In The Frame December '19
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In The Frame December '19

This month's latest news across the industry.

Streaming/Online/Tech

Amazon’s live coverage of twenty Premier League football matches in December has reportedly been a major success for its Prime subscription service. Amazon livestreamed games across two rounds of matches – one early in the month, the other spanning Boxing Day and the 27th – and said the first two nights of action set records for the most new sign-ups since Prime was launched in the UK in 2007. Amazon invested a reported £90 million on a three-year rights package. It remains to be seen how many of those subscribers will stay following their 30-day free trial.

Avid has launched its S1 audio control surface, an entry-level S-series panel designed for audio mixing and post-production. It’s aimed at home and small audio studios, and costs US$1,295 (about £980 at the time of writing). The S1 is integrated with Pro Tools and Media Composer, with native support for non-Avid apps including Logic Pro, Cubase and Premiere Pro.

Disney has pulled more than half of its TV box sets from Sky’s streaming service as it prepares to launch Disney+ in the UK on 31 March 2020. Sky's Premier League football rights and exclusive deals with Disney, Warner Bros, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and Universal Studios have underpinned its dominance since the early 1990s.

Netflix, who confirmed recently that The Irishman was streamed more than 26 million times in its first week, has released a breakdown of streaming revenue and membership information in four regions: United States and Canada; Europe, Middle East and Africa; Latin America; Asia-Pacific. Local language content, meanwhile, was the most popular viewed on Netflix in eight countries outside the US in 2019, while the platform’s most-streamed shows of the year in its home market have also been named.

Starz, Lionsgate’s premium cable and satellite network, and Comcast’s NBCUniversal have agreed a long-term deal involving pay-TV carriage and content. Lionsgate programming will go to NBCU’s forthcoming SVoD service Peacock, with NBCU content streaming on StarzPlay.

BBC News

In terms of ratings, BBC One was the most successful Christmas Day TV channel, broadcasting the top seven shows, and eight of the top ten. Gavin & Stacey, watched by 11.6 million viewers, was the day’s most popular programme, and also the most-watched Christmas Day show since 2008 across all channels.

It’s just over a year since the BBC launched its Sounds audio app, and it now has around three million weekly users, up from 1.3 million in June. During the course of 2019, the corporation has significantly expanded its podcasts output, meeting a surge in demand for the format. The BBC’s most popular shows include The Missing Cryptoqueen, That Peter Crouch Podcast and Tunnel 29.

The BBC will show the opening game of the Euro 2020 football tournament – Italy against Turkey, in Rome on Friday 12 June – as well as England’s first match, against Croatia, on Sunday 14 June. Wales’ first two group fixtures, against Switzerland and Turkey, will also be live on the BBC. Both the BBC and ITV will show the final.

The BBC has announced a major commitment to improve the representation of – and opportunities for – disabled people in 2020.

And finally...

  • A former printworks near Channel 4’s new headquarters is being converted into Leeds Studios, five sound stages capable of housing large productions. The studios are due to open to TV, film and commercial productions in May 2020.
  • Sky, meanwhile, is planning a major TV and film studio consisting of 14 sound stages. The 32-acre site in Elstree, Hertfordshire is expected to open in 2022 and create 2,000 jobs.
  • BritBox, the SVoD service created by the BBC and ITV, is now available on Panasonic’s premium range of televisions, Smart TVs manufactured by Vestel, and Google Chromecast streaming sticks, in addition to the TV devices supported at launch.
  • BT is acknowledging consumers’ preference for flexibility by offering BT Sport with a £25 monthly pass.
  • ViacomCBS will soon agree its first major acquisition, committing to pay $375 million for a 49 per cent stake in Miramax from beIN Media Group.
  • Thousands of Freeview viewers across the UK recently reported a loss of signal, which the free-to-air DTT broadcaster blamed on adverse weather conditions.
  • Freeview Play, meanwhile, claims it’s Britain’s fastest-growing platform with almost seven million users and more than nine million devices capable of receiving the service in British homes.
  • Warner Bros Pictures has partnered with short-form video platform TikTok on the global trailer debut for In the Heights, due for worldwide release from 24 June 2020. The partnership enabled TikTok users to view the trailer exclusively on the platform before the rest of the world.

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