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With streaming dominating the industry — and more services on the way — IndieWire is taking a closer look at the news cycle and breaking down what really matters to provide a clear picture of what companies are winning the streaming wars and how they're pulling ahead. By looking at trends and curating developments down to what matters, the Streaming Wars Report will offer a clear picture of what's happening overall and day-to-day in streaming. This column will cover the major players, from Netflix to Disney+ to HBO Max, and be sure to check out our Indie Edition for thorough coverage of the boutique services.New Numbers
Streaming Is Up, Subscriptions Are Up, But What Does It Mean for Quibi? ⇔⇔⇔
It’s almost here: the day some thought would never come. No, not an end to our collective social distancing — Quibi’s launch is tomorrow, April 6. With everyone staying home, staring at their screens, the new streamer’s rollout couldn’t come at a better time… right?
Optimists will argue Quibi’s launch date arrives during an unprecedented demand for new content. Not only is Nielsen reporting 85 percent growth in streaming last month, but subscriptions are on the rise, too, which wasn’t a given. Unemployment is spiking, plenty of people are still paying for cable, and just about every streaming service promises they’ve got everything viewers are looking for, so there was no guarantee a mounting demand for television would go hand-in-hand with a jump in subscriptions. But Antenna, a new streaming analytics company, reported a 64-percent rise across eight major streaming platforms in mid-March.
Nascent streamer Disney+ saw a whopping 212-percent rise in subscriptions from week to week, while HBO shot up 90 percent, Showtime 78 percent, and Starz — yes, Starz! — grew by 49 percent over the same period. Now, these numbers aren’t verified by the services or a third party, but any growth is a good sign for Quibi; it means people are open to spending a little more for new, desirable content.
But the problem facing Quibi aside from all the non-COVID 19 related problems facing Quibi is threefold:Marketing: All of the streamers seeing big gains in subscribers are known brands. The premium cable giants transitioning to streaming have been making that transition for years. Disney+, while new, has a deep catalogue of known brands to dangle in front of potential subscribers. Even Apple TV+ launched five months ago and has the added advantage of reminding anyone with Apple TV, an iPhone, or a Mac, that the service is one more option right now. Branding is key, and Quibi has to build a brand from scratch. Not only that, but it has to build a brand from scratch at a time when everyone’s attention is focused on one thing and one thing only:...
On Friday, April 3, Apple TV+ releases all 10 episodes of the first season of its mystery-thriller “Home Before Dark.” Inspired by the life of Hilde Lysiak, a young journalist who gained national notoriety at age nine when she scooped a local homicide case in her Pennsylvania hometown, the Jon M. Chu-directed and executive produced series has already been renewed for a second season.
Created and executive produced by Dana Fox and Dara Resnick, “Home Before Dark” follows Brooklynn Prince as Hilde Lysko, a nine-year-old journalist whose family's cross-country move from New York to her father's Jim Sturgess small Washington hometown leads her to investigate a dark, deeply buried mystery from decades ago.
IndieWire spoke with “Home Before Dark” co-showrunner and co-creator Dana Fox about the series, from the process of making a bingeable mystery-thriller she hadn’t seen before to her transition from comedy to drama to the unexpected “Justified” reunion.
This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.
Getty Images/David Livingston/Stringer
IndieWire: How exactly did you come to co-create “Home Before Dark”? How did you come to Hilde Lysiak’s story?
Fox: Basically, my dear friend Joy Gorman Wettels, who’s an amazing producer — she was my manager for a long time and then she started producing, as well — she was at the Tribeca Awards, and there were a bunch of adults winning awards for cool things. And then, this little nine-year-old girl stood up and gave this incredible speech and was incredibly poised. She started talking about the need for journalists and how important it was to try to find the truth, and it really resonated with Joy. We weren’t even deeply in the times that we are in now, but it’s something that was feeling important already.
And so Joy was talking to the people next to her about how extraordinary this little girl was, and it turned out to be Hilde’s parents. So she joked, “I have a five-year-old, can you come move in with me, and help me raise my daughter, because this girl is amazing.” And so they struck up a conversation, they got along, and eventually, Hilde was featured in the New York Times for essentially scooping her local paper on a murder.
Joy was in a very competitive situation with a lot of other producers and they were all talking to Hilde and her parents on the phone and they had all these conversations. Joy ended up winning the rights and when she did, afterwards she said, “Why did you pick me?” And Hilde’s...
This week on Better Call Saul:Kim and Jimmy get hitched! Lalo gets bail! Mike gets to work! Saul Goodman comes out to play and yell! Kim
Last week’s Better Call Saul ended with a whopper: Kim “proposing” marriage to Jimmy. This week’s episode, “JMM”, proves that wasn’t just a lark. Nor was it something the season would build up to. Because we check in with Jimmy and Kim the very next day after their big blow-up, and wouldn’t you know it, they’re down at the courthouse getting hitched.
It’s not exactly the happiest of weddings…but it’s not all bad, either. Before they head in to exchange vows, Kim and Jimmy go over some fine print details – just like the lawyers that they are. Yes, Kim and Jimmy are a couple. And yes, they’re romantically involved. But this isn’t exactly a marriage built on romance. Instead, as Jimmy explains to Huell – who was nice enough to be a witness to the marriage – Jimmy and Kim are tying the knot for legal reasons. If Kim is married to Jimmy, and Jimmy gets in trouble for one of his schemes, his wife can’t legally testify against him.
There’s something cold and mercenary about this, and it made me feel melancholy. But at the last minute, things perk up a bit. Yes, Kim is marrying Jimmy out of necessity, but she still has feelings for him. And while they might not have the most breathtaking of wedding ceremonies, there’s genuine happiness on Kim’s face, and the way Rhea Seehorn chuckles once or twice at the absurdity of it all warmed my heart up a bit.
So now Kim’s a married woman, and she’s ready to get right back to work. First thing’s first: Setting things right with Kevin at Mesa Verde. At first, after an apology meeting, it seems like Kim’s days with Mesa Verde are over. But, undaunted, she heads right back into the office and reads Kevin the riot act. As she explains, he ignored all of her legal advice, and that’s part of the reason things went so poorly. And Kevin respects that, and is ready to get back to work as well. Score one for Kim Wexler-McGill-Goodman.Mike, Nacho, and Gus
Lalo is in jail – but he’s still causing trouble. He wants Nacho to burn down Los Pollos Hermanos, and Nacho has to comply for the time being. That means Mike has to help get Lalo out on bail by undoing all the hard private detective work he did. It also means Gus has to allow his restaurant to be destroyed – and sure enough, it is.
Nacho and Gus do the deed together, with Nacho wrecking the joint before Gus sets up an explosive contraption that uses a frozen chicken as a detonator yes, really.
As for Mike, he’s back in control of himself, and he has a level-headed explanation for why he’s decided to work with...
Disney+ may benefit from further delays with the studio's theatrical releases as more movies may be going directly to the streaming service in the future. This, according to former Disney CEO and current Executive Chairman Bob Iger. It was recently revealed that Artemis Fowl will debut on Disney+ sometime this year, skipping a theatrical release. As Iger explains, that may not be the only title to make the move from theatrical to streaming, but don't expect to see it happen with the studio's upcoming tentpole releases.
Given what's going on in the world right now, most movie theaters are shut down entirely and virtually all major releases through June have been delayed. Some have wondered if Disney might put movies like Black Widow or Mulan on Disney+ instead. While that won't be happening, Bob Iger isn't ruling out other movies making the shift. Here's what Iger had to say about it in a recent interview.'There are some we've decided to put on Disney+. We already announced one, Artemis Fowl, that would have been released in theaters. Others we've simply delayed. In some cases we've moved things onto Disney+ faster than we would have. Frozen 2 was one of them, but Onward would be the biggest example. It was in theaters when this happened.' 'We moved to a pay-per-view period for a couple of weeks where people could buy it and own it. And then we ended up putting it on Disney+. In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we'll simply wait for slots. In some cases we've announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar.'
There is a lot to unpack here. Black Widow and several other delayed movies were recently given new release dates as Disney reshuffled its 2020/2021 calendar. Black Widow and other big-budget tentpoles stand to make far more money in theaters, even with a relatively uncertain future ahead, than they could possibly generate via streaming. So putting movies like them directly on Disney+ doesn't make that much business sense.
In the meantime, taking riskier projects such as Artemis Fowl and giving Disney+ subscribers something flashy and exclusive is helpful. But what other movies might fit the bill for streaming debuts? The New Mutants perhaps? Whatever the case, as Bob Iger points out, the studio is content to wait until things return to normal. Disney, more than any other studio in Hollywood, is capable of raking in big dollars at the box office. So this truly isn't that surprising.
Other studios, on the other hand, may see value in doing a VOD/Digital release. Universal kicked that door wide open a couple of weeks back by putting recent releases such as The Invisible Man and The Hunt online. Trolls: World Tour, which was destined for theaters, will arrive digitally this month. Disney has not yet set a premiere date for Artemis Fowl, but it's...