Disney+ D23 Expo Presentation Showcases App Features, Unveils Content Slate Including New ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi,’ Marvel, ‘Lizzie McGuire’ Series

Disney+ unveiled six series in development, a slate of original series and films, and details about the service during a showcase presentation at Disney’s D23 Expo Aug. 23 in Anaheim, Calif.

The Disney+ app made its debut on the show floor, with features and functionality confirmed for the global launch dates in November. Disney+ ($6.99 per month; $69.99 annually in the U.S.) offers viewers:

• Unlimited Downloads: Subscribers have access to unlimited downloads of shows and movies on the Disney+ app to watch offline later on up to 10 mobile or tablet devices, with no constraints on the number of times a title can be downloaded per year. Once downloaded, subscribers can watch on the go and without an internet connection. The number of titles stored at one time on a device is dependent upon the available storage space on a subscriber’s device.

• High-Quality Viewing: Subscribers can get ultra-high-definition viewing with up to 4K Ultra HD video playback in Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos immersive audio on supported devices for available programming.

• Commercial-free Viewing: Subscribers can access unlimited viewing of Disney+ content without having to watch commercials.

Profile Customizations: Subscribers can set up to seven different profiles and choose an avatar tailored to their favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel or “Star Wars” characters, with more than 200 avatars available.

Concurrent Streaming: Disney+ allows subscribers to concurrently stream video content on up to four registered devices with no up-charges.

• Multiple Languages: At launch, Disney+ will offer support for English, Spanish, French and Dutch languages, including both user interface as well as audio support and/or subtitles for library content, with additional languages available for Disney+ originals.

• Accessibility: The app offers support for closed captioning, descriptive audio and navigation assistance for subscribers with disabilities.

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Actress Yvette Nicole Brown, who stars in the Disney+ original film Lady and the Tramp, hosted the content presentation, welcoming Kevin Mayer, chairman, direct-to-consumer and international.

“With less than three months until launch, Disney+ will soon entertain and inspire audiences of all ages for generations to come, and we’re excited to preview some of the amazing original content being created for the service exclusively from our world-class brands today at the D23 Expo,” said Mayer. “Storytelling is the cornerstone of The Walt Disney Company and we’re thrilled to unveil a new slate of original shows from the Star Wars and Marvel cinematic universes, along with popular television franchises set to return with all-new series streaming only on Disney+.”

Executives behind the Disney+ content slate also appeared, including Sean Bailey, president of Walt Disney Studios Motion Picture Production; Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios; Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm; and Gary Marsh, president and chief creative officer of Disney Channel Worldwide.

The executives discussed the status of previously announced content as well as introduced additions to the slate:

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in 2005’s ‘Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith’

Ewan McGregor was on hand to confirm his return as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a new series from Lucasfilm, presumably set between the events of the “Star Wars” prequel and original trilogies, when the character was exiled on Tatooine watching over young Luke Skywalker. Alec Guinness played the role in the original “Star Wars” in 1977, as well as 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back and 1983’s Return of the Jedi. McGregor played the younger version of the character in the prequels from 1999 to 2005. Reports about the series had been swirling in the week leading up to the D23 Expo, following years of speculation that McGregor would return to the role in a spinoff movie;

Feige announced that Marvel Studios is developing three new live-action series, “Ms. Marvel,” “Moon Knight” and “She-Hulk,” all derived from Marvel comics;

Hilary Duff surprised the audience with an appearance to announce she will reprise the role she made famous in an all-new Lizzie McGuire series from Terri Minsky; and

Forty years after leaving the swamp in his big screen debut in The Muppet Movie, Kermit the Frog along with the Muppets gang will appear in their first-ever unscripted short-form series, “Muppets Now.”

Disney+ also showcased original movies and shows set to stream when the service launches on Nov. 12.

“The Mandalorian”

For Lucasfilm’s “The Mandalorian,” executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni joined series stars Pedro Pascal, Gina Carano, Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito, along with Taika Waititi, who brings the droid IG-11 to life, to premiere the teaser trailer for the first Star Wars live-action series. Earlier in the day at the Disney Legends Awards Ceremony, Robert A. Iger,chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Co., announced that new Disney Legend Ming-Na Wen will join the cast of the series. Set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, “The Mandalorian” follows the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.

 

The cast of “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” participated in a live performance of the multi-platinum hit song, “We’re All In This Together.” Following the presentation, cast members Joshua Bassett, Olivia Rodrigo, Matt Cornett, Sofia Wylie, Julia Lester, Larry Saperstein, Dara Reneé, Frankie A. Rodriguez, Kate Reinders, Mark St. Cyr, and Showrunner Tim Federle invited 3,600 fans to watch the first episode in the D23 Expo Arena and revealed the series’ teaser trailer. The 10-episode scripted series, set at the real-life East High, where the original movie was filmed, follows a group of students as they countdown to opening night of their school’s first-ever production of “High School Musical.”

 

Host Brown joined fellow Lady and the Tramp cast members Rose (“Lady”) and Monty (“Tramp”) — the canine stars of the film — to premiere the first trailer of the live-action remake of the 1955 animated classic, In the film, a pampered house dog and a tough but lovable stray embark on an unexpected adventure and, despite their differences, grow closer and come to understand the value of home.

 

Noelle stars Anna Kendrick and Billy Eichner joined Sean Bailey to announce their film will premiere on Disney+ Nov. 12 before sharing a new trailer. In the holiday comedy, Kris Kringle’s daughter is full of Christmas spirit and holiday fun, but wishes she could do something important like her beloved brother Nick, who will take over from their father this Christmas. When Nick is about to crumble from all the pressure, Noelle suggests he take a break and get away. When he doesn’t return, Noelle must find her brother and bring him back in time to save Christmas.

 

Jeff Goldblum, who stars in and hosts 12-episode “The World According to Jeff Goldblum” from National Geographic, gave fans a peek inside the series including a new trailer for the show.

 

Executive producer Kristen Bell shared a first-look trailer and a taste of what’s to come in the unscripted series “Encore!” that brings together former castmates of high school musicals, tasking them with re-creating their original performance years after they last performed it.

 

Tony Hale, who reprises role as Forky from Toy Story 4 in the new collection of Pixar animated shorts “Forky Asks a Question,” premiered the first short (“What is Money?”). In the 10 shorts, Forky explores important questions about how the world works, such as: What is love? What is time? 

Forky

Disney+ also detailed titles set to premiere after the service launches:

The audience was treated to a scene from the Disney+ original film Togo, an untold true story set in the winter of 1925 in the Alaskan tundra. The film, which will launch on the service in December, stars four-time Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe and is directed by Ericson Core. It also stars Julianne Nicholson, Christopher Heyerdahl, Richard Dormer, Michael Greyeyes, Michael McElhatton and Michael Gaston.

Director Kari Skogland introduced Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan, the stars of Marvel Studios’ The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, which finds Falcon and the Winter Soldier teaming up after Avengers: Endgame. Emily VanCamp came on stage and Feige revealed that she will reprise her role as Sharon Carter. Then, he introduced the crowd to Wyatt Russell who will play John Walker — a character from the comics coming to the screen for the first time. Head writer Malcom Spellman was also on hand to greet the crowd. The Falcon and The Winter Soldier will launch on Disney+ in 2020.

Stars Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen were on hand for their new series, Marvel Studios’ “WandaVision.” Bettany returns as Vision and Olsen as Wanda Maximoff — two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives who begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems. Feige surprised the audience by bringing to the stage Kat Dennings and Randall Park who will reprise their roles from Thor and Ant-Man and The Wasp, and then he introduced Kathryn Hahn who has been cast as a new character in the series. Director Matt Shakman and head writer Jac Schaeffer joined everyone on stage to reveal that the streaming series will blend the style of classic sitcoms with Marvel Cinematic Universe. “WandaVision” premieres on Disney+ in 2021.

Feige welcomed the director, Kate Herron, and head writer, Michael Waldron, of “Loki” to the stage. In Marvel Studios’ series “Loki,” Tom Hiddleston returns as the mercurial Loki, the god of mischief, in stories that take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. “Loki” debuts on Disney+ in 2021.

For Marvel Studios’ “What If …?” Hayley Atwell was on hand to greet the audience. Atwell will voice Peggy Carter in Marvel Studios’ first animated series that focuses on different heroes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and imagines what would happen if the events in the films worked out differently. Feige also introduced director Bryan Andrews and head writer Ashley Bradley to the crowd.  “What If…?” premieres on Disney+ in 2021.

Kennedy announced that the new season of “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” will stream on Disney+ in February 2020. The Emmy award-winning animated series will be returning with 12 new episodes and will mark the return of classic characters Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, as well as Ahsoka Tano and Captain Rex.

Stars Diego Luna and Alan Tudyk joined Kennedy to introduce the audience to the second Lucasfilm live-action series for Disney+, which is now in development. Both actors are reprising their roles from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and the stories follow Cassian Andor’s adventures as a rebel spy during the formative years of the Rebellion, before the events of A New Hope.

Executive producer and recurring guest star Gina Rodriguez joined “Diary of a Female President” lead Tess Romero to announce the series will premiere on Disney+ in January. Told using the narration from her diary, the half-hour single camera comedy follows 12-year-old Cuban-American girl Elena’s journey through the trials of middle school, which set her on the path to ultimately become president of the United States.

Bailey shared a first look at the original film Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made based on the best-selling book series by Stephan Pastis and launching on the service in early 2020. The film follows the exploits of a quirky, deadpan hero, Timmy Failure, who, along with his 1,500-pound polar bear partner Total, operates Total Failure Inc., a Portland detective agency.

The stars of Stargirl, Grace VanderWaal and Graham Verchere, helped introduce the coming-of-age film based on the New York Times best-selling young adult novel. The film also stars Karan Brar, Maximiliano Hernandez, Darby Stanchfield and Giancarlo Esposito. It will launch on Disney+ in early 2020.

“Monsters at Work” stars Ben Feldman and Aisha Tyler unveiled the latest design of their characters Tylor and Millie. Inspired by Disney and Pixar’s Academy Award-winning feature film Monsters, Inc., the new series from Disney Television Animation returns to Monstropolis and follows a new cast of monsters with special appearances from Mike and Sulley (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman).

 

AMC’s Acorn TV and UMC Launch on YouTube TV

Subscription streaming services Acorn TV and UMC are available on YouTube TV, AMC Networks announced.

Acorn TV is North America’s largest streaming service for British and international television, and UMC is the largest streaming service for black TV and film, according to AMC. The services join sister services Shudder, Sundance NOW and AMC Premiere as part of YouTube TV’s lineup of premium streaming service add-on options.

Acorn TV’s add-on channel is now available via YouTube TV for $6 a month, and UMC’s add-on channel is $5 a month.

Programming now available on Acorn TV’s YouTube TV channel includes:

  • “Manhunt,” a 2019 series starring Martin Clunes as a former police detective who tenaciously pursues a serial killer;
  • “Line of Duty,” a cop thriller that takes a probing look into modern police corruption with new guest leads every season;
  • “Agatha Raisin,” an Acorn TV Original series starring Ashley Jensen in adaptations of MC Beaton’s best-selling novels as an amateur sleuth who becomes entangled in mischief, mayhem and murder;
  • “Doc Martin,” a U.K. series starring Clunes as a tactless, self-centered, and uptight doctor in the town of Portwenn, where he clashes with the village’s quirky inhabitants;
  • “Keeping Faith,” an Acorn TV Original thriller starring Eve Myles as Faith, a lawyer with a happy marriage until her husband suddenly disappears; and
  • dramas including “Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries” and “Midsomer Murders,” as well as Acorn TV Original series “Queens of Mystery” and “Mystery Road.”

 

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Programming now available on UMC’s YouTube TV channel includes:

  • “A House Divided,” a new original drama series starring Demetria McKinney, Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, Paula Jai Parker and Brad James;
  • “Beyond the Pole,” the channel’s first original reality series that follows six of Atlanta’s exotic dancers on their journeys out of the strip club world with the help of Stormy Wellington, a former dancer turned multi-millionaire;
  • “Craig Ross Jr.’s Monogamy,” which will return for its second season later this fall;
  • OWN’s “Black Love” and WEtv’s “Growing Up Hip Hop”;
  • classic sitcoms, such as UPN’s “All of Us”; and
  • classic films such as Set It Off, starring Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica Fox and Kimberly Elise, and B.A.P.S., starring Halle Berry and Natalie Desselle.

Over the past year, Acorn TV and UMC have expanded their availability across various platform partners, most recently joining Apple TV Channels and The Roku Channel. Others will be added later this year, according to AMC.

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.

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.

‘Orange Is the New Black’ Remains Top Binge, ‘Sacred Games’ Leads ‘Shows on the Rise’ on TV Time Charts

Netflix series “Orange Is the New Black” topped TV Time’s “Binge Report” for a third consecutive week, while the service’s “Sacred Games” came in at No. 1 on its “Shows on the Rise” chart for the week ended Aug. 18.

TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the company. 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 seventh and final season of the Netflix’s prison drama “Orange Is the New Black” dropped July 26.

Three other Netflix series came in at Nos. 2-4 on the binge chart. The Spanish period drama “Cable Girls,” the fourth season of which hit screens Aug. 9, took the No. 2 spot. The serial killer series “Mindhunter,” season two of which dropped Aug. 16, came in at No. 3. And “Lucifer,” a perennial binge favorite about the lord of hell’s exploits in Los Angeles, landed at No. 4. Meanwhile, NBC’s classic sitcom favorite “Friends” rounded out the top five binge series.

Top show on the rise “Sacred Games,” season two of which dropped on Netflix Aug. 15, is an Indian thriller centering on a troubled police officer in Mumbai.

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended Aug. 18 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix) — 3.30%
  2. “Cable Girls” (Netflix) — 2.56%
  3. “Mindhunter” (Netflix) — 2.44%
  4. “Lucifer” (Neflix) — 2.25%
  5. “Friends” (NBC) — 2.24%
  6. “Money Heist” (Netflix) — 2.14%
  7. “Stranger Things” (Netflix) — 1.91%
  8. “Glee” (Fox) — 1.53%
  9. “The 100” (The CW) — 1.52%
  10. “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) — 1.49%

 

Top Shows on the Rise Week Ended Aug. 18 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Sacred Games” (Netflix) — 98.5%
  2. “Mindhunter” (Netflix) — 92.3%
  3. “The Terror” (AMC) — 79.8%
  4. “Succession” (HBO) — 69.1%
  5. “Sintonia” (Netflix) – 65.9%
  6. “The Family” (Netflix) — 65.7%
  7. “The Naked Director” (Netflix) — 53.2%
  8. “Fear the Walking Dead” (AMC) — 45.9%
  9. “Pennyworth” (Epix) — 45.5%
  10. “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba” (Tokyo MX) — 39.6%

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.