In The Frame January '21
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In The Frame January '21

This month's latest news across the industry.

Streaming/Online/Tech

Netflix, with 70 movies on its roster, more than Disney and Warner Bros. combined, is pledging at least one new release every week in 2021. Sky UK, in response, is increasing its number of original British shows by 50% and releasing a new, exclusive film every fortnight as it tries to win more viewers from its OTT competitors.

The biggest three streaming services in the UK – Netflix, Amazon and Disney+ – have about 32 million subscribers here, double that of traditional pay-TV companies such as Sky, BT and Virgin Media.

Sky’s parent, Comcast, has however reported results for the last quarter and the calendar year 2020, highlighting the 244,000 subscribers the company has added across the UK, Germany and Italy, returning the business to pre-Covid levels.

Netflix and Disney+ have both announced price increases.

Grass Valley is to move its operations from Newbury to Canada, leading to “a number of redundancies”. An email to employees stated: “To address our overcapacity in manufacturing resulting from the industry transition and customers’ changing buying patterns, we have formally begun the consolidation of all manufacturing activities in Newbury into our underutilized manufacturing in Montreal.”

Belden acquired Snell Advanced Media in 2018, and the latter was brought under the Grass Valley umbrella. The company said it expected the transition to be completed by September 2021.

BBC News

Children’s programming on BBC iPlayer was requested 40.8m times – a record – during the week 11-17 January, while BBC and BT have agreed a partnership to remove mobile data charges for BBC Bitesize educational content.

BBC R&D is developing BBC Together, a tool to enable people in different locations to simultaneously consume the same content on iPlayer, BBC Sounds, BBC Bitesize or the BBC news or sport websites. It’s available to try, for another two months, here.

A National Audit Office report has found the BBC faces “significant” uncertainty over its financial future due to changes in viewing habits and because the corporation is “heavily reliant on its main source of income, the licence fee”.

Richard Sharp has been announced as the next chairman of the BBC. The 64-year-old is a former banker at Goldman Sachs, where he worked with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, and a former donor to the Conservative party, and takes up his post next month. He said in December that the licence fee “may be worth reassessing”.

And finally...

  • The BBC Sounds app has launched on Sky Q.
  • Sky is aiming to increase its ethnic diversity and representation. The broadcaster wants 20% of employees at Sky in the UK & Ireland to be from Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background by 2025, with at least a quarter of these to be Black.
  • Virgin Media is making a variety of premium children’s entertainment and learning-based programmes available for all of its 3.5 million TV customers during February, at no extra cost.
  • The ITV Hub exceeded its targets for January 2021 across both consumption hours and monthly active users.
  • Can't Get You Out Of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World a new six-film series from the journalist and Bafta-winning filmmaker, Adam Curtis, premieres on iPlayer on 11 February.
  • This year’s rescheduled National Television Awards will take place on Thursday 9 September.
  • UK Screen Alliance has updated its Guidance for Safe Working in Post-Production & VFX during the Covid-19 Pandemic to incorporate the latest government regulations.
  • Documentary+, a global streaming service, has launched. It’s available free on any device and on all streaming platforms including Apple TV, Amazon and Roku.
  • Various global brands, including Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Budweiser and Pepsi, will not advertise their products during this year’s Super Bowl, the most-watched TV broadcast in the US each year.

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