Netflix Set to Stream ‘Seinfeld’ Reruns Beginning Oct. 1

Netflix will begin streaming perennial consumer favorite catalog series “Seinfeld” beginning Oct. 1. The former NBC primetime phenomenon has streamed on Hulu for the past six years. Netflix acquired five years of “Seinfeld” rights in a deal reportedly worth $500 million with show producer Sony Pictures Television.

The 180-episode series should plug the gaping hole Netflix suffered when ratings king “The Office” moved to NBCUniversal’s Peacock.

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“Seinfeld,” which exited primetime TV in 1998 after nine seasons, moves to syndication on ViacomCBS carriage stations in October.

DEG: Sales, Rentals of Catalog Movies, TV Series Soar in Q1

Catalog titles more than doubled their share of digital transactional spending in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest DEG: The Digital Entertainment estimates, released late in the day on May 11.

Older movies accounted for 76% of all digital purchases (also known as electronic sellthrough) and rentals in Q1, DEG reported, compared with 37% in the first quarter of 2020.

Very few new films have been released to transactional home entertainment platforms so far this year, as studios hold back films in anticipation that COVID-19 restrictions will be further eased and theaters will soon be operating at full capacity.

For most of the first quarter, movie theaters in Los Angeles — the epicenter of the movie business — were dark. Only in the middle of the month were they allowed to reopen, albeit at 25% capacity.

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Among the top catalog titles in the first quarter of 2021: Harry Potter: Complete 8-Film Collection, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Wolf of Wall Street, Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Consumers were also drawn to purchase TV titles, with digital sales of TV shows rising nearly 35% during the quarter to an estimated $215 million. Top-selling TV series included “Yellowstone,” “The Office,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “When Calls the Heart” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

Nielsen: Netflix’s ‘Cobra Kai,’ ‘Criminal Minds’ Top Weekly Streamed TV Content

The Netflix original series “Cobra Kai” and “Bridgerton” reversed positions on Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 chart digital originals chart with 2.1 billion and 1.67 billion minutes, respectively, streamed on televisions Jan. 4-10.

The Shonda Rhimes’ period drama topped “Kai” the previous week with 2.64 billion minutes.

“It’s not really a fair fight because ‘Cobra Kai’ has 30 episodes and “Bridgerton” only has eight, but still neck and neck, ‘Bridgerton’ getting a lot of airplay out of those eight episodes,” Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy at Nielsen, said in a video statement.

Netflix’s acquisition of Telemundo original series “Mariposa de Bario” ranked No. 5 on the acquired content chart, the highest-ever Spanish-language series on the Nielsen chart, tracking 548 million minutes across 91 episodes.

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Fuhrer attributed the ranking to Netflix debuting “Selena: The Series” in early December and attracting Spanish-language viewers.

“If you watched “Selena: The Series,” you may have “Mariposa” in your recommendation list [by Netflix],” Fuhrer said. “Speculation, but I think it’s pretty reasonable to [suggest].”

He said the sheer volume of “Mariposa” episodes coupled with the series’ ranking in Netflix’s Top 10, drove viewership. Fuhrer said 34% of viewers of the “Selena” series watched “Mariposa.”

“About 93% of the audience was Hispanic,” he said.

Noticeably missing from the chart: NBCUniversal Peacock’s “The Office,” a perennial Top 10 when it streamed exclusively on Netflix in 2020. NBCUniversal acquired exclusive streaming rights to the old NBC sitcom for a reported $500 million.

Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television.



NBCUniversal CEO: ‘The Office’ Doing Better on Peacock Than Netflix

On New Year’s Day, NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service acquired away from Netflix exclusive streaming rights to reruns of “The Office,” in a license deal reportedly worth $500 million. Episodes of the ensemble-cast sitcom, which last broadcast in primetime on NBC in 2013, have regularly ranked among Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 streamed content on the television. Indeed, “The Office” was by far the top TV show in minutes watched in 2020, according to Nielsen.

That acquisition appears to be paying off for Peacock. Speaking on the Jan. 28 fiscal call, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said the right things about the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company series, which co-starred Steve Carell and John Krasinski, among others.

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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell

“We’ve had it now for almost a month, very pleased with how it’s doing,” Shell said. “Our usage among our customers are actually higher than we think the usage was among Netflix customers.”

With Peacock marketed as a hybrid SVOD/AVOD service, with an emphasis on ad-supported video, NBCUniversal is using the initial season of “The Office” and other high-profile content as a loss-leader for Peacock’s free option, with access to subsequent seasons on Peacock’s two paid tiers ($4.99 with ads; $9.99 without).

“We’re seeing that people who are watching ‘The Office’ on Peacock are watching lots of other comedies,” Shell said. “So it’s really driving usage of ‘Parks & Recreation,’ and really driving ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine,’ among others.”

NBCUniversal employed the strategy acquiring streaming rights to England’s Premier League soccer, which Shell said has driven viewership of Western drama “Yellowstone.” He said the recent license deal involving the WWE Network streaming service would help generate viewership for WWE events on USA Network, among other content.

“We believe, there’s kind of an ecosystem here, like the whole world of broadcast where … we can cross promote people into different things,” Shell said. “And that certainly seems to be working and ‘The Office’ has really helped.”

‘The Office’ Enjoys January Streaming Boost on Peacock

As content goes, NBCUniversal’s exclusive $500 million streaming license acquisition of “The Office” from Netflix was one of the big stories to end 2020. Reruns of the 2005-13 NBC comedy have ranked consistently among the top three streamed programs on living room televisions, according to Nielsen.

So all eyes are on the show’s performance on Peacock in early 2021. Unsurprisingly, “The Office,” which saw an increase in streaming a couple of weeks prior to its Netflix departure, saw an even sharper incline upon its arrival on Peacock (Free + Premium). The share of streams for the series rose 9.2% Jan. 1-7, topping Netflix original “Bridgerton” and the Disney+ series “The Mandalorian” on Reelgood’s list of the Top 100 most-watched TV shows for that specific week.

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Since then, the level of “Office” viewing activity seems to have slowed to more sustainable levels, but it’s good news for NBC that the series seems to be living up to its potential and has not dropped below Netflix levels of streaming thus far.

Additionally, the content aggregator with 2 million members found that the number of users with Peacock Free selected as one of their subscription services via Reelgood grew by 17% during the week of Jan. 8 vs. the week of Dec. 25.

Similarly, the number of Reelgood users with Peacock Premium as a streaming service grew by a more conservative 5% within the same timeframe.

Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ Remains Atop Nielsen Weekly SVOD Chart

Netflix’s award-winning original series “The Crown” finished at No. 1 on Nielsen’s weekly chart of the most-viewed SVOD programs on TV in the United States for the period of Nov. 16 to 22. The fourth season of the series showcasing Queen Elizabeth II, portrayed by Olivia Colman, generated 3.35 billion minutes viewed across the show’s 40 episodes.

The previous Nielsen record for minutes streamed in a week belonged to Netflix’s “The Umbrella Academy” with 3 billion.

“The Crown” knocked from the top spot Netflix’s chess-themed original, “The Queen’s Gambit,” which had 1.09 billion minutes across seven episodes. Former NBC sitcom “The Office” remained on the podium at No. 3 with 1.06 billion minutes streamed across 192 episodes. The series leaves Netflix at the end of the year for WarnerMedia’s HBO Max.

Notably, the Disney+”Star Wars” spinoff “The Mandalorian” dropped to No. 4 despite increasing streamed minutes to 939 million across 12 episodes, from 873 million minutes across 11 episodes the week before.

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Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television.

NBCUniversal’s Peacock Streaming ‘The Office’ ‘Superfan Episodes’ Beginning Jan. 1, 2021

Catalog mockumentary “The Office” makes its exclusive bow on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service on Jan. 1, 2021. It’s a big deal since “The Office” has ranked among Netflix’s most-popular programs on a weekly basis since Nielsen began tracking SVOD programming.

With NBCUniversal outbidding Netflix for exclusive streaming rights, the media giant is set to make available for free the first two seasons (2005-06) of the series about the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, and featuring an ensemble cast headed by Steve Carell, Jena Fischer, John Krasinski, Mindy Kaling and Rainn Wilson, among others.

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Subsequent seasons, in addition to the “Superfan Episodes” will be available on Peacock Premium for $4.99 monthly with ads; $9.99 with out ads. The “Superfan Episodes” offer unseen footage, extended cuts and deleted scenes.

“Having ‘The Office’ back in the [NBCUniversal] family opens up access to a lot of extra content that we originally shot,’ Greg Daniels, creator of the U.S. version of the show, said in a statement. “I went back into the dailies with the original [show] editors … and found some never-before-seen footage that was cut for time, but is still fun to see.

Viewers can either watch the classic version of the show, or the ‘Superfan’ cuts with new footage and other scenes Peacock will gradually begin rolling out, starting with the third season.

Episodes will be available with Spanish audio and closed captions. In addition, the series will have video clips categorized by “pranks,” “best office romances,” and “office words of wisdom,” among other genres. Peacock is also streaming a channel called “The Office Zen” featuring “ambient noise devoted to the sights and sounds of the office for anyone working at home.”

Netflix’s ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ Remains Atop Nielsen Weekly SVOD Chart

The original series “The Queen’s Gambit” is paying off for Netflix as the series starring Anya Taylor-Joy remained on top of Nielsen’s weekly Top 10 subscription streamed video shows on television through Nov. 15. The seven-episode series generated 1.37 billion minutes streamed, down about 5% from 1.45 billion minutes during the previous week.

Other podium spots included Disney+ original series “The Mandalorian” at No. 3 with 873 million minutes across 11 episodes — down almost 9% from 955 million minutes during the previous-week period. Former NBC sitcom “The Office” finished No. 2 with 1.08 billion minutes across 192 episodes. That was down just slightly from 1.09 billion minutes in the previous week. The series leaves Netflix Jan. 1, 2021 for its new exclusive home on NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service.

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Netflix again dominated the chart, grabbing nine of the 10 spots largely on the backs of network television shows such as “Greys Anatomy,” NCIS” and “The Blacklist,” among others.

“The story this week is about royalty,” Brian Fuhrer, SVP of product strategy at Nielsen, said in a webcast alluding to the chess series and “The Crown.” Fuhrer said 23 million unique viewers have streamed “Gambit” since its launch on Oct. 23. “It’s continuing to resonate,” he said.

Fuhrer said the story of that week included expanding the audience for “The Crown,” which saw 66% of viewers above the age of 55.

“Most of ‘The Crown’ audience has been younger, but with [with the older demo] that’s a really effective tool at crossing over and bringing in audiences that don’t traditionally watch SVOD, as well as a ‘gateway drug’ for Netflix.”

Source: Nielsen SVOD Content Ratings (Amazon Prime, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix), Nielsen National TV Panel, U.S. Viewing through Television.

Big Week for DVD, Blu-ray Disc Topped with ‘Bill & Ted’ Sequel, ‘Mulan’ and Trio of ‘Complete Season’ TV Series Sets

It’s a big week for DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, with Warner Bros. releasing the comedy sequel Bill & Ted Face the Music on both disc formats and three complete series sets of popular TV series “Schitt’s Creek,” “The Office” and “Downton Abbey” arriving on disc as well.

Meanwhile, new digital offerings available Nov. 10 include Sony Pictures’ The Broken Hearts Gallery, Lionsgate’s Words on Bathroom Walls and Paramount’s Jungleland.

Bill & Ted Face the Music is the third film in the “Bill & Ted” franchise, following 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. The film, from MGM and Orion Pictures, was slated for a wide theatrical release over the summer. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was released via PVOD and in a handful of theaters that opened after quarantine restrictions were lifted, earning $3.3 million at the domestic box office.

The film was released  via standard digital sellthrough Oct. 20 in advance of its Nov. 10 release on disc and standard VOD.

“Schitt’s Creek” concluded its six-season run in April. All 80 episodes are now available in a DVD-only collection from Lionsgate. The irreverent character-driven comedy centers on the reversal-of-fortune story of the once-rich Rose family. Suddenly finding themselves broke, the Roses are forced to rebuild their empire in Schitt’s Creek, a small town they had purchased earlier as a joke. The Canadian show received 19 Emmy nominations during its run, with 15 for its sixth season, setting a record for most nominations for a comedy series in its final season.

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“The Office,” which makes its Blu-ray Disc debut on Nov. 10, is an American sitcom that depicts the everyday work lives of employees of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. in Scranton, Penn. The show lasted nine seasons, airing on NBC from March  2005 to May 2013, and features an ensemble cast centered for the first seven seasons around wacky boss Steve Carell. Other notable cast members include Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, Mindy Kaling and Creed Bratton, best known as a member of the classic pop-rock band the Grass Roots. The complete series has been available on DVD since 2014.

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“Downton Abbey” is a British historical drama television series set in the early 20th Century. The series ran for six seasons on PBS and inspired the 2019 movie Downton Abbey. The complete series is being released for the first time on DVD only by Universal on Nov. 10. Individual season sets were previously issued by PBS Distribution.

Other notable new releases available Nov. 10 include Disney’s live-action Mulan remake, Lionsgate’s Guest House and Mortal and Paramount’s Spontaneous.

The live-action Mulan, about a girl who poses as a boy to serve in her father’s place in the army in ancient China, arrives on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and DVD. Disney is also releasing a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of the original animated Mulan from 1998. The two films also will be available together in a Blu-ray Disc and DVD combo pack that also includes digital editions. The live-action Mulan made headlines over the Labor Day weekend when it bypassed theatrical distribution for in-home premium VOD. Disney announced the disc version just four days before its street date.

Guest House is a comedy starring Pauly Shore as a party animal who lives in a guest house. When the main house is purchased by an engaged couple, he refuses to leave. The film is available on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

Mortal is a thriller in which a sleepy Norwegian town erupts after an American backpacker is arrested. Witnesses claim a teen died after touching the stranger, and that he inexplicably started a fire that engulfed a farm. He warns a psychologist, Christine, that he has supernatural powers, and that anyone who gets too close to him dies. The film is being released on DVD and Blu-Disc Nov. 10, four days after its digital debut.

And Spontaneous, also available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, stars Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer as seniors at a high school where the students begin literally exploding. Realizing each moment may be their last, they begin a romance and start living for today. The film was initially released for premium video-on-demand viewing and digital sellthrough Oct. 6, four days after it began showing in select movie theaters.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

‘Friday the 13th’ Collection Tops Weekly ‘Watched at Home’ Chart

Halloween continues to be top of mind among home viewers, with Shout! Factory’s Blu-ray Disc boxed set of “Friday the 13th” movies catapulting to the top of the weekly “Watched at Home” chart during the week ended Oct. 17.

The 16-disc set with a limited run (initially set at 13,000 copies) is the first boxed set to ever top the “Watched at Home” chart, which tracks transactional video activity (both digital and on DVD and Blu-ray Disc) compiled from studio and retailer data through DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group. The chart was created in April.

Released to mark the 40th anniversary of the original “Friday the 13th” film by Shout! Factory’s horror imprint, Scream Factory, the collection includes all 12 films in the franchise — the first eight released by Paramount Pictures and the latter four by New Line Cinema.

Scream Factory’s “Friday the 13th” collection

Two other Halloween-themed titles remained on the chart: Disney’s Hocus Pocus, which slipped to No. 4 from No. 2 the prior week, and Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, from Warner, which fell to No. 13 from No. 8.

The rest of the chart reflects the continued lack of new theatrical releases, which studios are attempting to counter through aggressive catalog movie and TV show promotions. Indeed, catalog sales are up nearly 50% from the same week last year, according to the DEG.

Warner Bros.’ eight-film collection of “Harry Potter” movies soared to No. 2 from No. 10 the prior week, pushing last week’s most-watched film, Vertical Entertainment’s Ava, to No. 3.

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Also debuting in the top five was Universal Pictures’ boxed set of all nine seasons of popular sitcom “The Office,” which debuted on the “Watched at Home” chart at No. 5. Universal initially released the collection on DVD in 2014 and again in 2018; on Nov. 10, the series makes its debut on Blu-ray Disc.

Middle Earth 6-Film Collection (including “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogies), from Warner Bros., debuted at No. 9. The collection has been rolled out over the past few years in several configurations, ranging from a six-disc set of the theatrical versions of the six films to a massive 30-disc set of extended editions, with hours of extras. The version that hit the chart is the six-disc edition of theatrical cuts.

Game of Thrones: The Complete Series, also from Warner, reappeared on the chart at No. 15. (The “Game of Thrones” set briefly appeared on the chart in early September, at No. 17).

  1. The Friday the 13th Collection (Shout! Factory)
  2. Harry Potter Complete 8-Film Collection (Warner)
  3. Ava (Vertical)
  4. Hocus Pocus (Disney)
  5. The Office: The Complete Series (Universal)
  6. Yellowstone: Season 3 (Paramount)
  7. Yellowstone: Season 1 (Paramount)
  8. Yellowstone: Season 2 (Paramount)
  9. Middle Earth 6-Film Collection: Theatrical (Warner)
  10. Trolls World Tour (Universal)
  11. Friends: The Complete Series (Warner)
  12. The Secret: Dare to Dream (Lionsgate)
  13. Beetlejuice (Warner)
  14. Batman: Death in the Family (Warner)
  15. Game of Thrones: The Complete Series (Warner)
  16. The Phenomenon (1091)
  17. Star Trek: Picard: Season One (Paramount)
  18. Alone (Magnolia)
  19. The Tax Collector (RLJ Entertainment)
  20. The Nightmare Before Christmas (Disney)


Source: DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group
Includes U.S. digital sales, digital rentals, and DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD sales for the week ended Oct. 17.