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Dan Barrett is an industry commentator & TV critic. He does radio - 4BC & ABC GC and co-hosts the Screen Watching podcast. He's a former Mediaweek deputy editor and content creator for SBS.
Bond avoids a streaming dump
ALSO: RIP Mindhunter. AND: Kayo bends its paywall.
No Time To Stream, Mr Bond
Netflix, Apple, and other streaming services kicked the tires on the new James Bond film No Time To Die with MGM seeking to offload the film to a streaming service, bypassing a theatrical release.
The deal would have been for $600 million, but no deal was struck. Further complicating the deal is international distribution partner Universal, producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson, and commercial product placement deals with companies expecting a big screen promotional tie-in (which is seen as more prestigious).
Ultimately the big question is whether Bond at that price point would really benefit anybody? $600 million is a lot of money for a subscriber bump that would be either negligible for a streamer like Netflix, or fleeting for pretty much every other streamer. One could imagine HBO Max benefitting from the Bond audience with its content that is pitched at being a bit more traditional in style and more prestigious than its youthier streaming competitors. But AT&T spending $600 million on a promotional exercise at a time when it is cutting costs everywhere else across the business? Not likely.
Australian sports streamer Kayo will make some sports available via its platform for free. Kayo says it is because not every sport is comfortable being behind a paywall that limits growth as a sport.
Foxtel's move is a pivot from the original strategy for Kayo, which involved a hard paywall. The decision to change the model could be perceived in two ways – either it is struggling to attract the subscriber numbers it needs with its current model, or it has recognised the desire for mass audiences by some sports codes. Foxtel claims it's the latter. Kayo currently has more than 600,000 paid subscribers.
A hard paywall does not necessarily appeal to smaller sporting codes such as motorsports, surfing or volleyball that are focused on boosting audiences.
And that makes all the sense in the world to me. Especially for sports that have a strong focus on youth audiences. These audiences aren’t watching broadcast TV in the way they once did. But they’re also probably not spending $15 a month on sports streaming subscription either.
I’d fully expect major football codes to demand some games every week sit outside the paywall too. It keeps the sporting codes accessible, plus this is a win for Kayo as well which can drive better advertising revenue with higher volume audiences, but also use regular engagement with the platform as a way to drive conversions to the paid experience.
David Fincher confirms Mindhunter isn’t coming back (anytime soon)
Maybe if more of you jackals had watched Netflix series Mindhunter, one of TV’s best would be back for a much-deserved third-season.
Here’s series creator David Fincher on the subject:
“Listen, for the viewership that it had, it was a very expensive show,” Fincher continued. “We talked about, ‘Finish Mank and then see how you feel,’ but I honestly don’t think we’re going to be able to do it for less than I did season two. And on some level, you have to be realistic — dollars have to equal eyeballs.”
Vanity Fair has a really good feature story on Eric Andre. In the piece he addresses the decision by co-star on The Eric Andre show Hannibal Buress to not return for the fifth season.
When Andre told Buress his plan for season five, though, Buress declined to return to the series. “He was like, ‘I don’t know, man. We’ve been doing it for a while. I’m down to keep collaborating, I just don’t wanna do the show anymore,’” Andre says. “I was heartbroken. Devastated…. The more I tried to talk him into it, the more I could tell he was pushing away.” (Buress’s rep declined to comment.)
Andre did, at least, convince Buress to quit the series on camera, so fans wouldn’t think the two of them had had a falling out. “He’s evolved and become very, very, very successful,” Andre says, zen about Buress’s exit. “I’m proud of him, so I totally get it.”
But that doesn’t mean that Buress is entirely gone from the show…
The show handles Buress’s departure by cloning one of his nose hairs to create “Blannibal,” a Frankenstein’s monster-esque clone played by James Hazley, a rock musician who they found on Craigslist. He fits perfectly into the Eric Andre Show universe, a cast that is largely comprised of Black and brown folks with outré artistic sensibilities—like Lakeith Stanfield, a longtime superfan, and Felipe Esparza, two new additions to the show this season.
And just because I think it is great to get some smack talk into the newsletter, here’s Andre commenting on Ellen Degeneres and calls to have her show cancelled (Andre was also the subject of a petition to be installed as host of her daytime chat show, so this isn’t commentary out of nowhere…):
“We have a psychopath in the White House and we’re in the longest war of all time. It seems like small potatoes compared to the world crumbling into these right-wing authoritarian dictatorships and these industrialized nations,” he says. “Boohoo, Ellen was mean. Who gives a shit? I never thought she was nice! She seems like she’d be like, ‘Fucking get me a coffee! Now!’”
“Is that what cancel culture’s devolved to? ‘That guy’s not nice!’ James Corden is fucked if that’s the only criteria to get called out,” Andre continues, laughing mordantly. “James Corden and Lorne Michaels are screwed! They’re trembling in their fucking boots.”
Netflix VP Original Series - Drama Nina Wolarsky is yet another longtime Netflix exec moving on from the streamer. Source: Deadline
Simon Kinberg has been brought on to ruin the feature film Battlestar Galactica. Source: Variety
Quibi is expected to shut down on Dec 1. Source: The Verge
A lot of speculation over the weekend that CNN chief Jeff Zucker will be gone in 2021. One assumes the next boss at CNN will have a better handle on CNN’s digital output, which is pretty weak. Also, hopefully they take seriously CNN International which is great in concept, unwatchable in execution. Read: Variety
The consolidation of companies within WarnerMedia continues with Max Films, responsible for making movies for HBO Max, absorbed into Warner Bros Picture Group. Source: Variety
Fox News has unveiled its election technology for the big day in just over a week’s time. Read: TV News Check
Celebrate the 25th anniversary of girl movie Now and Then. Read: NYT
New York Undercover ready to hit the streets again
I understand why Hollywood reboots and remakes established properties. They have recognised titles and built-in fan bases. But, what is the value when it is a property that has zero cultural impact and is barely remembered by anyone?
New York Undercover is coming back. This time as a series on Peacock.