It was a bad news/good news kind of day for Netflix as it reported its quarterly earnings. If, back in April, the streamer had reported a loss of just under a million subscribers, there would have been the same freak-out we witnessed where the company lost 70% of its share value after reporting a subscriber loss for the first time. But today, after projecting a 2 million sub loss, Netflix reported just 970,000 lost subs and Wall Street rewarded them. Stocks surged 6% for Netflix. Competing media companies Disney, Paramount, and Warner Brothers Discovery all saw stock prices go up.

Media Stocks Rally Around Netflix Subscriber Numbers
Shares of Disney, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery all closed higher and continued to gain in after-hours trading when Netflix, the dominant streamer, lost fewer subscribers in the June quarter th…

In further good news, Netflix reported that its share of total TV viewing in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 7.7% in June, up from 6.6% in June 2021.

Netflix Touts Record 7.7% Share Of Total TV Viewing In June, Defends Binge-Release Model As Key Part Of Its “Significant Long Term Business Advantage”
Netflix jumped ahead of Thursday’s planned release by Nielsen of monthly viewership through TV sets, revealed in its second-quarter shareholder letter today that its share of total TV viewing…

And the ad-tier for Netflix? It rolls out in early 2023, but the company isn't revealing which markets will be first to get the new tier.

Netflix To Launch Advertising Tier In “Early Part” Of 2023
Netflix said it’s targeting an early 2023 launch for a cheaper advertising tier as it seeks to stem subscriber losses and hopefully turn them back up. It will roll the plan out in a handful o…

Netflix to buy Animal Logic

In an effort to support its own animation production, Netflix has purchased animation studio Animal Logic, best known for Happy Feet and The Lego Movie.

Netflix is acquiring the animation studio behind The Lego Movie
Netflix is making another investment into animation.

Game of Thrones deep dive: The war of the five pitches

Those interested in Game of Thrones will want to take a look at the must-read article from James Hibberd at THR. It is about the road from Game of Thrones to the production of the new prequel House of The Dragon.

It is about HBO, a company that has not been in the franchise business, wading its way through the next step of commissioning a follow-up series. The article dives deep into the five pitches for new shows, built off the back of 15 concepts that had been developed. It also dives into why we never saw Bloodmoon, the GoT series that saw a pilot filmed with Naomi Watts, but was never released.

Why wasn't it released? The answer seems to be that the show just wasn't great enough.

HBO's Casey Bloys:

“It required a lot more invention; it was higher risk, higher reward ... There wasn’t anything glaringly wrong with it. Development and pilots are hard.”
Inside ‘House of the Dragon’ Part 1: The Battle to Replace ‘Game of Thrones’
The first part in a behind-the-scenes chronicle of HBO’s years-long campaign to franchise its biggest hit of all time, featuring warring pitches, an abandoned pilot and the George R.R. Martin superfan who earned the keys to the kingdom.

#ReleaseTheSnyderCut... or maybe don't and save $100m

You may be shocked to learn that many of the accounts demanding Warner Bros release the Snyder Cut of his Justice League movie were in fact fake. The article suggests that director Zack Snyder himself wasn't entirely innocent in any of this, just one of many bad-faith grifters.

Also, you may be forgiven for not remembering any of this. To recap:

  • Warner Bros spent $250m to make Zack Snyder's Batman vs Superman film. It brought in $874m at the box office. Huge risk for a relatively paltry reward.
  • In 2017, Warner Bros execs saw an early cut of Snyder's follow-up Justice League movie. Realizing they made a big mistake, the execs hired the then-popular Joss Whedon (remember that guy?) to oversee reshoots with a reworked script. That film cost $300m to make and made just $658m at the box office. Huger risk, paltrier reward.
  • A huge social media campaign followed, with Snyder fans aggressively demanding that Zack Snyder's original vision for Justice League be released for the world to 'enjoy'. The toxic bullying was eventually rewarded with HBO Max announcing that it would release the Snyder Cut on the new streaming service. It is believed to have cost approx $100m to birth into the world.

But weirdly, as soon as HBO Max released the Snyder Cut, social media got relatively quiet about it. And why is that? Well, a lot of them were bots, y'see.

There are lessons that should be learned from this. Money was lost, reputations, damaged, and innocents bullied.

Thankfully, in the end, the fans got what they wanted: a bloated piece of s**t film.

Exclusive: Fake Accounts Fueled the ‘Snyder Cut’ Online Army
A WarnerMedia report reveals that bots and other inauthentic users bolstered the fan-led campaign for director Zack Snyder’s Justice League do-over

Bots for fun and profit

Just a quick reminder that the Zack Snyder Justice League incident isn't the first or last time we will see bots used to wage misinfo campaigns online in an effort to move the needle on a real-life result...

The Depp-Heard trial is monstrous. It’s just the start.
Amber Heard is just the first target of a new extremist playbook.

Mad Men turns 15, Oz 25

Happy 15th anniversary to Mad Men, maybe my all-time favourite TV series. It debuted on 19 July 2007. If you still haven't pressed play on the show, you really should reconsider whatever it is you are doing with your life, quite frankly. The good news is, the show is just waiting for you to press play on it.

The show is a reminder of a more innocent time often considered the good old days...

The office landscape depicted in Mad Men is a discordant symphony of microaggressions. The only people of colour are secretaries. LGBTQ people keep their true sexual identities to themselves. The women are routinely belittled, patronised and subjected to what we would now regard as textbook sexual harrassment.
Mad Men at 15: how the genius advertising drama foresaw the death of the American dream
From the micro-aggressions toward Black, female and LGBTQ characters to its depiction of a worrying narcissist named Donald, this forward-thinking drama was a warning from history

If you want to see where the dawn of premium TV cable shows began, it wasn't with The Sopranos or Sex & The City. Instead look to HBO's Oz, which debuted 25 years ago on July 12, 1997.

In addition to being an incredible, still very edgy prison drama, the show has an incredible cast who all got their first big break on the show. JK Simmons, Christopher Meloni, and Edie Falco being the most notable. Also, check it out for an incredible 'Sideshow' Luke Perry role.

Oz Premiered 25 Years Ago, Birthing Prestige TV With It
Before The Sopranos, HBO gave us a prison drama that set the stage for the next quarter-century of TV.
  • A Law & Order: Organized Crime crew member has bene fatally shot on set. A police investigation is taking place into the crime. Read: Deadline
  • It looks like Aussie soap Neighbours will end with a wedding for "Toadie". Read: Radio Times
  • Production of British TV dramas could be disrupted as part of a union dispute. Read: The Guardian
  • Hugh Jackman has joined the cast of Koala Man, an upcoming Hulu animated comedy. Read: Variety
  • Lightyear debuts August 3 on Disney+. Read: Deadline
  • Breeders has been renewed for a fourth season. Read: Radio Times
  • Desus & Mero has ended on Showtime, with the two hosts not really on speaking terms, it seems. And thus ends my multi-year intent to watch the show sometime. Read: NYT

The Fool debuts August 12 on Hulu.

Look Both Ways debuts on Netflix August 17.

On the night of her college graduation, Natalie's life splits into parallel realities after she takes a pregnancy test. What will life and love bring?

Tekken: Bloodline debuts on Netflix August 18.

After losing his home to a powerful enemy, a hot-tempered fighter trains under his zealous grandfather while awaiting his chance for revenge.

Fullmetal Alchemist: The Revenge of Scar debuts on Netflix 20 August. Fullmetal Alchemist: The Final Alchemy debuts Sept 24.

In this sequel to the first feature film, the Elric brothers meet their toughest opponent yet - a lone serial killer with a large scar on his forehead.

That's it for today. Will tomorrow be as busy a newsletter? Only one way to find out...