Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Thursday, January 20th, 2022
A quick take on Netflix earnings
Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, January 20th, 2022. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is dying to talk about a new Netflix zombies in high school series from South Korea that is still under embargo.
NETFLIX EARNINGS QUICK TAKE
I held today's newsletter in order to wait for the Netflix earnings call and here is a quick rundown:
Netflix ended 2021 with about 222 million subscribers, and added 8.28 million new subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2021. Analysts had expected the company to add 8.19 million global paid net subscribers, according to StreetAccount estimates.
The U.S. and Canada added 1.19 million subscribers, but its biggest region for Q4 was EMEA with 3.54 million new subscribers.
Netflix added 4.4 million subscribers in the third quarter.
For the full year 2021, Netflix added a total of 18 million subscribers, compared to the nearly 37 million it picked up in 2020. More than 90% of the net additions in 2021 came from outside the U.S./Canada region.
Q1 has historically been the weakest quarter for Netflix and the company is expecting to add just 2.5 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2022. Wall Street analysts had been projecting a gain of 7.25 million subscribers for Q1.
The company attributed the subscriber slowdown to increased competition from Disney+, WarnerMedia and Apple, although it doesn't expect the competition to materially impact growth moving forward:
"Consumers have always had many choices when it comes to their entertainment time - competition that has only intensified over the last 24 months as entertainment companies all around the world develop their own streaming offering," Netflix said in a statement. "While this added competition may be affecting our marginal growth some, we continue to grow in every country and region in which these new streaming alternatives have launched."
A lot of attention will be paid to the subscriber numbers, but it's worth noting that revenue for the quarter was a robust $7.71 billion. The expected earning per share (EPS) was 82 cents and the company blew past that number, garnering an EPS of $1.33 for Q4. It's worth noting that the company has been rolling out price increases territory-by-territory, and recently announced an increase in the U.S. and Canada.
PEACOCK ADDS LOCAL NEWS CHANNELS FROM BIG NBC O&OS
Peacock has just added news feeds from several of the NBC owned-and-operated big city affiliates:
Peacock is launching 24/7 local news channels representing NBC’s owned stations. WMAQ Chicago, WCAU Philadelphia, WBTS Boston and NECN, and WTVJ Miami news channels are available January 20 on Peacock.
WNBC New York and KNBC Los Angeles will be on Peacock in the months ahead.
The free new channels are called NBC Chicago News, NBC Philadelphia News, NBC Boston News and NBC South Florida News. They offer Peacock subscribers round-the-clock access to comprehensive local news coverage–both simulcasts of the linear stations and news that has aired. The channels are not geo-targeted, meaning users anywhere and everywhere can access a certain station’s content on Peacock.
CBS already offers this option as part of its CBSN service and Fox offers a number of local news feeds on Tubi.
GLOBAL STREAMING SERVICES LOOK VERY DIFFERENT OUTSIDE NORTH AMERICA
One of my big pet peeves about industry coverage of the streaming sector is reporters tend to view the North American version of the service as the primary focus for any media company. In fact, the U.S. version is often very different than what consumers will find in the rest of the world. Joe Adalian's new Buffering newsletter focuses on Showtime and it includes this very helpful reminder of the differences between "our" Showtime and the various global iterations:
Levine’s mention of Showtime’s international value was not accidental. While Showtime and P+ are totally separate services in the U.S., content from the two platforms is combined into one service in much of the rest of the world. In the U.K., Germany, Italy, and Ireland, for example, Showtime series live on P+. And in some smaller international markets, P+ programming can be found on SkyShowtime, a recently launched streamer that’s the result of a partnership with Comcast-owned Sky. SkyShowtime blends shows from P+, Showtime, and Comcast’s own Peacock. So while it may seem as if Showtime is getting short shrift in the States, the brand is integral to the ViacomCBS streaming strategy around the world. “The Paramount+/Showtime international profile is becoming a higher and higher priority,” Levine said. “Our shows, which have always had great international appeal, are now becoming strong assets for our own networks internationally.”
All of the major streaming services look different from territory to territory, although in some cases such as Netflix, it's just a difference in the available content. But for instance, Discovery+ includes live sports coverage (including the Olympics) in the U.K. and Europe and WarnerMedia has a dizzying combination of looks and content depending on the location. And of course, Hulu is only available in the U.S. and Canada, so Disney+ looks very different in the rest of the world. Especially in India, where cricket coverage is a big subscriber driver.
I tend to get a lot of feedback about this newsletter and while I try and answer as much of it as possible, it also occurs to me that it might be useful to answer some of it here. For now, this is a bit of a work in progress as I figure out the best format and length. Let me know what you think.
Yesterday's email prompted a lot of emails about PBS, with several people pointing out that much of the recent PBS programming is available on demand for free via the PBS app. I haven't been able to get any clarity about the situation from the folks at PBS, but it appears that what you can see for free is dependent on the policy of your local PBS station. Which is another issue altogether. Regardless of that, the fact a live PBS channel is not widely available on vMVPD platforms is a big issue.
And when it comes to YouTube wrapping up much of its original programming efforts, Scott had this point:
I have a much different reading of Why YouTube Originals failed, which is:
Paid subscription is not in YouTube’s user DNA, and YouTube put its originals in a brand new paid service that cost more than almost every other streamer on the market.
‘Cobra Kai’ Ep. 1, which is free, has had 132M views.
This is a great point and one that I should have mentioned. Although I think this is related to the issue of how people use YouTube. They don't see YouTube as an option for subscription-based content and its not the way most people use the service. It's also worth noting that Cobra Kai is definitely the outlier for YouTube Originals. Looking around at some of the titles released as originals, most of them barely have 20% of that number of views.
I suppose the big takeaway is that for a variety of reasons, YouTube Originals was a doomed effort.
Cynthia asked me a question that has really prompted a lot of thinking on my part today:
You offer a lot of advice, but if you had the opportunity to consult with one streaming service on their programming, which one would you choose?
This is a tough one, but I would probably pick Paramount+ (with Peacock a close second). There are so many challenges right now at Paramount+, from UX issues to Viacom/CBS's decision to devote as many resources to becoming a content arms dealer as they do on original streaming content for their own service. But there are a lot of parts in that puzzle that have promise. From what I can tell at this distance, one of the biggest issues at Paramount+ is the conflicting priorities coming from different executives. But to be honest, that's also a problem that plagues Peacock as well.
Cynthia's question deserves a longer take and that will be coming soon.
ODDS AND SODS
* Longtime soap fan Linda Martindale wonders "Do Daytime Dramas Still Matter?"
* Robert Irvine and Jon Taffer are competing against each other in the new Discovery+ series Restaurant Rivals: Irvine Vs. Taffer. It premieres March 3rd and is apparently for those viewers who don't find Buddy Vs. Duff quite annoying enough.
* NBC Sports announcers will work from U.S. during Beijing Winter Olympics.
WHAT'S NEW FOR THURSDAY
Here's a quick rundown of all the new stuff premiering today on TV and streaming:
Astral Journey (aka Jornada Astral) (HBO Max)
Close To Me Season Finale (Sundance Now)
Full Frontal With Samantha Bee Season Premiere (TBS)
La Fortuna Series Premiere (AMC+)
Looney Tunes Cartoons Season Premiere (HBO Max)
Men Of West Hollywood Series Premiere (Crackle)
Midnight Asia: Eat - Dance - Dream Series Premiere (Netflix)
Moses Storm: Trash White (HBO Max)
On The Job (HBO Max)
Selling The Hamptons Series Premiere (Discovery+)
Single Drunk Female Series Premiere (Freeform)
Supernatural Academy Series Premiere (Peacock) - [first look video]
The Envoys Series Premiere (Paramount+)
The Marfa Tapes (Paramount+)
The Royal Treatment (Netflix)
True Story With Ed & Randall Series Premiere (Peacock)
Unraveled: Mystery At The Mansion (Discovery+)
Warped! Series Premiere (Nickelodeon)
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.