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Established streaming industry leaders like Netflix and Amazon are facing more competition than ever. Now legacy entertainment giants are in the game with their own subscription services, like Peacock, HBO Max, Paramount Plus, and the Disney Plus / Hulu / ESPN Plus bundle, while Apple TV Plus attacks around the edges. Meanwhile, the rise of ad-supported free platforms like Roku Channel and Pluto TV has attracted enough attention that Plex, YouTube, and Amazon’s Freevee are trying to get a chunk of the action too.

On Disney pulling ads from X.

Disney is one on a growing list of companies that have stopped advertising on X, formerly known as Twitter, following antisemitic posts from Elon Musk.

During his interview at the DealBook 2023 event, Bob Iger didn’t comment on whether Disney would ever go back to advertising on X, but he had this to say about the decision:

By him taking the position he took, we felt that the association with that position, and Elon Musk and X, was not a positive one for us.

Bob Iger thinks he knows why The Marvels failed at the box office.

Speaking during the NYT DealBook Summit 2023, he did not blame the actors' strike and lack of publicity for the film's performance. Nor did he blame the weird hatred of the film driven by sexism coming from a small and vocal cadre of Marvel fans upset over a film helmed by three women.

He did blame the sheer volume of content being created for making it more difficult to maintain quality and said, "The Marvels was shot during Covid, and there wasn't enough supervision on set" from executives.

But given that overreliance on executive creative control is one of the things that have driven the Marvel brand to its current nadir... that's certainly an interesting assessment.

Bob Iger on recent Disney flops.

Responding to a DealBook question about recent box office disappointments, Iger says, “we need to get more realistic” about what a hit looks like in the streaming age.

The Disney CEO also says it was a “definite mistake” to increase output for streaming and that an increase in quantity led to diluted quality.

Today on The Vergecast: How Planet Earth gets made, and how Netflix shows you what to watch.

Do you ever open the Netflix app and wonder why you’re seeing what you’re seeing? It turns out the story is both more and less complicated than you might think — and resistant to all my conspiracy theories about Netflix bullying you into watching stuff.

Also, if you haven’t been watching this season of Planet Earth, you’re missing out. And the stories behind the way the filmmakers capture incredible footage in awful conditions will only blow your mind more. Because this is The Vergecast, and care too much about drone cameras.

Zaslav says scrapping Batgirl took “courage.”

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav is talking at the DealBook event about the business decisions behind axing projects like Batgirl. He says once money is spent on production, making a choice not to release a project and spend even more is a “strategic decision.”

What content is going to help us win? The content that wasn’t, we made a strategic decision on. It was difficult and it was painful. But I think it was the right decision for the company and it was necessary.

Checking in from DealBook.

I’m here in New York at The New York Times’ DealBook Summit, an annual gathering of some of the most powerful people in the world.

Over the course of the day we’ll be hearing from people like Bob Iger, David Zaslav, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang, and FTC chair Lina Khan — and we’ll close out the day with an interview with Elon Musk. Check back in for news as the day goes on.

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Instacart Plus subscribers now get Peacock Premium as a perk.

The $9.99 / month Instacart Plus subscription already offers unlimited free grocery deliveries and lower service fees, but now it’s bundling in Peacock’s Premium plan, too. The streamer’s Premium plan offers ad-supported access to a range of content on Peacock and typically costs $5.99 per month.

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Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal are taking The Boys to Mexico.

Amazon’s adaptation of The Boys only just got to college with its Gen V spin-off, but the streamer has already greenlit yet another expansion of the franchise — this time set in Mexico — courtesy of Blue Beetle’s Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, Diego Luna, and Gael García Bernal.

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“It’s a different sort of vibe.”

That’s Zack Snyder in Wired talking about the differences between theatrical and streaming movies — particularly when it comes to grabbing people right away — ahead of the release of Rebel Moon on Netflix.

On the streamer, though, you have to be careful with the opening of the movies because the barrier for entry is really easy. But also the barrier for leaving is very easy. The balance is a lot more difficult on a streamer than in a theater.

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Plex users have some valid concerns about its new activity-sharing feature.

Earlier this month, Plex officially introduced its new Discover Together feature, which shares what you’ve been watching, discussing, or rating with friends on the service and vice versa.

As pointed out by 404 Media, some users were caught off guard by the “discover together” emails they found in their inbox, with one user saying: “I wonder how many people just had their week’s porn selections emailed to their Plex friends. I just got an email about a friend’s watching habits which he definitely didn’t want to share.”

The MCU’s Agatha Harkness seems to be back on her bullshit.

How Agatha Harkness: Darkhold Diaries will address the events of WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is anyone’s guess.

But in a new WandaVision behind-the-scenes feature reel which also includes some new Darkhold Diaries production footage), Kathryn Hahn’s Agatha Harkness appears to be back to her old seld, and messing with the kind of magic that tends to get people roped into big crossover events.

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Amazon Fire TV Channels gets more free sports content.

Amazon’s free Fire TV Channels service is adding more sports content to its mix today: highlights from the NBA, Big Ten, SEC, and Big 12 are now available, as well as Fox Sports’ 24/7 linear channel. and shows from the Locked On Podcast Network. The service already had content from Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, NBC Sports, and others.

Two things about this:

1. The great re-bundling of TV just keeps accelerating, and sports is really leading the way, and

2. Amazon announced this in a post on Medium, which... what?

Attention, Sports Fans!

[Amazon Fire TV]

Doctor Who arrives oddly late to the companion podcast space.

The first of three new Doctor Who episodes is about to premiere at 6:30PM GMT (1:30PM ET, and if you’re not in the UK or Ireland, you’ll find the new episodes on Disney Plus now). And after fans watch “The Star Beast,” for the first time, there will be an official post-show podcast (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Casts) to extend the experience.

The only odd thing about this is that Doctor Who didn’t have one before, and if you’re still wondering why every new show has a podcast, Hot Pod has tried to answer that very question.

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You can finally read the details of SAG-AFTRA’s new contract for yourself.

When SAG-AFTRA finally reached a tentative agreement to bring the actors strike to an end earlier this month, the union’s insistence that its members might not be able to look over the deal before voting on it raised more than a few eyebrows.

It seemed odd that union leadership might try to get people on board with the contract without giving them a chance to read the whole thing. But now the union’s released the full document — on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving of all days.

Scraping a snow shovel to make the Netflix logo sound.

This kind of video gets me in trouble at home because I will try to emulate it for fun. Just hours of recording noises and editing them, to the exclusion of all of the reasonable, responsible things I should do instead.

Anyway, here’s someone smacking, plucking, and scraping disparate household items to get the Netflix logo sound.

*pounds table* Show me the creatures.

This is the second teaser for Netflix’s Gyeongseong Creature, following a release date announcement at Geeked Week earlier in the month. And while the show looks great, I am just itching to see what these creatures actually look like. I guess we’ll find out pretty soon: part one of the series starts streaming on December 22nd.

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Netflix wants its money back after a $55 million production fell apart.

That’s according to The New York Times, which claims filmmaker Carl Erik Rinsch pocketed the millions of dollars Netflix transferred him for the production of a sci-fi series that we’ll probably never see:

Netflix wired Mr. Rinsch’s production company $11 million, bringing its total outlay to more than $55 million... Mr. Rinsch transferred $10.5 million of the $11 million to his personal brokerage account at Charles Schwab and, using options, placed risky bets on the stock market.

Rinsch and Netflix are “now locked in a confidential arbitration proceeding,” the NYT reports. He reportedly claims Netflix owes him “at least $14 million in damages.”

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Guess the Muppets were too much mayhem for Disney Plus.

The Muppets Mayhem lasted just one season before Disney canceled it. Variety reported today that the show won’t get a second season on the platform.

The show followed Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem Band as they tried to record an album. Bummer for fans of the Muppet Show’s house band.

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Is nothing sacred?? Now, you can’t even escape Black Friday shopping madness by watching football.

Amazon Prime Video plans to inject “shoppable” ads into the first-ever Black Friday NFL game.

According to the WSJ, the Friday afternoon game between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins will feature “exclusive” online shopping deals advertised with on-screen QR codes throughout the action.

Yeah, ‘cos that's just the incentive I need to tune into a football game on my day off — more ads.

Black Mirror, which is basically a docuseries at this point, has been renewed for a seventh season.

As our world’s become increasingly filled with artificial intelligence, robotic dogs armed with guns, and social media platforms run by fashy lunatics, it’s gotten harder to enjoy Black Mirror as mere speculative fiction. But even though the show doesn’t always feel as science-fictional as it used to, that’s not stopping Netflix from bringing it back for a seventh season.

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Paramount Plus has quietly slashed its film catalog.

A study by Reelgood found that between October 2022 and October 2023, the number of movies on Paramount Plus was reduced by 64 percent. The trimmer catalog is part of the company’s initiative to move toward profitability. In that same period, most other streamers built up their film catalogs, including Hulu, Peacock, and Disney Plus.

A monster weekend for entertainment releases.

And I mean that literally: the Godzilla spinoff series Monarch: of Monsters is now streaming on Apple TV Plus. But it’s not the only big release of the week, with Nintendo’s remake of Super Mario RPG out on the Switch, and the subversive Scott Pilgrim Takes Off streaming on Netflix.

Elsewhere, the excellent action game Downwell is now on Apple Arcade, and Nintendo surprise-dropped some titles at this week’s indie event: organization RPG Backpack Hero and turn-based folktale Howl.

A still image from the TV series Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.


Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.
Image: Apple
Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama’s Sand Land is coming to Hulu.

Last year, Bandai Namco announced it would turn a short story by Toriyama into an entire Sand Land franchise. The Sand Land movie has already been released in Japan, we saw a trailer for the game during Summer Game Fest, and next spring Sand Land: The Series will “build upon the movie’s original universe” with a new anime on Hulu.

Hulu’s Animayhem booth will highlight this show along with Undead Unluck, Tokyo Revengers, and Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War at the Anime NYC convention this weekend.

Promotional artwork for the Sand Land TV show, with characters riding a dune buggy-like vehicle through the desert.
Sand Land: The Series
Image: Hulu
Amazon’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith show for Prime Video debuts in February.

The entire eight-episode season will premiere on February 2nd, 2024, Amazon announced on Thursday. The show co-stars Donald Glover and Maya Erskine. Phoebe Waller-Bridge was originally set to co-star but left the show in 2021.

A photo from Amazon’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
A photo from Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Image: Prime Video
Harley Quinn season 5 is absolutely on its way.

As troubled as Warner Bros. Discovery’s universe of live-action projects based on DC’s comics are, none of that drama seems to be impacting Max’s Harley Quinn which has been renewed for a fifth season.

“We must have handed out at least three thousand NDAs by now,” executive producers Justin Halpern, Patrick Schumacker, and Dean Lorey said In a statement about keeping the renwal secret. “It was a big waste of paper.”

A red haired, green-skinned woman wearing a green biker jacket embracing a page blonde woman wearing pigtails whose tips are either pink or blue.
Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn sharing an embrace.