Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Amazon would like Alexa to use your mood to help pick a movie
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, February 2nd, 2023.
SOMETIMES BEING CRANKY IS A GOOD THING
I think it's fair to say that David Poland's "The Hot Button" is a very passionate newsletter. He has a lot of strong opinions about the entertainment business - especially the movie business. And while I might only agree with him about a third of the time, one thing I appreciate is that he backs up his passion and outrage with facts. Even when I'm not convinced he's correct, I never feel as if he's just cranking out some random hot take.
He wrote today about the Oscar nomination process. Specifically about the official guidelines that cover Oscar campaigns:
So… based on this… how is Deadline’s Contenders in any way legal?
It is non-screening event that provides full meals and is exclusively about promoting eligible films for awards consideration.
Contenders started as an allegedly not-for-profit event that served coffee and minimal food in the name of trying to convince The Academy that it was okay. There was never any intention to show movies. Essentially, it was, as it is, full day junket for Academy members, with 10 or more films being marketed each day.
Now, the minimum cost of entry, paid to Deadline, is $20,000 a film and the cost to the studios of doing the event is estimated by a few people to be around $50,000. Deadline has started operating this cash cow in events all year long, for television as well as film and internationally as well. The only question is whether this is a 6-figure profit center for Penske Media or a 7-figure profit center.
In addition, Penske engages in exclusionary behavior regarding other media, leveraging events like this, other multi-tiered marketing availabilities, and their near-monopoly on high-cost access to Academy membership, as The Academy averts its eyes.
You should go read the entire piece, because I think he has a very good point about Deadline's Contenders event. But also he highlights how difficult Penske's reach in the entertainment world is making it for smaller outlets. It's not just that Penske owns just about every major entertainment trade outlet: Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, TV Line, Indiewire and Gold Derby. They also own Rolling Stone, Billboard, Vibe, Sportico and events such as SXSW.
That reach not only gives them incredible leverage when it comes to negotiating with studios with advertising money and access. It also means that they can do events such as Deadline Contenders and no one is going to risk taking on the Borg of the entertainment press.
AMAZON TOUTS FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS
Amazon released it Q4 results today and if you want to know all the numbers, here is a link to the complete press release.
But I wanted to highlight the part of the release that discussed its video business, including Prime Video:
Attracted more than 100 million viewers worldwide to the first season of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, making it the most watched Amazon Original series in every region of the world, with more than 24 billion minutes streamed, and driving more Prime sign-ups worldwide during its launch window than any previous Prime Video content. Amazon Studios also announced the all-female slate of directors—Charlotte Brändström, Sanaa Hamri, and Louise Hooper—for Season Two of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which is currently in production in the UK.
Finished the Thursday Night Football (TNF) season with the youngest median age of any NFL broadcast package since 2013 and viewership up 11% from last season among hard-to-reach 18- to 34-year-olds, according to Nielsen Media Research. TNF featured the most streamed NFL games ever, with an average audience of 11.3 million viewers, according to combined data from Amazon’s first-party measurement metrics and Nielsen Media Research. Prime Video also made history as the first streamer to place on Variety’s Top 100 Primetime Telecasts of 2022, with four of its TNF telecasts making the list.
Premiered several Original series and films, including Western drama The English, with Emily Blunt;family-friendly competition show Dr. Seuss Baking Challenge; My Policeman,starring Harry Styles;and documentary Good Night Oppy. Prime Video also released new seasons of existing series, including the fourth volume of Rihanna’s annual fashion experience Savage X Fenty and the third season of Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, starring John Krasinski. Wednesday, an MGM-produced series on Netflix, debuted at No. 1 on Nielsen’s weekly streaming charts and earned Golden Globe nominations for Best Musical or Comedy Series and Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy Series (Jenna Ortega).
It's interesting that Amazon didn't mention its AVOD Freevee. And the only mention of content from its MGM acquisition is the original series Wednesday, which streams on Netflix.
SPEAKING OF AMAZON
Amazon has apparently a patent for a system that would allow Alexa to detect the emotion in your voice and use that to help make content consumption decisions for you:
Essentially, Amazon wants to improve Alexa to the point where it can read the emotions in your voice, on top of what you’re saying. According to the application, the system is trained using “acoustic information and lexical information to determine a sentiment corresponding to an utterance.”
Amazon points out a few interesting use cases. In one example, a user wants to add an emoji to a text: If you sound happy, frustrated or sad and say “Alexa, add an emoji,” it will choose one based on that emotion. In another, a user says “Alexa, recommend a movie,” and the system makes recommendations based on how they sound.
I look forward to having Alexa tell me, "I'm sorry Rick, you're already too sad to watch Brian's Song on Tubi."
ONE WAY THE BROADCAST NETWORKS ARE PREPARING FOR A POSSIBLE WRITER'S STRIKE
The Hollywood Reporter's piece on Night Court's renewal had this interesting tidbit in it:
Night Court is also set to remain in production after wrapping its first season, sources say, as a hedge against potential union strikes in the spring and summer (fellow early NBC renewals Quantum Leap and La Brea are taking the same approach). With the Writers Guild’s contract with TV producers up in May and SAG-AFTRA and Directors Guild agreements expiring at the end of June, any work stoppages would likely delay the arrival of network scripted series past the usual September launch period. Continuing production will allow broadcasters to have at least a sprinkling of scripted programming available should a strike by one or more of the unions happen.
While nothing is guaranteed, I think it's fair to say that most people are expecting there to be a work stoppage. And if there is, it's likely to be a long one. While the streamers can work around somewhat due to more international productions and longer production timelines, the broadcast networks are especially vulnerable to any long-term delay in production.
ODDS AND SODS
* Kelsea Ballerini is set to headline the third installment of the CMT music series CMT Storytellers, premiering Thursday, February 16th.
* NBC has renewed Night Court for a second season.
* This story about Seth Rogan is only slightly less of a PR play than those emails I get along the lines of "your friends at cannibusconnection.com have a rundown of the top ten baby names on TV."
* Kingdom Business, the gospel drama starring Yolanda Adams, has been picked up for a second season by BET+
TWEET OF THE DAY
WHAT'S NEW FOR THURSDAY:
Blackport Series Premiere (Topic)
Flordelis: A Family Crime (HBO Max)
Freeridge Series Premiere (Netflix)
Mafia Land (Vice)
Make My Day Series Premiere (Netflix)
Super Villains, The Investigation (HBO Max)
The Reading (BET+)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU FRIDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.