The company didn’t set out to build a big library of Black programming, but now it’s the envy of its rivals.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and his wife, Patty Quillin, are donating $120 million toward student scholarships at historically black colleges and universities. The couple is giving $40 million to each of three institutions: the United Negro College Fund, Spelman College and Morehouse College. The organizations said it is the largest individual gift in support of student scholarships at HBCUs.
Publicity veteran Michelle Slavich is leaving Warner Bros. Pictures for Netflix. In her new role as VP publicity, Slavich will oversee the communications for the streamer’s series, film and documentary programming in the U.S. and Canada. She will report to Netflix communications chief Rachel Whetstone, with whom she previously worked at Google.
Performing in front of an intimate, socially distanced crowd for a surprise Netflix special called 8:46 that dropped late Thursday night, the comedian celebrated the nationwide protests sparked from Floyd’s death in recent weeks while struggling to understand the reason behind his passing.
Scandal, Shonda Rhimes’ primetime political drama series, is jumping from Netflix to Hulu later this month. All seven seasons of Scandal — 124 episodes in all — will begin streaming exclusively on Hulu as of May 20, when the show will no longer be on Netflix in the U.S. The series was created by Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) and stars Kerry Washington as political fixer Olivia Pope.
Netflix’s Ted Sarandos writes in the Los Angeles Times: “While it’s still in the early days, here’s what we’ve learned so far. For one thing, circumstances vary significantly country by country, and even city by city. So, directors and showrunners need to work with local health authorities to adopt safeguards that take account of the situation on the ground. There is no one size fits all.”
But after a peak in March, the audience has started to shrink. “There’s only so much content people can consume,” a Nielsen executive says.
Reed Hastings, the streaming giant’s founder, CEO, president and chairman of the board, tallied $38.6 million in 2019, according to an SEC filing — a $2.5 million increase from the previous year. Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos saw a $5.1 million bump to $34.7 million.
The first quarter spanned the beginning of stay-at-home orders in the U.S. and around the world, a result of the coronavirus pandemic. People appeared to latch on to its vast video library as a source of entertainment and comfort at a time when most had nowhere to be but home.
Disney shares jumped 4.5% Friday with investors encouraged by new federal guidelines setting a timetable for reopening venues including theaters and its theme parks. The company’s market cap jumped to over $192 billion on the news, ending Netflix’s two-day run as being worth more than Disney.
After markets opened Wednesday, Netflix’s stock increased about 3.5% to $427.77 per share, topping its previous high of $423.21 per share, set during midday trading in June 2018. If the gains hold through the end of Wednesday, Netflix will also top its previous all-time high closing price of nearly $419 per share, set in July 2018.
On DownDetector.com, a website used to track outages, there was a spike in reported outages Wednesday around 9:30 a.m. PT. About 3,000 outages were reported between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. PT, with most of the complaints coming from the West Coast and Northeast, according to the site’s tracking map. More than 40% of the outages were due to “no connection,” while 35% complained “video streaming” wasn’t functioning properly.
A recent Nielsen streaming report for the week of March 2-8 acquired by Variety shed light on the normally very tight black box of Netflix viewing data. It shows The Office, Schitt’s Creek and Good Girls as the top three in acquired series on the streamer. The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez and Love is Blind led the most-watched original shows.
Netflix will create a $1 million fund to help the creative community affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos announced Friday. “Almost all television and film production has now ceased globally — leaving hundreds of thousands of crew and cast without jobs. These include electricians, carpenters and drivers, many of whom are paid hourly wages and work on a project-to-project basis.”
Broadcom, a leading chipmaker for pay TV set-tops and other telecom CPE, is suing Netflix, alleging that the streaming service is violating eight of its patents related to data transfer and video playback.
Netflix on Thursday closed one of its office buildings for deep cleaning because one of its employees is suspected of having coronavirus.
Netflix is the latest company to pull out of SXSW 2020, a source familiar with the situation tells Variety, canceling five film screenings and a panel for upcoming series #BlackExcellence with Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones.
Netflix Inc., which has been tight-lipped about the popularity of its shows and movies, is taking another step toward transparency. A new feature on the streaming service will show its top 10 most popular programs and movies, updated daily. Netflix has been testing the approach for about six months in Mexico and the U.K., the company said on Monday.