Sep 3, 2019

The box office's summer slump

Photo: Daniel Fung/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Summer box office revenues were down 2% this year from the same period (beginning of May to beginning of September) as last year, per Comscore.

Why it matters: Mega hits like "The Lion King," "Aladdin" and "Toy Story 4" were supposed to keep the box office alive this summer, but broader economic trends and less-than-compelling storylines kept audiences from turning out in droves.

  • "[E]conomic factors may be a part of this equation, but it’s much more than dollars and cents that hang in the balance," says Paul​ Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore.
  • "It's not that audiences no longer want to go to the movie theater, they just need a compelling reason to go," Dergarabedian says.
  • He argues that while streaming is a formidable competitor to theaters, it doesn't stop people from wanting to go to the movie theater. Rather "it just means that the movies have to be a cut above, attractive in a way that is undeniable and a 'must see' event."

What to watch:  Netflix unveiled its fall movie slate last week, and said that it's planning to have 10 fall movies debut with exclusive theatrical release windows ahead of releasing those movies to subscribers on its streaming service.

The big picture: The move highlights the tricky balance Netflix needs to strike between playing ball with theater chains in order to ensure it gets enough buzz and critical claim around films, while also keeping its subscription retention high.

Go deeper: Disney smashes box office records with more blockbusters to come

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The streaming battlefield is getting crowded

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the streaming wars heat up, consumers are going to have to be choosy about which services they subscribe to, or risk racking up steep monthly bills.

Why it matters: Digital streaming was supposed to break up the expensive cable bundle, but now that so many companies are launching their own services, paying for TV could get even more expensive and complicated.

Go deeperArrowSep 13, 2019

Seinfeld is coming to Netflix in 2021

Photo: David Yeh/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Netflix on Monday finalized a 5-year contract for the streaming rights of Sony Pictures Television's sitcom "Seinfeld" beginning in 2021.

Why it matters: Landing the 180-episode series is a win for Netflix, which recently lost streaming rights to fan favorite sitcoms "Friends" and "The Office." Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but the rights are for worldwide distribution, the Los Angeles Times first reported.

Go deeper: Netflix tightens its purse strings for film and TV projects

Keep ReadingArrowSep 16, 2019

A whole new world for Netflix

Photo: Getty Images

Since announcing it had shelled out half a billion dollars for rights to stream "Seinfeld" starting in 2021, Netflix's stock has been careening downward, highlighted by Friday's 5.5% drop.

What's happening: The stock has been challenged for much of the year, but suffered mightily after what initially looked like a reprieve in July until it released disappointing Q2 earnings showing it lost more than 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. (It was expected to gain over 300,000.)

Go deeperArrowSep 23, 2019