Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Tuesday, June 28th, 2022
Hollywood can't sit out the upcoming culture wars.
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, June 28th, 2022.
WHY DO PEOPLE CANCEL CERTAIN STREAMING SERVICES?
Whip Media released an extensive study on SVOD subscriber behavior, and there are a number of great datapoints.
Just as a reminder, the survey was taken from a pool of 2,460 U.S. users of Whip Media's TV Time app users from April 29th to May 4th, 2022. All results were weighted to balance with the U.S. general population by gender and age (18-54). Also, only participants who were subscribers to the specific platform at the time of the survey could respond to the question.
I broke out some of the data for a piece on AllYourScreens: HBO Max Leads Whip Media List Of 'Most Satisfying' SVOD Services. And I wanted to highlight some different data here, specifically some insight into why people cancel certain streaming services. One note: respondents could cite more than one reason for canceling:
Why Do People Cancel Netflix?
The number one reason respondents cited for canceling Netflix was the price increase (69%). On the upside (and breaking with industry conventional wisdom), only 22% cited seeing "all the programming I was interested in" as a reason. Cancelers of HBO Max and Disney+ cited that reason about twice as much.
Another indication that last year's decision by Netflix to raise its monthly subscription fee had an impact is this chart, which shows Netflix at the bottom of the list of major streamers in the category of "value satisfaction." And even worse for the streamer, 20% of Netflix users expressed dissatisfaction with the service, 8 points higher than the next closest platform (Apple TV+).
Why Do People Cancel HBO Max?
These results were fascinating, because they go against the industry conventional wisdom that HBO Max is the best value and has the best overall library of any of the major streaming services. Nearly half of the respondents cited "lack of value" and "have seen everything I want to watch" as the reasons why they canceled the service:
Who Do People Cancel Disney+?
Those two results were also the ones most given by people who had canceled Disney+ in 2020:
DISNEY'S 'NO' TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD
A few months ago, I wrote a piece arguing no one should confuse feel good moves by the various media companies as an indication they have any strong commitment to any specific cultural issue:
It's important to always remember that the big Hollywood media companies are not people. They don't hold any particular political stances, other than those which help the bottom line. Hollywood is much like every other industry in the United States. Faced with two choices, it will always choose the road less likely to cause bad publicity or impact the bottom line. Don't confuse feel-good PR campaigns or highly-promoted diversity initiatives with having an actual moral stance on gender, racial or LGTBQ issues. It's all about the money, no matter what any individual executive might believe personally.
But I also argued that even if entertainment industry executives don't want to get involved, they ultimately won't have a choice. Forces from inside the company will force them to make some minimal effort to publicly support diversity gender equity or other hot button cultural issues. And those minimal moves will bring increased pressure from employees demanding more substantial efforts, while critics will look to punish them for making even the slightest steps:
It's the "stay quiet or I'll shoot this dog" approach to politics. Conservatives in Florida were acting not out of real outrage or even practical political machinations - the bill was already law before Gov. DeSantis pushed the state legislature to revoke Disney's special tax district. And there certainly wasn't any factual reason to begin referring to Disney World employees as "groomers" or pedophiles. This is all about fear. It's about making the price of supporting diversity so high that corporations will be scared off from doing anything but the occasional Black History month campaign.
The problem with cowering to this mob is that recent American history has shown us that winning a battle isn't enough. Like hostage-takers everywhere, the cultural purists of the conservative movement see this as a literal do-or-die cultural war. And once you win one battle, you don't celebrate. You move on to your next target. Republican legislatures move to restrict abortions, then move on to birth control. And now there are Republican legislators arguing that frozen embryos should be considered people and should be "adopted" and brought to term, even if the donors disagree.
A current example of that quandary is illustrated in this piece today from The Ankler, which reports that some employees at Disney are questioning why Planned Parenthood didn't qualify for Disney’s matching gift program:
This is not the case for all media companies of Disney’s size and stature. Netflix’s corporate matching gift program includes Planned Parenthood on its list of approved charities and nonprofits and the streamer matches up to 200 percent of an eligible employee’s donation (The Ankler was unable to determine which, if any, of the other majors have Planned Parenthood as part of their respective corporate matching gift program). Planned Parenthood shares a spot on a list at Disney that also includes the National Rifle Association deemed ineligible for matching funds.
On Friday, in the wake of the high court’s ruling, Disney joined dozens of other companies pledging to cover employee travel costs for “family planning” for employees who can't access care where they live. That includes “pregnancy-related decisions”. Disney’s matching program does have some anti-abortion (or at the very least pro-life-adjacent) non-profits and charities. For example, employees can donate to (pro choice) Florida-based Sanford Crisis Pregnancy center.
The Ankler also highlights the substantial amount various large media companies have donated to pro-Life candidates, including at least $452,000 Disney donated in 2020 to pro-choice candidates or their PACs.
Now given all of that, you might expect that various anti-abortion groups and politicians would look friendly upon media companies like Disney, whose devotion to cultural liberal causes can best be described as "wishy-washy."
After nearly every large media company pledged to pay travel and medical expenses for employees who needed to travel outside their state for gender or pregnancy procedures, conservative state politicians have begun making plans of their own. Several southern legislatures are already proposing penalties aimed at punishing companies and their employees who take advantage of these services. This is just setting the stage for some state government to levy fines against Disney or Netflix or some other media company for assisting an employee to travel outside the state for medical services banned in their home state.
Now cynics point out that the vast majority of media industry employees are located in blue states such as California and New York and may never need this assistance. But these large companies have substantial numbers of employees located in states such as Florida, Texas and Georgia. And what will these media executives do when faced with the prospect of having to choose between following through through with their public vows of support for their pro-choice employees or backing away to save hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines?
Hollywood can't sit out the culture wars that are coming. It might not be fair, it might not be what's best for the business. But ultimately, there won't be a choice.
AND BECAUSE I'M OBSESSED WITH STREAMING UX ISSUES
I had to share this one last slide from the Whip Media study I wrote about above. I am not at all surprised that Amazon and Peacock are at the bottom of the list:
TWEET OF THE DAY
ODDS AND SODS
* The third season of the Max Original adult-animated comedy series Harley Quinn debuts with three episodes Thursday, July 28th on HBO Max, followed by one episode weekly through September 15th.
* NBC has ordered the "unscripted special event series" Surviving Earth, will premiere at a later date. It's described as a a series about life in prehistoric Earth, that will allow audiences to "witness how life finds a way to survive on a planet where meteors fall, super volcanoes erupt, seas boil and the land moves."
* HBO has given a series order to the drama True Detective: Night Country, from showrunner/writer/director/executive producer Issa López. Jodie Foster and Kali Reis will star, with Foster also executive producing. This next installment of True Detective will be filmed in Iceland.
*Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O’Connell will co-host the new CBS fall reality series The Real Love Boat, which premieres on October 5th.
WHAT'S NEW FOR TUESDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
Cristela Alonzo: Middle Classy (Netflix)
Only Murders In The Building Season Two Premiere (Hulu)
Secrets Of The Oligarch Wives (Paramount+)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU WEDNESDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.