Jul 2, 2019

Netflix tightens its purse strings

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty Images

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told several senior executives last month that spending on film and TV projects, particularly big budget movies, needed to be more cost-effective, The Information reports.

Why it matters: Netflix's heavy spending has set the bar for all of the other streamers looking to challenge it. But Sarandos reportedly said that big-budget projects need to bring in lots of viewers, not just drive buzz.

The big picture: In the past, Netflix used "a ratio of their cost to a measure of viewership that gives more weight to new subscribers and those viewed at risk of canceling," The Information's Jessica Toonkel, Tom Dotan and Beejoli Shah write.

Be smart: Matthew Ball, former head of strategy at Amazon Studios, argues that this is not a sign of trouble for Netflix, but rather a sign of maturation.

  • He says Netflix for a long time needed to focus on creating enough scale to add as many users as possible. Now that it's achieved that, Ball argues it can be pickier.

What's next: There's been a lot of talk about whether companies that make content and own streaming services would eventually pull their titles in favor of their own platforms.

  • NBC said last week that 'The Office' would leave Netflix in 2020 to stream exclusively on NBCUniversal's forthcoming streaming service.
  • Yes, but: Over the weekend, news broke that DC Entertainment, which is owned by AT&T's Warner Bros., would license its new series for its hit comic Sandman to Netflix for a pretty price, proving that theory wrong.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,513,358 — Total deaths: 88,415 — Total recoveries: 329,329Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 430,376 — Total deaths: 14,739 — Total recoveries: 23,707Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: New York tops previous day's record death toll

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in the state in 24 hours. The state has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Why it matters: Public health officials have warned this would be a particularly deadly week for America, even as New York began to see declining trends of hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

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The pandemic and pollution

New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.

Why it matters: Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

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