Disney+ to Stream Documentary Series ‘One Day at Disney’

A program highlighting employees at the Walt Disney Co.,“One Day at Disney,” featuring a 224-page coffee table book and a documentary series on Disney’s upcoming streaming service Disney+, will debut Dec. 3.

Ricky Strauss, president of content and marketing for Disney+ and “Good Morning America’s” Robin Roberts announced the program at the D23 Expo Aug. 22.

On Feb. 21, 76 photo shoots took place around the world, capturing images of the employees and cast members at Disney from Shanghai Disneyland and ESPN to Pixar and the set of “Modern Family.” They will be featured in the hardbound, collectible book, written by Bruce Steele, which is now available for preorder.

On Dec. 3, the same day the book arrives in stores, Disney+ will debut a 52-episode short-form series called “One Day at Disney,” launching with a feature-length documentary. The series takes an in-depth look at the roles of men and women at the company. The series and documentary are from Endeavor Content’s Non-Scripted Division and executive produced by Michael Antinoro and David Chamberlin and produced by Victoria Chamlee.

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Following the debut of the special, which features such talent as “Good Morning America’s” Roberts and animator Eric Goldberg, more than 50 “One Day at Disney” shorts, ranging in length from four to seven minutes and each profiling a single person and their job, will debut each week.

Profiled in the Disney+ docu-special (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Eric Baker, a Disney imagineer who has overseen the creation of many of the intricately detailed props and lifelike creatures that inhabit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the newest lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts;
  • Ashley Girdich, a Disney Imagineer who, as a research and development project manager, drives plans and helps teams execute some of the innovative robotics technology projects being created for Disney parks around the world;
  • Eric Goldberg, the animator known for creating the Genie in Aladdinand Phil in Hercules, directing Pocahontas, as well as for animating Mickey Mouse in the Academy Award-nominated short Get a Horse!;
  • Mark Gonzales, who works on the Disneyland Railroad;
  • Grace Lee, a senior illustration manager at Disney Worldwide Publishing who has worked on titles from Zootopiato Fancy Nancy;
  • Zamavus “Zama” Magudulela, the South African actor currently playing Rafiki in the Madrid production of phenomenally successful musical The Lion King;
  • Ryan Meinerding, Marvel Studio’s head of visual development who has worked on films including Avengers: Endgame and Guardians of the Galaxy;
  • Natalie Mylniczenko, the veterinarian who cares for creatures large and small at Walt Disney World Resort, including a number of endangered and threatened species;
  • Jerome Ranft, the Pixar artist who created detailed sculptures for animators to use as reference for such films as Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3,and Ratatouille; and
  • Robin Roberts, the former ESPN sportscaster has been co-anchor of “Good Morning America” since 2005.

Survey: U.S. Consumers Cite Video Streaming as Top Use for 5G

The 5G era is set to drive the next wave of growth in video streaming, with 78 percent of U.S. consumers indicating they will expand this activity as they adopt the next-generation wireless standard in smartphones and home-networking solutions, according to a survey conducted by IHS Markit, Digital Orbit.

When asked to name which types of activities they are likely to increase due to the arrival of 5G, consumers ranked video streaming first, ahead of video calling, social media, mobile gaming, virtual reality and augmented reality, according to the survey. As a result, the deployment of 5G will help cause video usage to grow to account for 70 percent of mobile network traffic in 2022, up from 47 percent in 2015, IHS reported.

“The promise of faster video streaming through 5G is generating enormous enthusiasm among consumers,” said Joshua Builta, senior principal analyst for IHS, in a statement. “Interest is particularly high for those younger than 50, with 81 percent of survey respondents in that age range citing video streaming as the top activity for 5G. Consumers are expressing strong interest in video streaming both on smartphones and for home internet services, which are equally supported by 5G.”

Current 4G wireless services already provide sufficient performance to support most types of video content commonly streamed today, according to IHS. As a result, 5G’s largest impact will be felt in emerging areas of the market, such as 4K Ultra High Definition video, according to IHS, as the 5G standard enables 4K on mobile platforms because of its increased capacity and speed. When coupled with the growing demand and supply of 4K UHD content, the proliferation of 5G will help drive mobile consumption of UHD content, according to the firm.

Also, the 5G standard will also be critical to promoting the consumption of general live video, IHS noted. This is particularly true for sports and live events, where lower latency and higher speed and bandwidth are critical.

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In parallel with the trends in the smartphone market, US consumers are expressing intense interest in engaging in 5G video streaming via home internet access, according to IHS. While often regarded purely as a mobile technology, the 5G standard also supports fixed wireless access (FWA) in the home. However, unlike fixed solutions such as DSL, cable or fiber, 5G FWA uses wireless mobile network technology to extend internet access into homes.

Most consumers said they are attracted to 5G FWA by its faster speeds. The average speed of broadband connections in the United States in 2018 was about 35 megabits per second. In contrast, 5G can theoretically operate at up to 1 gigabit per second, although initial deployments will be much slower, according to IHS.

Survey respondents also cited streaming of video, both prerecorded and live, as the most compelling reason to upgrade home internet service. A total of 74 percent of those surveyed named video streaming as the chief motivation for upgrading to 5G in the home.

IHS Markit forecasts that global over-the-top (OTT) video subscriptions will pass the 1 billion mark in 2021, up from 620 million at the end of last year. In 2022, OTT video subscriptions will surpass pay-TV subscriptions.

IHS Markit’s Digital Orbit report summarizes the results of a survey on how consumers perceive 5G and how they intend to use the new technology. The survey was conducted May 22-27, 2019, among 2,031 respondents, 95 percent of whom were U.S.-based. The median age of the survey respondents was 43, and 63 percent lived in urban areas.

EMA Producing OTT_@Pipeline Conference Sept. 25

The Entertainment Merchants Association is producing OTT_X@Pipeline at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles Sept. 25.

It’s the 12th year for the conferences, formerly titled Digital Media Pipeline. The event is a one-day business-to-business conference bringing together the OTT community for research presentations, knowledge sharing and networking.

OTT_X@Pipeline kicks off at 8:30 a.m. with a breakfast followed by panels, spotlight chats, research presentations and a keynote speaker to be announced. It ends with a cocktail party 5:15-6:15 p.m.

Panels include “What’s the Future of OTT?” and “Efficiencies Toward Profits.” There will be a Movies Anywhere update at 4:45 p.m.

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Research presentations include “To License or Not to License,” about the question of whether to invest in more original content or rely on licensed acquisitions, presented by Alejandro Rojas of Parrot Analytics; “International Development of Premium Digital Video Markets,” a review of the latest trends in international markets for SVOD and transactional digital video, presented by David Sidebottom of Futuresource; and “Navigating the Fragmented TV Landscape,” in which Samba TV will share the latest viewership trends.

Netflix Orders Family Comedy Series From Wanda Sykes and Mike Epps

Mike Epps and Wanda Sykes are set to star in a new Netflix comedy series “The Upshaws.”

The multi-camera comedy centers on a working-class African American family in Indiana.

Sykes, a 2019 Emmy nominee for variety special and writing for a variety special on Wanda Sykes: Not Normal, will star, executive produce and serve as co-showrunner. Epps (Dolemite is My NameOnly One Mike) will star and executive produce.

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Regina Hicks (The L Word, Generations Q, Central Park, Insecure) will serve as showrunner and executive producer. Dan Spilo (Sunnyside) will serve as an executive producer. Page Hurwitz (Wanda Sykes; Not Normal, Tiffany Haddish Presents They Ready), a 2019 Emmy nominee for Wanda Sykes: Not Normal, will serve as an executive producer. Niles Kirchner (Only One Mike) will serve as an executive producer.

Amazon to Produce First Australian Original Series With Rebel Wilson

Australian actress, writer and producer Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect, The Hustle, Isn’t It Romantic) has signed on to host and executive produce the first Australian Amazon Original series “LOL: Last One Laughing.”

The comedy-variety series, produced with Endemol Shine Australia, will feature a star-studded cast of 10 Australian comedic actors and stand-ups competing to make each other laugh first. The final comedian left standing will win the grand prize of $100,000 (Australian).

The six-part series will premiere exclusively on Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories in 2020.

“I’m thrilled to be joining the Prime Video family of creators and talent,” said Wilson in a statement. “I’ve already had the chance to work with Alexa — she’s great — and on Audible, so working with Prime Video seemed like an obvious choice. I can’t wait to see what these talented Australian comedians come up with and how far they’ll go to take home the prize.”

“LOL: Last One Laughing” follows the format of the Amazon Original series from Japan, “Hitoshi Matsumoto Presents Documental,” produced by and starring comedian Hitoshi Matsumoto. The format was also launched in Mexico with comedian Eugenio Derbez as host. The series in Japan and Mexico are currently on their seventh and second seasons, respectively.

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“We’re excited to bring ‘LOL: Last One Laughing’ to our Prime members in Australia and around the world,” said James Farrell, head of international originals for Amazon Studios, in a statement. “Customers in Japan and Mexico have told us they love ‘Documental’ and ‘LOL: Last One Laughing.’ Australia was an easy choice as the next country to bring this to and Rebel Wilson was at the top of our list to host and star. We think our Prime members are going to love it.”

Report: Apple Considering $9.99 Monthly Sub Price for Apple TV+

Apple’s subscription streaming service Apple TV+ will roll out by November and executives are looking at a price of $9.99 a month, according to Bloomberg report citing anonymous sources.

The launch will likely include a free trial, according to the sources cited by Bloomberg.

The company is weighing different release strategies for shows, according to the report, and is considering offering the first three episodes of some programs at once, followed by weekly installments.

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Apple’s slate will include “The Morning Show,” starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell; Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories”; “See” with Jason Momoa; and “Truth Be Told” with Octavia Spencer.

Apple+ is joining an increasingly crowded SVOD space that includes established services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu, as well as the Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+, which debuts in November at $6.99 a month, and upcoming services from WarnerMedia and NBC Universal.

FilmRise Inks New Deal With ITV Studios for Shows Such as ‘Hell’s Kitchen’

FilmRise has announced a deal that extends and expands its partnership with ITV Studios Global Entertainment for streaming rights to more than 1,000 hours of programming across SVOD and AVOD platforms.

In addition to new titles being distributed by FilmRise, the company is digitally distributing all 18 seasons of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and all seasons of “Kitchen Nightmares” for SVOD and AVOD in the United States.

FilmRise has also extended its multi-year rights for the shows and will also become the exclusive digital distributor of “Hell’s Kitchen” in Canada.

The deal furthers FilmRise’s distribution to Canada, extending the original deal struck in early 2018 between the two companies, and includes shows such as “Emmerdale,” “Heartbeat” and “Peak Practice,” which will now be available on AVOD and SVOD in all of North America.

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“We are excited about increasing our partnership with ITV Studios Global Entertainment,” said FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher in a statement. “This deal expands the scope of our rights, including into Canada, providing access to audiences across North America to stream these high-quality programs.”

“FilmRise is an exceptional partner,” added Rob Kaplan, VP sales, U.S. and global accounts at ITV Studios Global Entertainment, in a statement. “The company’s distribution network across SVOD and AVOD platforms in North America will allow audiences of our fan favorite programming to have many different viewing options.”

As part of the deal, FilmRise will also be bringing the comedy series “Miranda,” sci-fi shows “Saphire & Steel” and Gerry Anderson’s “UFO,” and Jason Isaac’s crime drama “Case Histories” to its North American streaming audiences.

Finding the Key to SVOD Success

Original content has been the star on SVOD services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, with upcoming services Apple TV+ and Disney+ teasing originals in celebrity-filled press conferences. But catalog content is an important supporting player.

Certainly, originals can attract eyeballs, said the NPD Group’s Kathi Chandler-Payatt at last month’s EMA summit. She noted that while both original movies and episodic shows are a small percentage of content on Netflix, they garner an outsized share of viewing.

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Still, originals aren’t the only shows that keeps viewers subscribing, noted Screen Engine/ASI’s Mark Orne at the event. Subscribers often stay with a service based on go-to backup shows, mostly long-running hit comedy series, such as “The Office,” “Friends,” “South Park” and “Family Guy.” It’s why Disney+ streaming “The Simpsons” from its Fox acquisition is a smart move, he noted.

No wonder WarnerMedia pulled “Friends,” and Universal “The Office,” from Netflix for their upcoming services.

Indeed, speakers on a consumer panel at the EMA summit said that they like to stream while doing other activities, such as cleaning a room, not the kind of thing one can do while viewing a gripping original. One even noted she likes to go to sleep to certain familiar shows.

Meanwhile, a few hits might not be enough to keep viewers subscribing, as consumers are willing to pay for a month or take the free trial, watch and cancel, or share passwords, Orne said.

While they may like the occasional title equivalent of a gourmet meal, consumers also like to binge on titles that are comfort foods. SVOD services that can offer a wide menu may be the winners in the OTT race.

EMA Slates Next OTT Conference

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) is gearing up for its next conference, OTT_X @ Pipeline ’19, which will be held Sept. 25 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Celebrating its 12th year, OTT_X @ Pipeline (formerly Digital Media Pipeline) ’19 is a one-day business-to-business conference bringing together the digital OTT_X community for research presentations, knowledge sharing, and networking.

The event brings together hundreds of key authorities in the digital entertainment community of digital channels and networks, platforms, retailers, content providers, and service and technology providers.

Media Play News is the official media sponsor of the event.

For more information click here.

Netflix Signs Team Behind ‘Big Mouth’ to Multiyear Deal

Netflix has signed Brutus Pink, the newly formed animation production company from Nick Kroll, Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett — the creative team behind adult animated series “Big Mouth” — to a multiyear deal to produce animated series and films for its members worldwide.

“Big Mouth” is an Emmy nominated adult animated comedy about puberty. Inspired by Kroll and Goldberg’s childhood, it follows a group of friends and their hormone monsters as they navigate adolescence, human sexuality, and coming of age. Season three returns this fall and under the new deal Netflix has greenlit three more seasons of “Big Mouth.”

“’Big Mouth’ brilliantly captures the most awkward phase in a person’s life, puberty, in a hilarious yet heartwarming way,” Mike Moon, head of adult animation for Netflix, said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to continue our relationship with Brutus Pink and bring more stories, more humor, and more hormones to Netflix members around the world.”

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“Netflix has given us the best creative experience imaginable, and we’ve been able to build an amazing community of talented writers, actors, producers and artists. We’re thrilled to be continuing with everyone for years to come,” the Brutus Pink team said in a statement.

The four creators are set to receive an award for comedy writers of the year at Just for Laughs this coming weekend. The annual festival held in Montreal is the largest international comedy festival in the world.