Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Monday, January 31st, 2022
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Monday, January 31st, 2022.
ADVENTURES IN OBVIOUS DATA
Variety's VIP+ has a piece on Netflix content arguing that the majority of that service's original content is much less popular a month after its release. It's based on data from TV Time app users and TV analytics provider TVision. Although as the article notes, the data has some gaps:
The discrepancy between Whip Media and TVision’s data on “Squid Game” viewership in the two months following debut may be explained simply by such: TVision’s data is U.S. only, while the TV Time data is global. The TV Time numbers may be reflecting many non-U.S. consumers watching the Korean-language “Squid Game” in the days following its debut, while TVision’s numbers could reflect how many in the U.S. didn’t catch "Squid Game” fever until month two of its release.
A caveat to the TVision data is that the analytics firm did not capture viewing of six of the titles in the graphic above (titles with an asterisk) until a few days after they debuted. This likely is in part due to the panel size of TVision, but it still doesn’t seem to disqualify the assertion that top Netflix hits lose steam significantly after the first month of debut.
The piece is interesting enough, although my sense is that most people would suspect this is the case anyway? And I would have liked to see some context for the data: i.e., how this performance compare to original content on other streaming services? And even more importantly, does releasing an episode a week of an original show really increase the medium-term viewership of the average show. The data in piece is interesting enough, but it's difficult to get any sense of the overall importance without a lot more data points.
KEEPING STREAMING SUBSCRIBERS IS HARD
The Wall Street Journal has a rundown of new data from subscriber-measurement company Antenna, which shows that while new high-profile content does drive new subscriber sign-ups, keeping those new subscribers can be difficult:
U.S. viewers who signed up for Netflix when “Big Mouth” and “Mank” came out and for Hulu ahead of the fourth season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” have left at a slower pace than the ones who signed up for HBO Max, Apple TV+ and Disney+ right after the releases of “Wonder Woman 1984,” “Greyhound” and “Hamilton,” respectively, according to Antenna data. Unlike the other titles mentioned, the fourth season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” couldn’t be binged in one sitting: Its 10 episodes were released over the span of months. Apple and HBO Max also have episodic shows that are more likely to retain subscribers for longer, including HBO’s “Succession” and Apple’s “Ted Lasso.”
On a side note, is Michael Nathanson the only person capable of giving a quote about streaming service data? Good for him, but it's hard to find an article which doesn't feature a quote or two of his. Which is an issue, since I think it's fair to say that he has a very specific idea of the industry's future and I'd love to hear some other points of view in the industry reporting.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
A bunch of new stuff has been posted on AllYourScreens.com in the past couple of days. Here are some highlights:
* An interview with Viaplay EVP and Chief Content Office Filippa Wallestam. Viaplay is a leading streaming service in the Nordics and they are rolling out a slimmed-down version of the service here in the U.S.:
It seems like the biggest challenge for Viaplay in the U.S. is the same one that faces any streaming service - whether it's a new one launching in the U.S. or one coming into the U.S. market for the first time. It's difficult to get people to check out the service, sample the content, and hopefully, say "this is something I might be interested in paying for." What is your game plan for getting the service out in front of people and are there some shows that you think "if we can get this in front of people, I think this will convince them to subscribe to Viaplay?"
That's the question we're all working on and it's one I ask myself all of the time. And ahead of the launch, we did some surveys to see what kind of content people are most interested in seeing. And those are the titles that we will push upfront at launch. Of course, we are focusing quite a lot more on development on what we call Nordic shows with an international appeal or kind of international interest. That could be events, people, etc., that are Nordic, but well-known to the international world.
For instance, there is a movie we're doing about the Swedish artists that is coming later this year. It's completely done in English, and it's directed and created by Lhasa Hofstra and it's a movie that we have high hopes for. And it is completely in English. But it's a very Nordic show because the artist is Swedish. And that's the category that we would see as our tentpole moving forward with our international expansion. We also have Guru, a new documentary that will be available on Viaplay at launch. That is about the scandal that surrounded the Nobel Prize in Sweden and the sex scandal that made them not hand out the literature prize one year. That is very, very interesting. And I think that also is something that many Americans will have heard of and would be interested in the story.
* New in Dad Rock. Chasing that prized close-to-retiring demographic, it's a rundown of music for that Dad in your life (or for those of us with a Dad-aged soul)
* A review of the fabulous South Korean "zombies outbreak at a high school" series from Netflix called All Of Us Are Dead.
WHY NETFLIX CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE IN INDIA
In 2018, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told a global business summit in Delhi that the streaming giant's next 100 million subscribers would be "coming from India" because of expanding and cheap internet. Things haven't turned out that way and in the company's most recent investors call, Hastings admitted the company continued to struggle in India despite having devoted more than $400 million to produce more than 50 films - including more than 30 Hindi-language films - and shows:
Although shows like Indian Matchmaking, a reality dating series, and more recently, Decoupled, a satire on marriage, have created a buzz, the service appears to be largely associated with its global sensations such as Squid Game, Money Heist and Narcos. "Netflix is still perceived as an upmarket, expensive service. It is still seen as foreign," says Shubhra Gupta, a film critic and columnist for The Indian Express newspaper.
Rivals have been smarter. Disney+ has mainly thrived on its sports programming. In the world's biggest cricket market, the service owns big ticket digital broadcast rights, including for the marquee Indian Premier League (IPL).
Amazon Prime Video offers a staggeringly wide range of programming in 10 Indian languages. Its action-drama, Family Man, was the most-watched Hindi streaming show last year. A rural gangland drama, Mirzapur, has been a nationwide hit.
Prime also caters lavishly to a film-hungry audience: about 40% of all blockbuster films in Indian languages are owned by the service, according to Shailesh Kapoor, CEO of Ormax Media. Beginning this year, the service is live streaming cricket played in New Zealand. A membership comes bundled with shopping benefits on Amazon. Prime also allows its members to access eight other smaller streaming services - shows, films, reality TV, documentaries - on its cluttered home page, offering a single payment option for all.
To be fair, India is an extremely complex market and one that is incredibly price sensitive. But Netflix remains a distant third in India behind Disney+ and Amazon. The local industry consensus seems to be that Netflix needs to devote more resources to regional languages. And it has begin moving in that direction, most recently debuting the Malaysian-language superhero film Minnal Murali. But the company still has a long way to go:
It won't be easy. India has more than 75 streaming services already. There are few hits and many failures. Of the 225 shows launched in Indian languages - 170 of them in Hindi - on streaming services last year, only "15-20 were successful", says Mr Kapoor. "Everyone is producing quantity and experimenting. But remember, India is a complex market.
ODDS AND SODS
* In the category of "Nooooooooo!," the Business Insider (subscription required) is reporting that MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow told her staff on Monday that she is taking off a few weeks to work on podcasts and other projects. She was already set to step away from her primetime show later this spring.
* Netflix’s new "Categories" menu could make browsing by genre easier.
* Hulu has greenlit Up Here, an eight-episode romantic musical comedy series. Original songs for the series are by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.
* The Food Network has wrapped production on a new series with YouTube stars and prolific content creators Rhett & Link, who host the daily comedy variety show, Good Mythical Morning.
* The show is still under embargo, but had a chance to watch the first three episodes of Hulu's new series The Girl From Plainville. Inspired by the true story of Michelle Carter's unprecedented "texting-suicide" case, it stars Dakota Fanning and Chloë Sevigny and I all can say is that look forward to talking about when I can. Right now, the announced premiere date is "Spring 2022."
* Jennifer Garner, Tyrel Jackson Williams and Zoë Chao have been cast in series regular roles, and James Marsden has been added as a recurring guest star on the Starz reboot of Party Down.
* Season three of Ultimate Cowboy Showdown premieres THursday, April 21st on INSP.
WHAT'S NEW FOR MONDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
Adults Adopting Adults Series Premiere (A&E)
Big Cat Odyssey: Revealed (NatGeo WIld)
Celebrating Betty White: America's Golden Girl (NBC)
Help (Acorn TV)
Independent Lens: Missing In Brooks County (PBS)
Living With Big Cats: Revealed (NatGeo Wild)
Click Here to see the list of all of the upcoming premiere dates for the next few months.
SEE YOU TUESDAY!
If you have any feedback, send it along to Rick@AllYourScreens.com and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.