More cord cutting news for all you crazy, zany refugees from the tyranny of satellite and cable TV, from Luke Bourna at CordCuttersNews. FWIW, Roku still doesn’t move us – too many mandatory add-ons, in our experience, and a service as underused as YouTube TV raising its price? Sheesh, doods, get a clue:
Who’d a’thunk that Disney’s upcoming streaming service would appear so darned inviting? The way this TVWriter™ minion sees it, if Disney+ fulfills a quarter of its potential, it could – and should – put half the cable networks in the world out of business.
by Peter Sciretta
Today, the Walt Disney Company rolled-out their plans for their upcoming streaming service Disney+ during an Investors Meeting. Now that we finally know more of the details for this service, here’s a round-up of all the original television series announced and rumored for the service.
The Mandalorian: Executive produced by Jon Favreau, the first live-action Star Wars series is set after the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order. We follow the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic. Dave Filoni, Deborah Chow, Rick Famuyiwa, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Taika Waititi are directing episodes. The series has a reported budget of $100 million. Timing: Available at launch
Cassian Andor: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Diego Luna will reprise his role as Cassian Andor in a new live-action series that will follow Cassian “during the formative years of the Rebellion.” “The rousing spy thriller will explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire.” The Americans executive producer Stephen Schiff is the showrunner. Alan Tudyk repries his role as K2-SO. Timing: Year Two
Obi-Wan Series: This has been rumored but unconfirmed. The rumor mill suggests that Ewan McGregor would reprise his Star Wars prequels role as Obi-Wan Kenobi in a limited series story set between the Star Wars prequel and original trilogies.
Untitled Star Wars Craft Docuseries: A new docuseries taking a focus on the legendary master craftspeople who brought the galaxy to life over the years.
WandaVision: Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles as the vision and Scarlet Witch in this limited series. Jac Schaeffer is the writer/showrunner. Timing: Year Two
Loki: Tom Hiddleston reprises his role as Loki in this limited series. “Sources say the show will follow Loki as the trickster and shapeshifter pops up throughout human history as unlikely influencer on historical events.” Michael Waldron, a writer for the anarchic and ambitious animated series Rick and Morty, has been hired to serve as showrunner. Timing: Year Two
Today’s adventure in “correlation vs. causation.” Sigh:
As Cord Cutting Grows Network Ratings Continue to Drop
by Luke Bouma
As cord cutting opens Americans up to new content they can’t get with cable TV, it is no surprise that TV ratings are continuing to drop. BTIG, a research group focused on topics like TV, has reported that network ratings are down on average 18% in 2019 compared to 2018. The biggest drop is ABC, which is seeing its viewing down 22% in the ever important 18-49 demographic.
ncreasingly networks have relied on advertising and cable subscriptions to cover costs. With cable subscriptions and viewership going down, networks like ABC could soon see not only cable receding but also ad revenue….
A tragic tale as YouTube (owned by Google) “bows out of Hollywood Arms Race with Netflix and Amazon.
by Lucas Shaw
YouTube has canceled plans for high-end dramas and comedies, people with knowledge of the matter said, a pullback from its grand ambitions for a paid service with Hollywood-quality shows.
The Google-owned business has stopped accepting pitches for expensive scripted shows, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the decision hasn’t been announced. The axed programs include the sci-fi drama “Origin’’ and the comedy “Overthinking with Kat & June,’’ prompting their producers to seek new homes for the shows, the people said.
The retreat from direct competition with Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video service reflects the high cost — in billions of dollars — needed to take on those deeply entrenched players, even for a rich tech giant like Google, the people said. YouTube generated more than $15 billion in ad sales last year without a huge slate of glitzy productions and concluded its money is better invested in music and gaming.
“In some ways, they never really went all-in on the strategy,” said Anthony DiClemente, an analyst at Evercore ISI. “That’s like bringing a butter knife to a gun fight.”
Shift to Free
The strategy change, first reported last November by the Hollywood Reporter, means all YouTube shows will eventually air for free. The company is still working out release strategies for the shows, the people said.
The shift also raises questions about the long-term future for Susanne Daniels, YouTube’s head of original productions since 2015. She was brought in to boost the volume and quality of YouTube’s original programming and is now looking to move on, according to people with knowledge of her thinking.
“While it’s strangely flattering to be the topic of Hollywood gossip, please know I am committed to YouTube and can’t wait to unveil our robust slate of new and returning originals,” Daniels said in an email.
A respected TV industry veteran, Daniels joined the company to develop and produce original shows aimed at making the YouTube Red subscription service a viable competitor to Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Now, those efforts are more focused on programs like Kevin Hart’s “What the Fit,” with the comedian cheerleading in track pants.
While Netflix transformed itself from a DVD-delivery service into one of Hollywood’s largest studios, other technology companies have announced grand plans to make movies and TV only to retreat after a couple of years. Microsoft Corp. created a Los Angeles studio and ordered a show based on its popular game “Halo,’’ but shut down before the series came out. Yahoo lost $42 million on a trio of original series, including “Community,” and then scrapped its plans as well….