Stream Fatigue? Streaming Subscriptions Drop So Far This Year – Just as Apple, Disney Prepare to Enter Market

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Forget about cord-cutting — the new trend in 2019 might be TV fans cutting back on their streaming service budgets.

New research from Ampere Analysis shows that Americans are subscribing to fewer streaming services in the first three months of this year — and also paying less overall. Between January and March, the average U.S. household subscribed to 2.6 services and paid about $30 per month altogether, marking a slight dip from last June, when the average household paid about $33 per month for 2.8 services.

The decline is admittedly modest so far but it’s a notable drop that comes just as Apple, WarnerMedia, NBCUniversal and, oh yeah, Disney are poised to enter an increasingly crowded streaming market within the next year. “Streaming fatigue” could be setting in as customers balk at the idea of dropping their cable and satellite plans only to juggle a half dozen different streaming subscriptions.

“Cord cutters, like me, are realizing that skinnier bundles still add up, price-wise, and how many [streaming] monthly fees can one viewer afford and navigate?” said Neil Landau, screenwriter and author of “TV Writing On Demand: Creating Great Content in the Digital Era.” “We now live in a world with over 500 scripted series, so in addition to getting noticed and breaking through the noise in this glutted TV landscape, the technologically challenged may not even be able to find a desired new show.”

Also Read: Streaming Officially Bigger Than Cable and Satellite TV in US, Research Shows

Landau’s “too many choices” concern was echoed by Kevin Westcott, Deloitte’s vice chairman and head of U.S. Telecom and Media and Entertainment: “With more than 300 over-the-top video options in the U.S., coupled with multiple subscriptions and payments to track and justify, consumers may be entering a time of ‘subscription fatigue.’”

To be clear, this doesn’t mean streaming is falling out of style or that cable and satellite are poised to make a comeback. Indeed, new survey data from Deloitte this week showed that streaming has officially passed traditional pay TV in popularity in the U.S., with 69 percent of survey respondents subscribing to at least one streaming service, compared to 65 percent of respondents that pay for cable or satellite.

However, the new trends indicate that streamers are reticent to sign up for new subscriptions. Cord-cutting was intended to drop monthly expenses while still giving viewers content they desire. And the addition of more big-name services on the market doesn’t guarantee that customers will open their wallets.

Look at the prices of the already established streaming players: Netflix’s premium plan runs $16 per month; Hulu’s “no commercials” plan is $12 per month; HBO Now is $15 per month. Amazon Prime Video comes with a $120 annual Prime membership fee. And Live TV options from YouTube and Hulu hover between $40 and $45 each month. On their own, these prices don’t break the bank, but they quickly add up in combination.

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“Soon we’ll all start looking at our credit card bills and start saying, ‘Why am I subscribing to all of these services? Something’s got to give,’” said Paul Hardart, former Warner Bros. and Turner executive and current head of the Entertainment, Media and Technology Program at New York University.

Making matters tougher for new streamers is Netflix’s overwhelming dominance in the market. The company has nearly 60 million U.S. customers and has built a devoted following behind trademark shows like “Narcos,” “Queer Eye” and “Stranger Things.”

The company’s first-mover advantage is real. New streamers will have a chance to carve out their share of the pie — Disney’s slew of top content, from “Star Wars” to its seemingly never-ending supply of Marvel movies, will bolster its Disney+ service, and Apple has more than $200 billion in cash to throw around if it chooses to bulk up its content offereings.

Still, it will be next to impossible for newcomers to bump Netflix from the select few services that Americans will pay for, Hardart said, leaving the rest of the field to battle for the remaining dollars customers are willing to shell out.

Also Read: Apple’s Streaming Service on Track to Have 100 Million Subscribers in 3-5 Years, Analyst Says

“There will be losers in this. Walmart basically abandoned their streaming service earlier this year,” Hardart noted, referring to the retail giant’s scrapped plans for an $8 per month service. “If a big player like Walmart is abandoning it, it’s a treacherous path.”

“We’ve almost reached a saturation point,” Ampere senior analyst Toby Holleran added of the streaming landscape. While he said the downturn in overall streaming subscriptions isn’t necessarily permanent — Holleran said the “sweet spot” for streaming subscriptions will likely land around three per household in the next year — customer loyalty will be difficult to secure. Instead, churn rates will increase, as a lack of contracts will allow viewers to nomadically bounce from service to service, binging a series or two before moving on to another service.

These key factors — price sensitivity, the ability to easily move from service to service and a finite amount of time for customers to watch all of the content that’s available — could hamper Apple, Disney and WarnerMedia’s fashionably late entrance to the streaming party.

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‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 Trailer: Summer Lovin’, Teen Angst – and a Seriously Freaky New Monster (Video)

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The long-awaited trailer for Season 3 of “Stranger Things” has finally arrived. And it looks like this year we’ll be trading in the Upside Down for teenage wasteland. Or at least living between the two different horror settings when the Duffer Brothers-created sci-fi series returns to Netflix on the Fourth of July.

The 2-minute, 47-second trailer opens with Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) returning home from some trip to a surprise party hosted by Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Max (Sadie Sink). And for a kid who has seen some the freakiest supernatural creatures we could imagine, he is unreasonably spooked by the sweet gesture.

The rest of the video is set to The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” a perfect backdrop to the summer lovin’ and teenage angst the Hawkins crew is going through as they fight puberty and other horrors during their school break.

Also Read: ‘Stranger Things 3’: Netflix Rings in New Year With Long-Awaited Premiere Date (Video)

Additional highlights from the trailer include a hint of romance between David Harbour’s Hopper (with a mustache!) and Joyce (Winona Ryder), a very concerned Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), the introductions of the charming Mayor Kline (Cary Elwes) and Robin (Maya Hawke), Steve’s (Joe Keery) co-worker at Scoops Ahoy who is concerned he doesn’t have any friends his own age.

Oh, and let’s not forget the terrifying new monster that pops up in the Starcourt Mall in front of the gang at the very end there. Gah, rats!

Yeah, the Demogorgon’s got nothing on whatever the heck that thing is.

“Stranger Things” Season 3 launches July 4 on Netflix.

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‘Stranger Things’ Season 3 Trailer Goes Full 1985 With Mötley Crüe & Summer Fun

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You’ve got to give Netflix full cross-promotion points for today’s first full trailer for Season 3 of Stranger Things.
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Why Streaming Costs Americans 150 Percent More Than 3 Years Ago – and It’s Only Going to Get Worse

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‘The Walking Dead’ & ‘Stranger Things’ Named Most In-Demand Series In the World

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During the NATPE Miami international content market and conference today it was revealed that The Walking Dead and Stranger Things were the most in-demand series in the world for 2018, according to Parrot Analytics
The global TV analytics firm announce…

Netflix Now Allows You Share Your Favorite Shows to Instagram Stories

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Get ready for your friends to start recommending even more shows for you to binge, with Instagram will now allow users to share their favorite Netflix shows and movies directly to their Instagram Stories.

The feature, only available on iOS right now, is pretty straightforward: Through the Netflix app, users can post artwork of “Stranger Things” or “Queer Eye” onto their Stories feed, along with the usual Instagram polls and stickers. Their Instagram friends, if they have the Netflix app on their phones, will see a “watch on Netflix” tag on the Story, allowing them to click and watch the show if their interest is piqued.

Here’s how it’ll look on Stories:

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(via Netflix)

“We’re always on the lookout for ways to make it easier for members to share the Netflix titles they’re obsessing about and help them discover something new to watch,” a Netflix spokesperson told TheWrap.

This isn’t the first time Netflix has integrated with other popular apps. Netflix already allowed its users to promote its shows on WhatsApp, Twitter and Messenger — as seen in the below screenshot of its new share screen.

Also Read: Netflix’s US Subscriber Dominance in 1 Graph

(via Netflix)

The Instagram-Netflix crossover makes sense for both companies. Instagram, which has a similar feature in place with Spotify and other major apps, now has another way to keep its 400 million daily Stories users sharing updates. And for Netflix, the feature acts as a new form of digital word of mouth, allowing its users to drive more eyeballs to its shows. After revealing last week it hit 60 million U.S. subscribers during Q4 — and 139 million subscribers overall — the feature is free advertising for Netflix.

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Netflix to Reboot ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ With Original Creators on Board

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Netflix is bringing back the true crime/paranormal series “Unsolved Mysteries.”

The revival is being led by the show’s original creators, alongside “Stranger Things” executive producer Shawn Levy. Terry Dunn Meurer is showrunning this new version that she co-created with John Cosgrove, who will executive produce. Levy and Josh Barry are executive producing for 21 Laps. Robert Wise will also serve as co-executive producer and showrunner.

Per Netflix, this modern take on the classic series will maintain the chilling feeling viewers loved about the original, while also telling the stories through the lens of a premium Netflix documentary series. Each episode will focus on one mystery and once again will look to viewers to help aid investigators in closing the book on long outstanding cases. It will run for 12 episodes.

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Originally hosted by Robert Stack, the series documented cold cases and other paranormal phenomena. Beginning in 1987 with a series of seven specials with Stack, Raymond Burr and Karl Malden all hosting, NBC picked it up as a full series in 1988, where it ran until 1997. The show moved to CBS for its 10th season, and Virginia Madsen was brought in as Stack’s co-host during season 11, before being canceled in 1999. Lifetime then picked it up in 2000, where it ran until 2002.

It was briefly revived by Spike TV in 2008 and aired until 2010, with Dennis Farina taking over hosting duties, since Stack died in 2003. In total, the series aired more than 500 episodes.

It’s the latest true-crime series for Netflix, which already has “Making a Murderer,” “Evil Genius,” “The Staircase” and its upcoming Ted Bundy doc, “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.”

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Netflix Raises Subscription Prices Nearly 20 Percent, Company Stock Jumps 6 Percent

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Netflix is increasing its subscription prices again, with the company’s Standard package bumping up 18 percent from $10.99 per month to $12.99 per month on Tuesday.

The company’s Premium plan, which includes up to four HD streams, moves from $13.99 a month to $15.99 each month, while its Basic plan increases $1 per month, hitting $8.99 each month. The new prices will impact new subscribers immediately, while existing customers will be moved to the new rates in the coming months, according to a Netflix spokesperson.

“We change pricing from time to time as we continue investing in great entertainment and improving the overall Netflix experience for the benefit of our members,” the Netflix spokesperson told TheWrap.

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Netflix’s new prices already greeted potential customers on their website on Tuesday morning:

Netflix’s new prices (via Netflix’s website)

While streamers might not love the price hike, Wall Street did, with Netflix’s stock jumping 6 percent to $353 in early-morning trading. The Los Gatos, California-based company is set to report its Q4 financials on Thursday.

The price raises, between 13 and 18 percent, reflect the biggest increases in Netflix’s history. Netflix last raised its prices in late 2017, with its Premium plan increasing about 17 percent from $11.99 to $13.99 each month at the time — its biggest increase until Tuesday. Existing Netflix customers will receive a heads up email ahead of their monthly increase, according to the Netflix spokesperson.

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The price increases will hit Netflix’s U.S. subscriber base — 58 million accounts when the company reported its Q3 earnings back in October — and Latin American and Caribbean countries where Netflix bills customers in U.S. dollars, including Barbados, Uruguay and Belize. The increases won’t hit markets like Mexico and Brazil.

Even after the hikes, Netflix’s monthly fee is still in-line with its competitors: HBO Now runs customers $15 each month, while Hulu’s ad-free streaming costs $13 per month.

Netflix will likely use its new monthly revenue — which could easily pass $100 million each month — to pay for content and offset its mounting debt. Netflix raised $2 billion in debt in late October, weeks after the company reported it had $8.3 billion in long-term debt at the end of Q3.

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‘Stranger Things 3′: Netflix Rings in New Year With Long-Awaited Premiere Date (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Just after the stroke of midnight on the East Coast Tuesday, Netflix released the first good news of 2019: the long-awaited premiere date for “Stranger Things 3.”

The streamer took advantage of the New Year’s Eve timing by dropping the sci-fi series’ Season 3 launch date in a teaser video, just after the ball dropped ET. The short clip — broadcast by a local channel in the fictional Hawkins, Indiana, and sponsored by the Starcourt Mall — features footage of “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve: 1985.”

As Clark begins to count down to the New Year in the Big Apple, the screen beings to scramble with code and bizarre text and then, finally, it’s revealed we are definitely heading back into the Upside Down on July 4, 2019 — 20 months after the show’s second season launched on Netflix in October 2017.

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Based on the key art for the upcoming third installment of the Duffer Brothers’ series — which was released along with the teaser — it looks like that Fourth of July theme is going to be carried over into the season itself, as we see Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Max (Sadie Sink) outside enjoying some fireworks.

Of course that fun probably can’t last long, as Eleven is looking worried and the tagline reads, “One summer can change everything.”

Earlier this month, Netflix dropped a short teaser confirming the rumors that Season 3 would launch next year (but didn’t give an exact premiere date, obviously) and that clip also revealed all the upcoming episode titles, which you can find here.

Also Read: ‘Stranger Things 3’ Set for 2019 Premiere on Netflix – Here’s a Sneak Peek at Episode Titles (Video)

Watch the date announcement video above and see the key art from “Stranger Things 3” below.

“Stranger Things 3” will launch July 4, 2019 on Netflix.

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Netflix’s Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos Will Each Earn $31.5 Million in 2019 After Big Raises

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Netflix’s two leading men, CEO Reed Hastings and chief content officer Ted Sarandos, will each see their pay rise to more than $31 million in 2019, according to a filing with the SEC on Friday.

Hastings could make $31.5 million next year, according to the filing, which counts his $700,000 salary and up to $30.8 million in stock options — marking about a 7 percent raise on the $29.4 million he was poised to receive this year.

Sarandos is lined up for an even bigger raise. He’ll make $18 million in salary in 2019 — a healthy jump from the $12 million salary he earned this year —  and $13.5 million in stock compensation, matching Hastings in overall pay at $31.5 million. That marks a 20 percent increase from the $26.2 million he earned in 2018. This is the first time Sarandos will make as much as Hastings.

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Hastings and Sarandos’ increased compensation comes after Netflix shareholders have seen the company’s stock jump more than 25 percent this year — even after a stark downturn in recent months that has impacted several major tech companies. Netflix, now at 137 million global subscribers, has already added about 20 million new customers in 2018. The company will report its fourth quarter financials and subscriber figures next month.

David Wells, Netflix’s outgoing chief financial officer, is set to receive a $3.5 million salary and stock options worth $2.8 million. Wells, a longtime staple of the company’s earnings calls, announced he’d be leaving Netflix in August after 14 years with the company. He’ll remain with the company until his successor is picked.

Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief product officer, will take home a $10 million salary next year and receive up to $6.8 million in stock.

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‘Stranger Things’: Sadie Sink Is the Only Kid Who Can Properly Wrap a Present in This Holiday Promo (Video)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Merry Christmas from the “Stranger Things” kids!

On Thursday, Netflix dropped a promo for the Duffer Bros-created sci-fi series and though it featured no “Stranger Things 3” footage, it did show all of the young stars attempting (and failing) to wrap presents for some superfans.

In the two-minute, 20-second clip, Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), Finn Wolfhard (Mike), Noah Schnapp (Will), Caleb McLaughlin (Lucas), Gaten Matarazzo (Dustin), and Sadie Sink (Max) reunite on the set of Mike’s basement, decked in some festive attire and ready to get gift-wrapping. The only problem is, they are all truly horrible at it.

Also Read: ‘Stranger Things 3’ Set for 2019 Premiere on Netflix – Here’s a Sneak Peek at Episode Titles (Video)

Well, except for Sadie, who they all admit is the only one who really has a handle on things here.

There is currently no concrete premiere date set for the third season of “Stranger Things,” though Netflix confirmed earlier this month the installment will drop sometime in 2019. And at that same time, the streamer revealed all the titles of the upcoming episodes, which include: “Suzie, Do You Copy?,” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard,” “The Sauna Test,” “The Source,” “The Birthday,” “The Bite” and “The Battle of Starcourt.”

Watch the video above.

“Stranger Things 3” will launch in 2019 on Netflix.

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