Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, April 8th, 2021. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by iced coffee and peeps on a stick.
NETFLIX SIGNS U.S. OUTPUT DEAL WITH SONY
There aren't a lot of deals that very obviously have a winner and a loser. But when Netflix and Sony announced today that the streamer had signed a Pay 1 window deal in the U.S. for Sony films beginning next year, the deal was one that is a very positive get for Netflix. And it also leaves Starz as the big loser, since it will lose access to the first-run Sony movies at the end of this year.
As is generally the case with these output deals, specifics are a bit hard to come by, but most of what has been publicly reported is similar to what is in this Variety article:
Netflix already had a deal with Sony Pictures for all of its animated releases. Starting with next year’s slate, all movies from the various film banners on the Culver City lot — including Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics, Screen Gems and TriStar Pictures — will stream exclusively on Netflix after their theatrical and home entertainment releases. That promises to bring to Netflix future installments of the “Spiderman,” “Venom” and “Jumanji” franchises, among others. The pay 1 window usually begins about nine months after a film’s theatrical release, although that timetable may have been sped up for Netflix. Over the course of the pandemic, Sony has sold multiple slate titles to Netflix outright, including Kevin Hart’s “Fatherhood,” and the animated films “The Mitchells Vs. The Machines” and “Wish Dragon.”
According to various reports, Netflix will be paying a traditional sliding scale for each movie, based on its domestic and/or international box office. Which means that Netflix and Sony both expect the theatrical business to be recovered by next year. It also implies that it is in Sony's best interest to maximize the box office take of the movies as much as possible.
This deal is more than just a Pay 1 window deal. It also covers a number of other Sony film properties-both new and old:
Netflix has also set a first-look agreement with Sony for all of the studio’s original movies produced for the direct-to-streaming market. That deal also requires Netflix to commit to a certain number of titles from the studio, but it doesn’t stop Sony from selling direct-to-streaming titles to Netflix’s rivals. And Netflix will license an unspecified number of older titles from Sony’s movie vault.
Variety is also reporting that Sony is working on some sort of other theatrical deal outside of this Netflix deal. But it's not clear what that might be, although the two best options would either be a package of older films not part of the Netflix deal or some sort of an international output deal for territories outside the U.S.
As I mentioned at the top, this deal is a body blow for Starz. The Sony films comprise a large percentage of their new movies and while the service has found success with its television projects in the past few years, this will leave a hole in their library. And unfortunately, there aren't a lot of places to go to replace the films. The next big output deal is the HBO-Universal deal, which expires in 2022. And even if there was a big output deal available, Lionsgate (which owns Starz) doesn't have the deep pocketbooks needed to compete with the bigger streamers and premium movie services. If you combine this loss with the recent deal that sent the two "Knives Out" sequels to Netflix, then any way you slice it, Lionsgate has had a staggeringly tough week.
IT'S HARDER TO BE AN ARMS DEALER WHEN YOU ALSO NEED THE BEST WEAPONS
Sony refers to itself as an "arms dealer" when it comes to licensing content and as today's output deal with Netflix illustrates, the plan to sell to the highest bidder has worked out very well for the company.
Viacom/CBS also considers itself an "arms dealer," but the problem with their plan is that they also own a general interest streamer (Paramount+) as well as a premium TV service (Showtime). And those complications mean that very often the company is trading the chance to build up their pay services in exchange for a quick hit of revenue.
For example, it was announced today that the Chris Pratt sci-fi movie The Tomorrow War to Amazon Prime. So not only is Viacom/CBS not keeping the movie for its own services, it has now licensed a movie that Amazon apparently plans to premiere on July 2nd. The same day Paramount's Top Gun: Maverick hits movie theaters.
While I have to say that I don't understand the long-term vision of the Viacom/CBS "arms dealer" approach, I do have to commend the company for sticking to the plan even though it is doing immense damage to other parts of the company.
1) Bringing Up Bates Season Premiere (Up)
The married couples are continuing to grow their families as we see pregnancy announcements and gender reveals all season. Katie and Travis work on their relationship and may be headed for another big step. But this season is not just about the girls and their pending nuptials…will the new season finally see a Bates boy headed to the altar?
2) Chef Boot Camp Series Premiere (Food)
In each episode, three struggling chefs embark on a three-day boot camp with Cliff Crooks who will assess their skills in the kitchen and address their areas for improvement. After an introduction to each chef that reveals what brought them to boot camp, he gets a firsthand look and taste of one of their signature dishes to begin to understand what the issues may be. Next, the chefs must demonstrate fundamental cooking techniques of a classic dish which they must create on time and to Cliff’s satisfaction, showing their skills, knowledge, and ability in the kitchen. Then, the chefs must bring it altogether - working a fast-paced, live dinner service at one of Cliff’s restaurants, and then, finally, whipping up a creative, new dish for their restaurant owners to demonstrate their growth and progress from boot camp. Some will rise to the challenge while others will not, with the fate of their career in the hands of chef Cliff.
3) Everything's Gonna Be Okay Season Premiere (Freeform)
After their heartbreaking trip to New York, the Moss family and Nicholas’ boyfriend, Alex, are just trying their best to move forward. With everyone back home, Matilda is rethinking her life goals, Genevieve starts putting herself out there – even dating – and Nicholas is working out how to balance being a brother, parental figure, boyfriend, and cute entomologist. This season also welcomes new eccentric friends, unexpected hookups, and a lot more bugs.
4) Fire Masters Season Premiere (Cooking)
Teams of open-flame fanatics light the match and heat the coals in this ultimate grilling competition. They face off in three blazing culinary challenges, pushing their talents to the limit as they cook up creative, flame-kissed dishes. After two eliminations, the remaining team faces an epic throwdown with a Fire Masters judge and an opportunity to win $10,000 and the coveted Fire Master title.
5) First To The Top Of The World (Discovery+)
It starts out like a bad joke - an insurance salesman and a doctor walk into a bar - but this epic, true story ends with the most unlikely team of explorers re-writing the history books by becoming the first people to actually reach the north pole.
6) Going From Broke (Crackle)
The first season of Going From Broke gave ten young people radical financial makeovers. Now, exec producers Ashton Kutcher and Dan Rosensweig are going live with all new stories. Each week, watch brand new episodes in “real time” as tales from the global pandemic unfold, taking audiences inside the live process of financial transformation.
7) No Activity Season Four Premiere (Paramount+)
This season, Patrick Brammall reprises his role as Special Agent Nick Cullen, who is finally realizing his dream of joining the FBI, only to quickly discover being an FBI “special agent” isn’t what he expected it to be. When he’s assigned to a seemingly dull observation detail, he finds a potential career case in the form of an emerging cult. When a large-scale operation takes aim at the cult, it’s unclear which side will break first. Despite the promotion, Cullen’s path continues to cross with former partner Judd Tolbeck’s (Tim Meadows), who is also adjusting to life with a new partner (Joe Keery) of his own.
8) Rebel Series Premiere (ABC)
Inspired by the life of Erin Brockovich today, Annie “Rebel” Bello is a blue-collar legal advocate without a law degree. She’s a funny, messy, brilliant and fearless woman who cares desperately about the causes she fights for and the people she loves. When Rebel applies herself to a fight she believes in, she will win at almost any cost.
9) Secrets In The Basement (LMN)
Delilah and Shawn's new house seems perfect. But there's a masked figure hiding in their basement.
10) Story Of Kale: When Someone's In Love (Netflix)
After leaving a toxic relationship, Dinda embarks on a romance with Kale, whose view on love soon shatters as he wrestles with his own insecurities.
11) The Power (Shudder)
London, 1974. As Britain prepares for electrical blackouts to sweep across the country, trainee nurse Val (Rose Williams) arrives for her first day at the crumbling East London Royal Infirmary. With most of the patients and staff evacuated to another hospital, Val is forced to work the night shift, finding herself in a dark, near empty building. Within these walls lies a deadly secret, forcing Val to face both her own traumatic past and deepest fears in order to confront the malevolent force that’s intent on destroying everything around her.
12) The Way Of The Househusband (Netflix)
After disappearing from the underworld, the legendary yakuza Tatsu, "the Immortal Dragon," resurfaces — as a fiercely devoted stay-at-home husband.
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