Netflix Customers Canceling Service Increasingly Includes Long-Term Subscribers

Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers last quarter and potentially two million this current period, according to a note to shareholders from last month. Now, new research highlights that the number of long-standing subscribers canceling Netflix rose precipitously in the past few years. 9to5Mac reports: The data provided by the research firm Antenna to The Information shows that people who had been subscribers for more than three years accounted for just 5% of total cancelations at the start of 2022, while it hit 13% in the first quarter of 2022: “Newbie subscribers, meantime, accounted for only 60% of cancellations in the quarter, down from 64% in the fourth quarter. Also in the first quarter, overall cancellations rose to 3.6 million people, compared with around 2.5 million in each of the preceding five quarters. Antenna says it draws its data from a panel of 5 million Americans who anonymously contribute their streaming subscriptions.”

While Netflix is losing ground, the streaming market as a whole is gaining more subscribers, and Antenna’s data suggest a connection between the price increase and Netflix’s subscriber losses: “‘Consumers vote with their wallets on a monthly basis, and now there are just more viable candidates on the ballot,’ said Brendan Brady, media and entertainment lead at Antenna. Also, since many entertainment companies, like NBCUniversal and Disney, have pulled their shows off Netflix and put them on their own services, Netflix has had to rely more on its originals, which have been hit or miss, he said.”

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Are Movies Dying?

As viewership drops for Hollywood’s annual Academy Awards ceremony, “Everyone has a theory about the decline…” argues an opinion piece in the New York Times.

“My favored theory is that the Oscars are declining because the movies they were made to showcase have been slowly disappearing.”

When the nominees were announced in February, nine of the 10 had made less than $40 million in domestic box office. The only exception, “Dune,” barely exceeded $100 million domestically, making it the 13th-highest-grossing movie of 2021. All told, the 10 nominees together have earned barely one-fourth as much at the domestic box office as “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” Even when Hollywood tries to conjure the old magic, in other words, the public isn’t there for it anymore…. Sure, non-superhero-movie box office totals will bounce back in 2022, and next year’s best picture nominees will probably earn a little more in theaters. Within the larger arc of Hollywood history, though, this is the time to call it: We aren’t just watching the decline of the Oscars; we’re watching the End of the Movies….

[W]hat looks finished is The Movies — big-screen entertainment as the central American popular art form, the key engine of American celebrity, the main aspirational space of American actors and storytellers, a pop-culture church with its own icons and scriptures and rites of adult initiation…. The internet, the laptop and the iPhone personalized entertainment and delivered it more immediately, in a way that also widened Hollywood’s potential audience — but habituated people to small screens, isolated viewing and intermittent watching, the opposite of the cinema’s communalism. Special effects opened spectacular (if sometimes antiseptic-seeming) vistas and enabled long-unfilmable stories to reach big screens. But the effects-driven blockbuster, more than its 1980s antecedents, empowered a fandom culture that offered built-in audiences to studios, but at the price of subordinating traditional aspects of cinema to the demands of the Jedi religion or the Marvel cult. And all these shifts encouraged and were encouraged by a more general teenage-ification of Western culture, the extension of adolescent tastes and entertainment habits deeper into whatever adulthood means today….

Under these pressures, much of what the movies did in American culture, even 20 years ago, is essentially unimaginable today. The internet has replaced the multiplex as a zone of adult initiation. There’s no way for a few hit movies to supply a cultural lingua franca, given the sheer range of entertainment options and the repetitive and derivative nature of the movies that draw the largest audiences. The possibility of a movie star as a transcendent or iconic figure, too, seems increasingly dated. Superhero franchises can make an actor famous, but often only as a disposable servant of the brand. The genres that used to establish a strong identification between actor and audience — the non-superhero action movie, the historical epic, the broad comedy, the meet-cute romance — have all rapidly declined…

[T]he caliber of instantly available TV entertainment exceeds anything on cable 20 years ago. But these productions are still a different kind of thing from The Movies as they were — because of their reduced cultural influence, the relative smallness of their stars, their lost communal power, but above all because stories told for smaller screens cede certain artistic powers in advance.
The article argues that episodic TV also cedes the Movies’ power of an-entire-story-in-one-go condensation. (“This power is why the greatest movies feel more complete than almost any long-form television.”) And it ultimately suggests that like opera or ballet, these grand old movies need “encouragement and patronage, to educate people into loves that earlier eras took for granted,” and maybe even “an emphasis on making the encounter with great cinema a part of a liberal arts education. ”

In 2014 one lone film-maker had even argued that Ben Stiller’s spectacular-yet-thoughtful Secret Life of Walter Mitty “might be the last of a dying breed.”

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Douglas Trumbull, VFX Whiz For ‘Blade Runner’, ‘2001’ and Others, Dies At 79

Douglas Trumbull, the visual effects mastermind behind Blade Runner, Close Encounter of the Third Kind, 2001: A Space Odyssey and numerous others, died on Monday at age 79. His daughter Amy Trumbull announced the news on Facebook, writing that her father’s death followed a “two-year battle” with cancer, a brain tumor and stroke. Engadget reports: Trumbull was born on April 8, 1942 in Los Angeles, the son of a mechanical engineer and artist. His father worked on the special effects for films including The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars: A New Hope. The younger Trumbull worked as an illustrator and airbrush artist in Hollywood for many years. His career really took off after he cold-called Stanley Kubrick, a conversation which led to a job working on 2001: A Space Odyssey.

One of his most significant contributions to 2001 was creating the film’s Star Gate, a ground-breaking scene where astronaut Dave Bowman hurtles through an illuminated tunnel transcending space and time. In order to meet Kubrick’s high aesthetic standards for the shot, Trumbull essentially designed a way to turn the film camera inside-out. Trumbull’s ad hoc technique “was completely breaking the concept of what a camera is supposed to do,” he said during a lecture at TIFF. Trumbull earned visual effects Oscar nominations for his work on Close Encounters, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Blade Runner. He also received the President’s Award from the American Society of Cinematographers in 1996.

Later in his career, Trumbull voiced distaste over the impact of computers on visual effects, decrying the cheapening and flattening impact of the new era of CGI. […] He spent the last years of his life working on a new super-immersive film format he dubbed MAGI, which he believed would improve the experience of watching a film in theaters. But Trumbull struggled to draw the interest of today’s film industry.

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