UPDATED: CEO Reed Hastings told analysts that the likely price increase is due to the fact that “over the last couple of years we’ve been improving the content selection on Netflix and broadening it.” For that to continue, “we have to eventually increase prices a little bit.” He’d consider having tiers of service but first wants to “be sure we grandfather [existing customers into the new system] cleanly.” As for his opposition to Comcast’s $45B plan to buy Time Warner Cable, Hastings says that Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is “very thoughtful, very long term and very reasonable. But I don’t know that we want anyone to control half of the U.S. internet.”
PREVIOUS, 1:04 PM: Current customers could keep their $7.99 a month price “for a generous time period” if the fees for new customers go up — possibly “a one- or two-dollar increase, depending on the country, later this quarter” — CEO Reed Hastings and CFO David Wells say in a note to shareholders. They slipped that important piece of info into a report that basically reassured Wall Street, sending Netflix shares up 5.7% in postmarket trading. The company generated $53.1M in net income, up from $2.7M in the same period in 2013, on revenues of $1.27B, +24%. The revenue number is on target with the Street’s consensus forecast, and earnings at 86 cents a share beat projections … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Ahead of its screening at the Marché du Film at Cannes, the pic about three couples dealing with the same reality-shaking event has found a domestic distributor. Millennium Entertainment has picked up U.S. rights to Parts Per Billion, starring Rosario Dawson, Josh Hartnett, Teresa Palmer, Penn Badgley, Frank Langella and Gena Rowlands as the three couples forced to make life-defining decisions in the face of a biological catastrophe that threatens to destroy the human race. As the pandemic spreads and civilization is thrown into chaos, generations old and young must each make the ultimate decision. Brian Horiuchi wrote and directed the sci-fi drama, which was produced by Molly Hassell, Jennifer Levine and Michael Benaroya. No release date has been set. LA-based XYZ Films handled the Millennium deal and also is doing international sales for the movie, which screened at Hong Kong Filmart last month.
Column: Social media has had a tremendous impact on movie and television marketing, increasing awareness and visibility for a TV show or movie across the globe in a click — a lot clicks — of a button. Some of the best social media teams right now on TV are the two Jimmys — late-night talk hosts Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel. These two are in a constant battle for viewers and they really go at each other on social media. Their social engagement across platforms and their understanding of social heralds a new generation of savvy Hollywood stars backed by sophisticated online marketing teams that understand how to push past traditional media to build a tremendous fan base. Increasingly, stars, celebrities and their teams are using social media to extend awareness of their brands — because that is what they have become — online and off, driving ratings and box office as well as bigger fan bases.
These days, a performer’s social media footprint is strongly considered when marketers start strategizing a film’s campaign. Vin Diesel is the current king of social, almost entirely because of the monster presence he’s built on Facebook. In the months since his emotional tribute on FB for his good friend and Fast & Furious co-star Paul Walker who died in a car crash, Diesel has seen his Facebook presence vault from an already whopping 54M likes to 72.3M, according to RelishMix, which tracks social-media engagement by TV shows, films and performers. And in six months, his following has jumped 46%.
Unlike Kimmel and Fallon, Diesel has no team to manage his social profile. He does it entirely on his own. “Vin is a very unique case in that he curates that himself and the voice is authentic and all the posts seem real because they are real,” says Michael Moses, co-president of marketing at Universal Pictures. “He doesn’t have a social-media team. He maintains that. He has an authentic relationship with his fans.” Moses calls it “a higher level of commitment and engagement.” Read More »
Will the Supreme Court back upstart tech company Aereo in its bid to short-cut broadcasters with a service that provides an Internet connection to over-the-air TV signals? Deadline Legal Editor Dominic Patten is headed to Washington D.C. to cover tomorrow’s oral arguments before the Court. Here’s a quick primer on the legal aspects of the case and what to look for ahead of the court’s final decision, which is expected by July. (Please note that in the time since this podcast was recorded, the Supreme Court has agreed to allow the U.S. Solicitor General to join in the oral arguments on behalf of the broadcasters.) For a view on the potential business-side impacts of the case, make sure to listen to Deadline Executive Editor David Lieberman in his weekly Deadline Big Media podcast from Friday, where he and David Bloom look at whether the Aereo decision will upset the broadcast apple cart should Aereo win. Also, Lieberman and Patten collaborated on a series of stories this past week looking at “The ABCs of the Aereo Case,” beginning with this piece explaining what Aereo is.
Dominic Patten Aereo Legal Preview Podcast (.MP3 version)
Dominic Patten Aereo Legal Preview Podcast (.M4A version)
Sister publication Variety reporting Tom Hanks wants to star for Steven Spielberg in an untitled thriller scripted by Matt Charman. Not sure if this will be next, as DreamWorks poured cold water on the Cold War project when Deadline inquired a couple weeks ago after hearing it might be next for Spielberg. In this one, Hanks would play James Donovan, a prominent American attorney enlisted by the CIA during the Cold War to slip behind the iron curtain to negotiate the release of a pilot captured when his U2 spy plane is shot down over Russia. The prolific Marc Platt is the producer.
I wonder if some of these projects, including the still-percolating Robopocalypse, will eventually square things financially for India-based Reliance, which sure seems to have so far come out on the short end of the stick after bankrolling a DreamWorks venture that seems to have run its course, and hasn’t generated much in the way of blockbuster hits since leaving Paramount. Stay tuned.
HBO has dropped a new teaser for True Blood‘s final Season 7, which premieres June 22. It looks like the residents of Bon Temps will have plenty to deal with in the final chapter, including an attack on a church and a lot of sick vampires. Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer star. Have a look:
We’re hearing the Academy is aiming for consistency and has nailed down Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to produce the Oscarcast for a third year running. Here’s how much consistency: the Academy announced the pair was returning for the 86th Oscars almost exactly a year ago (and they announced Ellen DeGeneres as host that August). It’s the first time since 1997-1999 (Gil Cates) that the Oscars has had the same producer three years in a row. In March, Meron, Zadan and DeGeneres together built a show that drew 43.7 million viewers with a 13.1/33 rating in adults 18-49, the most watched Academy Awards since 2000 and the highest-rated in the demo since 2010. The speculation right now is if the Academy wants consistency with the producers then they’d seek it with a host, but nothing has been set. Here’s today’s release:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Motion picture, television and theater producing team Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the Oscars for a third consecutive year, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced today. The 87th Oscars will air live on the ABC Television Network on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Craig and Neil back to produce the Oscars again in 2015,” said Boone Isaacs. “Their showmanship has elevated the show to new heights and we are excited to keep the momentum going with this creative partnership.”
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TruTV has greenlighted six new series as it changes its brand, targeting a young audience of “funseekers.” Over the past eight months, truTV has been reshaping its brand, turning over a slate of more than 30 projects in development. The network’s slate of new shows includes Fake-Off, a Kabuki-inspired, pop-culture-themed talent competition series; Way Out West, a reality Western about three rival outfitter families in the Idaho backcountry; How To Be A Grown Up, a comedic take on the relatable trials and tribulations of true adulthood; Local News (working title), a look at the playful rivalry between the news teams at two small-town television stations; and Hair Jacked, a new ambush game show that gives contestants the opportunity to win big money or go home with the cut of the day. Additionally, after sneak peeking new series The Carbonaro Effect on April 1, the network ordered 13 additional episodes before the first-season launch of the Michael Carbonaro starrer, debuting Thursday, May 15, at 10 PM. The network also ordered another season of Impractical Jokers, which finished the first quarter of 2014 ranking as basic cable’s No. 1 program in its Thursday night time slot with adults 18-34, as well as a spinoff series, Jokers Wild! Here’s a rundown of truTV’s five main programming categories, with details about the new series and projects:
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The ongoing investigation into the February death of crew member Sarah Jones on the Georgia set of Midnight Rider was turned over this morning to the Wayne County District Attorney’s office by the Wayne County Sheriff’s office, the local authority that has been investigating the 27-year-old camera assistant’s death. They will be discussing the case with state authorities who will then take the matter under consideration whether to pursue criminal charges. According to Sheriff John Carter: “We just turned everything over to the District Attorney, and it will be up to her office to look it over and decide whether or not the case will go to a grand jury. Our detective interviewed everyone he could on this case.” The detective on the case was Joe Gardner; the Wayne County D.A. is Jackie Johnson. Carter would not say what course of action their office is recommending. According to a spokesman for the D.A.’s office, they plan to review the investigative materials. That will be done, of course, to decide whether this rises to the level of criminality. “We will assess from our end what we need to do,” said the spokesman. “It may take a few days or longer (because) we want to be fair to the process.”
Investigations are also ongoing on the federal level via the National Transportation Safety Board, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Federal Railroad Administration and Georgia Bureau Of Investigation.
Related: … Read More »
TNT has released the new trailer for Season 4 of alien invasion drama Falling Skies, executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Will Patton, Drew Roy, Connor Jessup, Maxim Knight, Seychelle Gabriel, Mpho Koaho, Colin Cunningham and Sarah Carter star. Season 4 premieres on June 22 at 10 PM. Check it out:
EXCLUSIVE: BET Networks is targeting millenials with a new daily talk show hosted by actress-singer Keke Palmer. The Keke Palmer Project (working title), which has been picked up for an initial four-week run, will premiere in July, airing Mondays-Fridays. Telepictures is producing. Judge Greg Mathis, whose long-time syndicated court show Judge Mathis is produced by Telepictures, is executive producing after being instrumental in bringing together the Warner Bros TV syndication division and Palmer.
At age 20, Palmer will become the youngest talk show host in TV history. Her show will cover such topics as fashion, pop culture, social issues, sex, and will feature celebrity interviews, “on the street” bits and undercover segments. It stems from Palmer’s interaction with fans on social media. “I like to read quotes that touch on how I am feeling,” she said. “If I am dealing with confusion, I will read quotes about clarity and peace of mind. I started posting these quotes on my Twitter page, and the fans responded so positively! I realized that many of them were dealing with similar issues, and the quotes helped to open up a genuine dialogue between us.” Read More »
That’s up just 2 cents vs the same period in 2013, and down from $8.35 in Q4 according to domestic numbers out this morning from the National Association of Theater Owners. The drop from the end of the year mostly reflects the fact that theaters in Q1 were filled with kids’ films including Frozen, Mr. Peabody And Sherman, and The Lego Movie. They typically drive the ticket averages down because they include a lot of low-priced children’s tickets and matinees. Remember that several factors influence the average price — including how many people pay a premium to see a film in 3D or on an IMAX screen. The Q4 number included 3D hits with Warner Bros’ Gravity (80% of its domestic gross came from 3D venues) and The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, and Disney’s Thor: The Dark World. The quarter also had several popular films targeted to adults including Paramount’s The Wolf Of Wall Street and Sony’s American Hustle. The average outlay for a movie ticket in 2013 was $8.13.
SiriusXM and NBC News this morning announced the launch of Today Show Radio Channel, on which the long-running morning infotainment program will be broadcast on radio for the first time, featuring daily live feeds from both coasts — and, yes, including Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb’s slice of the franchise. SiriusXM will be the exclusive audio home of Today. From today’s announcement:
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As a guy who has covered features my whole career, I find it distressing that the only time feature folks do risky things seems to be when they are making TV projects. Because theaters and studios can’t figure it out, films are frozen in an arcane system where you wait six months for a DVD and those who don’t want to wait, or see it in a theater, have no choice but to steal it. When they work in TV, these writer-directors play in a sandbox that gives viewers the ability to see that work, whenever and wherever they want to. Joss Whedon premiered a Brin Hill-directed micro-budget relationship film In Your Eyes at Tribeca, and announced right after that he’s making it available on Vimeo for five bucks. Obviously, Whedon makes a fortune on Marvel’s The Avengers movies, but he is onto something here, and other star filmmakers should take notice and empower new filmmakers by offering small-budget films directly to their audiences. Maybe it’s going to take mavericks like this guy to hasten the glacial pace of the evolution of the way consumers digest feature films. Here is his announcement: