Weekly News Round Up: Day & Date Streaming is a 'Winning Strategy', While AMC Add More US Theatres.
Day-And-Date Streaming Is “Winning Strategy”, But Consumer Bond With Movies Is “Greater Now Than It’s Ever Been”, WarnerMedia & Universal Execs Say
…a conversation featuring Jim Wuthrich, president of home entertainment and content licensing at WarnerMedia, and Michael Bonner, Universal’s home entertainment president. “There are definitely implications and impacts from model to model” related to streaming, Bonner said, “but the bottom line is, there’s more engagement and that is a net good thing for content. It’s working very, very well in the home right now across all of these models; not just one, but all of them.”
Wuthrich said Warner Bros. is “seeing a pretty good overlap” between movie ticket buyers and people watching on HBO Max, which has committed to day-and-date film releases in 2021. He did not offer any specifics, and noted that the “jury is out” on the final financial performance of films because all of the adjustments are so recent...Asked directly if the day-and-date strategy has spurred subscription gains, Wuthrich replied, “It’s been a winning strategy for us, particularly during Covid.” AT&T last month said HBO and HBO Max together had 47 million subscribers as of June 30, an increase of 2.8 million in the quarter.
"Consumer engagement is much greater now than its ever been, just earlier in films’ life cycle,” Bonner said. “That is just creating trade-offs. We’ll just continue to make trade-offs in terms of transactional revenues, licensing revenues that drive subscription revenues. This is going to play out, it’s still really fluid.”
Owning favorite film or TV titles — via electronic sell-through or even, yes, physical discs — is an important tool in the studio toolbox, both executives said. Physical sales are inexorably declining, they admitted, but remain an active choice for some 35 million U.S. households. Ownership in any format can be a good hedge for consumers. “It’s not an either/or,” Wuthrich said. “The people who buy and own [movies] are the same ones that generally are going to theaters. They’re the same ones who subscribe to more than one SVOD service. They love the category, they love the content. Ownership gives them one more way to express their fandom.”
Sony completes £850m purchase of anime streaming platform Crunchyroll
Sony has acquired the SVoD from WarnerMedia parent company AT&T through its anime firm Funimation Global Group – a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment subsidiary Aniplex. Crunchyroll has 5m subscribers and 120m registered users globally, with a broad media and entertainment focus that includes AVoD (ad-based video on demand), mobile gaming, events, merchandise and distribution. Following the deal, Crunchyroll will expand distribution and its content offering.
Movie Theater Owners Open to Requiring Proof of Covid Vaccination Throughout U.S.
“In order for the exhibition industry to fully recover, we need more people to be vaccinated. It’s pure science. The rates of shots had went quite well for a while in the U.S. and then they dropped off. We need them to keep going,” National Association of Theatre Owners president John Fithian said in the THR interview…"Don’t get me wrong. There are going to be some lost ticket sales in the short term. Working through how we implement it and how we deal with the economics are challenges, but we’re not going to oppose it, because people need to get vaccinated.”
Per THR’s findings, “Moviegoing comfort levels have dropped dramatically in recent weeks in the U.S. as delta variant cases increase, according to the National Research Group. The comfort level was at a pandemic-era best 81 percent on July 11; as of Monday, it was 67 percent. The impact is being felt at the box office.”
Cineworld Cuts First Half Operating Loss to $209 Million, Remains Bullish on Release Windows, Mulls U.S. Listing
The operating losses are vastly lower compared to the same period in 2020 when the group posted a loss of $1.34 billion. The group operates in 10 countries including the U.S. and the U.K. with 759 sites and 9,269 screens globally.
Addressing the ongoing discussions around theatrical release windows, the group noted: “In view of the situation related to COVID-19, the studios entered into various experiments which we believe ultimately will lead to a situation whereby there is a theatrical window but it is shorter than in the past and dependent on the theatrical revenue potential of the movie itself. Currently, movies are being released with windows that are anywhere between 0-60 days. We expect that by 2022, the window will stabilize to somewhere between 20 and 60 days, but subject to each movie’s potential.”
AMC Entertainment In Deal With Warner Bros For 45-Day Theatrical Window In 2022
Warners previously hammered out a 45-day theatrical window with No. 2 circuit Cineworld, and its U.S. counterpart Regal, earlier this year…“We’re especially pleased that Warners has has decided to move away from day-and-date releases and commit to theatrical windows as well,” said Aron. “We’re having conversations with other movie studios in Hollywood.”
AMC Adds Several New Theaters This Year, With Most Being Previous Arclight Leases
We already knew that AMC Entertainment took over two older Pacific Theatres leases at Rick Caruso’s The Grove in L.A. and Americana at Brand in Glendale. On Monday, CEO Adam Aron said on the exhibitor’s earnings call that eight out of his upcoming 10 new locations are former Arclight venues. He didn’t name which specific Arclight leases he was taking over outside of The Grove and American, but mentioned that he has signed a lease or letter of intent with three locations in LA, two in Chicago and one in Atlanta. Aron also mentioned there’s a dozen new builds underway in 2022 for AMC.
Cineplex Launches $10-Per-Month Movie Ticket Program As Losses Widen
The film subscription service CineClub will offer one regular admission ticket per-month and discounts on concessions and other benefits.
Why Netflix Is Targeting the Japanese TV Market
Kaata Sakamoto, Netflix’s head of content for Japan, says nearly every show on his slate of more than 50 Japanese scripted originals is something unlikely to have been attempted by Japan’s increasingly conservative and cost-focused domestic TV industry. Unsurprisingly, Netflix’s large investments in Japanese originals come at a moment when Asia — and Japan in particular — are becoming increasingly important to the streamer’s growth prospects as new sign-ups in North America and Western Europe plateau. In the second quarter of 2021, Netflix added just 1.5 million subscribers globally, with two-thirds of them coming from Asia.
Thanks to big subscriber gains by Disney+ and others in developing markets like India and Southeast Asia, Netflix’s share of total premium video subscribers in Asia-Pacific (not including China, where foreign video services are banned) is forecast to drop by half to 16 percent by the end of 2021 compared with the 32 percent share it had at the end of 2020, according to estimates from regional consultancy Media Partners Asia. But since the bulk of Disney’s gains, so far, have come in those developing markets, where earnings per user are low, Netflix’s share of total subscription video revenue in Asia is projected to remain stable at 35% in 2021 versus 34% last year.