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.
Netflix viewing numbers in Australia revealed! Also: More Game of Thrones and The Sopranos on the way.
Always Be Watching is curated by Dan Barrett who subscribes to too many/not enough streaming services.
How many people are watching Netflix in Australia? The answer is: a lot. 5.3 million people, apparently. This is based on a study by AMPD Research, a subsidiary of Media Partners Asia.
How are Netflix competitors faring?
Stan - 1.4 million YouTube Premium - 1 million Amazon Prime Video - 600,000 Foxtel Now - 500,000
The average household pays $35.30 per month for 1.9 streaming services, with the average viewer watching almost 10 hours per week of TV series and movies.
Around 50 per cent of pay-TV households also subscribe to an SVOD service, the survey of 2,100 Australians aged 15-plus, conducted from April 6-15, found.
According to the study, 75% of respondents also said that they would like to see more local content. Some questions I have around this:
Is this a desire that isn’t always acted upon? Kind of like how I say I would like to watch season 2 of GLOW, but it has just stayed in my queue for a good year or so now. What is the value of making local content if it isn’t being watched? Or isn’t being seen to completion.
Should we be relying on global streaming services to be delivering us local content? I get annoyed at complaints that ‘Netflix doesn’t have many old, classic movies’ - sure, but maybe it’s then on you to subscribe to / utilise a service that does. Netflix isn’t all things to all people - it’s just a general entertainment channel. If we want local content, we need to develop and fund a local platform that can sustain itself.
Michelle Forbes (“Star Trek: TNG”), Patrick Fugit (“Outcast”), Michael Gaston (“The Leftovers”), Tess Haubrich (“Alien: Covenant”) and Bollywood star Shruti Haasan have joined the cast of Treadstone: a CIA crime drama spun-off from the Bourne movies starring Matt Damon and Hawkeye.
It is weird hearing that Michelle Forbes has been cast - she was recently in the already very similar Berlin Station.
There’s an interesting article over at Polygon examining the fascist themes that run through Attack On Titan - both the manga and the anime. Well worth a read if you’re familiar with the show. It’s a slog for those who aren’t.
These parallels haven’t been lost on the viewing and reading public. In an essay for Women Write About Comics shortly after the anime began, writer Vernieda Vergara pointed out that Isayama is old enough to have lived through the Great Recession (and, it should be noted, grew up during and after Japan’s 1990s economic bubble burst). The rise of his work also coincides with the election of current Japanese prime minister and right-wing militarist Shinzo Abe, who infamously reinterpreted Article 9 of Japan’s constitution — written by the U.S. after WWII, it forbids Japan from having a standing army — to give Japan the ability to increase its self-defense forces and attack when one of its allies is attacked.
And speaking of Japanese TV, there’s a fascinating piece on the New York Times about a new show I Will Not Work Overtime, Period!. The show examines the cultural issues around Japanese workers feeling pressured to put in long hours at work.
Japanese workers put in some of the world’s longest hours. In 2017, over a quarter of the country’s full-time employees worked an average of more than 49 hours a week, according to a government report, effectively working six out of seven days.
In some extreme cases, that dedication to the workplace can lead to death. In 2017, government data showed, overwork claimed 190 lives — in the form of exhaustion, heart attacks, suicides — a figure that has stayed more or less constant over the last decade.
I’m also reminded of Netflix series Kantaro: The Sweet-Toothed Salary Man, which is based around a Japanese man who is so in love with sweets that he finds a new job that allows him to leave the office to indulge in some stealthy dessert consumption. The humour in the show comes from his efforts to sneak out of the office and away from the watchful eye of his boss.