Weekly News Roundup (February 10, 2019)

Sorry for the (really) long hiatus, but we’re back! Various reasons for the extended break, but suffice to say, the lack of news was one of the main ones.

But we do have news this week, and so we’re back!

Copyright

Without a single new episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ in 2018 (I’ve already forgotten that dragon lady’s name, and have no idea how many people are still left on that assassin girl’s list – yep, it’s been too long a hiatus), it was up to another show to take the “most pirated” crown. And in 2018, that show was ‘The Walking Dead’.

The Walking Dead is a favourite among pirates

The increased attention on ‘The Walking Dead’ now means that pirates are lining up to be the quickest to get new content to the masses, and the season 9 mid-season premier, unfortunately, has been leaked to pirate sites even before its official airing.

There’s no indication that an advanced copy of the episode was leaked to pirates, but it appears that TWD’s network, AMC, may have been the one that opened the door to pirates. AMC’s new on-demand streaming service, AMC Premiere, has made the debut episode available a week before the TV debut. It’s believed that this official stream is where the pirated episode, a WEBRIP, has come from.

The cool thing about all of this is that AMC has not overreacted to the news of the show becoming the most pirated in 2018, nor this most recent development. The truth of the matter is that piracy rates have actually decreased for the show in recent seasons, and that’s linked directly to the declining ratings the show has gotten. If a little bit of pre-release piracy can help give the show a publicity boost, then why not?

High Definition

Disney is looking for a boost of its own when its Disney+ streaming platform launches later in the year. And in a fiscal call, Disney’s CFO has revealed some more information about what will happen when Disney+ launches, and more importantly, what will happen to the studio’s current distribution channels.

Disney CFO Christine McCarthy revealed that the studio is set to forgo $150 million in third-party licensing revenue due to the move to Disney+. ‘
Captain Marvel’ might be the first major film from the studio that will debut on Disney+, and it might mean Disney will have to skip releasing the film early via other outlets in order to promote Disney+.

Captain Marvel may be the first big exclusive for Disney+

In the same fiscal call, McCarthy also hinted at a possible foreign expansion of Hulu, which Disney will own 60% of after its acquisition of Fox. While there is some overlap between Hulu and Disney+, Disney is keen to stress their differences, with Hulu hosting more “edgier” content like horror series ‘Into the Dark’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, neither of which would be a good fit for the more family oriented Disney+.

Here in Australia, it’s hard to see how a service like Hulu would fit into the crowded TV landscape. We already have two major subscription on-demand services, Netflix and Stan, that have a lock on a lot of movies and TV shows that are on Hulu (‘The Good Place’ on Netflix, and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ on free-to-air channel SBS and Stan). Plus, there’s cable operator Foxtel who has premiere rights on a lot of shows. For Hulu to succeed, they will have to come to some sort of agreement with the free-to-air channels (who have right to Hulu shows like ‘Law & Order: SVU’, ‘Modern Family’), but they all have their own catch-up/SVOD plans too. It might still work, but is there enough unique content to justify yet another subscription?

The situation may be better in other countries where competition is less robust, but it’s always going to be hard.

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So that’s what’s been happening this past week. See you next week!

 

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