A daily newsletter guide to what is happening on your screens - TV, streaming, movies, games, VR, AR
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.
Disney's plans to take over the world with streaming
Disney owns planet Earth now - we're just watching their stories on it.
In the US Disney+ is thought of in one way - it's where you go for all of your Disney shows and movies - if you want more grown up stuff, you also need to subscribe to the Disney-owned Hulu. In Australia, the UK, and a number of other territories it is where you can get your Disney content, but it also has more adult shows now thanks to the Star tab within the app.
But in India - it's where you go to watch Cricket. There it is a service called Disney Plus Hotstar, a rebrand of the former Star India - a former pay TV service owned by Fox which was bundled into the acquisition of Fox assets purchased by Disney.
Back in 2017 Star India paid $2.55 billion for rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament for 2018-2022. Those rights are up again and Disney Plus Hotstar will be bidding aggressively.
But it's not just sport on platform. The service has a number of original series which will eventually make their way to international audiences. So, expect to see a whole lot of content from India soon available via Hulu & Star.
Variety spoke to Sunil Rayan, President of Disney Plus Hotstar:
Rayan declined to reveal production budgets, shows where the subjects demand it, like period epic “The Empire,” which charts the growth of the Moghul dynasty, and “Luther” adaptation “Rudra,” have large spends, including on VFX.
The Disney Plus Hotstar originals are currently available only to South Asian audiences, but this could well change with the cream of them likely to make it to Hulu in the U.S. and to the streamer’s Star-branded tile in the rest of the world.
“It is an objective for us that we want creators out of India to have a global platform. Because if we feel like we can provide a global platform, more creators will actually come to us and we want to see more Indian creators be accessible throughout the globe,” says Rayan.
And speaking of Star...
Disney can't use the Star+ brand as planned in Brazil.
The Lionsgate-owned Starz won a court case preventing Disney from launching the stand-alone service under that name. There were no similar lawsuits in Europe where Starz operates as a service, as Disney were only using the Star brand within the Disney+ app.
Heads-up for Aussie ABW readers
Two quick Binge things - if you're looking for the new doco Woodstock 99: Peace, Love, and Rage, that dropped on Aussie streaming service Binge on Monday night. I'm also reviewing it on this week'sScreen Watchingpodcast.
Also, a few months ago I was talking up some not good, but highly watchable TV movies The Unauthorized 90210 Story and it's sequel The Unauthorized Melrose Place Story. They're finally getting a Binge release on August 1.
I had a blast watching both.
Also, if you're looking for classic TV series, can I recommend that you check out Tubi. The local Australian version isn't as good library-wise as the US version, but there's a lot of free-to-stream classic shows on there like The Patty Duke Show, That Girl, The Carol Burnett Show, Petticoat Junction, The Joey Bishop Show, Car 54 Where Are You, Four Star Playhouse, a collection of Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life, and a whole lot more. The holy grail show on there, I say, is the SNL clone Fridays, which had a cast including Larry David, Michael Richards, and Rich Hall.
If you're not surprised that Goliath is returning for a fourth season, you might be curious to know that the show will be back on Amazon Prime Video Sept 24. Read: thefutoncritic
Everybody Hates Chris is coming back to TV... as an animated series. Read: /Film
Warner Bros Pictures has picked up the rights to SXSW award-winner film The Fallout. It'll stream in territories that have HBO Max, but will be released into cinemas elsewhere by Warners. Read: Deadline
NBC News will add 200 new jobs as it pushes into streaming. Read: Axios
The new Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer was released this morning. I like that they are doing something different with the franchise - the comedic framework for Ghostbusters made sense back in 1984, felt less relevant in 1989 with the sequel, and was dead in the water for the 2016 reboot. But I do suspect that the delays in releasing the film due to COVID has resulted in this Stranger Things-influenced take on Ghostbusters seeming a little stale in 2021
The film is out in cinemas from November.
Only Murders in The Building debuts on Hulu August 31. It will stream internationally on Disney+'s Star.
Cooking With Paris debuts August 4 on Netflix.
Tamil anthology series Navarasa debuts August 6 on Netflix.
The Ms Pat Show debuts on BET+August 12.
What's next? Tomorrow.
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