Netflix Announces Expanded Korean Content Slate

Netflix March 23 announced a new slate of Korean shows — from reality to crime and sci-fi to romance and dramas, among others. The SVOD pioneer, which has long embraced South Korean content, next month (April 10) will bow the first Korean language original movie, Time to Hunt, since the 2017 release of Okja.

“From K-pop and K-food, to K-zombie and K-content, we’ve seen how much people in different parts of the world love Korean cultures and stories,” Minyoung Kim, VPt of Korean content at Netflix, said in a statement. “By making it easy for people to watch films and shows from other countries, we can help them build empathy and develop a shared understanding of the world”.

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Last year, Netflix’s “Crash Landing on You,” a romance about a couple from the two Koreas (North and South) showed the popularity of K-content making the top 10 list in the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Earlier this month Netflix began streaming the second season of “Kingdom.” The K-zombie series has again become one of the Top 10 titles in almost every Asian country, according to Netflix.

New Content includes police drama “Rugal,” premiering March 28 in Korea/APAC/all English speaking countries/Latin America; and on May 24 in Japan and the rest of the world. Main cast members include Choi Jin-hyuk and Park Sung-woong.

“Extracurricular,” about a group of high school students who have chosen a life of crime,” streams on April 29, starring Kim Dong-hee, Jung Da-bin, Park Joo-hyun.

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“The King: Eternal Monarch” is a romantic fantasy drama that revolves around relationships of the people from two parallel universes. Cast includes Lee Min-ho, Kim Go-eun, Woo Do-hwan, Kim Kyung-nam, Jung Eun-chae.

“It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” is about an unusual romance between two people who end up healing each other’s emotional and psychological wounds. The show premiers in June starring Kim Soo-hyun and Seo Ye-ji, among others.

Netflix series in suspended production include: “Twogether,” featuring two top celebrities from Seoul and Taipei who go on a trip to several cities in Asia to meet their fans and become friends. Cast: Lee Seung-gi, Jasper Liu.

In “The School Nurse Files,” a newly appointed high school nurse discovers secrets and mysteries with her supernatural abilities of chasing ghosts. Cast: Jung Yu-mi, Nam Joo-hyuk.

“Sweet Home,” about a reclusive high school student, moves into an old apartment complex after the tragic death of his entire family. He soon realizes complex residents, including himself, are trapped and surrounded by monsters in various forms of distorted human desires, which are about to sweep away mankind. Cast include Song Kang, Lee Jin-wook, Lee Si-young.

Currently streaming: “Itaewon Class,” about a group of youths, held together by their mutual stubbornness and bravado, start a “cool” revolt against an irrational world.

“Hyena,” about a jaded female lawyer willing to use every last sexy trick in the book to make money, no matter how evil the means can be. Other titles include, “Hi Bye, Mama!,” “Hospital Playlist,” “Kingdom S2” and “My Holo Love.”

 

Ampere: Netflix Expediting Comedy, Concert Releases

Seeking to get a jump on competitors in select genres, nearly 20% of Netflix original stand-up comedies and music concerts are released on the streaming service within two months of production, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

This release strategy contrasts sharply with slow-burn release strategy for scripted dramas, which have an average production period of 13 months from announcement to release.

The report found that 39% of Netflix docs and 64% of reality series were released less than two months after they were first announced.

Children and family content had the longest production period, whether created by Netflix and a single producer, or as a co-production.

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Crime, thriller, sci-fi and fantasy productions each took a year to produce, with 25% of crime content released from 13-15 months after announcement.

“Netflix co-productions have a longer average creation time, taking an additional 2.8 months to craft compared to sole Netflix commissioned shows,” Fred Black, analyst and author of the report, said in a statement. “The shortest co-production was announced 109 days before release — by this point, 39 solo Netflix productions had already been released. Drama, documentary, sci-fi and fantasy are the most co-produced genres.”

Ampere found 36% of unscripted Netflix originals were released less than two months after announcement – versus just 7% of scripted titles.

By comparison, over 90% of productions taking 14+ months to release are scripted. Over half of Netflix scripted originals (52%) have taken longer than a year between announcement and release, compared to just 7% of unscripted titles.

Almost all (95%) of the slowest 19 releases were scripted (release after at least 600 days).

At more than two years in production, “Our Planet,” Netflix’s high-budget, David Attenborough-narrated natural history documentary, stands out as an anomaly in the unscripted space. “Magic for Humans” also had a long production period. Italian stand-up special from Edoardo de Carlo took two weeks, while Ellen Degeneres’ special, “Relatable,” was in production for 19 months.

“With competition heating up in the SVOD arena, Netflix is using its ‘surprise drop’ strategy to foil competitors and delay them from copy-catting new content formats,” Black said. “But this is not a simple approach, there are huge variations in the time content takes from announcement to release, based on genre, whether it’s scripted or not and if it’s a sole or co-production.”

Netflix Tops Q3 Sub Growth Forecast with Nearly 7 Million Additions

Netflix Oct. 16 returned to business as usual, reporting record third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) global subscriber growth of nearly 7 million, including 1 million in the United States – beating company projections. The service ended the period with 137 million subs, including 130 million paid.

The SVOD pioneer generated nearly $4 billion in revenue, up 34% from the previous-year period of nearly $3 billion. Net income tripled to $403 million from $130 million last year.

“Our broad slate of original programming helped drive a solid quarter of growth,” CEO Reed Hastings wrote in the shareholder letter. “We’re thrilled to be growing Internet entertainment across the globe.”

On the flip side, free cash flow ballooned 85% to $859 million from $465 million as Netflix continues to spend large on original content. Third-party streaming content obligations reached $18.6 billion compared to $17 billion last year.

Free cash flow is the cash a company produces through its operations, less the cost of expenditures on assets. In other words, FCF is the cash left over after a company pays for its operating expenses and capital expenditures.

“We recognize we are making huge cash investments in content, and we want to assure our investors that we have the same high confidence in the underlying economics as our cash investments in the past,” CEO Reed Hastings wrote in the shareholder letter. “These investments we see as very likely to help us to keep our revenue and operating profits growing for a very long time ahead.”

Indeed, Netflix believes negative free cash flow will be closer to $3 billion than $4 billion for the full year 2018 as the FCF deficit year to date is negative $1.7 billion.

Finally, Netflix ended the period with more than 2.8 million by-mail disc subscribers, compared with 3.5 million last year. The packaged media unit generated $51.6 million operating profit on revenue of $88.7 million. That compared to operating income of $63.1 million and revenue of $110.2 million last year.

Snap Bows Original Programming

Social media app Snap Oct. 10 announced the launch of Snap Originals and the debut of serialized programming, including its first formal slate of scripted shows and docuseries from Bunim/Murray Productions, the Duplass Brothers and Brad Weston’s Makeready, as well as established film and television writers.

Snap also announced NBC Universal extended its content production commitments through 2019, and Viacom has committed to creating 10 new Snap Originals. Viacom also committed to syndicating at least 500 episodes of its network’s shows to the platform.

Snap Originals will be available on the app’s Discover page to Snapchat users globally. It is also introducing new product features that will make it easier for viewers to find, watch and interact with programming.

Every Show will have a dedicated profile page where users can find all available episodes and seasons to watch at once. Each ad-supported episode averages five minutes. Snap recently launched a six-second, non-skippable ad format.

The app has also created portals for several of its shows, enabling users to swipe up from an episode and literally walk into a scene and interact with the objects and characters. It has also developed custom interactive lenses that will enable users to share the show experience with their friends.

Since the beginning of the year, Snap said it has nearly tripled the time viewers spend engaging with its video programs.

“Over the last two years, our highly engaged and loyal audience has helped to define what mobile content should look like,” Nick Bell, VP of content at Snap, said in a statement.

The initial launch slate includes:

  • “Endless Summer”- (Bunim/Murray Productions) – Influencers Summer McKeen and Dylan Jordan try to balance love, friends, family, and fame in this intimate snapshot of their lives in Laguna Beach, California. Docuseries launches )ct. 10.
  • “Class of Lies”- (Makeready) – Best friends slash college roommates Devon and Missy crack cold cases on their successful true-crime podcast…but can they solve the most important case of all when their best friend disappears without a trace? Scripted series launches Oct. 10.
  • “Co-ed” (Duplass Brothers’ DBP Donut, Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts) – Juggling classes, parties, and down-the-hall crushes, freshman roommates Ginny and Chris try their best to face whatever college throws at them, discovering who they are along the way. Scripted series launches Oct. 10.
  • “Vivian” (NBCU Digital Lab, The Intellectual Property Corporation in association with Wilhelmina) – Vivian is the youngest model scout at Wilhelmina, one of the most prestigious modeling agencies in the world. She takes us inside this exclusive world where she has the power to make wannabes’ dreams come true — but can she do that for her own? Docuseries launches Oct. 22.
  • “The Dead Girls Detective Agency”- (Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts, Insurrection and Keshet) – This darkly comedic supernatural soap follows Charlotte Feldman, a young woman who must work from beyond to figure out how and why she died, in order to avoid an eternity in purgatory. Based on the young adult novel by Susie Cox. Scripted series launches Oct. 22.
  • “V/H/S”- (Indigo Development and Entertainment Arts and Studio 71) – The next generation of the horror anthology series, bringing four new frightening experiences to the palm of your hand. Scripted series launches Oct. 28.

Six additional series have already been greenlit for production.

 

 

Netflix Establishes Content Production Hub in Madrid

Seeking to better coordinate original content production in Europe, Netflix July 24 announced the establishment of its first production hub in Madrid.

The hub will be located at Ciudad de la Tele (TV City), a new campus in Tres Cantos, Madrid, being developed and managed by Grupo Secuoya, an audiovisual production services company.

The hub will be a central facility for Netflix’s growing slate of Spanish-language original content over the coming years, including new and existing titles produced by Netflix, as well as series and films made by production partners for Netflix.

As part of the multi-year partnership, Grupo Secuoya will provide facility management and other services to Netflix, including being the exclusive production services partner for projects based at the Ciudad de la Tele campus. Netflix will take occupancy of three sound stages beginning in September, with the option to occupy additional space as construction completes.

“Spain has a rich heritage of innovative, immersive content creation and we are excited to strengthen our investment in the cultural heartland of Madrid,” Erik Barmack, VP of international originals at Netflix, said in a statement.

Creation of the production hub reflects Netflix’s deepening investment in Spain, with over 13,000 cast, crew and extras working on 20 Netflix original productions across the country this year.

Spanish titles coming soon to Netflix include season 3 of “Las Chicas del Cable” on Sept. 7th and Élite, a young adult drama coming soon, with titles currently in production, including Isabel Coixet’s new original film Elisa & Marcela and The Alcásser Murders, a new original documentary series.

Netflix recently announced an overall deal with Álex Pina, creator of “La Casa de Papel” (Money Heist), the most watched non-English language show on Netflix. Netflix is also investing significantly in licensed and co-produced titles created by Spanish broadcasters and producers. This includes a recent agreement for first-option access to drama series from Atresmedia, with “Fariña” and “La Catedral del Mar,” among the upcoming titles launching on Netflix globally.

“Netflix sets a world-class standard in its production process and the decision to create a production hub in Madrid is proof of Spain’s leadership in the audiovisual industry, as well as the depth of its talent pool,” said Raúl Berdonés, president of Grupo Secuoya.

“We very much welcome Netflix’s decision to establish its first European production hub in our country,” added María Peña, CEO of ICEX, the Spanish government agency for trade and investment promotion. “We are sure this project will contribute strongly to positioning Spain as a competitive location for the global entertainment industry. In that respect, it will be entitled to our full support.”

Disney, Twitter Expand Original Content Deal

The Walt Disney Co. and Twitter April 30 announced a new agreement to create live content and advertising opportunities across the entire Disney portfolio on the Twitter platform. The pact includes more than 30 new collaborations and renewals across entertainment, news, sports, and gaming – nearly doubling the number of programs created in the first deal in 2017.

Twitter, which claims to have 328 million monthly users, is looking to expand original content to mobile users. The social media platform earlier this year inked a deal with Major League Baseball to live-stream a weekly afternoon game each week. Twitter also streams NFL Monday Night Football games.

Disney subsidiaries creating content for Twitter, include ABC, Disney Channel and Freeform, Disney Digital Network, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Radio Disney and Marvel.

Live content launching on Twitter from these entities under the new agreement will be announced at a later date.

“Through this new agreement, participants from across the company will have the opportunity to create experiences unique to Twitter that will extend their brands in meaningful ways,” Justin Connolly, EVP, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, said in a statement.

Travis Howe, SVP, platform ad sales strategy and global operations at Disney-owned ESPN, said social media has become the new primary vehicle to grow and engage audiences. ESPN, which launched standalone over-the-top video platform, ESPN+, is unveiling content agreements with Twitter in May.

“The insights to be gained will be invaluable as we continue to serve the right content and the right ads to the right people,” Howe said.

“To innovate at this scale with The Walt Disney Co. is a huge step forward in expanding the depth and breadth of video content we offer to leaned in, engaged consumers on Twitter,” said Matthew Derella, global VP of revenue and content partnerships, at Twitter.

Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sat on Disney’s board from 2013 until early this year when he resigned along with Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg.

Amazon Raising Annual Prime Fee to $119

With over 100 million members worldwide, in addition to global aspirations delivering movies, TV shows, music, books and merchandise to consumers, Amazon April 26 announced it is raising the annual Prime fee by $20 to $119.

CFO Brian Olsavsky, on the fiscal call, said the price hike reflected the increasing services available “for free” to Prime members.

“This is a better reflection of the cost value of the [Prime] program,” Olsavsky said.

He said the last Prime price hike (from $79 to $99 in 2014) occurred when the ecommerce giant offered 20 million items available to ship for two-day shipping. It now has more than 100 million items eligible for Prime shipping.

In January, Amazon raised the monthly Prime fee to $12.99 from $10.99; and added $1 to the $5.99 student fee. But left the annual fee unchanged.

With Amazon locked in a content arms race with Netflix, Amazon Studios is projected to spend upwards of $5 million on original content this year – almost 40% less than its rival. The latest fee hike could help pay for some that content spending.

Meanwhile, Amazon generated nearly $27 billion in first-quarter (ended March 31) online sales, up 18% from the previous-year period with $22.8 billion in sales. The tallies include digital media content from Amazon Instant Video.