It ended not with a bang, but a whimper.
I am a big believer in the value of FAST TV services as playing a vital role in the future of TV consumption - with hundreds of free linear channels it offers lean back TV that replicates the cable TV linear experience of flicking channels. It wins out over cable by being free.
It is not a like for like replacement, but when looking at an industry in decline as a result of one of many deep cuts, FAST TV wields a pretty significant blade.
Keep that in mind as you consider these three stories...
Comcast loses more subscribers. Again.
In Q3, Comcast reports losing 561,000 cable TV subscribers. That is the third quarter in a row of significant subscriber number losses. It is seeing increases in broadband Internet subscribers and in Peacock subscriber numbers, so all is not doom and gloom for the company. But that cable TV subscriber loss number seems to be accelerating with every quarter (Q2 - 521,000).
Peacock says gobble gobble to Hallmark
Hallmark, popular purveyor of low quality, but highly watchable TV movies, is launching on Peacock.
All three Hallmark linear channels will be added to the Peacock FAST collection of channels - that's Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, and Hallmark Drama. On-demand programming will also be available on Peacock - current-season programming available live and on-demand next day as well as a library of movies.
It is a smart move for Peacock. Like moving Days of Our Lives to Peacock (highly complimentary to Hallmark), and signing WWE to distribute its content on platform (presumably there's little crossover with Hallmark viewers), it makes Peacock a whole lot more sticky for subscribers. Meanwhile it benefits Hallmark with an off-ramp from cable without being forced to survive on its own SVOD platform in a post-cable world.
Of course, Hallmark already has an SVOD service, but it is fair to suggest that subscriber numbers aren't quite at the volume to keep the ship afloat. Hallmark makes sense as a product that exists in a package - for many viewers it isn't a destination in itself.
Pluto TV boosts library with more Paramount Global content
This is more of a media release story than a legitimate news story as much of this programming has been available on FAST service Pluto TV for some time. But apparently a new internal deal has been strick to add some 6300 episodes to Pluto TV from the library held by Paramount Global. Crucially this includes favourite shows like Frasier, Cheers, and, uh, Webster.
This is mostly Pluto TV reminding the industry of what is happening on platform (Pluto is oft-ignored by industry reporters). Similarly, you can hear Pluto TV Tom Ryan chief on The Town podcast this week talking up Pluto.
- Marvel is running out of superheroes to adapt: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II will star as Wonder Man in a Disney+ series. Read: Deadline
- Stargirl, a show that I've been led to believe exists but have never known anyone to have entered the forrest to see the tree fall, has just been cancelled by The CW after three seasons. Read: THR
- Morgan Freeman is in talks to reprise his role from the movie Lucy in a spin-off TV series of the 2014 film. Read: Variety
- Cristin Milioti is joining The Penguin TV series as Sofia Falcone, the female lead. Read: Deadline
- Amazon is launching a block of sports talk shows - watch out ESPN! Read: THR
- Peacock has given the greenlight to a Friday The 13th prequel series from A24, which will be helmed by Bryan Fuller. Read: THR
That's it from me today. Marvel in amazement that I was able to do the newsletter from my phone today after misplacing my usual machine...
(Related... this weeks Screen Watching podcast is on its way...)