Netflix 2019 Fourth Quarter Review

The New York Times reports that Netflix recently acquired 420,000 new subscriptions to their streaming service in the last three months of 2019.  The company had hoped to gain around 600,000 new subscribers but fell short of their initial projections. Reed Hastings, Chief Executive Officer of the streaming juggernaut acknowledged that the recent launch of Disney Plus may be to blame for the slowed growth.  He cited the great lineup of content Disney is offering on their new service as a potential reason behind the missed projections. However, this is not to say that Netflix is in any way starting to slow down in its monumental domination of the streaming landscape; it just may have to share the limelight with Disney Plus to a certain degree.  Netflix still has a whopping sixty one million subscribers in the United States alone, making it by far the biggest streaming service available on the market. After the recent report of missed projections, Netflix’s stock still rose two percent. Ultimately, the company hopes to gain an additional thirty million subscriptions in the United States over the next few years.  

I found this article to be fascinating as it serves as a perfect example of Netflix’s staying power and ability to remain not only relevant; but the indisputable king of streaming services.  Even when the company misses their targeted projections, they still grow on the stock market which perfectly encapsulates investors faith in the company. It remains to be seen if Disney Plus and new streaming services such as NBC’s Peacock which launch in the coming months will take a chunk out of Netflix’s market share; however as of right now it is undeniable that Netflix remains top dog.  

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Being ‘Visible’ in the Media Has a Deeper Meaning for LGBTQ+ Individuals and Here’s Why:

Within the past decade, we have seen tremendous progress being made to accurately represent LGBTQ+ individuals in the media, but even with that progress, we still have a ways to go until representation is equal across the board.

It is evident that social media has played a huge role in the increased acceptance and representation of the LGBTQ+ community–with trans and nonbinary representation in media and fashion growing tremendously (as evidenced by the success of breakout hits such as “Drag Race” HBO’s “Euphoria,” and Netflix’s “Pose”). In saying that though, things have not always been this way. Even just 15 years ago, LGBTQ+ individuals were very much ‘invisible’ in terms of media representation–with only a few accounts of gay and lesbian characters being depicted (often times not even in accurate ways.)

However, to further shed light on this evolution of LGBTQ+ depictions on television, comedian Wanda Sykes and actor Wilson Cruz executively produced a 5-part docuseries called ‘Visible: Out on Television’ that will launch on February 14th on Apple TV Plus. Sykes and Cruz said that they created this series to act as a testament to how LGBTQ people and their allies harnessed TV to tell the community’s stories.

Best known for his roles as ‘Dennis’ in 13 Reasons Why and Dr. Hugh Culber in Star Trek: Discovery, Cruz said, “It’s through television that we got to tell the entire society and our own culture what our lives are really like. Because of that amount of authenticity, we were able to move the needle to acceptance.” With that being said, visibility in the media has a much deeper meaning for those who are apart of the LGBTQ+ community, and we as a society should push to make sure their representation (along with other marginalized groups) continues to be made apparent in the media.

 

Sources: https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/out-television-tracks-evolution-lgbtq-portrayals-n1119401

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/decade-lgbtq-pop-culture-visibility-stalled-political-progress-ncna1108786

Netflix’s New Marketing Strategy

Image result for scoops ahoy baskin robbins

One of the main benefits of Netflix is being able to watch your favorite shows uninterrupted by ads. While this is great for consumers, Netflix is clearly missing out on the potential revenue that other platforms can benefit from like Hulu. Despite 158 million global subscribers, Netflix is in a whopping 12 billion dollars in debt. Not only that, being able to compete in the digital market is becoming more and more difficult as new networks launch their own streaming platforms. Because of this, Netflix has looked to a different strategy to make more money.

As Netflix resists commercials, they are finding new ways to work with brands to promote their shows. Last month, Netflix worked with Subway, a sandwich fast food chain, to serve Green Eggs and Ham sub (spinach-dyed eggs, sliced ham, guacamole, cheese) to promote their new show Green Eggs and Ham based off the book by Dr. Seuss. Earlier in the summer, Netflix converted a Baskin’ Robins into a Scoops Ahoy to promote season 3 of Stranger Things. By integrating these shows into shops Netflix hopes to get more people to subscribe to the service. “We believe we will have a more valuable business in the long term,” Netflix said, “by staying out of competing for ad revenue and instead entirely focusing on competing for viewer satisfaction.”

According to reports Netflix has been actively beefing up their marketing department and becoming more flexible with the other brands they work with. Even though this seems like a great idea, I find this counterproductive to Netflix’s problem. While I think this is a genius marketing tool to get people excited about the shows, the bottom line is that Netflix is in debt by a lot of money, and until they know for sure t’s increasing subscriber counts, this almost seems like gimmicks. I feel as though product placement could be a lot more sustainable because the bottom line is Netflix needs money and marketing will only get you so far.

Article: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/16/business/media/netflix-commercials.html

What’s Coming to Netflix in December?

Every month, Netflix adds new content to their media streaming platform. Netflix has had a great year and is still considered to be the number one video streaming app; which may not last for long given that AppleTV and Disney+ released this year. The company recently released the list of tv shows and movies releasing on the platform for December.

One of the highlights that Netflix is releasing is The Witcher series. This show is based on a video game series named The Witcher as well. The show stars Henry Cavill and is set in a magical world with a variety of creatures. In the show, he’ll team up with a powerful sorceress and young princess to battle inter-dimensional monsters. Netflix will release all eight episodes on December 20th. Based on the first impressions of critics, it sounds very action-packed and entertaining!

Also coming to Netflix is Two Popes starring Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce. Lost in Space and You will return over Christmas break as well. If you are interested in viewing the full list that details the shows and movies coming to the platform you can look at the list here.

Netflix acquires Nickelodeon deal to compete with Disney+

As the war for streams starts to become more crowded, Netflix decides to change the game with a production deal, valued at 200$ Million dollars, with Nickelodeon. According to the New York Times, Netflix announced its partnership with Nickelodeon a day after the release of Disney+; a very strategic move to stir conversation and try to shift focus. Children’s media has always been a huge market for media companies, and now that Disney has their own streaming service, the ante is raised to a new level.

Disney owns the rights to the content that millions of children, young and old, grew up loving and watching. Many consider Disneyworld to be the place where dreams come true and often referred to in moments of celebration. How can a streaming service compete with that? Netflix responded with a network that is just as important in the lives of young children; Nickelodeon. Its genius because they can now produce shows with characters like Spongebob Squarepants, Danny Phantom, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jimmy Neutron and Timmy Turner, etc. which is huge for many people because these some of these shows still air today and there is still the sentimental aspect of these shows that lives within multiple generations. Since these shows aired in the late ’90s to early 2000s, the ages that can connect to these shows will vary between children, teens, and young adults. According to the article, Brian Robbins, Nickelodeon’s president said, “Nickelodeon’s next step forward is to keep expanding beyond linear platforms, and our broader content partnership with Netflix is a key path toward that goal”.

It’s interesting that Viacom, the company that owns Nickelodeon, decided not to create their own streaming service. They certainly have enough shows given that they also own MTV and BET. However, this is a good choice because it allows Nickelodeon to test the waters, so to speak and Netflix is already an established streaming service, which is less work for them as opposed to starting a new streaming platform in the midst of a bunch of other streaming services releasing. Netflix will continue to create and produce original animated feature films and television series based on Nickelodeon’s mass library of characters, with the opportunity to create new characters. I am excited to see the adventures that Spongebob and Timmy Turner will go on now that they have a new company writing their stories.

Account Sharing is Now Piracy

piracy

Article: https://www.inc.com/jason-aten/netflix-isnt-cool-with-password-sharing-anymore-why-piracy-is-about-to-be-next-battle-in-streaming-war.html

Image: https://reprog.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/well-that-about-wraps-it-up-for-copyright/

Netflix paved the way with their streaming platform and was synonymous with account and password sharing. Personally, I share an account with my sister and have been able to enjoy content that way. With the new development of Disney+, HBO Max, NBC, and Apple TV, Netflix is trying to cut down on password sharing. At first, Netflix tended to turn a blind eye at password sharing because their revenue came from views an they had more enough accounts to have a profitable income. Jason Aten at Inc.com talks about how Netflix will now consider account sharing as piracy. Aten says that Netflix has hit a saturation point of subscribers so they really need users to stop freeloading accounts in order for them to make a profit. At this point, Netflix is probably losing money from the number of people sharing single accounts. With Disney+ taking to the market soon, Netflix has to figure a way to make a profit from their platform. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment is the group behind this movement, they are made up of Warner Bros, Disney, Netflix, Sony and Paramount. Their plan to target the technology, not the users for “pirating”. Their goal is to create a solution that could track location of the device and device tracking itself. This is a huge concern of privacy, so it’s interesting to see where ACE will take this.
I found this article interesting because there are so many platforms to pay for now. People are cutting cable and now continuing to pay for services that add up to a monthly bill the size of a cable package. I’ve seen opinion pieces on how piracy will probably come back since it is becoming more and more difficult to stream things on a budget. This move could bring real privacy issues if major companies are able to track the location of devices we watch their content on. It’s a bit scary that ACE is advocating for Creativity and Entertainment is major studios actively making it hard for people to reach content. It is also scary that account sharing is considered piracy now because that can needlessly put people in prison for sharing their passwords. I know it’s frustrating when a company has such hard competition and needs to up the ante but eliminating the ability to share accounts seems like they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. Maybe DVDs and physical media will make a comeback from all the legal hoops streaming sites are making their customers jump through.

Netflix Allows Viewers To Skip Over Trump Jokes In Seth Meyer’s Comedy Special: “Lobby Baby”

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Image Source: Netflix

We all know one of the tools Netflix has implicated within some of its programs is the ability for consumers to skip the introduction credits. While this ability is something we have seen the streaming platform use for a while, what if it is taken a step further?

Seth Meyer’s new Netflix comedy special “Lobby Baby” which will debut on the platform tonight has a new feature built in it which has raised a significant amount of attention. For the first time ever, similar to the skip button used at the beginning of introduction credits, users will now have the ability to skip over certain parts of Meyer’s special when viewing it.

This ability to skip content in the special will only be available when Meyer’s turns to content that Netflix deemed as jokes directed towards President Donald Trump. Meyer’s in specific is known for his rather dark and non-hold back kind of humor especially in his routines towards Trump.

Even more interestingly enough, this idea and proposal for Netflix to integrate the skip button when Trump jokes are taking place in the special was requested by Seth Meyers himself. Many analysts were surprised by this move from the comedian as the platforms are usually the lead drivers of user interactivity and the ability to alter content’s playback speed instead of the talent/creator requesting it.

In an interview with CNN, Meyer’s remarked that it simply “occurred to him that it would be fun to use Netflix’s technology for a novel effect.” In fact, he believes this bold move will only contribute to the comedy behind the special because viewers will understand that the actual idea of allowing people who are sick of political humor to opt out is something to laugh at within itself. It is almost as if he is requesting Netflix to put in the skip button during Trump content to make fun of the individuals who may actually use.

Thus, as the special becomes available tonight for the first time, many predict this feature will not be used by many, as most of Meyer’s audience who enjoy his content also find humor in his aggressive political jokes towards the president.

Although in this instance it seems like this kind of ability to skip over content that may offend political beliefs is being used as part of the act, I believe this is far from the last time we will see this kind of action taken by Netflix and other popular streaming services. With streaming video becoming the most popular form of media consumption and only expected to continue in growth, so is the backfire that will come with some of this material being released. Many individuals and groups now more then ever are calling for the restriction of certain offensive material that may have to do with factors such as religion, politics, race, gender, etc.

The idea of the skip button for credits may be used much more in the future release of content especially comedy specials that target these kinds of sensitive topics in modern society. I feel as though this will introduce a very back and forth debate within the media world about content creators and delivery companies having the right to go after these sensitive topics while some may view it as a line that must be drawn.


Sources:

https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/342910/netflix-lets-viewers-skip-trump-jokes-in-comedy-sp.html

https://www.vulture.com/2019/11/seth-meyers-lobby-baby-netflix-comedy-review.html

Netflix at 2 times speed?

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Netflix is the golden standard for streaming content. The relationships they have with their audiences and the actors and talent that works for them, there has never really been a divide. Fast forwarding may be that issue. Netflix has confirmed that they are starting to test out a feature that lets you play content at faster or slower speeds. This feature that has already existed on DVD players for years and more recently sites like Youtube, seems to be drawing a dividing line among creators and audiences. 

Audiences have recently started using the fast forward feature for content like podcasts and videos online but not the streaming giant Netflix. Media creators like Aaron Paul and Judd Apatow have been very direct in opposing adding fast forward controls. Giving those controls to the audience would allow them to alter how we see the content and how the directors and creators wanted us to see the content. Creators take a lot time to put together their work and take great pride in showing their work or story their way. Taking this away by giving controls that let you change the pace cold see many content creators that are Netflix staples move their content elsewhere.

Even with content creators calling for Netflix to scrap this idea, Netflix has confirmed that they are moving forward with testing on mobile devices. This trial period could be more than just testing out new software but also testing out those relationships that could go somewhere else if this feature reaches the global Netflix platform.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/29/style/netflix-speed-playback-video.html

Your Privacy does not matter when you Stream

Recent deals involving Roku and other companies have expanded the surveillance infrastructure that operates in the background of streaming services.

Welcome to the 21st century, where soon there will be more than just Netflix or Hulu streaming content to us. Coming very soon many different corporations and media tech companies will be unveiling their “new” streaming service, Disney+, Apple TV Plus, and Peacock just to name a few. What is creating all these streaming services is not the desire to share their content with you on their platform, it’s to make money, and the main way these companies do that is through advertising and data collection but the methods used to get the ad to you is coming from a dangerous place. 

Data collection is becoming the new currency for these streaming giants. They are able to collect data based on what shows you are watching, what device you are using to watch, your location, and so many other factors that create a pretty clear internet footprint of who you are and what interests you. These streaming companies collect all this data and use it to target you with widely specific advertisements. With streaming service becoming more and more popular, advertising companies now have a real-time data stream on their users that has never existed before with traditional television but with all this information being tracked and all the money the data is worth sometimes our privacy takes a back-seat for these companies so they can make some extra money. 

Advertisers are starting to shift spending from traditional television to streaming services by the tune of 3.8 billion dollars and many companies are trying to get on the money. With this rise in advertising within the streaming industry, many users of the streaming services are at risk of having their data taken without their knowledge. In recent years, tech giants such as Vizio TV and Samba TV has been accused of gathering and selling your data without your knowledge just by using your TV but even just knowing that these companies are doing this is not enough because this is such new ground, there are no laws or regulations in this data collection industry. Trackers and other software that collect our data on these platforms happen without us knowing and behind our backs only to target with super specific ads and without and rules data collection is only going to become more corrupt.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/25/business/media/streaming-data-collection-privacy.html

Sony’s Vue Up for Sale

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Article: https://www.theverge.com/platform/amp/2019/10/25/20932088/sony-playstation-vue-sale-streaming-war-competiton-content-cost

Image: https://www.androidauthority.com/playstation-vue-tv-gains-chromecast-support-662993/

Along with AT&T, Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, Sony had their own platform to stream video content from. Sony used their PlayStation platform to create Vue, a service that cuts the chord with cable, but allows users to still watch live television and have a DVR service. The service was rather popular and has about 500,000 active users. Vue is a one-of-a-kind service that has differentiated itself from its competitors, but they have significantly less subscribers than the rest. According to Jon Porter of the Verge, a sports-focused streaming service called FuboTV is the only company that has seriously considered purchasing Vue from Sony. This summer Sony hiked the price of Vue by $5 a month and said they are still struggling to keep it profitable even with the price increase. Porter says that Vue doesn’t have a large library of its own, so besides its live television feature, it’s a bit hard to compete with others. Vue is one of the only internet television services available and they refused to allow YouTube TV, Sling TV, or Hulu’s live TV service on their platform. Porter also says that if Vue is sold, then users could see a change in the type of services Vue can offer.

I found this article interesting because it touches into the competition that AT&T and Disney+ have created, an extremely competitive market and consolidation is making the market even more hard to break into. I thought it was interesting in this article\\\ the author said that selling Vue is probably a good idea for Sony as the streaming business becomes more aggressive. Many people in media hypothesized that once Netflix paved the way for streaming, that everyone else would catch on and make streaming the new cable package. I found this interesting because in 2013, streaming wasn’t huge and there were only a handful of companies that advertised their services. With the growth of Netflix and Hulu, Disney is creating Disney+, Apple TV has created Apple TV+ and AT&T acquired HBO who plans to launch HBO Max in 2020. Along with NBCUniversal planning to launch their service, Peacock in upcoming months. Each service is also focusing on exclusive content to ensure they can hook their viewers. This is really interesting to watch because instead of paying Comcast or Verizon hundreds of dollars a month, users are “saving money” by having four or five streaming services that cost $12.99 to $20 a month.