Netflix Upped U.K. Content Spend 50% to $1 Billion in 2020

After signing a 10-year lease for original content production at Shepperton Studios in the United Kingdom, Netflix has significantly upped content spending across the Atlantic.

The streaming video behemoth is reportedly set to spend $1 billion (£750 million) on U.K. episodic and feature film productions in 2020, up from the £500 million spent in 2019 and spearheaded by “The Witcher,” starring Henry Cavill (Superman).

Netflix, which launched streaming service in the U.K. and Ireland in 2012, topped more than 13 million subscribers in the region at the end of March.

“The U.K. is an incredibly important market to Netflix and we are proud to be increasing our investment in the U.K.’s creative industries,” a Netflix U.K. rep told The Guardian. “‘The Crown,’ ‘Sex Education’ and ‘The Witcher’ are among the shows that have been made in the U.K. this year and will be watched by the world. These shows are a testament to the depth of talent that exists here.”

Regardless, Netflix’s content spend still lags that of the BBC’s TV spend of £1.6 billion and ITV’s £1.1 billion, respectively. Both companies co-own BritBox, a competing SVOD service launched in the U.S. and now also operating in the U.K. and Australia.

Report: 60% of U.K. Homes Have SVOD — Driven by Netflix

New data from Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board found that 60% of U.K. households (17 million) now have subscription VOD service through September. That’s up from 3 million households in the previous-year period.

Notably, Netflix dominates among those homes with 14.8 million subscriptions, just behind Brazil’s 15+ million subs. By comparison, Disney+, which launched in the U.K. in March, has about 3.4 million subs.

Meanwhile, Amazon Prime Video, which acquired U.K.’s LoveFilm in 2011 to enter the by-mail DVD movie rental business, has 9.5 million subs. Amazon morphed streaming service LoveFilm Instant into Amazon Prime Instant Video — a precursor to Prime Video.

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“It’s no surprise to see these [SVOD services] growing strongly as people have been forced to spend more time at home this year,”  BARB CEO Justin Sampson said in a statement.

Sampson said the organization has been able to track SVOD data through the installation of meters on WiFi routers in its panel of monitored homes.

“Preliminary data show aggregate viewing levels to SVOD and video-sharing platforms, while we plan to augment these with SVOD content ratings in 2021,” Sampson said.


Netflix Hires Ex-BBC Studios Exec to Head U.K. Production

Netflix has named Anna Mallet to the position as VP of physical production in the United Kingdom, where she will be based in the streamer’s London office reporting to Ty Warren. Mallet, who formerly was COO and MD of production at BBC Studios, most-recently headed Independent Television News, an indie TV production company across the pond.

Mallet will be responsible for local-language content production in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Latin America and Asia -Pacific.

Anna Mallet

“Anna brings a wealth of global production experience and strategic expertise to our production team as we continue to expand our investment in original programming throughout the world,” Warren said in a statement. “I’m excited to work with her as we continue to stand up our productions and position the Netflix studio for its next stage of growth and success.”

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Mallett is the latest high-profile executive move at Netflix, which also named Nne Ebong as VP of overall deals for original series. The streamer, which is approaching 200 million subscribers globally, is aggressively upping worldwide content production to stave off renewed competition from Amazon Prime Video, newcomer Disney+, pending foreign launches of HBO Max and Paramount+, in addition to regional SVOD competitors.

“Netflix is a creative powerhouse and I am looking forward to working with my exceptional new colleagues … to bring the very best films and series to audiences everywhere,” said Mallet.

‘Scoob!’ Remains Atop U.K. Home Entertainment Sales Chart

Warner Bros.’ Scoob! scored a fourth straight week at No. 1 on the weekly Official Film Chart (through Oct. 14) in the United Kingdom, fending off competition from Disney’s Onward.

With just 500 unit sales separating the top two during the week, Scoob! narrowly denied Onward — which climbed five places to No. 2 — a chance atop the podium. This is the fourth time Onward has reached its peak of runner-up since its retail release in May.

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Disney’s Frozen II rebounded 27 places to No. 3, the first of several big climbers this week. Based on the autobiography of Henri Charrière, prison escape drama remake Papillon (Signature Entertainment), starring Charlie Hunnam and Academy Award winner Rami Malek, leaped 19 places to land at No. 4.

Universal Pictures’ animated record-breaker Trolls World Tour dropped three spots to No. 5, to land just ahead of 2018’s best-selling film The Greatest Showman (20th Century Studios) — which sang and danced up 14 places to No. 6. Paramount Pictures’ Sonic the Hedgehog rose two places to No. 7.

Universal Pictures’ Yesterday returned to the top 10 after climbing eight places to No. 8,and Sony Pictures’ Spider-Man: Far From Home landed at No. 9. Finally, Bad Boys for Life (Sony Pictures) rounded off the top 10 after tumbling six spots from last week.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 Oct. 14, 2020

LW Pos Title Label
1 1 Scoob! Warner
7 2 Onward Disney
30 3 Frozen II
25 4 Papillon Signature Entertainment
2 5 Trolls World Tour DreamWorks Animation
20 6 The Greatest Showman 20th Century Studios
9 7 Sonic the Hedgehog Paramount
16 8 Yesterday Universal
10 9 Spider-Man: Far From Home Sony
4 10 Bad Boys for Life Sony


Netflix Expands London Digs

Netflix has broken many molds when it comes to distributing entertainment. Working in the corporate office is not one of them.

The SVOD behemoth just signed a new lease in the United Kingdom, tripling its office space in London’s West End as the streamer expands upon original content productions (“The Crown” and “Sex Education”) in its biggest international market. Netflix is taking over the lease on an 87,000 square-foot office building on Berners Street. Netflix currently employs about 269 people in the U.K., including paying rent on two nearby buildings.

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“As part of our ongoing commitment to the U.K., we are excited to expand our operations in London,” Netflix said in a media statement. “It will ensure that we can better serve our members and the local creative community.”

While Netflix has broken barriers in the entertainment industry, including launching the first recommendation software, issuing complete seasons of original TV shows at launch, in addition to advocating for the end of the theatrical window for new movies, working in an office setting remains important to co-founder and co-CEO Reed Hastings.

In a Wall Street Journal interview last month, Hastings said not being able to work with others in an office — especially overseas — due to the coronavirus pandemic is a “pure negative.”

“No. I don’t see any positives,” Hastings said. “Not being able to get together in person, particularly internationally, is a pure negative. I’ve been super impressed at people’s sacrifices.”

Netflix, like most big corporations, shut down offices when the pandemic hit worldwide in March. Most employees continue to work from their homes. When asked how quickly he would order staff back to the office if he could safely?

“Twelve hours after a vaccine is approved,” Hastings said.

Warner’s ‘Scoob!’ Again Atop U.K. Weekly Home Entertainment Chart

Warner Home Video’s Scoob! held its place atop the weekly (through Sept. 30) Official Film Chart in the United Kingdom for a second week. The title led based on digital download sales, finishing ahead of its closest competition by 2,900 transactions.

Disney’s Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was the week’s highest new entry, as the 2002 movie made its Official Film Chart debut thanks a limited edition 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc Steelbook release. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Trolls World Tour dropped one spot to third, as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Bad Boys for Life jumped three spots to fourth. Spider-Man: Far From Home (Sony Pictures) climbed one spot to fifth.

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The week’s second new entry in the sixth spot was Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 war-time epic, Full Metal Jacket, which also entered the chart for the first time due to a 4K re-release. Paramount Home Entertainment’s Sonic the Hedgehog (No. 7) and Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level (No. 8) both climbed two spots to land just ahead of another classic film’s first stint in the top 10: Warner’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) in ninth following the streaming release of its prequel series, “Ratched.” The Chart said 89% of the Oscar-winning film’s sales came from digital downloads.

Finally, the 2019 adaptation of Little Women, starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson and Florence Pugh, dropped five spots to No. 10.

LW Pos Title Label
1 1 Scoob! Warner
NEW 2 Star Wars: Attack of the  Clones Walt Disney
2 3 Trolls World Tour DreamWorks Animation
7 4 Bad Boys for Life Sony Pictures
6 5 Spider-Man: Far From Home Sony Pictures
NEW 6 Full Metal Jacket Warner
9 7 Sonic The Hedgehog Paramount
10 8 Jumanji: The Next Level Sony Pictures
NEW 9 One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Warner
5 10 Little Women (2019) Sony Pictures

Warner’s ‘Scoob!’ Tops U.K. Weekly Home Entertainment Chart

Warner Bros.’ Scoob! nabbed the top spot on the weekly U.K. Official Film Chart through Sept. 23, knocking off perennial leader Trolls World Tour (Universal Pictures Home Entertainment).

Disney’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker held the third spot ahead of eOne’s Oscar winner 1917, with Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Little Women in fifth. The studio continues to score with Spider-Man: Far From Home (No. 6) and Bad Boys For Life (No. 7), ahead of Warner’s A Star Is Born in eighth.

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Paramount Home Entertainment’s Sonic the Hedgehog ended in ninth, while Sony Pictures’ Jumanji: The Next Level rounded out the Top 10.

The Official Film Chart Top 10 – 23rd September 2020

LW Pos Title Label

Report: U.K. Video Spend Up £100 Million Monthly During Pandemic, Driven by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+

As expected, home entertainment trends have significantly changed during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic as consumers spend more time in the home due to government mandates and personal safety concerns.

New data from Grabyo, an online British research firm, indicates consumer spending on home video increased by £100 million ($131 million) monthly, driven by subscription VOD services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+. That’s up 25% since before the pandemic hit, shuttering movie theaters, restaurants, live sports events and other public gatherings.

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With 82% of 2,000 respondents of an online survey saying they paid for video in March, 33% of respondents said they have purchased additional streaming services since March. Of the new subs, 69% added one additional streaming service, 24% added two, and 7% have subscribed to three or more additional SVOD services since lockdown began.

“The price points and flexibility of streaming services suit younger consumers, who have a greater desire to access video across multiple devices,” read the report. “This demand for availability of content on all devices is now more commonplace for older consumers too, as awareness increases of the convenience and flexibility of streaming.”

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While Netflix (76%) and Prime Video (56%) dominate SVOD among U.K. consumers, with each service up 7% and 27%, respectively, since January, 44% more U.K. consumers subscribed to Disney+ by June than were predicted in the data from Grabyo’s January survey. In January, 13% of video consumers said they planned to subscribe to Disney+ upon its U.K. launch in March. Today, 23% of U.K. video customers pay for the service.

Other SVOD services noted include Comcast’s Sky Go (17%), Now TV (15%) and BritBox (3%), with Sky and BritBox use up 13% and 50%, respectively, since January. Now TV use declined 6%.

Among survey respondents, 55% use a smart TV to stream video; followed by smart phone (47%); laptop (44%); tablet (34%); 27% use a streaming media device (i.e. Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, etc.); 26% use a linear TV set-top box; 23% use a non-connected TV; 15% use a video game console or connected Blu-ray Disc player.

“In January 2020, 15% of paying video customers planned to pay for both TV and streaming,” read the report. “Today, this has increased to 24% of customers. These new findings indicate that pay-TV will retain a 40% market share in the next five years, which has increased from a forecast of just 26% in Grabyo’s January survey.”

Reports: Average Brit Streamed Three TV Series During Virus Lockdown; Prefers AVOD over SVOD

During the coronavirus pandemic shutdown in the United Kingdom — the world’s No. 2 home entertainment market — the average consumer binge-viewed three episodic series. U.K. consumers also opted for ad-supported VOD over subscription streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and BritBox, according to new data from U.K. online entertainment retailer MusicMagpie.

Citing an internal survey, the retailer found that among 16- to 24-year olds, respondents watched four episodes at a time on average, and considered five episodes binging. That quantity dropped off considerably among the 55-and-older demo, which viewed just one episode and consider three back-to-back episodes as binging.

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Younger respondents (25 to 34 year olds) on average stream less than two hours watching daily, while 55-and-older stream about 30 minutes. The average respondent has watched three series since lockdown began; more than half of the U.K. (51%) have increased the amount of TV/films they stream; 52% revisited a favorite series.

The most popular series was “Sherlock” with 55% of respondents having seen it.

Rank Series % respondents streamed it
1 Sherlock 55%
2 Peaky Blinders 53%
3 Game of Thrones 51%
4 Line of Duty 51%
5 Killing Eve 48%
6 Breaking Bad 48%
7 The Walking Dead 47%
8 Stranger Things 44%
9 Chernobyl 42%
10 Homeland 40%
11 The Crown 39%
12 Suits 37%
13 Black Mirror 36%
14 Westworld 35%
15 Fleabag 35%
16 The Wire 33%
17 Ozark 28%
18 Top Boy 26%
19 Power 26%
20 Mind Hunter 25%

A separate report from SpotX, citing Statista research, found 64% of British viewers are more likely to choose an ad-supported streaming service over a paid subscription. This data underscores why ViacomCBS and Fox Corp. collectively spent nearly $800 million acquiring AVOD platforms Pluto TV and Tubi, respectively, for global expansion.

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Indeed, 69% of connected TV viewers say they watch ad-supported content and more than half (58%) say that they prefer to watch free ad-supported programming versus paying for an ad-free content.

“With 50% reach in CTV viewership representing 61.5 million households across Europe’s biggest markets, advertisers are increasingly recognizing [AVOD] power to efficiently and accurately reach target audiences at scale,” Léon Siotis, president of EMEA at SpotX, said in a statement.

AMC Entertainment’s Odeon Cinemas Re-Opening July 4 in U.K. Featuring Home Entertainment Releases

Odeon Cinemas, the British exhibitor owned by AMC Entertainment, is set to resume operations to the public July 4 after the government gave the green light for theaters. The chain, along with AMC’s 11,000 screens worldwide, has been largely shuttered due the coronavirus pandemic.

The scheduled re-opening comes as some health care officials in the U.K. worry a second wave of COVID-19 poses a “real risk” to consumers. Officials, including presidents of the Royal College of Physicians and the chair of the British Medical Association, stress politicians, civic leaders and businesses should work together to ensure the country is well-prepared when the wave hits later this year.

Unlike AMC Theatres, which is re-opening 450 screens on July 15 with mandatory masks, Odeon has not announced whether masks will be required for moviegoers.

“We’re currently awaiting detailed government guidelines for the cinema industry,” Odeon said in a statement. “We will be re-opening in line with these guidelines.”

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The chain said it would offer pre-packaged concessions, drinks, contactless ticketing, staggered showtimes, social distancing inside theaters, except among family members, enhanced cleaning protocols and an abundance of sanitizing options available to consumers and staff.

Movies to be screened include mostly current home entertainment releases: 1917, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Sonic the Hedgehog, Onward, Little Women, Bad Boys for Life, Dirty Dancing and The Greatest Showman, among others.

Most of the titles rank among the top 10 selling DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital releases on the U.K.’s weekly Official Film Chart.