‘Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,’ ‘The Mandalorian’ Top Weekly Whip U.S. Streaming Charts

Peacock’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish led the Whip Media chart of streaming movies, while Disney+’s “The Mandalorian” again led the Whip Media chart of streaming originals among U.S. consumers for the week ended March 12.

DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish started streaming on Peacock March 10. The film, nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, is a sequel to Puss in Boots and the sixth installment in the “Shrek” franchise. It follows the continuing adventures of the character Puss (voiced by Antonio Banderas).

“The Mandalorian,” season three of which started streaming March 1 in weekly episodes, is based on the character in the “Star Wars” universe.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV and movie viewership tracking app with 21 million global users. The streaming originals chart rankings are determined by streaming original TV series with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app. The movie rankings are determined from streaming movies with the greatest share of views in the given week, among a balanced panel of U.S. users of the TV Time app.

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Landing at No. 2 on the streaming originals chart was Netflix’s “You.” Part two of season four of the psychological thriller series debuted March 9. It follows an obsessive lover, played by Penn Badgley.

Falling from No. 2 to No. 3 on the streaming originals chart was “How I Met Your Father.” Season two of the series starring Hilary Duff debuted on Hulu Jan. 24. In the show mirroring the setup of CBS’s“How I Met Your Mother” (2005-14), Sophie in the near future is telling her son the story of how she met his father, a story that catapults viewers back to the present where Sophie and her group of friends are in the midst of figuring out who they are, what they want out of life, and how to fall in love in the age of dating apps and limitless options.

Landing at No. 2 on the streaming movies chart was Luther: The Fallen Sun, starring Idris Elba. The crime thriller, which started streaming on Netflix March 10, is a feature film continuation of the British TV series.

Remaining at No. 3 on the streaming movies chart was Marvel Studios’ Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which started streaming on Disney+ Feb. 1. In the film, as the nation of Wakanda mourns the death of T’Challa, Princess Shuri (Letitia Wright) and General Okoye (Danai Gurira) investigate the threat of Namor (Tenoch Huerta) and his long-hidden underwater kingdom of Talokan, whose cultural heritage might hold the secret to restoring the legacy of the Black Panther.

Top Streaming Originals Among U.S. Consumers for the Week Ended March 12:

  1. “The Mandalorian” — Disney+
  2. “You” — Netflix
  3. “How I Met Your Father” — Hulu
  4. “Star Trek: Picard” — Paramount+
  5. “Poker Face” (2023) — Peacock
  6. “Star Wars: The Bad Batch” — Disney+
  7. “Shrinking” — Apple TV+
  8. “Mayor of Kingstown” — Paramount+
  9. “Wolf Pack” — Paramount+
  10. “Outer Banks” — Netflix


Top Streaming Movies Among U.S. Consumers March 10-12:

  1. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish — Peacock
  2. Luther: The Fallen Sun — Netflix
  3. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever — Disney+
  4. Everything Everywhere All at Once — Paramount+/Showtime
  5. Chris Rock: Selective Outrage — Netflix
  6. M3GAN — Peacock
  7. We Have a Ghost — Netflix
  8. Top Gun: Maverick — Paramount+
  9. Triangle of Sadness — Hulu
  10. Scream (2022) — Paramount+

Comcast CFO: Expedited Content Windows for Peacock a Success

NBCUniversal’s decision to abbreviate the box office window to 21 days on many releases — while Universal Pictures tallied the second-highest box office take in 2022 — remains an ongoing strategy, according to Comcast CFO Jason Armstrong.

The company is expediting release of titles to digital in the premium digital rental and sales window as well as to Peacock paid streaming subscribers.

Universal Pictures’ 2022 box office tally was driven by Jurassic World Dominion, Minions: The Rise of Gru, Nope, The Bad Guys, The Black Phone, Halloween Ends, Violent Night, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish and Sing 2, among other titles.

Comcast CFO Jason Armstrong

Speaking Feb. 27 at the 31st Annual Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom confab in Palm Beach, Fla., Armstrong said early access to Universal movies on Peacock helped grow the platform’s paid subscriber base by 5 million in the most-recent fiscal quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2022), which translated to 11 million new subs for the year for a total of 20 million.

Average monthly Peacock user engagement now stands at around 20 hours.

“Content success and availability has largely driven that,” Armstrong said, adding that legacy Pay 1 movie distribution windows to third parties, live access to World Cup soccer and the NFL, licensed Hulu content, and next-day access to Bravo shows have all transitioned to Peacock.

The CFO said early viewer response to Peacock original shows “Poker Face” and “The Traitors” has been encouraging as well.

“That’s all beneficial to streaming,” Armstrong said, adding that all episodic programming, in addition to live sports, is now jointly licensed for concurrent linear TV and streaming distribution.

The executive said that while linear TV subscriptions and advertising revenue is declining, the business remains highly profitable.

“We have to preserve the cashflow characteristics of [linear TV], but doing so with an eye towards making sure we’re migrating to streaming for the right continuum,” Armstrong said.

At the same time, NBCUniversal’s heavy emphasis on streaming has skyrocketed related opportunity and technology costs in the direct-to-consumer business segment, resulting in a projected $3 billion operating loss in 2023.

“We said this year would be the peak loss year and we look to rebound after 2023,” Armstrong said. “The trajectory beyond this is more favorable.”

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Peacock recently disclosed it would no longer accept new free ad-supported subscribers, in a move that will eventually force existing Xfinity pay-TV subscribers to pay for SVOD access.

“We think there is a big market for [less-expensive] paid AVOD subscription service,” Armstrong said. “When we were leaning into streaming, we were early to figure out that was going to be a super interesting large market segment to target. The good news is that linear plus streaming is a growth business. That’s true for us [and] that’s true for the industry.”

Comcast Wins Tech Emmy Award for Sports Viewing Innovation on Peacock, Sky, Xfinity

Comcast Feb. 21 announced it has received a technology and engineering Emmy award for its sports viewing experiences across the Xfinity, Sky and Peacock platforms. The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences recognized Comcast for using artificial intelligence to provide viewers with an easier way to catch up on key moments from live sporting events.

Specifically, Comcast’s VideoAI technology analyzes video streams in real-time and detects key moments using various audio, visual and textual cues. For sports, these include points/goals, penalties, and other major moments. As the live event unfolds, indexed highlights are compiled as they happen into an interactive format, giving viewers a quick summary of the most important highlights after the play/moment has concluded.

“[Artificial intelligence] is a transformative technology, giving us the ability to rethink how we deliver innovative entertainment experiences to our global customers,” Fraser Stirling, global chief product officer, at Comcast, said in a statement.

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NBCUniversal bowed the AI technology on Peacock for its Premier League soccer matches. “Peacock Key Plays” puts highlights as they happen on an interactive timeline that can be accessed at any point during a live match, giving customers the ability to watch just one key moment or all of them as a playlist.

On Xfinity, AI is available on DVR recordings of select events like the FIFA Soccer World Cup, tagging key plays in the recording’s playback bar, giving viewers a quick way to recap all the biggest moments. Xfinity recently made Sports Highlights available for the FIFA World Cup and plans to extend the feature to more sports this year.

Comcast is now offering the technology to distribution customers as part of its product suite, producing actionable metadata to drive a continuously expanding number of use cases, from content discovery to contextual advertising.

Ampere: Live Sports Streaming Spending to Top $8.5 Billion in 2023

Live sports has become the new player among original content spending for subscription streaming video services around the world. Spending on sports rights globally will reach $8.5 billion this year, up 64% from $5.2 billion in spending in 2022, according to new data from Ampere Analysis.

The research suggests that live sports streaming rights spending will reach 21% of all sports distribution rights investment (broadcast, pay-TV, radio, streaming), compared WITH 13% the year before.

At the same time, that spending pales in comparison to movie and TV show content spending, led by Netflix, which is again spending $17 billion on content in 2023. In 2022, 28% of original content spending was from streaming platforms such as Disney+, Prime Video, Apple TV+, Paramount+, Peacock and Netflix. However, as streaming technology has improved, and as sports consumers expect to be able to stream their favorite sports, the streaming business model has finally taken off. At the same time, the challenging economic outlook for ad-supported traditional sports broadcasters is incentivizing rights owners — led by the NFL in the U.S. — to seek out streaming platforms in order to achieve media rights revenue growth.

Leading the way for streaming platforms’ growing investment in sports rights, particularly in Europe, is DAZN. The London-based SVOD accounted for more than half ($2.7 billion) of all subscription streaming video spend on sports rights in 2022.

Recent years have seen an acceleration in sports rights spend by general entertainment streaming services as providers look to differentiate content offerings. General entertainment services accounted for six of the top 10 SVOD by global spend on sports rights in 2022.

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The exclusive NFL deal with Prime Video that kicked off in September 2022 was arguably the turning point for sports on general entertainment SVOD platforms. It represented  the largest single deal signed to-date by any sports streaming service, and has since been surpassed only by Google-owned YouTube’s $14 billion NFL deal for the coveted “Sunday Ticket” games package.

Jack Genovese, research manager at Ampere, said he believes the transition to streaming will take longer for sports than for other content genres. This is in part because of the nature of sports rights deals, which typically span multiple years. It is also due to the astronomical monetary value of sports rights, and the sensitivities characterizing the distribution and consumption of sport from legacy TV to streaming video.

“The need for high-quality, low latency feeds will continue to favor risk-averse behavior among broadcasters and rights owners alike,” Genovese said in a statement. “However, streaming will offer opportunities for sports to experiment with content, distribution and monetization, which will revolutionize the way in which sports rights are sold and bought in the future.”

Comcast Ending Free Subscriber Access to Peacock Streaming Service

Comcast Xfinity pay-TV and Flex members are losing free access to the Peacock streaming service.

Since the launch of the Peacock subscription streaming video platform on April 15, 2020, Comcast Xfinity pay-TV and Flex members have had free access to the $4.99 monthly (with ads)/$9.99 (without ads) service.

Beginning April 3, new Xfinity pay-TV subs and Flex users will have to pay for Peacock, which ended the most-recent fiscal period with 20 million paid subscribers — the lowest tally among major SVOD platforms. Current Xfinity/Flex members will have to begin paying for Peacock beginning June 26. The details were disclosed in an internal Comcast memo posted on social media platform Reddit.

“As part of Peacock’s growth strategy, we are shifting our focus to the Premium offering, which is more reflective of the brand and the unique experience we can bring subscribers,” an NBCUniversal spokesperson said in a statement first reported by Cord Cutters News.

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell, at a recent Wall Street event, indicated Xfinity subscribers would have to begin paying for Peacock “at some point.” Peacock stopped offering free ad-supported access at the beginning of February.

Peacock Releases ‘Poker Face’ Super Bowl LVII Commercial

NBCUniversal’s Peacock Feb. 9 bowed a look at an upcoming Super Bowl LVII ad for its new detective drama “Poker Face” that features a unique twist on Super Bowl commercials.

“Poker Face,” created by Glass Onion director Rian Johnson, stars Natasha Lyonne (Netflix’s “Russian Doll,” “Orange Is the New Black”) as an amateur sleuth who has the uncanny ability to sense when people are lying.

The show’s spot will feature Lyonne riffing, seemingly in real time, on actual ads from other brands that Super Bowl viewers will have already seen prior in the game telecast.

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The ad features Lyonne in a bar watching the game, along with another patron. The man inquires about her ability to determine when someone isn’t telling the truth and proceeds to ask her about ads that have just aired during the game.

Created in partnership with M&M’S and Google Pixel, this “meta” spin on advertising is designed to leave viewers feeling like Natasha’s character is watching the game in real time.

Peacock Bowing ‘Watch With’ Feature Enabling Streamers to Interact With Content Talent in Real Time

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform is launching a new social media feature that enables viewers to interact with talent on select shows in real time, including during Q&A sessions.

Dubbed “Watch With,” the feature is set to launch Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET, a day after the season two premiere of “Bel-Air,” with stars  Jabari Banks and Olly Sholotan. Pending content utilizing the feature includes “Eurovision” with two-time Winter Olympian and NBC figure skating analyst Johnny Weir and “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip” with Candace Dillard Bassett and Marysol Patton.

The concept was first tested last year with the “Real Housewives of Miami” reality show featuring Larsa Pippen and Patton.

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“After exceeding our viewership forecasts, we’re highly encouraged by the first test of ‘Watch With’ as a way to super-serve fans with a live communal viewing experience,” John Jelley, SVP of product and UX for Peacock and direct-to-consumer at NBCUniversal, said in a statement.

The feature is set to join Peacock’s other interactive feature — “Choose Your Reality” — enabling viewers to delve deeper into select scenes of the third season of “The Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip.”

“We’re looking to continue experimenting with in-product innovations that enhance the streaming experience and break into the cultural zeitgeist,” Jelley said.

Peacock Drops AVOD Tier, Focusing on Paid Subscribers

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming platform has dropped its free ad-supported option for new subscribers. The service, which added 5 million paid subscribers in the most-recent fiscal period, is focusing on growing the $4.99 (with ads) and $9.99 (without ads) subscription tiers. Current AVOD subscribers will be able to continue accessing limited content.

Peacock, which ended 2022 with 20 million paid subscribers, is also offering one year of the $4.99 monthly option for $29.99 (regularly $49.99) to new subscribers for a limited time.

NBCUniversal attributes the surge in Peacock paid subscribers in part to the availability of Universal Pictures’ growing library of films, including Oscar-nominated Tár, Violent Night, She Said, Ticket to Paradise, Bros, Nope, Mid-Century, The Silent Twins and Halloween Ends, among others.

The aggressive promotion underscores NBCUniversal’s attempt to narrow Peacock’s gap with competing SVOD platforms, including Hulu with 43 million, Paramount+ with 46 million subs, HBO/HBO Max with 92 million, Disney+ with 164 million and Netflix with 231 million.

The news was first reported by The Streamable.

Peacock to Stream Focus Features’ ‘Spoiler Alert’ on Feb. 3

NBCUniversal streaming platform Peacock is set to begin streaming Focus Features’ gay-themed love story Spoiler Alert beginning Feb. 3. Starring Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”) as a entertainment journalist who is leery of social dating apps who ends up having a 14-year relationship with photographer partner, Kit (Ben Aldridge).

The movie, which is currently available on PVOD for $19.99 rental and $24.99 purchase, generated almost $1.4 million at the box office since its Dec. 2, 2022, limited release in six theaters.

The movie is Peacock’s latest theatrical release to transition to SVOD, along with the latest addition to Peacock’s growing library of iconic films, including Oscar-nominated Tár Violent Night, She Said, Ticket to Paradise, Bros, Nope, Mid-Century, The Silent Twins and Halloween Ends, among others.

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NBCUniversal’s Peacock Streaming Service Ended 2022 With 20 Million Paid Subs, $2.5 Billion Loss

NBCUniversal’s Peacock subscription streaming/ad-supported video platform ended 2022 with more than 20 million paid subscribers, doubling the service’s subs since the end of 2021. The service ended the previous third quarter with 15 million paid subs. Revenue topped $2.1 billion, up 170% from revenue of $778 million in 2021. Peacock is available free to Comcast Xfinity subscribers and related service members.

On the flipside, Peacock’s pre-tax Q4 operating loss ballooned nearly 75% to $978 million, compared with a loss of 559 million in the previous-year period. Revenue increased 97% to $660 million, from $335 million in the previous-year period. For the fiscal year, Peacock’s operating loss increased 47% to $2.5 billion, from a loss of $1.7 billion in 2021.

Speaking on the Jan. 26 fiscal call, Mike Cavanagh, president of Comcast Corporation, said he expects Peacock’s fiscal loss to plateau around $3 billion this year before declining.

“As we’ve said previously, we believe 2023 will be peak losses for Peacock and from there steadily improve,” he said.

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