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Castle Rock is an upcoming American psychological horror web television series based on the stories of Stephen King, intertwining characters and themes from the fictional town of Castle Rock. It is set to premiere on July 25, 2018 on Hulu.
Castle Rock will "combine the mythological scale and intimate character storytelling of King’s best-loved works, weaving an epic saga of darkness and light, played out on a few square miles of Maine woodland."
Here's the latest trailer:
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Hulu will soon join Amazon Prime and Netflix in allowing you to download TV episodes to your mobile devices and watch them while offline.
The new feature is a boon for frequent air travelers, public transit riders, and others who spend time separated from speedy Internet connections. Hulu made the announcements at the upfronts, events in which TV broadcasters pitch upcoming programming chiefly to advertisers but also to the press.
As noted, Netflix and Amazon also offer this feature. However, Hulu will be the first to offer it in an ad-supported tier. Those who pay for Hulu's $11.99/mo ad-free subscription will have the same ad-free experience as they would on Netflix and Amazon. But subscribers to the $7.99/mo ad-supported tier will actually download the ads right alongside the primary content, and they'll play during the episodes the same way they would on the Web or on set-top streaming boxes.
Hulu claims to be the first company in the TV business to offer downloadable ads.
Advertising is key for Hulu because—unlike Amazon and Netflix, which create their own streaming-specific content or license broadcast content long after it has aired—Hulu streams the same broadcast TV shows you see on networks like NBC or ABC—usually the day after air. For those shows, broadcast TV ads still account for the bulk of the revenue, and streaming ads are sold alongside the much more valuable broadcast ad buys in many cases.
Hulu is partially owned by those broadcast networks. The Walt Disney company, which owns TV network ABC, owns 30 percent of the company. 21st Century Fox owns another 30 percent. Comcast (which owns NBC Universal, which in turn owns the NBC broadcast network) owns another 30. The final 10 percent belongs to Time Warner via the Turner Broadcasting System, which also owns several popular cable TV channels like Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, and TNT. The only major network that is not invested in Hulu is CBS, which has its own streaming service called CBS All Access. CBS also owns The CW, another major broadcast network.
In a way, Hulu was an attempt by those companies to jump into streaming without shaking up the business model that has driven their success since the 1930s and 1940s. So to offer this feature, Hulu had to come up with an option that accounted for ads.
Hulu hasn't said which shows and movies will be available for offline viewing. Netflix and Amazon currently only offer limited portions of their libraries. As with those two, you can probably expect all of Hulu's original series to be downloadable. The fact that an ad-supported option is available could be an advantage in onboarding more licensed shows to the feature.
In addition to offline viewing, Hulu announced that it has surpassed 20 million subscribers. The company has also, as is the main focus at the upfronts, unveiled its lineup of upcoming original series. The Handmaid's Tale will get a new season, and new series titled Four Weddings and a Funeral, Castle Rock (a project from Stephen King and Star Wars: The Force Awakens Director J.J. Abrams), and Catch-22 from George Clooney will hit the service.
Hulu said the offline-viewing feature will launch during the 2018-2019 upfront season.
Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) already produced enough content in 2017 for people to rack up 50 billion viewing hours Opens a New Window. for the January-to-December period. But the company wants to release even more content in 2018.
To be exact, Netflix plans to release 700 TV, film, and stand-up comedy projects this year. That's according to comments made by Netflix CFO David Wells on Feb. 27 during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
Content rules when it comes to subscribers, because they naturally gravitate toward the streamers with the best content. With Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Apple, and (soon) Disney (NYSE: DIS) on its heels, Netflix is smart to ramp up its content game, as a way to keep its current subscribers interested while luring in new subscribers.
Netflix's $8 billion content budget expected to drive subs
In 2018, Netflix expects to spend between $7.5 billion and $8 billion on content, Wells said on the latest earnings call. That impressive budget will go toward funding 700 projects Wells later revealed at the Morgan Stanley conference in February.
Of those 700 projects, Wells revealed, 80 will be non-English-language original content geared toward international markets. This will help Netflix continue to expand in the less-saturated markets outside of its home country. In the last quarter, Netflix added 6.36 million international subscribers and 1.98 million U.S. subscribers Opens a New Window. .
Netflix is willing to allocate billions for its content budget each year because that's directly leading Opens a New Window. to more subscribers. "Let's continue to add content -- it's working, it's driving growth," Wells said to the audience at the conference.
Netflix stunned some investors back in 2016 when it spent $5 billion on content and estimated it would raise that to $6 billion in 2017. However, with the continued growth in subscribers, investors have become less stingy about the company's content budget. In fact, last quarter's figure of 8.33 million subscriber additions was a new record Opens a New Window. for Netflix.
The company ended 2017 with 117.6 million global subscribers, but Wells said there are still more non-Netflix subscribers in the world than there are subscribers. He noted that there are an estimated 700 million broadband users across the world (excluding China), implying that the company has a long runway when it comes to subscriber growth.
Netflix has also found that marketing spend is essential to promote the high-quality content that it's paying billions for each year. The company said in its note to investors last quarter that it's increasing the marketing budget from about $1.3 billion in 2017 to approximately $2 billion for 2018.
Netflix's content formula requires pricey talent
In addition to sizable content and marketing budgets, Netflix's golden formula also includes pricey talent. The company has discovered that hiring the best production talent makes its job easy. "Hire great people, give them the resources to make great content and get out of their way," Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said about the company's content strategy on the last earnings call.
Most recently, Netflix signed a multiyear contract Opens a New Window. with creator Ryan Murphy, who was previously at Twenty-First Century Fox and is behind hit shows like Feud and American Horror Story. Murphy is getting paid a stunning $300 million for his five-year contract with Netflix, because he "has been a very successful and prolific producer of television that has been very commercially successful," Wells said.
Such a lucrative deal isn't the new norm. Wells said Murphy is an exception, because he has the track record to prove that he knows how to make content that appeals to large audiences. "We were pleased with the type of content he creates in terms of being popular globally, not just in the U.S. He creates a lot of customer joy, as we like to say," Wells explained.
Prior to Murphy, Netflix had signed a deal with Shonda Rhimes that's said to be worth $100 million. The former ABC Studios creator is known for global hits like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal. Wells said Netflix was willing to do a big deal with Rhimes for the same reason: She has the track record to prove that she knows how to create content that appeals to global audiences.
Netflix also has multiyear deals with Orange is the New Black creator and GLOW executive producer Jenji Kohan, and with Stranger Things executive producer Shawn Levy. There has also been some talent poaching. In September, Netflix hired Melissa Cobb, head of studio at Oriental DreamWorks (a joint venture of DreamWorks, a subsidiary of Comcast), to be in charge of its series and films for children and families.
While spending $8 billion on content or $300 million on a three-year contract might seem excessive now, it won't be a year from now, when Disney is set to pull its content from Netflix and launch its own competing streaming site. Netflix already has a number of competitors, but Disney may be its biggest one yet, with its blockbuster movie business, extensive intellectual property, and pending acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox.
Netflix is taking some big steps to stay ahead of the increasing competition. That's a good thing, because as we learned when Amazon bought Whole Foods last June, sometimes it just takes one overnight move for an underdog to suddenly come out on top in a market.
Netflix aims to offer as much as possible to its members and in so doing, the streamer’s vast variety of series, films and documentaries has been the subject of many an article. With an $8 billion content budget this year, Netflix is consistently adding new original and licensed titles from around the world into the mix.
In an effort to keep the appetites of binge-watchers satiated, and for planning purposes, Santa Monica-based digital media company TV Time polled its more than 12 million registered users, averaging in age from 17- to 34-years-old, and ranked the most followed Netflix foreign language shows from its community. Millions of TV viewers from around the world use the TV Time app to track their favorite shows and connect with other fans. To date, the TV Time community has tracked more than 7 billion episodes of TV and users check into the app more than 37 million times per month to track and react to their favorite TV shows.
Based on the data from tens of millions of show-follows for Netflix programming in the TV Time app, these are the top 10 foreign language TV series Netflix members deem as binge-worthy, ranked in order of most follows in the app:
1. La Casa de Papel (Spanish)
2. Dark (German)
3. 3% (Brazil, in Portuguese)
4. Cable Girls (Spanish)
5. Suburra (Italian)
6. Marseille (French)
7. Devilman Crybaby (Japanese Anime)
8. Erased (Japanese)
9. Ingobernable (Spanish)
10. Club de Cuervos (Spanish)
Netflix recently announced its expansion into new regions, including the Middle East. One new project is Jinn, a contemporary supernatural thriller about a group of teenagers whose lives are disrupted when a Jinn, in the form of a teenage boy, appears to them in the ancient city of Petra. The six-episode series, expected to launch to all Netflix members globally in 2019, is Netflix’s first Arabic original series from the Middle East and second project in the region. Netflix’s first project, the Arabic stand-up comedy Adel Karam: Live from Beirut, launched March 1st. There are also several new original projects from India, ranging from scary to supernatural, including these recently announced titles: Leila, Ghoul and Crocodile.
In addition, there are also 50 new and returning productions in various stages of development this year in Latin America, including Diablero, and 19 stand-up comedy specials. In fact, many of the streaming giant’s most popular shows didn’t originate stateside. With its slate of top-rated international originals, the list of global titles at Netflix is growing quickly, crossing cultures and languages. These shows are proving highly successful to the streaming giant. For example, Netflix's first original German Series Dark has a viewership that is 90% outside of its country of origin, even though the show is in German.
In other recent Netflix news, the streamer signed Hasan Minhaj to host a weekly comedy talk show set to debut later this year. Netflix has committed to a 32-episode order, making Minhaj the first Indian-American host of a weekly comedy talk show that will explore the modern cultural and political landscape. Known for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Minhaj earned rave reviews last year for his one-hour Netflix comedy special Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King and for his performance hosting the 2017 White House Correspondents' Dinner.
Here are 12 anticipated international originals coming, and returning, to Netflix soon:
1983 (Netflix just announced its first original series from Poland) The Rain (First original series from Scandinavia) Fauda (Second season of this Israeli series premieres May 24; excluding Israel and France) Paquita Salas (Comedy series from Spain returns for a second season) Elite (Second Spanish series set for 2019) Bardo (From Taiwan, this is the first-ever Chinese-language Netflix series; no premiere date set) Sacred Games (From India, this is the first original series in Hindi-English) Kingdom (First original Korean drama series) Terrace House: Opening New Doors (Original Japanese reality series premieres March 13) Ingobernable (Mexican series returns for Season Two) Edha (First original series from Argentina premieres March 16) The Mechanism (From Brazil, this premieres March 23) The streamer’s efforts to attract a more international audience are paying off. Netflix’s numbers continue to grow year-over-year. Last quarter, Netflix added more than 8.3 million new subscribers (2 million in the U.S. and over 6.3 million internationally). These shows are proof that good storytelling knows no boundaries.
Netflix has more than 117 million members spanning 190-plus countries. Members stream more than 140 million hours of TV shows and movies per day, including original series, documentaries and feature films, adding up to more than one billion hours per week.
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