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UPDATE: SEC Investigating DreamWorks Animation Writedown On ‘Turbo’; Shares Fall After Q2 Earnings Miss

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 1:18pm PDT

UPDATE: SEC Investigating DreamWorks Animation Writedown On ‘Turbo’; Shares Fall After Q2 Earnings MissUPDATE: DreamWorks Animation just disclosed the SEC investigation in its conference call with analysts and says it’s cooperating. The company took a $13.5M writedown on Turbo in February. DWA told analysts that it won’t comment further on the matter. Shares were down 8.9% after the news; if that holds tomorrow then it would be a 52-week low.

Separately, DWA said that it has bought from Paramount distribution rights to its feature films prior to 2013. They’ll now all be handled by Fox.

PREVIOUS, 1:18 PM: The stock is down 7.3% in post market trading after the studio disclosed disappointing Q2 results with its latest film, How To Train Your Dragon 2, still “in an un-recouped position.” DreamWorks Animation generated a net loss of $15.4M, down from a $22.3M profit in the period last year, on revenues of $122.3M, -42.7%. That’s way short of analyst expectations for revenues to hit $137.9M. And the loss, at 18 cents a share, far exceeded the consensus forecast for a two cent loss.

CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says that Dragon 2 “will be a highly profitable film for the Company and DreamWorks Dragons will remain a very valuable franchise for many years to come.”

The film was released on June 13 — toward the end of the quarter — and only contributed $2.6M to DWA’s Q2 revenues. The feature film segment had $69.7M in revenues with a $23.9M gross profit. Home videos and international TV sales for Turbo added $11M to the top line. The Croods kicked in $25.5M from international pay … Read More »

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EMMYS: Party Season In Full Force As Final Voting Gets Underway And Nominees Turn Out

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 11:04am PDT
Pete Hammond

EMMYS: Party Season In Full Force As Final Voting Gets Underway And Nominees Turn OutWith still exactly a month to go before the big (Monday) event, the Emmy party season kicked off in style last night on the 3rd floor outdoor deck of the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills with a bash for performer nominees. Showing up to meet and greet potential voters as well as press and other Academy members were Modern Family’s Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson; Minnie Driver, nominated for the Lifetime movie Return To Zero; Veep’s pair of 2013 winners and nominees again, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale; double nominee for Mom and Masters Of Sex, Allison Janney; Scandal’s bad guy Joe Morton;  House Of Cards‘ Kevin Spacey; and Fargo’s Billy Bob Thornton.  Presiding over it all were actors branch Governors Bob Bergen and Lily Tomlin. Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum and new president Maury McIntyre also made the scene.

Emmy Party 2014Now this was just the first round. There will be an even bigger bash for performers two nights before the Emmys at the Pacific Design Center. Between now and then there will be another 21 of these peer group parties representing every branch of the Academy from Costume Designers (who actually were the first group to party a few days ago) to Make Up and Hairstylists to Writers (I am on the Board Of Governors repping that branch, which will celebrate its nominees August 21). That’s almost one a night. Putting all this together is the indefatigable Barbara Chase and the Academy staff.

Also happening during this period will be the Creative Arts Emmys and Ball on Saturday, August 16 where 94 categories will be presented (up from 80 last year). Just a measly 26 categories will be presented on the NBC telecast August 25th.Whew. August is usually the dog days for the TV industry, but this year it is where all the heat is — at least as far as Emmys go. Voting, which is done by individual volunteers from each peer group , also got underway this week with the first round of ballots due back August 6 (for Creative Arts)  and the final round the next week. Read More »

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Ethan Embry & Brooklyn Decker Join Netflix Comedy Series ‘Grace & Frankie’

By | Tuesday July 29, 2014 @ 10:30am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Ethan Embry & Brooklyn Decker Join Netflix Comedy Series ‘Grace & Frankie’Ethan Embry and Brooklyn Decker have been cast in Netflix‘s half-hour comedy Grace & Frankie, toplined by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The 13-episode series — created by Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, directed by Tate Taylor and executive produced by Paula Weinstein and Skydance Prods — centers on longtime nemeses Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin), who are facing the last chapter of their lives. When their husbands (Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston) announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married, the women find their lives both turned upside down and, to their dismay, permanently intertwined.

netflixEmbry, repped by APA and Nelson Davis Wetzstein, will play Coyote, the charismatic son of Sol (Waterston) and Frankie (Tomlin). More than a little self-destructive, he has a history of drug abuse; however, after 90 days of sobriety, he’s determined to get back his life. Decker, who comes off CBS’ Friends With Better Lives, will play Mallory, the younger daughter of Grace (Fonda) and Robert (Sheen). She is a classic beauty like Grace. She modeled her marriage after her parents and now that their relationship has blown up, she doubts all aspects of the choices she’s made in her life. She is repped by Gersh, Authentic and attorney James Adams. Read More »

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Hot Comic-Con Trailer: ‘Batkid Begins’ Brings Make-A-Wish Phenom To Screen

By | Sunday July 27, 2014 @ 11:41am PDT

Hot Comic-Con Trailer: ‘Batkid Begins’ Brings Make-A-Wish Phenom To ScreenEXCLUSIVE: Five-year-old Miles Scott touched hearts all over the world last November when he donned a cape and cowl to “save” Gotham City – aka, San Francisco – as “Batkid.” Now award-winning filmmaker Dana Nachman (Witch Hunt) is taking his story to the screen in a feature-length crowdfunded documentary (watch the trailer exclusively on Deadline).

The Batkid phenomenon went viral after the Make-a-Wish Foundation staged its most elaborate wish to date: The charity, with the help of The City, President Obama, and thousands of supporters, turned the streets of San Francisco into Gotham City on Nov. 15, 2013. Scott, a leukemia patient now in remission, got to live every superhero-loving child’s fantasy as he played sidekick to the Caped Crusader in a series of staged missions as onlookers cheered him on. It all culminated with Scott receiving the key to the city from Mayor Ed Lee. The entire event sparked more than 400K tweets in 117 countries, among much else social-media attention, and received a Digital Visionary Award from the Producers Guild.

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Comic-Con: Marvel TV Panel Reveals ‘Captain America’ Movie Directors To Helm ‘Agent Carter’, ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D’ Adds Lucy Lawless

Comic-Con: Marvel TV Panel Reveals ‘Captain America’ Movie Directors To Helm ‘Agent Carter’, ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D’ Adds Lucy LawlessLooks like the greater Marvel Universe is officially coming to the upcoming Marvel’s Agent Carter – at least behind the camera. It was announced today during the Marvel TV panel at Comic-Con that Captain America: The Winter Soldier directors Joe and Anthony Russo will be helming the second and third episodes of the ABC series set to debut in 2015. Captain America: The First Avenger director Joe Johnson will helm the fourth episode, with Marvel Studios co-president Louis D’Esposito set to direct the first one

Related: TCA: ABC Sets Fall Premiere Dates

Agents of SHIELD Comic-ConThe announcements were made after a short teaser video was shown to a packed Ballroom 20. Mostly a voice-over via President Harry Truman, the post-WWII-set series promised fans that they would discover a “different side of the Marvel Universe.” Agent Carter picks up in 1946 and the first version of S.H.I.E.L.D. coming together as the Cold War heats up. Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb said the show hasn’t started stated filming and the writers room opens next week.

The cast of Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. was also on the panel with Clark “Agent Phil Coulson” Gregg coming out to a thunderous standing ovation. The panel confirmed Lucy Lawless will join the show in the second season as a longtime S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Isabel Hartley. British actor Nick Blood will also join as a mercenary, and Reed Diamond, who appeared on Joss Wheldon’s 2009 Fox series Dollhouse, will also be added. The panel was treated to a specially made video of Patton Oswalt in his S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Billy Koenig role jokingly lecturing the crowd on security.

Related: ABC Picks Up ‘Marvel’s Agent Carter’, Renews ‘Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.’

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TCA Postmortem: Consolidation News Framed Press Tour Conversation

By | Friday July 25, 2014 @ 8:48am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

TCA Postmortem: Consolidation News Framed Press Tour ConversationWith the power of fans growing and the influence of TV reviews declining in the age of social media, the once marque summer TCA press tour has been taking a back seat to Comic-Con. Once again, the Los Angeles critics convention served as a warm-up for the San Diego geekfest, with the networks trying to save their noisy announcements for the Con. But what would’ve been another uneventful summer TCA was livened up by two big consolidation stories that broke in the first and second week — 21st Century Fox’s decision to put both the broadcast network and 20th Century Fox TV under the studio’s chairmen and CEOs Dana Walden and Gary Newman, and the company’s (for now unsuccessful) bid to acquire Time Warner.

TCA Logo New (2)The first news, which had been widely expected, was met largely with approval as an inevitable move in an industry where owning content is becoming more and more important. CBS has helped grow CSI into a billion-dollar franchise for the parent company, which owns the show. Compare that with The Big Bang Theory, which CBS developed and nurtured to a blockbuster hit that would make as much as $3 billion — for another company, Warner Bros. TV. Watching how much money it has made for WBTV, with the Chuck Lorre series, and for 20th Century Fox TV, with How I Met Your Mother, the network focused on growing its own syndicatable comedies, recently renewing CBS Studios-produced The Millers for a second season. During CBS’ TCA executive session, chairman Tassler was asked whether ownership played a role in the decision to renew The Millers over two 20th TV freshmen, The Crazy Ones, which drew bigger DVR ratings increases, and Friends with Better Lives, which showed better retention. “We will never ever, ever discriminate based solely on ownership,” Tassler said. “We feel that The Millers has a lot of great story material still imbedded in the DNA of the show.” Read More »

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BSkyB To Acquire Fox’s Sky Italia & Deutschland Stakes, Create European Giant

BSkyB To Acquire Fox’s Sky Italia & Deutschland Stakes, Create European GiantAs expected, BSkyB said this morning that it will create “a world-class multinational pay TV business” with the acquisition of 100% of Sky Italia and 57.4% of Sky Deutschland. The UK’s leading pay-TV player has acquired the stakes from Rupert Murdoch‘s 21st Century Fox in a deal worth about £4.9B ($8.3B) in cash, plus assets. (Fox owns and will retain a 39% stake in BSkyB.) The combined group will have 20M subscribers in Europe across three of the four biggest markets. BSkyB will pay £2.07B for Sky Italia and £2.9B for Deutschland. It will also transfer its 21% ownership of National Geographic Channel to Fox at a value of £382M ($649M). That will raise Fox’s stake in the channel to 73%. BSkyB says it will also launch a voluntary cash offer to the remaining shareholders of Sky Deutschland at 6.75 euros ($9) per share. Subject to the number of shareholders who accept the offer, the overall cash value of the deals announced today could reach £7B ($11.9B). The moves come as BSkyB reported adjusted revenue for the year was up 7% to £7.6B ($2.9B).

The moves to create Sky Europe also come as Fox pursues a mega-acquisition of Time Warner. While speculation has been that the deal to combine the Skys was designed to raise funds for another eventual run at TW, it’s also considered that this deal has a distinct raison d’être and exists on its own … Read More »

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Comic-Con: Yahoo Won’t Binge-Release ‘Community’

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 4:07pm PDT

Comic-Con: Yahoo Won’t Binge-Release ‘Community’One of the lingering questions when Yahoo acquired rights to revive NBC’s Community was how the 13-episode season would roll out. Today we know: Episodes will be made available weekly, it was announced during its Comic-Con panel. That plan is in contrast to rival Netflix’s binge model, in which entire seasons of a series are made available at once. Which way would you prefer it?

As for when to expect Season 6, the only hint so far is that it won’t come before Christmas 2014.

Creator Dan Harmon quipped during the panel that everyone will be watching the show the way they always did — “except now legally.” Joel McHale joined Harmon on the panel that included producer Chris McKenna, Jim Rash, Gillian Jacobs and writer Dino Stamatopoulos.

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Does Time Warner Need CBS To Thwart A Fox Takeover?

Does Time Warner Need CBS To Thwart A Fox Takeover?Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has a problem. Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch is preparing to sweeten his offer for the owner of Warner Bros, CNN, and HBO after it rejected an $80B cash-and-stock proposal last month. And Bewkes, who says he wants to keep Time Warner independent, has few takeover defenses. What can he do? Here are a few of the leading options that Time Warner execs and their advisors at Citigroup are weighing.

Corporate And Media Leaders Attend Allen & Company Media And Technology Conf.Combine with CBS: This would make Time Warner toxic for Fox: The FCC would not allow Murdoch to control two of the four biggest networks, and two of the largest TV station groups with overlaps in the nation’s largest markets.

And the business logic of a Time Warner-CBS combination is compelling. CBS chief Les Moonves would like to diversify his company to make it less dependent on domestic TV advertising. (He has already said that he’d like to buy CNN if Fox prevails with Time Warner and puts the news channel on the block.) Moonves also has made it clear that he’d like to play a bigger role in movies — his CBS Films appears to be struggling to figure out its identity. CBS could address these concerns by blending with Time Warner’s cable channels and movie studio.

The chief obstacle is that CBS is controlled by Sumner Redstone, who also owns Viacom. He hasn’t wanted to give up either property, and some bankers believe he’d prefer to … Read More »

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BSkyB Deal To Create Sky Europe Said Nearing

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 11:16am PDT

BSkyB Deal To Create Sky Europe Said NearingWhen BSkyB reports its full-year results tomorrow, it is expected to announce a deal to acquire 57% of Sky Deutschland and 100% of Sky Italia from 21st Century Fox. Speculation has swirled that this deal is near since it emerged that Rupert Murdoch’s behemoth had bid $80B bid for Time Warner. In May, UK pay-TV giant BSkyB confirmed it had initiated preliminary discussions with Fox to evaluate a potential acquisition of the latter’s pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy. Fox also owns 39.1% of BSkyB. A combination of the businesses would have about 20M subscribers, and could also provide a payday to Fox of an estimated $13B. I’ve been cautioned that these funds are not necessary for Fox to be able to up its bid for TW, but it would put extra money in the coffers while creating a huge pan-European group. “It could just be that 21st Century Fox sees it as a useful way of generating funds and eases management time to concentrate on other things. But the reason for doing it would exist on its own merits,” Enders Analysis’ Toby Syfret tells me. It’s worth remembering that English Premier League soccer rights are coming to auction again in 2015 and extra cash could certainly come in handy. Read More »

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Hollywood “Obsessed” With Human Torture, And Other TCA Highlights

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 8:23am PDT

Hollywood “Obsessed” With Human Torture, And Other TCA HighlightsThe TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014 has wrapped its 16-day run. Here is what we learned:

Most Searing Description Of Hollywood
David LaChapelle, who famously became a photographer for Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine in his teens, has been called The Fellini of Photography, and has photographed the likes of Hillary Clinton, Lady Gaga, Tupac Shakur, Madonna, Eminem, Warhol, Lil’ Kim, Elizabeth Taylor,  Leonardo DiCaprio, and Muhammad Ali, was asked yesterday to discuss the “ebb and flow” of depictions of sex and nudity; he’s featured in PBS’ American Masters broadcast The Boomer List.

lisademoraescolumn__140603223319“Growing up in New York City, when I was very young, pre-AIDS, it was very hedonistic, and sexuality was, you know, the revolution. I remember working at [Studio 54] and straight guys would say they were bi, to pick up girls because it was cool. And then, AIDS happened, and everything changed. Things got very, very conservative and segregated. Now…we are sort of in this Dark Ages where the body is considered shameful…yet violence, and torture, and these films — the Saw series, The Hunger Games2014 Summer TCA Tour - Day 16you look at Netflix, what’s going on, and every other new show is extreme violence, and this is our entertainment. We applaud that. And our kids are playing these video games, but yet the human body is somehow shameful. And God forbid a kid sees a nipple, you know.”

TV programs such as HBO’s Sex And The City (Kim Cattrall also was a panelist), he said, have “been replaced by so much ultra-violence in this torture form. I find that really interesting because all our popular culture reflects the society in which it was created. So what does that say about us? Why are we so obsessed with watching other human beings suffering? We don’t get enough of it on the news that we — that’s our entertainment, too? I think that’s the real pornography. That’s the real evil, and that’s the real darkness.”

Most Changed Executive
NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt — last Press Tour’s Mr. Flat Is The New Up — spoke happily this tour about Up Being The New Up: “We had a pretty great season so far this year. We’re No. 1 in the demo. We’re the only network up, year to year, almost 10% to date. Even if you take the Olympics out of our numbers, we would still be No. 1 for the year…We’re also leading in the 25-54 demo, and all key adult female demos as well. We also had a huge growth in total viewers where we’re running No. 2 season to date. In fact, we’re up 27% year over year, which is our strongest performance this far into the season in eight years.”

Biggest News
CBS Corp CEO Leslie Moonves, telling reporters after his Q&A for the network’s new Thursday night football that he’s interested in buying CNN should Rupert Murdoch prevail in his bid to by the cable news network’s parent Time Warner and spin off CNN. “We’ve always talked about doing things with CNN in the past… It’s something I’m sure we’ll look at if it becomes available,” Moonves said. Last month, when CBS took the final step in the spinoff of its billboard company, “that was our intent, to get rid of billboards and potentially buy more content,” Moonves said, adding, “We’re in a very advantageous position.”

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Why Did Netflix Shares Fall Today?

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 1:19pm PDT

Why Did Netflix Shares Fall Today?The stock price fell 4.6% to $431.09 even though the Q2 earnings reported last night were largely in line with analyst expectations, subscriptions were up impressively, and management forecasts were upbeat. What gives?

The simplest explanation is that Netflix always is susceptible to downturns because its shares are so expensive, reflecting investor optimism about its prospects. They trade for about 128 times the company’s earnings — a stark contrast to more stable media giants such as Fox, Comcast, Time Warner and CBS whose stock prices equal about 20 times earnings.

Related: Netflix Says It Sees Little Change If Fox Acquires Time Warner

And Netflix bears found some reasons to be skittish. The company will have to boost spending to secure the content it will need to serve new markets including Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg — and that could put pressure on earnings “as soon as next year,” says Wedbush Securities’ Michael Pachter. He’s concerned about the decline in DVD-by-mail rental subscribers; they account for “half of all operating profit for the company.” The analyst also says that Amazon’s recent streaming deal with HBO suggests that “a stand-alone subscription plan is coming” that would make the e-retailer a more potent video competitor.

Related: Wall Street Wonders: Will HBO’s Deal With Amazon Change The Online Video Game?

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Ed Helms, Hilary Swank & Ed Harris In Talks To Star In Alejandro González Iñárritu’s MRC Series ‘One Percent’

Nellie Andreeva

Ed Helms, Hilary Swank & Ed Harris In Talks To Star In Alejandro González Iñárritu’s MRC Series ‘One Percent’Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s MRC series is taking shape, with Ed Helms, Hilary Swank and Ed Harris in various stages of negotiations to topline the hour-long project. In his U.S. TV debut, the Oscar-nominated Iñárritu will direct the series, titled One Percent, which he co-created with Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolas Giacobone, and Armando Bo. MRC Logo NewThe four recently collaborated on the script of Iñárritu’s latest feature, black comedy Birdman Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance, which has been selected to open this year’s Venice Film Festival in its world premiere and as the closing-night title for the New York Film Festival.

helmshilaryswankOne Percent is set against the backdrop of the organic farming community. Helms and Swank would play a husband and wife who are struggling professionally and personally to keep their business afloat, while Harris would play the family patriarch. MRC is expected to take the project out to buyers in a few weeks, likely seeking a straight-to-series order, which has been the company’s strategy. It has been able to secure two-season pickups for its Emmy-winning David harris2Fincher-Kevin Spacey drama House Of Cards at Netflix and the Seth MacFarlane comedy at Starz.

One Percent, which … Read More »

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3BlackDot Hybrid Firm Emerges From Stealth Mode With Ex-’Duck Dynasty’, Machinima Execs, Top YouTubers

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 8:00am PDT

3BlackDot Hybrid Firm Emerges From Stealth Mode With Ex-’Duck Dynasty’, Machinima Execs, Top YouTubers3BlackDot – a hybrid entertainment company with gamer and social-media-marketing roots and composed of video production, game development, online influencer and integrated marketing units – has officially come out of stealth mode this morning. Company principals include two former Machinima executives (Angelo Pullen and Luke Stepleton) and two prominent YouTube personalities (SeaNanners, aka Adam Montoya, and TheSyndicateProject, aka Tom Cassell).

As well, Stepleton’s older brother, former Duck Dynasty co-executive producer Hank Stepleton, will join the organization as partner and head of Pickaxe, the company’s video-content production company. The first Pickaxe project will be a live-action short based on Zombie Killer Squad, the mobile title developed by the company’s game unit and released last November to substantial success. The trailer for the short will be shown at San Diego Comic-Con this week, at a lounge 3BlackDot will be running for its online influencers and others.

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TCA: FX’s “Revolting” ‘The Strain’ Bucks Romantic GQ Vampire Trend, Creator Guillermo Del Toro Says

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 4:32pm PDT

TCA: FX’s “Revolting” ‘The Strain’ Bucks Romantic GQ Vampire Trend, Creator Guillermo Del Toro SaysBefore FX developed The Strain for its lineup, Guillermo del Toro says a broadcast network suggested developing it as a comedy. The Strain, based on the trilogy of novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan, follows Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) as the NYC head of the Centers for Disease Control Canary Team, leading the effort to discover the root of a viral outbreak that seems to have killed all the passengers and crew of a Berlin-originated airplane that turns out to be a strain of vampirism.

Back in 2006, del Toro told TV critics this afternoon at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2014,  the project was sent around for possible development as a TV project. At that time he said, the the only way anybody envisioned vampires was “as a romantic conception of vampires — that sort of GQ version of vampires,” he said. But he was pitching a show in which vampires would be “truly revolting, physically and spiritually.” At one network, he said, he got asked, ” ‘Could you turn it into a comedy?’ I said ‘no’.”

thestrain01-is-the-strain-posterSeries exec producer Carlton Cuse, meanwhile, says that while there are horror elements to the show, he thinks of it much more as an adventure show, along the lines of Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, he worked on in its development. “It’s not that scary — it’s not just a horror show,” Cuse insists of The Strain. “The material lent itself to a big pulpy engaging type of storytelling.” Read More »

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Netflix Says It Sees Little Change If Fox Acquires Time Warner

Netflix Says It Sees Little Change If Fox Acquires Time Warner“Fox and Warner are both pretty powerful companies today. … I don’t know how it changes much if they come together,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told analysts today when asked about Rupert Murdoch’s bid for the entertainment giant. The effort probably has “more to do with cable negotiations with sports.” CEO Reed Hastings added that he would offer “no speculation” about what Netflix might do if Fox and Time Warner agreed to merge. “The more we work directly with producers, the less we have to worry with aggregation and big content suppliers.”

Related:
Media Merger Mania: Fox’s Bid For Time Warner Is Just The Beginning
Time Warner Shares Soar On Reports Of $80B Offer By Rupert Murdoch

On other matters: Sarandos talked up Chelsea Handler’s upcoming late-night talk show, saying her focus on entertainment and pop culture will make it “a great representative of the kind of programming on Netflix.” A nightly show makes sense for a company known for binge viewing because viewers are “not watching late-night talk shows the way they used to. They’re watching days weeks and sometimes months later.” The show ”is not instantly perishable content. It’s more perishable, but the economics level that out for us.”

Related: Netflix Touts ‘Orange Is The New Black’ As Q2 Earnings Meet Expectations

Sarandos also says that Netflix will premiere the upcoming AMC series Better Call Saul outside of North America. He talked up the … Read More »

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Netflix Touts ‘Orange Is The New Black’ As Q2 Earnings Meet Expectations; Streaming Service Tops 50M Subs

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 1:13pm PDT

Netflix Touts ‘Orange Is The New Black’ As Q2 Earnings Meet Expectations; Streaming Service Tops 50M SubsShares are up about 2% in early post-market trading, though probably mostly due to subscriber gains — topping 50M streaming customers worldwide for the first time — rather than the financial results for Q2. Netflix generated $71M in net income, up from $29.5M in the period last year, on revenues of $1.34B, +25.4%. While the growth is impressive, it was also expected: Revenues came in just a little ahead of the $1.33B that analysts anticipated. Earnings at $1.15 a share were a penny shy of the consensus forecast.

Related: CBS Drama ‘The Zoo’ To Be Available On Netflix In 2015

Jodie Foster earns first Emmy directing nomination with Orange Is The New BlackBut the company says it had 36.24M domestic streaming customers at the end of the quarter, up 570,000 from March, which it attributes to “our ever-improving content offering, including Orange Is The New Black Season 2.” Netflix expects an additional 1.33M in Q3. On the international side, streaming customers increased by 1.12M over the three-month period to 13.8M. But the company lost 342,000 DVD-by-mail customers, ending the quarter with 6.17M.

Related: Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?

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Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 11:39am PDT
Pete Hammond

Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?The Squarea harrowing documentary about the Egyptian revolution as seen through the eyes of six of its participants, was Oscar-nominated in the 2013 Best Feature Documentary race. So how come it is suddenly a major contender at the Emmys too? Inquiries have come to our attention, including one calling for its withdrawal from Emmy competition, so I decided to check it out.

Daytime Emmy Awards WinnersThe film, which accounts for four of the impressive 31 Emmy nominations Netflix received this year, was picked up by the streaming service and qualified last year for the Oscar race with a seven-day run, according to the Television Academy, which has assured me they thoroughly examined this one. “The Square was not in general release prior to it TV appearance; rather, it qualified for the Oscars under the ‘one week NY-LA limited screening rule’ which would not have affected Emmy eligibility. Please know that we and the documentary peer group vetted the hell out of this one, and it’s good to Emmy go,” according to John Leverence, SVP Awards for the TV Academy. Read More »

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Deadline Q&A: Can Matt Strauss’ Hollywood Deals Help Comcast Defend Cable?

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 11:34am PDT

Deadline Q&A: Can Matt Strauss’ Hollywood Deals Help Comcast Defend Cable?Matthew Strauss isn’t a household name in Hollywood yet. But he should be, and possibly will be soon. As Comcast Cable’s GM of Video Services, Strauss oversees the cable colossus’ Xfinity cloud-based X1 platform, video on demand, TV Everywhere, and — starting last year — sales of digitally downloadable movies and TV shows (known as Electronic Sell Through). In other words, he leads the cable industry’s counter-offensive as digital services led by Netflix and ad-zapping DVRs make inroads with pay TV consumers.

Studios and networks are taking notice, and striking deals with Strauss that push the boundaries of technology, and traditional business practices. For example, Comcast and FX have just begun to let VOD customers watch episodes of The Bridge a week before they appear on the channel itself. Deadline caught up with Strauss to find out the latest about that experiment and others that could reshape the medium. Here are his thoughts, edited for length and clarity.

DEADLINE: VOD has been one of Comcast’s top initiatives. Where do things stand?
STRAUSS: I have a long history with VOD. I’ve been working on this for almost 13 years now. About 70% of our digital subscribers use on demand every single month, and by the end of this year we’ll have 200,000 hours of on-demand content available. We surpassed our 30 billionth program viewed on demand last year. So this is something that has gone from almost an infancy, novelty kind of product and now is deeply entrenched. For the first time we now have the top 100 rated Nielsen shows … Read More »

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