Tag Archives: Netflix

‘The Interview’ was a huge online success — but more for Google than for Sony

sony interview google

Sony has released the VOD numbers for The Interview — and they are impressive. The movie earned more than $15 million during its first four days on the internet, and was rented or purchased more than 2 million times. Yet despite this seemingly terrific news, the long-term Interview forecast is still bleak for Sony, as I explained at Quartz:

By making those day-and-date internet video deals, Sony has also lost out on the additional VOD revenue that would have come 90 days or so after the film’s theatrical release—which means that its chances of making back The Interview’s estimated $75 million budget are exceedingly slim. The film’s online success might be a qualified moral victory for Sony, but it definitely won’t be a financial one—and that’s even before calculating the significant financial fallout from the hacking scandal, which could be as much as $100 million.

I also detail the other big Interview winners and losers from the past week, including Google, Apple and Netflix.

‘The Interview’ was a huge online success — but more for Google than for Sony

Hey Netflix: Be a Hero and Buy ‘The Interview’ from Sony

netflix the interview

Well, that escalated quickly. In light of Sony’s announcement yesterday that it had officially canceled The Interview’s Christmas Day release, and “has no further release plans for the film,” I made a bold suggestion at Quartz: Netflix should save the day, and strike a blow against the hackers who have humiliated Hollywood. As I wrote,

Netflix, which doesn’t have a presence in Asia, is more protected from political fallout than the other multinational companies involved in this controversy. And the film’s marketing budget could be nonexistent. Instead, all of those celebs who decried Sony’s decision yesterday would suddenly become Netflix’s biggest cheerleaders, and the company would find itself with an army of enthusiastic—and free!—celebrity spokesmen, not to mention the invaluable free media coverage.

The company has long made a habit of rescuing discarded TV shows, including Arrested Development, The Killing, and Longmire, the canceled Western crime drama it picked up just last month from A&E. But now it could take things to the next level, and rescue a huge holiday movie.

Time and again, Netflix has proven itself to be fearless and hasn’t hesitated to make big deals that have upended the entertainment industry. Now it’s time for the company to step up to the plate again.

Hey Netflix: Be a hero and buy ‘The Interview’ from Sony

What Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Showtime and the Rest of TV Need to Resolve to Do in 2015

2015 resolutions

It seems like just yesterday that I had written five 2014 resolutions for the TV industry. But it’s already time to look ahead to 2015, which I did today for Quartz. (First, however, I took stock of how my 2014 resolutions turned out — not too shabby!)

This year, instead of making resolutions for the entire industry to follow, I created specific ones for the industry’s major players. For example, for Hulu:

Hulu: Don’t get left in the dust by Netflix and Amazon

In 2014, Hulu made some big moves to try and stay in the race with Netflix and Amazon, including an $80 million-plus deal acquiring the rights to all seasons of South Park and ordering three new series produced by the likes of J.J. Abrams, Jason Reitman and Amy Poehler. But those new shows, and South Park, need to deliver, and make Hulu a worthy streaming competitior. Oh, and Hulu, you know how you’ve been considering cutting back the number of ads running on Hulu Plus? Do that. Immediately.

I hope my 2015 resolutions fare as well as the 2014 ones did!

 What Netflix, HBO, Amazon, Showtime and the rest of TV need to resolve to do in 2015

The Future of TV is Here: Netflix and Amazon Will Face Off for a Golden Globe

The marquee of United Artists theater is seen during Amazon's premiere screening of "Transparent" at the Ace Hotel in downtown Los Angeles

It was a very good morning for Amazon, which received 2 Golden Globe nominations for Transparent, its first great series. As I wrote at Quartz, it’s the first major award nominations ever for Amazon, and something that the company — and Amazon Studios director Roy Price — have been pursuing for a long while:

It represents an important step forward for the upstart content provider, in its quest to join the ranks of television’s most respected outlets.

While insisting that he wasn’t solely competing with Netflix, Amazon Studios director Roy Price told me last summer that receiving recognition from a major awards body (as Netflix had been doing since last year’s Emmys) was very important to the company. “It could be great for us, and it gives the part of the audience that hasn’t tried the shows yet an idea that people are responding well to these shows,” Price said. “So, we’d love to see some love from the Emmys or the [Golden] Globes.”

Even better, the streaming outlet will be facing off directly against Netflix, as both are nominated in the best musical/comedy series category, for Transparent and Orange is the New Black. In the story, I also explain why Transparent and/or Tambor have a very good chance to go home with a Golden Globe on Jan. 11.

The future of TV is here: Netflix and Amazon will face off for a Golden Globe

Nielsen: Audiences are Moving Away From Traditional TV


Nielsen has a lump of coal for the Christmas stockings of each network: it released new data today showing that consumers are continuing to move away from traditional TV viewing in favor of increased time-shifting, streaming video and sites like Netflix.

In its latest quarterly Total Audience Report, which examines viewing statistics among US audiences in the third quarter, Nielsen revealed that the average adult now spends 141:19 (all times in hours: minutes) per month watching traditional TV, down 5:42 from Q3 last year (147:01). Meanwhile, the time spent watching time-shifted TV has increased to 14:20, from 13:12 last year.

“While we are not seeing a departure from media content consumption, we do see a shift in consumer behavior and today we see a resounding growth in consumption on digital platforms,” wrote Dounia Turrill, Nielsen’s senior vice president of insights.

But the biggest growth in the past year was Internet video viewing, a category which includes Netflix and YouTube. That jumped just over four minutes per month, to 10:42 (from 6:41 in Q3 2013). Video consumption via smartphone was on the rise as well, increasing 21 minutes per month to 1:46 (from last year’s 1:25).

Nielsen also broke down how the average adult spends their day (all times in hours: minutes).

Total_Audience-Report Q3 2014

In total, adults now spend 10:50 per day engaging with some kind of media, up from 10:28 in Q3 2013 and 10:20 in Q3 2012. In other words, if you make the content, we will make the time to consume it.

Combined with this summer’s revelations about how we watch TV now and how we watch TV on the internet, these Nielsen statistics are the latest evidence of how rapidly our viewing habits have shifted.

“The growing penetration of new devices and the popularity of subscription- based streaming services, time-shifted and over-the-top viewing — as well as cord-cutting and cord shaving — are fundamentally changing the TV industry,” wrote Turrill.

So much, in fact, that Nielsen can’t keep up. “Media companies, digital players and measurement are at a crossroad,” wrote Turrill. “Content remains king and consumers are steering their own content discovery experience.”

Forget beating HBO: Netflix just revealed it has much bigger goals in mind


I was very surprised by the announcement late Friday night that Netflix had acquired NBC’s midseason comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, one of the NBC shows I was most looking forward to this season. Two days earlier, it had picked up the high-rated but old-skewing Longmire, which A&E had canceled after three seasons. In my Quartz analysis, I noted,

Gone are the days where Netflix tried to make a splash with programming you couldn’t find anywhere else on TV, most notably Orange is the New Black. While cable networks like USA and AMC are trying to save themselves by retrenching and focusing on what they do best, Netflix is taking the opposite approach: it wants to be everything to everyone.

For years, Netflix had said its goal was “to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” But now, it has even loftier ambitions: it wants to be all things to all people.

Forget beating HBO: Netflix just revealed it has much bigger goals in mind

How Bill Cosby Went From TV’s ‘Most Persuasive’ Pitchman to Its Most Radioactive


Once of the biggest head-scratchers during my many, many years at People was the shockingly muted reaction to what I thought was an incendiary investigative piece we published in 2006, speaking with five women who had accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. It was one of the rare times that we were going after a beloved celebrity, but after the story was published, everyone just seemed to shrug and move on, if they even noticed it at all.

So you could say that it took almost a decade for Cosby’s career to fall apart overnight. At Adweek, I look at how Cosby went from TV’s “most persuasive” pitchman, as he was known in his Cosby Show ’80s heyday, to its most radioactive one in the past week. As I wrote,

Putting the horrific allegations aside …. Cosby is in this predicament largely because he and his team demonstrated a surprising lack of media savvy for a performer who for decades has had audiences—and advertisers—in the palm of his hand.

Writing this story also gave me a chance to publicly credit the great Kate Aurthur from Buzzfeed, for almost single-handedly keeping this story afloat this year. Even if it took eight years after that People story, I’ve glad this is finally coming to light, and I’m shocked at how ill-prepared Cosby and his team have been to finally face the music.

How Bill Cosby Went From TV’s ‘Most Persuasive’ Pitchman to Its Most Radioactive

Sorry, Netflix: Serial Proves That the Best Shows Shouldn’t Be Binged On


Like everyone I know, and more than 1.4 million others around the world, I’m hopefully addicted to the podcast Serial, fall’s most riveting show. (Episode 9 is less than 24 hours away!) As I wrote at Quartz,

It’s also captured our imagination in a way no TV show has done this fall, and has the kind of deafening buzz and rabid fan base that any series would kill for. The unlikely global phenomenon is also the strongest proof in years that taut, weekly storytelling trumps the increasingly-popular binge-watching method that Netflix helped pioneer.

While my own tweets occasionally flourish and become stories, in this case I was inspired by a tweet from someone else, Veep actor Timothy Simons:

That crystallized something I’d been thinking about myself, and gave me the perfect opportunity to finally write the anti-binging story (at least when it comes watching TV’s best shows) that I’ve been mulling for months.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to counting down the minutes until Episode 9 of Serial drops!

Sorry, Netflix: Serial Proves That the Best Shows Shouldn’t Be Binged On

‘Squawk Alley’: Why Sunday is TV’s Hottest Night

While I’ve been on Squawk Alley several times, they’ve always been remote appearances from CNBC’s Englewood Cliffs, N.J. office. This morning, I finally made my way to the New York Stock Exchange for my first in-studio appearance, where I talked about my recent Quartz story about why the best shows air on Sundays.

Here’s a clip from my segment:

Thankfully, they didn’t include the portion where my earpiece shorted out, just as I was being asked a question by someone remotely. Oh, the fun of live TV!

‘Squawk Alley’: Why Sunday is TV’s Hottest Night

Netflix is Making an Original Movie—But It Won’t Come Cheap

netflix crouching tiger

After upending the TV industry with shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix is turning to movies. It is teaming up with The Weinstein Company for its first original movie, a sequel to 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which will premiere on Netflix (and in Imax theaters) next August. As I wrote at Quartz,

In other words, Netflix believes it can “save” the movie business by upending the traditional approach in which films are released exclusively to theaters first and not made available for home viewing until several months later. “What I am hoping is that it will be a proof point that the sky doesn’t fall,” Sarandos told the New York Times. “These are two different experiences, like going to a football game and watching a football game on TV.”

However, as I explain, saving the movie business will be an expensive proposition for Netflix. Still, Harvey Weinstein is betting that if anyone can pull it off, it’s Netflix.

Netflix is making an original movie—but it won’t come cheap