-year period — driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Netflix added 448,000 subs in North America, ending the period with 73.4 million. It added more than 1.8 million subs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to end with 68.5 million. Netflix added 357,000 subs in Latin America to finish with 37.9 million. It added 1.36 million subs in Asia Pacific, ending the quarter with 26.8 million subs. The service has 207.6 million subs worldwide.

“We don’t believe competitive intensity materially changed in the quarter or was a material factor in the variance as the over-forecast was across all of our regions,” co-CEOs Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos wrote in the shareholder letter. “We also saw similar percentage year-over-year declines in paid net adds in all regions, whereas the level of competitive intensity varies by country.”

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Netflix expects paid membership growth to re-accelerate in the second half of 2021 as the streamer ramp ups a strong back-half slate with the return of new seasons of “Sex Education,” “The Witcher,” “La Casa de Papel” (aka “Money Heist”) and “You,” as well as an array of original films, including the finale to The Kissing Booth trilogy and large-scale movies Red Notice (starring Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson and Ryan Reynolds) and Don’t Look Up (with a cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett, Timothée Chalamet and Meryl Streep).

Netflix said it expects to spend $17 billion on content in 2021.

Meanwhile, Netflix scored financially, generating a $1.7 billion profit on revenue of $7.16 billion. That compared with net income of $709 million on revenue of $5.7 billion in the previous-year period. Free cash flow skyrocketed more than 400% to $692 million compared to $162 million last year.

Netflix generated $50 million in quarter from its legacy by-mail DVD and Blu-ray Disc rental service.