HBO Max Orders ‘Take Out’ Docuseries With Lisa Ling

HBO Max has given a six-part series order to the Max Original “Take Out,” a docuseries from Part2 Pictures that follows journalist Lisa Ling as she takes viewers behind the counter and into the lives of the people and families who run some of America’s more than 45,000 Asian restaurants.

Lisa explores the storied and complicated journey of the Asian community, past and present, at a critical time, while zig-zagging the country celebrating the joy that the little white take-out box can bring.

“It is time that we learn about a community that has been integral to America’s development but has largely been ignored by American history,” Ling said in a statement. “My own family’s path to their American dream started in a Chinese restaurant, and I cannot wait to learn the stories of those whose journey paralleled mine throughout different parts of this country.”

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“With ‘Take Out,’ we will pay tribute to the hard work and countless contributions of Asian Americans whose restaurants helped shape the cultural tapestry and cuisines of America,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original content, HBO Max, said in a statement. “Lisa is one of a few storytellers who could paint the trials and triumphs of a community as told through the lens of a restaurant.”

“Take Out” is produced by Part2 Pictures with executive producers Ling and David Shadrack Smith.

“This has been a long-standing passion project that feels as relevant as ever,” Smith said in a statement. “It’s a chance to join Lisa on an especially personal exploration — and build on our long relationship together delving deep into the dynamics of America through the people that make it diverse and complex.”

Part2 Pictures is currently producing the eighth season of “This Is Life With Lisa Ling.”

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.”

Parrot Data: New Platforms Gaining Demand Share at Expense of Netflix

As Netflix  releases its latest earnings report, Parrot Analytics has unveiled new data showing new platforms gaining demand share at the expense of Netflix.

Netflix is still the dominant player in the worldwide streaming game, according to the data, but its global and U.S. digital original demand share have shrunk to record lows in Q1 2021 due to rising competition from the likes of Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and other services.

Nevertheless, total global demand for Netflix original content continues to grow, according to Parrot data.

The service accounted for seven of the top 10 most in-demand digital original series worldwide in Q1 2021, and had the most in-demand digital original in the United States with “Cobra Kai.”

Total global demand for Netflix’s original content has grown 62% over the last two years (Q2 2019 to Q1 2021). However, total global demand for original content on all other platforms grew 131% over the same time period.

Netflix’s global digital original demand share hit its lowest quarterly number ever, at 50.2% in Q1 2021, down from its 53.5% demand share for the full year 2020. Just two years ago (Q1 2019) its global demand share was at 64.6%.

“It’s also a testament to the remarkable success of the many new entrants to the streaming wars over the last 18 months in creating in-demand original content and carving out a niche at the expense of Netflix,” read a Parrot press release.

Most notable has been the surge of Disney+, moving up to 6% worldwide demand share for Q1 2021 from just 3.6% share for the full year 2020, largely on the back of its two new Marvel series.

For the second straight quarter, Netflix’s digital original demand share has fallen below a majority in the United States, another sharp decline from two years ago when the streamer had 63.1% U.S. demand share in Q1 2019. Netflix’s U.S. share of digital original demand has been on a downward trajectory each month this quarter, ending with a 47.6% share in March in the United States.

Disney+’s trajectory has followed an almost inverse path from Netflix, up each month in Q1. It has risen to 7% U.S. digital original demand share, up from 5.4% for full year 2020. The first quarter saw the debut of Disney+’s highly anticipated slate of Marvel content, including the full run of “WandaVision,” and the first two episodes of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”

Still, despite all the headlines and attention for Disney+’s tentpole Marvel series, Netflix’s “Cobra Kai was the most in-demand digital original series in the United States for Q1 2021.

While “Cobra Kai was not the most in-demand digital original globally in Q1 and Disney+ originals dominated the top of the charts, Netflix has strength in numbers. Seven of the top 10 original series globally in Q1 were Netflix originals (compared with five in the top 10 in the United States).

Netflix’s increasing emphasis on producing and promoting non-U.S. and non-English-language originals (particularly “Dark and “La Casa de Papel) is clearly paying off with global audiences, according to Parrot, as Netflix has more digital originals in the global top 10 and a higher global digital original demand share (50.2%) than its U.S. demand share (48.1%).

Parrot Analytics’ proprietary metric Demand Expressions 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.

Dakota Johnson to Star in Jane Austen Adaptation ‘Persuasion’ for Netflix

Dakota Johnson will star in the Jane Austen adaptation Persuasion for Netflix.

The film, produced in partnership with MRC Film, takes a modern, witty approach to the story while still remaining true to Austen’s classic novel, according to a Netflix release.

The story follows Anne Elliot, an nonconforming woman with modern sensibilities who is living with her snobby family on the brink of bankruptcy. When Frederick Wentworth — the dashing suitor she once sent away — crashes back into her life, Anne must choose between putting the past behind her or listening to her heart when it comes to second chances.

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Acclaimed theater director Carrie Cracknell, who directed Jake Gyllenhall and Tom Sturridge to Tony nominations last year in Sea Wall/A Life on Broadway, will make her feature directing debut.

Dakota Johnson recently starred in the drama Our Friend.

MRC Film recently announced The Mothership starring Halle Berry, also with Netflix; and most recently released the Oscar-nominated film Knives Out from writer/director Rian Johnson, and The Lovebirds starring Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae with Netflix.

Deloitte Survey: 82% of U.S. Consumers Subscribe to at Least One Paid Streaming Video Service

The average U.S. subscriber has four paid video streaming services, and 82% of U.S. consumers subscribe to at least one paid streaming video service, according to Deloitte’s annual “Digital Media Trends” survey, 15th edition.

In addition, 55% of respondents now watch a free ad-supported video service.

Subscribers cite an increase in price as the biggest reason they would cancel a paid video, music or gaming service.

The online survey of 2,009 U.S. consumers was conducted in February 2021.

Streaming music subscribers pay for an average of two paid music services, and those who subscribe to gaming services pay for an average of three.

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For Generation Z, playing video games is their No. 1 favorite entertainment activity (26%), followed by listening to music (14%), browsing the Internet (12%), and engaging on social platforms (11%). Only 10% of Generation Z say that watching TV or movies at home is their favorite form of entertainment (which is No. 1 for all other generations).

Watching TV and movies at home continues to be the overall favorite entertainment option, with 57% ranking it in their top three (out of 16 entertainment activities). However, only 10% of Generation Z say that watching TV or movies at home is their No. 1 favorite form of entertainment. Playing video games is Generation Z’s favorite entertainment choice (26%), followed by listening to music (14%). Watching TV and movies was their fifth choice for entertainment.

When asked what factors caused people to cancel a paid video, music or gaming service, an increase in price was the biggest reason.

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However, from October 2020 to February 2021, Deloitte found that the churn rate for streaming video services is still hovering around 37%.

Other findings include:

  • Content (35%) and cost (46%) are the most important factors in deciding to subscribe to a new paid streaming video service.
  • Fifty-two percent find it difficult to access content across so many services, and 49% are frustrated when a service doesn’t make good recommendations for them.
  • Fifty-three percent of those surveyed are frustrated by needing multiple service subscriptions to access the content they want.
  • Sixty-six percent get frustrated when content they want to watch is removed from a service.

 

“Not only are American consumers more reliant than ever on digital media and entertainment, information gathering and social connection, there is also more competition for audiences among a crowded field of entertainment options,” Kevin Westcott, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and U.S. technology, media and telecom leader, said in a statement. “This requires consumers to ‘dance’ between services introducing frustrations as they try to manage multiple subscriptions and keep track of their favorite content. Media and entertainment companies with a deeper understanding of customer concerns about content, cost and ad-tolerance across all entertainment options and generations, can cultivate long-term relationships and reduce churn.”

Generation Z has strikingly different entertainment preferences, often seeking video games and music over watching TV and movies — unlike older consumers who are “video first,” according to the survey. As early adopters, Generation Z may actually influence the behaviors of Millennials and Generation X — and possibly younger generations that follow them, according to Deloitte.

Findings about content preferences include:

  • Eighty-seven percent of Generation Z are playing video games daily or weekly on devices such as smartphones, gaming consoles and computers.
  • A strong majority of Generation Z, Millennials and Generation X agree that during the pandemic video games have helped them stay connected to other people and get through difficult times.
  • Close to half (46%) say that video games have taken away from other entertainment time.
  • For all generations, listening to music is a top-three favorite entertainment activity. Around 60% of respondents have a paid streaming music service, and the same amount have used a free, ad-supported music service.
  • For those who pay, the library of music was the primary reason, followed by an ad-free and reasonably priced experience. For those using a free, ad-supported music service, zero cost was the primary reason, followed by ease of access and a broad range of content.

 

Social media is a gateway to entertainment and information, but trust is a concern, according to survey respondents. Beyond connection and sharing, social media services have become a gateway for consuming music, video, games and news. However, there is tension between the value that consumers get from social media and the challenges of establishing trust, responsibility for content and the role of regulation. Consumers value social media, but they want more control over their data, and information that is more trustworthy.

Findings about social media include:

  • Half of Generation Z rank social media as the No. 1 way they prefer to get news, whereas only 12% prefer to get news from network or cable TV. Conversely, 58% of Boomers say they prefer news on network or cable TV, and only 8% look to social media first for news stories.
  • While more people, across generations, go to social media for news, 67% don’t trust the news they see on these services.
  • For Generation Z, the top two activities on social media are listening to music, followed by playing video games.
  • Consumers are divided around the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election; 43% of respondents felt that social media companies did a good job managing misinformation, while conversely 44% of respondents felt that they could have done more.
  • Seventy-seven percent of respondents believe that the government must do more to regulate data collection and use.
  • Forty-five percent said they are willing to pay for social media if it didn’t collect their data.

 

“It’s clear that consumers like the convenience of social media as a delivery platform for everything from entertainment to news, however they also want to trust that social media companies are committed to distributing truthful, reliable information while protecting their own personal data,” Jana Arbanas, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and U.S. telecom, media and entertainment sector leader, said in a statement. “By building trusted and equitable relationships with consumers that address the need for more transparency, agency, privacy and security, social media services can continue to build on their success as dependence on their platforms continues to grow.”

As more consumers use advertising supported digital entertainment services, ad-related preferences and expectations around personalization and privacy vary across consumer segments and media, according to the survey. Some people welcome ads as a way to get more content while managing costs, building their own set of go-to services; others will do whatever they can to avoid advertising.

Findings about ads include:

  • Forty percent of U.S. consumers note that they would prefer to pay $12 a month for a streaming video service with no ads, versus 60% of consumers who would accept some ads for a reduction in monthly subscription costs.
  • Forty-five percent of consumers agreed they would rather pay than have ads on their music streaming service. For Millennials, 67% say they would rather pay.
  • For those that subscribe to a gaming service, adding or increasing the amount of advertising are the top reasons they would most likely cancel or stop using a paid service.
  • Younger generations say that social media influencers and ads on social media are the two most persuasive channels influencing their buying decisions (55% of Generation Z and 66% of Millennials say that ads on social media are influential versus 49% of Generation X and 13% of Boomers).
  • Sixty-two percent of Generation Z and 72% of Millennials would rather see ads personalized to their likes and activity than generic ones. However, only 40% of consumers overall said they would be willing to provide more personal information to receive advertising targeted to their interests.
  • Forty-three percent of consumers (39% of Generation Z and 54% of Millennials) say they would associate content that included hate speech with ads that are displayed nearby.

Tidal Teams With Epix Now for $12.99 Streaming Bundle

Global music and entertainment streaming platform Tidal is offering an exclusive subscription bundle with cable network Epix’s streaming service Epix Now at $12.99 per month.

The bundle launched the same day as the season two premiere of Epix’s original drama series “Godfather of Harlem,” starring Forest Whitaker.

Through the partnership, members can listen to tracks from the series’ soundtrack, executive produced and supervised by Swizz Beatz as well as enjoy content on both platforms. Tracks will be released weekly every Friday from April 16 through May 21. Additionally, to tease the bundle, all Tidal users in the United States can view “Godfather of Harlem’s” first episode from season one on the platform.

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“Tidal has always been committed to delivering a well-rounded experience for fans across both audio and visual formats,” Lior Tibon, Tidal COO, said in a statement. “Tidal’s partnership with Epix gives members an unparalleled and cohesive content experience, all in real time.”

“As we launch the highly-anticipated second season of ‘Godfather of Harlem,’ we’re thrilled to partner with Tidal to not only offer fans a terrific platform to experience the show’s original soundtrack, but also, for those who purchase the bundle, all Epix Now has to offer including original series and thousands of movies,” said Courtney Menzel, Co-GM of Epix.

Additional content and collaborations by both brands will be announced throughout the partnership. The bundle is available here.

Parrot: Death of Prince Philip Gave ‘The Crown’ a Demand Bump

The death of the U.K.’s Prince Philip increased global demand for the Netflix series “The Crown,” according to Parrot Analytics.

In the days immediately following Prince Philip’s death, “The Crown” saw double digit percentage increases in demand worldwide, and in the show’s two most popular markets — the United Kingdom and the United States.

From April 8 (the day before Prince Philip’s death) to April 10, Parrot Analytics tracked the following increases in audience demand for “The Crown”:

  • U.S. demand increased by 47.1%, peaking at 28.1 times more in-demand than the average series in the United States on April 10;
  • U.K. demand increased by 28.8%, peaking at 30.4 times more in-demand than the average series in the United Kingdom on April 10;
  • Worldwide demand increased by 30.1%, peaking at 51.4 times more in-demand than the average series globally on April 10.

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By April 10, “The Crown” rose up the demand ranks, becoming the 30th most in-demand series in the United States across all platforms, up from 96th most on April 8; the fifth most in-demand series in the United Kingdom across all platforms, up from 12th most on April 8; and the eighth most in-demand series worldwide across all platforms, up from 25th most on April 8.

While the Prince Philip bump has been a boon for “The Crown,” Parrot tracked even higher global and United Kingdom demand for the show following two other recent news events — the show’s multiple wins at the Golden Globes on Feb. 28 and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey on March 7.

Parrot Analytics’ proprietary metric Demand Expressions 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.

Pete Davidson to Star in Biopic ‘I Slept With Joey Ramone’ for Netflix

Netflix and STXfilms have partnered to develop and produce I Slept with Joey Ramone, a biopic chronicling the life of the punk rocker.

Directed by Jason Orley (Big Time Adolescence, Pete Davidson: Alive From New York and upcoming film I Want You Back), the film will star Pete Davidson (“Saturday Night Live,The King of Staten Island, Big Time Adolescence and upcoming films The Suicide Squad and American Sole). The treatment is written by Pete Davidson and Jason Orley based on the Mickey Leigh memoir of the same name.

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“When you share a bed with someone — and not just a bed, but a childhood, a family, and a lifetime — you know that person better than anybody else,” Adam Fogelson, chairman STXfilms Motion Picture Group, said in a statement. “Mickey Leigh not only collaborated with his big brother’s band — he has irreplaceable memories of and insights into Joey Ramone, having supported him when no one else would and witnessed him overcome adversity in the most dramatic way. I Slept with Joey Ramone is a great rock anthem that will make an equally great rock biopic, set apart by a universal story of family. Pete is perfect for this role, and we’re excited he and Jason will be bringing this icon of rock to life and thrilled to be collaborating once again with our friends at Netflix.”

The film will be made with the cooperation and support of the Estate of Joey Ramone and with the assistance of Rosegarten Films.

Orley and Davidson previously teamed up on the feature film Big Time Adolescence, which Orley wrote and directed. Orley also directed Davidson’s standup special Alive from New York for Netflix.

Netflix to Open Office in Colombia

Netflix will open an office in Bogotá, Colombia, the company announced.

“Ten years ago Colombia opened its doors to Netflix, a new way to enjoy the best series and movies directly in their homes,” read a Netflix announcement. “A few years later we embarked on our first local production and quickly witnessed the incredible talent of the country and the opportunity to create Colombian stories, by Colombians. This led to series such as ‘Siempre Bruja,’ ‘Distrito Salvaje,’ ‘Chichipatos,’ ‘Frontera Verde’ and ‘El Robo del Siglo’; comedy specials such as those of Liss Pereira, Ricardo Quevedo, Antonio Sanint, Julian Arango and Alejandro Riaño; and movies such as Lavaperros, but our story in Colombia is only starting.”

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The new office “will allow us to be even closer to the creative community and our members, taking Colombian stories to millions of homes around the world so that they can discover the incredible potential, talent, landscapes and culture of this country,” according to the Netflix announcement.

Additionally, through 2022, Netflix will bow more than 30 new projects, which include the already announced “Ritmo Salvaje,” “Locombianos,” “Juanpis,” “Nada Es Igual,” a comedy show starring Alejandra Azcárate, “Goles en Contra,” ‘Pálpito,” “Perfil Falso,” “Diomedes” and “Chichipatos” season two.

The titles are part of Netflix’s local content investment of more than $175 million since 2014, according to the announce.

Apple Greenlights Louis Armstrong Doc

Apple Original Films has greenlighted the Louis Armstrong documentary feature Black & Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong from Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Documentaries to join its feature film slate.

The film offers a definitive look at the master musician’s life and legacy as a founding father of jazz, the first pop star and a cultural ambassador of the United States. He was loved by millions worldwide but often mischaracterized for not doing enough to support the civil rights movement. In reality, his fight for social justice was fueled by his celebrity and his willingness to break his silence on issues of segregation and patriotism. With the support of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation, the filmmakers have access to never-before-seen archival materials, including hundreds of hours of audio recordings, film footage, photographs, personal diaries and a life’s worth of ephemera for exclusive use in the first significant documentary dedicated entirely to Armstrong’s life.

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The documentary, which is produced under Apple’s first-look agreement with Imagine Documentaries, will be directed by Sacha Jenkins (Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men), and will be produced by Jenkins, Julie Anderson, Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard serve as executive producers. The project is being produced in association with Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment, with Michele Anthony and David Blackman serving as executive producers.