Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, October 21st, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by coffee that is way too strong.
THE TROUBLE WITH QUIBI
To absolutely no one's surprise, Quibi admitted late Wednesday that it sees no path forward and is shutting down. I'm sure you've read a number of hot takes on the subject by now and of course I posted one to the web site last night. So rather than rehashing my thoughts again, here is a link to the piece, entitled Five Things We Can All Learn From The Failure Of Quibi:
Everyone agrees that people like to watch mobile video. But I never got a sense that executives at Quibi knew why people watched it or how they typically consumed it. In an infamous piece in Vulture, Quibi CEO Meg Whitman admitted that she "wasn't much of an entertainment enthusiast." And Jeffrey Katzenberg has an assistant print off his emails so he can read them. On the upside, they bragged that they had hired "smart millennials" who viewed mobile video regularly and knew the marketplace.
That is one of the craziest things I've ever heard. The unspoken part of that statement is "yeah, I don't know this space. But I'm so smart I can figure it out without any problems." But the more obvious issue is that if you are essentially creating an entertainment niche from scratch, you should understand your customers and know what they are looking for in a mobile video product. Running Quibi and not being a regular consumer of mobile video is like running a broadcast TV network and saying "Yeah, I don't own a television. But I've hired some young couch potatoes who tell me those housewives on Bravo are very real."
MORE CHALLENGES FOR HBO MAX
AT&T released its Q3 2020 results this morning and there is a lot to unpack. A lot is going to be made about the stat that HBO Max received 8.6 million activations in Q3. But it's worth noting that AT&T has yet to reach agreements with Amazon Fire and Roku, which would make HBO Max available on those platforms. And even with the impressive-sounding Q3 numbers, more than 2/3 of the existing HBO customers who could switch over the HBO Max have yet to do so. And there are another 10 million or so who can't switch to HBO Max because of carriage issues with AT&T's cable partners. So the service has a very steep hill to climb in 2021.
AND THEN THERE IS AT&T TV NOW
Another factoid that came of the Q3 AT&T earnings report is that its virtual cable service AT&T TV Now had a 37,000 net loss due to what the company described as "less promotional activity." While that claim sounds reasonable, the real challenge for AT&T TV Now is that they price their service in the same oppressive way you typically see only from traditional cable services. They have been running a promotional deal which offers a two-year contract, with the first year costing $59 a month. Which sounds like a great deal until you read the fine print and realize that year two will run you $100 a month for the same service. Gee, with those inflated prices, I am shocked that customers aren't willing to stick around and be massively overcharged every month.
ALSO AT ALLYOURSCREENS
Emily Powers Is New Head Of BritBox North America
Amazon Greenlights 'Lightyears'
'Ratched' Again Tops Nielsen's Streaming Top Ten List
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:
1) Alieu The Dreamer (BET)
Written, directed and composed by Quincy Ledbetter, "Alieu the Dreamer," starring Denzel Whitaker (Black Panther, The Great Debaters, Training Day) and Haley Webb (The Final Destination, Blonde), takes place in a world where mankind hasn't dreamed for three decades, until a driven government agent discovers a young man in the projects, who has suddenly started dreaming. Sought after by an alluring leader of a religious cult, Reverend Venus, played by Rick Hearst (The Vampire Diaries, Dynasty, General Hospital), Alieu struggles to understand his newfound ability while fighting to care for his family.
2) Cadaver (Netflix)
This is a Norwegian psychological horror film that takes us on a journey where humanity is being put to a test and stars among others Gitte Witt, Thorbjørn Harr, Thomas Gullestad) and Kingsford Siayor. In the starving aftermath of a nuclear disaster, Leonora (Gitte Witt), Jacob (Thomas Gullestad) and their daughter Alice (Tuva Olivia Remman) are on the edge of survival. One day, the local hotel invites survivors to attend a theatre play, with a meal included, as a charitable effort to help those in need. Left with no choice, the family of three decide to go to the hotel, where the director, Mathias (Thorbjørn Harr), introduces the entire hotel as the stage. Attendees are given masks to help separate them from actors, but the play takes an eerie turn when audience members start to disappear. The line between reality and theatre quickly gets blurred, until Alice disappears in front of Leo and Jacob, and there’s no longer room for doubt: Something is very wrong with Mathias’ hotel.
3) Chelsea Handler: Evolution (HBO Max)
During the hour-long special Handler will share hilarious experiences about her family, friendships, and her first foray into therapy—where she was able to unearth why everyone on this planet annoyed her so much.
4) Equal (HBO Max)
This four-part series will introduce viewers to a wide range of LGBTQ+ visionaries portrayed by the cast, many of whom identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community. Each part offers a distinct and connected chapter within the historical timeline.
5) Presidential Debate (Various)
It's the last presidential debate for 2020. Which is probably a good thing for everyone.
6) The Witches (HBO Max)
Reimagining Roald Dahl’s beloved story for a modern audience, Robert Zemeckis’s visually innovative film tells the darkly humorous and heartwarming tale of a young orphaned boy who, in late 1967, goes to live with his loving Grandma in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis. As the boy and his grandmother encounter some deceptively glamorous but thoroughly diabolical witches, she wisely whisks him away to a seaside resort. Regrettably, they arrive at precisely the same time that the world’s Grand High Witch has gathered her fellow cronies from around the globe—undercover—to carry out her nefarious plans.
This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.
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