Embracing the spirit of legendary film critics Siskel & Ebert, Netflix now has a way for users to say they really, really like something. No longer is a simple thumbs up/thumbs down your only options to push the algorithm towards material you dig - a new two thumbs-up button will be introduced on platform today to tell Netflix you're in serious like with the show/movie you just watched.
NBC Universal reconsiders Australian strategy
In recent weeks/months, talk has been cooling off surrounding the idea of NBC Universal launching Peacock in Australia anytime soon. Off the table, apparently, is a rumoured partnership with Seven West Media in Australia (I guess to co-brand the 7Plus streaming service, which already feels a lot like the Peacock offering in the US with a fairly deep library of content and a number of streaming linear channels). Also, it seems safe to assume that NBCU won't partner up in Australia with Paramount on a joint streaming service as they have in European territories.
It seems that the plan when current content deals expire at the end of the year is just to pursue short-term deals locally, selling as a third-party distributor as NBCU has in the past. The only difference possibly being an exit-clause that enables the company to terminate the deal early if they change strategy and do launch Peacock locally.
The thing that Australians miss when thinking about Peacock as a service is that it mostly isn't especially very good. The library has some decent titles in it - a couple of good originals (I really like the upcoming Killing it) and some deep library titles, but it has all the signs of a legacy giant offering a streamer because it feels it should, but isn't yet willing to go all in. Parent company Comcast still makes massive profits from its legacy cable business and doesn't want to play a role in disrupting that more than it already is.
The broadly held assumption is that when NBCU is ready to get serious about streaming, it'll need scale - so Comcast may swoop in and buy another large media giant (prime target: Warner Bros Discovery, but failing that, Paramount if they must). Until then, Peacock is a trifle. Something it isn't hugely serious about. Right now, NBCU isn't playing the land grab game. It is waiting patiently for its time to play a bigger role in streaming (and quietly hoping that it's not too late to get on board).
This is the new Warner Bros Discovery logo. At a certain point you have to wonder: Why are they persisting with Discovery in the name of the corporate brand? Yeah, I get that Discovery have bought WarnerMedia from AT&T and so are the winners in this, but Warner Bros is such a stronger, more recognised, more beloved name. And that is clear from the new logo, where "Discovery" seems an afterthought...
Warner Bros Discovery will host its first combined upfront on May 18. A big day for the newly united company.
- Walker Scobell was the kid in the recent netflix film The Adam Project. He will star as Percy Jackson in the new Disney+ show. Read: Variety
- iOS16 is set to be released soon by Apple and the code for Apple's operating system upgrade has a lot of references to its upcoming VR headset, which indicates we'll see it released within the next 12 months. Read: UploadVR
- The Batman will start streaming on HBO Max from next week. Read: The Verge
- Spike Lee is launching She's Gotta Have It NFTs. Jeez, Spike... Read: THR
- Aussie pay TV giant Foxtel has put plans for its IPO on hold as media stock prices continue to cool. I'd be surprised to not see the plans back on the table in the back half of this year. Read: Mediaweek
- Larry David has confirmed he'll be back for a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. How this wasn't the lead story in today's newsletter is as much a mystery to me as it is to you. Read: The AV Club
- Peacock is developing a live-action Casper: The Friendly Ghost series. Read: Deadline
Rebel Wilson's Netflix film Senior Year debuts 13 May.
The new David Simon HBO show We Own This City debuts April 25. It stars Jon Bernthal.
June 10 is the return date for one of TV's most sneaky-great TV dramas For All Mankind. It returns for season 3 on Apple TV+.
The director of Your Name (please, if you haven't seen this anime movie, do so. Even if anime isn't your usual thing. It's streaming on Netflix) has a new movie coming soon. Suzume no Tojimari releases in Japan in November, with international releases to follow.
That's it for today. Tomorrow: a mid-week newsletter conveniently timed for mid-week.