Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Friday, January 15th, 2021

Post by: Rick Ellis 15 January, 2021

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Friday, January 15th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by Gatorade and mini tacos.

THE HIGH PRICE OF MOVING A MOVIE SLATE TO STREAMING
The Hollywood Reporter has some really great sources at the various Hollywood agencies and while that closeness might tilt its coverage at times, it also allows the trade publication to put together this really fascinating piece on what it will likely cost WarnerMedia to make the backend participants on the movies it is moving to HBO Max happy:

Seemingly no formula has been adopted by the studio yet, but at least one proposal has been sent to reps. According to sources, a Warners draft proposal outlined that talent making less than $4 million will be paid an additional 25 percent of their salary upon the release of the film as an advance against box office bonuses. Anyone making $4 million and over the advance would be getting 40 percent of their salary. Moreover, the box office performance thresholds tied to the bonuses would be halved. And regardless of the film’s run at the global box office, all deferments would be honored upon the film’s release. (Warner Bros. declined comment.)

Even with domestic theatrical closures, the thought among some reps is that the new halved worldwide box office thresholds will be easier to reach than pre-pandemic bonus benchmarks. But, as a new surge of COVID-19 cases sees countries implementing new shutdowns, the state of exhibition is in constant flux. The proposal is not a one-size-fits-all fix that can be transposed onto every deal.

And my hunch is that some of the movies being released later in 2021 (like the Legendary Pictures remake of Dune), will end up shifting back to a theatrical-first release schedule. Albeit with a shortened theatrical window.

NICKELODEON'S FIRST CHINESE PRODUCTION IS COMING TO THE U.S.
The animated pre-school series Deer Squad is premiering on Nickelodeon on January 25th and it is the first Nickelodeon-backed Chinese production to air in the U.S.:

The show, which stars a pack of magic anthropomorphic deer, marks the first time Nickelodeon has backed a Chinese project from the development phase. Deer Squad was produced by Iqiyi, a major Chinese streaming service which has branched out into original programming. Nickelodeon International and VIS Kids, the new kids’ content division at ViacomCBS International Studios (VIS), partnered with Iqiyi for the creation of the show, with Nickelodeon providing creative guidance.

After launching in Asia in August 2020, Deer Squad aired in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. later in the year. It performed strongly in several territories, becoming the number-one show in the Philippines among children aged 2–14. A second season is in production.

THE DOWNSIDE OF CRIME SCENE RE-ENACTMENTS
This piece from the University Of Wisconsin-Madison Center For Journalistic Excellence argues that crime scene reenactments - the staple of true crime television - can re-victimize crime victims:

“Reenactment has the word acting. It’s using the human form to create the illusion of an event,” Shourd said. “That is dangerous territory when you’re using an actual human body to symbolically represent another human being’s life.”

The dangerous territory in Cedeño’s case was enhanced by the fact that her case is still under investigation. For Shourd, reenactments are an inherently unethical tool while a legal case is underway because it interferes with the process.

“It’s completely unethical to create a representation of a crime as the truth when that crime is still being investigated and still undergoing in its process in the legal and court system,” Shourd said.

The unethical aspect of reenactments is not limited to questions of representation. There are also serious psychological components. How do reenactments affect the audience, the victim and the victim’s family?

HBO MAX EXTENDS ITS DISCOUNT PRICING DEAL THROUGH MARCH
Variety's Todd Spangler posted a piece yesterday about HBO Max's decision to extend a 22% discount deal for two more months:

Did “Wonder Woman 1984” fail to deliver the HBO Max subscriber haul WarnerMedia was banking on — or was its promo pricing so successful it reupped the deal? The media company, looking to lock up more paying customers for HBO Max through mid-2021, extended its 22% promotional discount for new subscribers who prepay for six months.

The special offer is available to new and returning HBO Max subscribers who prepay for six months at $69.99 (about $11.66 per month, versus the regular $14.99 monthly price). The promo was set to expire this Friday, but WarnerMedia has now extended that until March 1, 2021.

AT&T-owned WarnerMedia company is putting its shoulder into maxing up HBO Max, with the direct-to-consumer price discount playing a key role in its attempt to move the needle. The company introduced the six-month prepay offer three weeks ahead of the Christmas Day debut of “Wonder Woman 1984,” starring Gal Gadot, simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters.

It's tempting to want to read a lot into this move. But it really gets down to one metric that we don't have on the outside and that is the service's average customer acquisition costs (CAC). This discount is about 15 dollars,  which I am almost certain is much less than their current CAC. And it ties the subscribers down for at least six months, which has the added benefit of cutting down on churn.

This extended discount is more about maximizing marketing resources than it is about any impact from Wonder Woman 1984. Although that's as fun a headline for journalists.

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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I'll be back with another one on Monday. If you have any feedback, send it along to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and follow me on Twitter @aysrick.

Last modified on Friday, 15 January 2021 15:17