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Netflix Spending Big on Original Content

“Netflix plans to spend an estimated 17.3 billion this year with a large portion of those funds earmarked for original content.”

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Netflix CEO and Co-Founder Reed Hastings doesn’t care whether you are watching reruns of an old favorite too many times to count or experiencing a Netflix Original for the first time. He knows people are subscribing to the streaming service in record numbers. Netflix recently announced 26 million new subscribers in the first half of 2020, giving the company approximately 193 million subscribers in total.

“Consumers don’t really care how we do it,” Reed said in an interview with Yahoo! Finance. “What they care (about) is that we have some of the best series and the best films that anyone’s ever produced. We care really about what are the options that we have for consumers, rather than how and who produces it.”

Hastings and Netflix have put their money where their mouth is, shelling out 15 billion dollars on content in 2019, putting the company on par with other industry leaders Viacom/CBS and just behind Comcast at 15.4 billion. Disney leads the way, spending 27.8 billion dollars on content.

Netflix plans to reach deeper in their pockets this year as they will spend an estimated 17.3 billion with a large portion of those funds earmarked for original content, according to BMO Capital Markets analyst Dan Salmon.

Some of the most anticipated original programming will feature Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife, American actress Meghan Markle, after the couple recently cut ties with the Royal Family. Other original shows that have created industry buzz are Enola Holmesstaring Mille Bobbie Brown (who rose to stardom in the Netflix Original Stanger Things) and Challenger: Final Flight, a documentary which examines the events surrounding the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger.

Some other original programming such as Cuties has been widely met with criticism due to perceived sexualization of children. It has caused the hashtag #CancelNetflix to trend on Twitter in recent days.  But Hastings doesn’t seem to mind the controversy or the fact that he is being out-spent by other companies.

“They’re doing a lot of things that are interesting, but we’re focused on being a great entertainment company,” Hastings said. “We’re never going to be all of entertainment. Other people are going to do other shows.”

Story written by BNM contributor Jacob Conley. Follow him on Twitter @GWUJake.

News Print & Digital

Futuri Creates Program that Turns User Content into Video

The platform is reportedly gaining popularity among television broadcasters following the release of a new version tailored to their needs.

Eduardo Razo

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Audience engagement company Futuri has created a new program called POST. The platform allows its users to upload audio, add texts and images and turn the content into video. 

The platform is reportedly gaining popularity among television broadcasters following the release of a new version tailored to their needs. According to Inside Radio, more television companies look to capitalize on the growing audio medium to reach their audiences. 

“Today’s audiences don’t think of media brands only in terms of ‘TV’ or ‘radio’. Quality content, be it video or audio, is what gets consumers engaged,” said Futuri CEO Daniel Anstandig.

POST comes equipped with scheduling tools, video tools, and search engine optimization. In addition to ingesting and automatically editing a TV newscast’s audio feed, Futuri says the TV version of POST will also swap out the television commercials with programmatic ad markers.

“The way we’ve customized the POST podcasting systems for the unique needs of television broadcasters will help them quickly capture the audience and revenue growth opportunities that the explosive growth of audio has created,” added Anstandig. 

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Washington Post Tells Staff to “Comply Now” with Work Policy

The Post has put an ultimatum to its staffers who are not showing up to the offices for the three days they require or face the consequences.

Eduardo Razo

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The Washington Post has put an ultimatum to its staffers who are not showing up to the offices for the three days they require; they can either come back or face “disciplinary action.”

In an email sent throughout the company, Post chief human resources officer Wayne Connell called on staff to “comply now” with the newspaper’s work policy. 

After re-opening its offices on March 15, the publication demands that its staff be in the office “at least three days per week.” 

“If you haven’t complied with our 3/2 policy since our March return, or you haven’t complied consistently, we’d like to underscore the need to comply now,” the statement read, per Mediaite

“Beginning this Monday, June 27, please ensure that you are in the office at least three days per week, assuming you are not on approved days off such as vacation time, sick time, etc. Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action.”

Connell adds that the Post is being fair with its demands to have their staff come in three times a week, striking the right balance by allowing employees to work from home and having the office experience that a Zoom meeting can’t replicate.

“We believe this companywide policy strikes the right balance, allowing both in-office collaboration and greater levels of flexibility than before the pandemic, and it’s only fair that we enforce this policy consistently,” the statement concluded. 

“We continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the 3/2 model and reserve the right to make changes in the future. In the meantime, please do your part in helping us meet these expectations.”

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The Obamas Agree to Content Deal with Audible

The exclusive, worldwide, multi-project, multi-year first-look production deal will see the collaboration supporting Higher Ground’s commitment to audio.

Eduardo Razo

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Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama left Spotify in April. It didn’t take them long to find a new home for their content as the Obamas’ media company, Higher Ground, and Audible have reached a multi-year deal.

press release announced the exclusive, worldwide, multi-project, multi-year first-look production deal will see the collaboration supporting Higher Ground’s commitment to audio.

“At Higher Ground, we have always sought to lift up voices that deserve to be heard — and Audible is invested in realizing that vision alongside us. I’m looking forward to partnering with them to tell stories that not only entertain but also inspire,” President Obama said. 

“We are so proud of the stories we have been able to tell at Higher Ground, and there’s no one we’d rather write our next chapter with than Audible. Together, we will keep striving to tell compelling, provocative, and soulful stories—while doing everything we can to make sure they reach the folks who need to hear them,” Michelle Obama said.

The slate of Audible programs will reflect the companies’ shared task to convey meaningful and entertaining stories that promote diverse voices and backgrounds.

“We have long recognized President and Mrs. Obama’s historic capacity to captivate,” Don Katz, Audible’s Founder and Executive Chairman, stated. 

“We are thrilled to welcome two of the most profound voices of moral and intellectual leadership of our times into the Audible fold, and to be able to elevate President and Mrs. Obama’s singular ability to provide hope and uplifting guidance—needed now more than ever—through their voices.”

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