AT&T customers should start to see fewer buffering delays when they watch Netflix as a result of the new interconnection deal. The actual agreement was made in May. Since then they’ve “been working together to provision additional interconnect capacity to improve the viewing experience for our mutual subscribers,” the companies say. “We’re now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days.”
Related: FCC To Investigate Internet Peering Disputes
Netflix has complained that the deals that require it to pay to improve the quality of its transmissions effectively run afoul of the FCC’s goal to promote net neutrality. It has agreements with Comcast and Verizon similar to the new one with AT&T. Comcast, for one, has countered that Netflix is one of the biggest users of Internet bandwidth. What’s more, net neutrality rules apply to the links between an Internet service provider and the consumer, not the ones connecting content providers to ISPs.
Related: The ABCs Of Net Neutrality
The FCC is investigating these so-called peering arrangements as part of its effort to craft new net neutrality rules.
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.
Embry, 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 »
Looks 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
The 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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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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“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.”
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 »
Shares 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
But 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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The Square, a 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.
The 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 »
Morning Report, Monday July 21
'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' took the top spot at the box office again holding off a trio of newcomers, Netflix's second-quarter earnings come after the market closes today, kicking off earnings season, JJ Abrams' latest 'Star Wars' video hits the web just in time for Comic-Con's kickoff later this week. Dominic Patten reports.
Related: Box Office Weekend: ‘Apes’ No. 1′ With $36M In Soft Weekend
June Diane Raphael and Baron Vaughn have landed roles in Grace & Frankie, Netflix’s upcoming half-hour comedy toplined by Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The 13-episode series, created by Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris (Sullivan & Son) and executive produced by Paula Weinstein through Skydance Prods, revolves around longtime nemeses Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin), whose lives are turned upside down when their husbands announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married. Read More »
Peter Shinkoda has been tapped for a major recurring role in Netflix’s Marvel drama series Daredevil set to premiere in 2015. The series was written by executive producer Drew Goddard, with Steven S. DeKnight as executive producer/showrunner. Daredevil is the first of four 13-episode superhero series set in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York City. Shinkoda, repped by D2 Management and Characters Talent Agency, will play Hachiro. Shinkoda was a regular on TNT’s Falling Skies and recently guest-starred on Hawaii Five-O. His big screen credits include I Robot, Godzilla and Paycheck.
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Jodie Foster is carving out a nice, new career as a TV director. Though she hit a bump with her last feature directorial, the Mel Gibson drama, The Beaver ($971K), she rebounded today with an Emmy nomination for her comedy series helming work on the third episode of Jenji Kohan’s Orange Is the New Black entitled “Lesbian Request Denied”. It’s actually Foster’s second Emmy nod overall, her first being for the Showtime 1999 movie she executive produced, The Baby Dance, starring Stockard Channing and Laura Dern. It would be an understatement to say that the word ‘bold’ is always associated with Foster’s oeuvre, whether it’s playing a child prostitute in Martin Scorsese’s 1976 iconic Taxi Driver to producing and acting in the 2007 femme vigilante film The Brave One. Orange Is the New Black is arguably the first time that Foster as a director has dealt with the subject of lesbianism on screen. She also returned to direct the second season premiere of Orange Is The New Black with the episode “Thirsty Bird” and also went behind the camera for Netflix‘s House of Cards episode ”Chapter 22″. Frequently, feature directors are finding creative redemption in TV, read Doomsday British helmer Neil Marshall who was behind two Games of Thrones episodes, this season’s being “The Watchers on the Wall”. Read More »
Netflix has acquired exclusive SVOD rights for CBS’ upcoming drama Zoo, Netflix and CBS said today. Last week, CBS announced a straight-to-series order for 13 episodes of the event drama based on the bestselling James Patterson novel, for broadcast in summer 2015. The full season will be available exclusively to U.S. Netflix members immediately following its network run next summer.
Zoo is set amidst a wave of violent animal attacks sweeping across the planet. A young renegade scientist is thrust into a race to unlock the mystery behind this pandemic before time runs out for animals and humans alike.
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Marin Ireland (Homeland) has been tapped as a recurring on the second season of Showtime’s Masters Of Sex. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan star as William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the pioneers of human sexuality whose research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a Midwestern teaching hospital to the cover of Time magazine. Ireland will play Pauline, the wife of Frank (played by recently announced guest star Christian Borle). The couple comes to town seeking Masters’ help in conceiving a child. Ireland, repped by ICM Partners and Brookside Artist Management, next will be seen on WEtv’s first scripted drama The Divide, set to premiere July 16.
Sam Waterston has landed a role in Grace And Frankie, the upcoming Netflix comedy starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The series revolves around longtime nemeses Grace (Fonda) and Frankie (Tomlin), whose lives are turned upside down when their husbands announce they are in love with each other and plan to get married. Waterston will play Frankie’s husband, who has been keeping his secret from her for 20 years. Waterston stars on HBO’s The Newsroom — on which Fonda recurred — and toplined NBC’s Law & Order from 1994-2010. He is repped by Gersh and Industry Entertainment.
Related: Cast Set, Plot Revealed For Wachowskis’ Netflix Globe-Spanning Series ‘Sense8′
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EXCLUSIVE: He waited just over a month to make his next move and now Brian Wright is making his home at Netflix. The former Nickelodeon SVP of live-action development will lead the charge on original kids and family programming for the streaming service, I’ve learned. In his senior exec role, Wright will report to Cindy Holland, who is Netflix’s VP, Content Acquisition/Original Series. Wright’s new duties will see him overseeing exclusive live-action, animated and pre-school series for Netflix and Netflix Kids like DreamWorks Animation‘s Turbo FAST series.
As my colleague Nellie Andreeva reported on May 27, Wright exited Nickelodeon that day after 7 years at the kid’s basic cable network. His exit came just four months after Nickelodeon upped head of casting Sarah Noonan to SVP Live Action Content, overseeing live-action development and production. Previous to joining the Viacom-owned Nickelodeon, Wright was at Lifetime as well as Greg Berlanti’s production company at WBTV.
The changes might not surprise those who closely follow the streaming video deals that seem to hit every day, but it’s illuminating to see a statistical measure of the shift in the top providers’ content libraries. That’s what Piper Jaffray analyst Michael Olson served up this week in a look at how Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, and Redbox Instant compare in their offerings of top 50 movies available for streaming over the past three years and top 75 TV shows available from the past four years.
Amazon “caught up significantly” to Netflix in TV, Olson says — though both trail Hulu, which is owned by the major broadcast networks. Hulu Plus had 51% of the available hit TV shows in June, up from 44% a year ago. Yet while Netflix had 32%, down 1 percentage point, Amazon increased from 7% to 12%. (Redbox had zero both years.)
The story’s different for movies. Netflix had 12% of the available hits this year, down from 14%. But Amazon dropped from 12% to 6%. Redbox Instant also lost ground, falling to 7% from 10%. Hulu just had 1%, up from zero. Read More »
The Killing is the show that won’t die. Netflix picked up the mystery drama in November after original network AMC cancelled it … twice. Now Season 4 will air on the streaming service beginning August 1, with Netflix going all in on a series with which it already has a worldwide streaming deal for the first three seasons. The new season picks up after the end of Season 3 and kicks off a six-episode final installment — at least we’ve been told it’s the final installment. Here’s the Season 4 trailer that just dropped, with Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman back along with new co-star Joan Allen:
Russia’s United Nations delegation has nixed a House Of Cards request to film two episodes in the UN Security Council. Vladimir Putin’s government cited the need to keep the world’s security chamber available at a moment’s notice for unanticipated crises, Foreign Policy reports. The UN Secretary-General’s office, which wanted the shoot to go forward, had promised the House Of Cards production would take place only at night and over the weekend in mid-August — times when world crises have never been known to erupt.
Less than a week ago, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s office recommended the 15-nation Security Council allow the Netflix series to film in its chamber to raise public awareness about the organization. The UN has been actively courting Hollywood filmmakers, in order to promote a positive image of the United Nations. Obviously, they’ve never watched House Of Cards. Read More »
Marvel continues to staff up for its Netflix series Daredevil. It unveiled today via Twitter that Elden Henson will play Foggy Nelson, the best friend and legal partner of Matt Murdock, the alter ego of superhero Daredevil. Henson, repped by Talentworks and manager Jelani Johnson, is in both Hunger Games: Mockingjay pics and is known for his place in the Mighty Ducks franchise. In Daredevil – set to premiere in 2015 as the first of four 13-episode superhero series Marvel is producing for the streaming service – Nelson is tight with the Hell’s Kitchen community, making him a friend to many in all walks of life. Read More »
Agnieszka Holland To Direct Season 3 ‘House Of Cards’ Episodes
Agnieszka Holland has signed to helm multiple episodes of the upcoming season of Netflix‘s signature drama House Of Cards. The veteran Polish director most recently helmed the NBC miniseries Rosemary’s Baby and European mini Burning Bush along with episode of HBO’s Treme — scoring an Emmy nom for its pilot — and AMC’s The Killing. Her TV credits also include Cold Case and The Wire. Holland, a 1992 Oscar nominee for her adapted screenplay Europa, Europa, will helm some midseason episodes of House Of Cards, but there’s no word on where on when she will shoot.
France’s Webedia Acquires German Film Site Moviepilot
French online publishing company Webedia has completed an asset deal to purchase Germany’s leading film website, moviepilot.de for €15 million ($20 million). The site recorded 11 million hits per month and more than 5 million monthly users in the first quarter. The deal gives Webedia controls of Germany’s two largest film websites, as moviepilot.de joins with Filmstarts, the German subsidiary of French property Allocine. Webedia said both brands will continue to operate independently moving forward.