Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by iced tea and lasagna.
Today's newsletter is running a bit late. I was sidetracked a bit after I discovered someone had gotten access to my Panera account and was ordering food to be delivered all over Chicago.
A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE SMALL STREAMER TOPIC
I recently had the chance to speak with Ryan Chanatry, General Manager of the streaming service Topic. He provided a really enlightening look at what it's like to run a smaller streamer in such a competitive environment:
You mentioned that larger streamers such as Netflix are heavily invested in international programming. And that strikes me as being another challenge for Topic, because they have deep pockets and a lot of resources. Do you find yourself competing for shows with other platforms, and what is your argument about why a show should be on Topic instead of on a rival streamer?
I think our platform in general makes a pretty strong argument. We're emerging as a pretty powerful place to host these stories. There is so much great programming being made right now - particularly in Europe. The great thing about that growth is that most of those productions are cross-channel, cross-country productions. Which will often mean that there are no global rights available. So for HBO or Amazon, the fact that they can't acquire global rights doesn't entirely knock the show out of consideration. But it makes it much less likely for them.
And we really find that to be our sweet spot. It's the four or five country co-production that doesn't rely on the U.S. or Canada to get made. And now we can make a pretty strong case that the best home for this show in the U.S. and Canada will be on Topic.
I really enjoy discussions like this one and I wish more small streamers were willing to make executives available for interviews about the details of their business. No one can make the case for their streamer better than the people running it, but that is a surprisingly challenging conversation for some executives.
IS 'MANIFEST' THE GOAT OF STREAMING?
I am finally getting caught up with all of the stuff I missed while I was on vacation and I wanted to make sure I highlighted this piece from the Entertainment Strategy Guy. He takes a look at the success of Manifest on NBC and puts its performance in context against some other very popular shows that have streamed on Netflix:
For all the (again deserved) applause for Manifest, this chart shows that, in the US, Ozark season 3 remains Netflix’s best season performance on record. (Again, records go back to March of 2020.) Since they have similar number of episodes, (30 and 29) this a good comp. In other words, if Manifest is Suni Lee (all-around gold medal winner, congrats!), then Ozark is Simone Biles.
Like I said, some nuance. Going further, it’s also tough to compare different series on Netflix given the different release times. Other Netflix series had, simply put, tougher competition. Like The Crown S4, which started even stronger, but then dropped off as Netflix released multiple top series and films, like Bridgerton and Cobra Kai. Further, this is Manifest’s first time on the platform; if you add up Lucifer or Cobra Kai’s multiple seasons together, they would be higher than Manifest’s 29 episodes dropping at once.
Then again, look at how steady Manifest’s decay has been. This is a series that folks seem to not just be starting, but finishing. It’s a remarkable hold on the viewership. Here’s the weekly Top Ten list in the US, and you can see how steady it is.
He has plenty of charts to provide context to the performance of Manifest. The bottom line is that the show might not be the most successful TV series on Netflix, but it's one of the most-watched. The challenge for any examination of Manifest is that while the first two seasons are on Netflix, season three is currently spread across Hulu, Peacock and the NBC TV Everywhere app. It's not clear how well the show is doing on those platforms, since they only have season three available. That third season is headed to Netflix in some other territories at the end of August, but Netflix declines to say whether or not it those episodes will soon be available in the U.S.
A COUPLE OF THOUGHTS ABOUT DISCOVERY+
Discovery+, the subscription streaming video platform Discovery launched in January, topped 17 million paid subscribers through the second quarter ending June 30th, and 18 million through August 3rd, according to company on Tuesday. That number is complicated by the fact that it includes Eurosport Player and GolfTV, among others. Discovery+ has the rights to the local Olympic coverage in a number of European markets, which also skews the growth numbers. Still, it's a solid increase and I continue to be bullish on their future growth.
I know it's always dangerous to substitute real life experience for a wider look at any streaming service. But my wife and I are both longtime viewers of a number of the Discovery channels - we've been watching the Food Network since it was airing live shows during early primetime 20+ years ago. And we have entirely stopped watching live programming on any of those networks. We watch everything through Discovery+ and the upcharge to get the ad-free version is the best $2 a month I've ever spent. Nearly everything is available on Discovery+ the same day as its linear premiere. And if we have to wait a day, it's not a big deal since none of their programming is exactly time-sensitive. In a lot of ways, it's the streaming service we use the most. Or at the very least, equally with Netflix and Hulu Live TV.
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DATAPOINT OF THE DAY
ODDS AND SODS
* Three years after the series Start-Up ended, producers may bring it back after it became a hit on Netflix.
* HBO Max is no longer available to new subscribers through Prime Video Channels. First time since 2016 that it's not on Amazon, when it was HBO Now. Existing subscribers can still log-in to HBO Max App using Amazon credentials.
* Beginning today, HBO Max will provide free access to a number of their premiere episodes to potential subscribers via the HBO Max Now app. Non-subscribers will be able to watch the premiere episodes of Batwoman, Euphoria, Game of Thrones, Harley Quinn, Lovecraft Country, Love Life, Perry Mason, Raised By Wolves, The Flight Attendant, Titans, Veneno and Warrior.
1) Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings Of Miami (Netflix)
"Two childhood friends go from high school dropouts to the most powerful drug kingpins in Miami in this true story of a crime saga that spanned decades."
2) Car Masters: Rust To Riches Season Three Premiere (Netflix)
"As Gotham Garage's star rises, Mark broadens his business strategy beyond "upgrade and trade" as he courts clients with big ideas and deep pockets."
3) Control Z Season Two Premiere (Netflix)
"Someone intent on seeking vengeance for Luis starts targeting students and teachers at the high school as Sofía rushes to solve the latest mystery."
4) Cooking With Paris Series Premiere (Netflix)
"With an anyone-can-cook attitude, Paris Hilton adds her own flair to every dish. Fun is just one edible glitter bomb away on this unique cooking show."
5) My Feet Are Killing Me Season Premiere (TLC)
"The series follows these expert podiatrists and surgeons as they bring their warm bedside manners to the task of restoring their patients’ confidence and getting them back on their feet. Throughout the series, viewers will immerse themselves with both doctors – one west coast and one east coast – as they juggle all sorts of eye-popping cases, from wart clusters and funky fungus, to toe amputations and foot reconstructions."
6) Short Circuit (Disney+)
"If you could tell any story with the team of talented artists at Walt Disney Animation Studios, what would you create? Welcome to Short Circuit, an experimental, innovative program where anyone at the Studio can pitch an idea and get selected to create their own short film."