Posts tagged with "Netflix"

Space Force drops first recruitment video: “Maybe your purpose on this planet isn’t on this planet”

May 12, 2020

The United States Space Force has released its first recruitment video—a 30-second clip that encourages potential recruits to ponder joining the newest independent branch of the U.S. military at this “incredibly exciting time.”

“Maybe your purpose on this planet isn’t on this planet,” the video suggests..

In a press release, the agency explains, “The FY20 National Defense Authorization Act approved a new, independent Space Force within the Department of the Air Force. As this new military branch takes shape in 2020, we’ll be recruiting the brightest minds in science, technology, aerospace, and engineering to meet its needs. Join us. The future is where we’ll make history.”

“Some people look to the stars and ask, ‘What if?'” a narrator is heard over footage of a man looking up at the sky. “Our job is to have an answer.”

The video then shows a montage of military personnel working within the new military branch, interposed with images of space. Available jobs include: Space Operations Office, Fusion Analyst, and Intelligence Officer.

According to a report by CBS News, even before the video was posted, officials said they’ve received lots of interest. The Secretary of the Air Force, Barbara Barrett, said during a livestream presented by the Space Foundation on May 6 that “there’s been an avalanche of applicants.”

As of that day, there were 88 “commissioned space professionals” working within the Space Force,  Barrett said, and the number is expected to grow “substantially” by the end of 2020. The service’s “total force” is projected to eventually be approximately 16,000 strong.

The recruitment video dropped just one day after Netflix released the new teaser trailer for its upcoming comedy series “Space Force,” starring Steve Carell. The show revolves around Carell’s character, a fictitious four-star general who is tasked with starting up the military branch. The

Chief of Space Operations, General John Raymond said in a less serious moment at the end of the press release,  “The one piece of advice I’d give to Steve Carell is to get a haircut. He’s looking a little too shaggy if he wants to play the Space Force Chief.”

Research contact: @SpaceForceDOD

Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ is the show we’re all hooked on during the pandemic

April 1, 2020

It’s not exactly a National Geographic documentary. It comes across more like a Christopher Guest “mockumentary” (such as Spinal Tap or Best in Show), says Boston Globe Correspondent Lauren Daley, but it’s all real—and America is #Obsessed.

We’re a nation in quarantine, and, with a seemingly infinite number of programs to stream, many of us have apparently opted for “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” on Netflix.

What, exactly, is the show’s appeal? It’s billed by Netflix as a “true murder-for-hire story from the underworld of big cat breeding,” featuring a “cast of eccentric characters.” But Daley can only say, “It’s so much more.

She’s fascinated by larger-than-life characters like Joe Exotic, a mulleted big-cat lover who also makes his own music videos; and Doc Antle, who rides elephants, and comes across like a Will Ferrell character.

Combine them with a three-person wedding, breakups, a common enemy, in-fighting, love, a mystery surrounding a disappeared millionaire, a torn-off limb, and a multitude of cats—and you’ve got a binge-watching bonanza.

As soon as “Tiger King” debuted, Daley writes in the Globe, a home-bound audience around the country became glued to their screens—including more than a few actors who are now sitting home dreaming about the eventual Hollywood biopic. (“I mean, there has to be one, right?” she speculates.)

Following the show’s debut on March 20, Twitter (and other social media) blew up with suggested “dream cast” members—among them, the actors Danny McBride or David Spade (to be cast as Joe Exotic), Katherine O’Hara as Carole Baskin, Jim Gaffigan or Will Ferrell as Antle …. The lists go on.

Dax Shepard—most recently seen as Mike on “Bless this Mess” on ABC-TV— tweeted: “If I don’t get cast as Joe Exotic in the eventual biopic, Hollywood is broken.” He followed that by posting a photoshopped image of himself with a mullet and a tiger, just to show how committed he would be to the role.

However, not everyone was on board with that (potential) casting. Oscar-nominee and Boston native Edward Norton countered: “Um, step aside, pal. You’re way too young and buff and you know it.”

And he was not the last to be heard from. Comedian Dane Cook chimed in as well: “I already got asked but I’m sure there is a villain role supporting me we could slot you in. #howdareyou.”

Now, the Globe’s Daley reveals, what many didn’t know before this Netflix juggernaut is that apparently there is a limited series coming, centered on Baskin, with Kate McKinnon starring.

We’ve got popcorn ready.

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

Going south? Facebook, Netflix, and Twitter beg off South by Southwest over coronavirus fears

March 9, 2020

They may be “social media,” but right now, hobnobbing with hordes of people is not their mission: Facebook, Netflix, TikTok, and Twitter have joined the growing list of companies—including Warner Music—that are dropping out of the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, ABC News reports.

Apple is also, by many accounts, pulling out—but has not confirmed the rumors.

The tech, film, and music festival is slated to take place March 13 to 22 in Austin, Texas—and organizers said at a news conference on March 4 that the event is still scheduled to take place, as planned; and that canceling it wouldn’t make the community safer.

“Right now, there is no evidence that closing South by Southwest or other activities is going to make this community safer. We are constantly monitoring that situation,” Dr. Mark Escott, the interim medical director for Austin Public Health, told reporters. “One of the concerns is that if we shut down or make the recommendation to shut down South by Southwest, people will still continue to come here … but without that organizational structure that South by Southwest provides.”

Festival organizers are increasing the availability of hand-washing and sanitizing stations— as well as screening employees’ and volunteers’ temperatures—to help allay anxieties over COVID-19, Escott added.

Also on Wednesday, health officials in Texas announced the state’s first confirmed case of coronavirus in Fort Bend County, outside of Houston.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was scheduled to be one of the event’s speakers, but his name no longer appears on the website, ABC News noted. “Twitter is implementing a mandatory global business travel restriction for our employees, effective immediately. This unfortunately includes SXSW,” a Twitter spokesperson told the nework news outlet.

A Facebook spokesperson similarly said, “Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our company and employees will not be participating in SXSW this year.”

Netflix and TikTok also both confirmed to ABC News on Thursday, March 5, that they would not be participating. Apple did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment, although Reuters reported that the company had opted not to attend.

Organizers and the city of Austin have faced widespread calls to call off the festival this year. A Change.org petition calling for it to be canceled had garnered nearly 50,000 signatures as of Thursday.

Calling off the festival would be a major blow to the local economy. The gathering injects up to $350 million into Austin’s economy, according to a 2018 analysis by Greyhill Advisors, funded by South by Southwest.

Research contact: @ABC

Editor’s note: Under pressure to keep a lid on COVID-19, Austin has canceled SXSW, as of Friday night, March 6.

Get an earful: You can phone Murray from ‘Stranger Things’ for clues to Season 4

July 26, 2019

Just four days after the debut of the third season Stranger Things on Independence Day, 18.2 million households in America already had streamed the entire season, according to Netflix.

In addition to welcoming the comeback of such series regulars as Winona Ryder (Joyce Byers), David Harbour (Jim Hopper), and Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven), fans greeted Maya Hawke (Robin) and the return of Brett Gleiman (Murray Bauman) with enthusiasm.

Murray’s return was heralded in one of the show’s trailers during the lead-up to the premiere of the third season, but fans didn’t know how big his role would be. It turned out that the private investigator/conspiracy theorist had a pretty big part in the story this season, as he helped Hopper and Joyce communicate with the short-lived character Alexei (Alec Utgoff), playing the scientist who only spoke Russian). He was also a key piece in the plan to destroy the Russian machine underneath the brand-new Starcourt Mall.

(Spoiler Alert: And while the machine was destroyed—essentially closing the gate to the Upside Down—Hopper (might have been) killed in the process. Murray was last seen walking with Joyce out of the Russian facility, and months later, Joyce decided to move out of Hawkins with her kids and Eleven in tow.)

But as PopBuzz reported earlier this month, a sneaky clue hidden in one of the episodes may reveal a plot point for season four. In season 3, episode 6, Murray’s phone number is shown on-screen. The number is 618-625-8313, and it turns out that it’s a working number. If fans call the number, they’ll hear Murray’s voicemail message.

According to PopBuzz, the recording says:

“Hi, you have reached the residence of Murray Bauman. Mom, if this is you, please hang up and call me between the hours of 5 and 6pm as previously discussed, ok?

If this is Joyce, Joyce, thank you for calling, I have been trying to reach you. I have an update. It’s about, well, it’s probably best if we speak in person. It’s not good or bad, but it’s something.

If this is anyone but my mother or Joyce, well, you think you’re real clever, getting my number, don’t ya? Well, here’s some breaking news for you: You’re not clever. You’re not special. You are just simply one of the many, many nimwits to have called here, and the closest you will ever get to me is this prerecorded message so at the beep, do me a favor and hang up and never call here again.”

According to PopBuzz, fans believe that Murray’s shoutout for Joyce is confirmation that Hopper is in fact the American being held in the Russian prison, and that Murray wants to talk with her about what to do next.

And while Murray’s recording also tells fans calling to “hang up and never call here again,” the actor who plays Murray, Brett Gelman, posted the number on his Instagram.

That sounds like an invitation for a phone call.

Research contact: @popbuzz

‘Family Business’ on Netflix is a French-Jewish version of ‘Breaking Bad’

July 9, 2019

For those of us who have been mourning for Walter White—and the entire Breaking Bad ensemble—since the series went off the air in 2013 (has it been six years already?), Netflix is now filling the gaping void in our viewing schedules with an imported knockoff series.

Excited? You should be.

The French series, which debuted in late June, is called Family Business—and it’s about a down-on-his-luck Jewish entrepreneur , Joseph Hazan, and his family; who race to turn their kosher butcher shop into a marijuana café after they learn the drug is going to be legalized.

And while, Haaretz reports, it lacks the macabre violence of Breaking Bad, the two shows do share a reliance on witty dialogue and strong acting.

Boasting a solid 7.3 score on IMDB, the series has wide appeal likely in large part to how it mixes race and family relations with fart jokes and surrealist scenes. (One features the Hazans narrowly avoiding arrest by telling police that the weed-stuffed dead pig in their kosher meat truck has been genetically engineered to receive rabbinical approval.)

In one scene, in which the Hazans find themselves serving food to an entire police precinct inside their illegal growth lab, the family dishes out typically Eastern European foods alongside North African mloukhiya stew.

 In another, Joseph’s father, Gerard, asks his mother-in-law to cook kishke— or as he calls it “that awful stink of a dish —to camouflage the scent of budding marijuana plants from the cops working next door.

The family’s trademark product—the parallel of Walter White’s blue ice in AMC’s  Breaking Bad—is called “pastraweed,” a mashup of pastrami and weed.

Yiddish phrases like “bubbeleh” pepper the dialogue, along with North African Jewish slang like “ya rab” and “miskin.”

Between the lines, the show’s creator, Igor Gotesman, also used the family biography to build a sort of microcosm of French Jewry—from the liberal elements represented in Joseph’s lesbian sister, Aure, to the conservative ones, represented by Gerard.

For those who are looking for a kooky, summer crime caper, this could be for you. One drawback: If you don’t speak French, you’ll be reading lots of captions.

Research contact: @Haaretz

Netflix to expand New York executive offices and production hub

April 22, 2019

The latest tech behemoth to “stream” into New York City is Netflix, according to an April 18 report by Fast Company.

Months after Amazon backed out of branching out to Long Island City, the video services provider has opted to set up shop in the Big Apple.

New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that Netflix is building a new production hub in the city, which is expected to create hundreds of new jobs and “up to $100 million in investments to the city,” according to a statement from the Empire State Development Corporation.

“Netflix is innovative, creative, and bold—just like New Yorkers—and the expansion of this cutting-edge company in New York once again demonstrates the Empire State is open for business,”  the governor said at a press conference last Thursday.

The new production hub will comprise an expanded 100,000-square-foot office in Manhattan’s Flatiron District and six sound stages in Brooklyn that could bring hundreds of executive positions and thousands of production crew jobs to New York within the next five years.

Empire State Development Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Thanks to Netflix, online streaming has become as commonplace as cable television, and maybe even more accessible—and their decision to expand in New York is a validation of our work to support and develop New York’s technology, entertainment, and production industries.”

New York is giving Netflix a sweet deal, too. The state reportedly offered the company up to $4 million in performance-based tax incentives—meaning that Netflix needs to create and keep new jobs in the city in order to receive the tax breaks.

Research contact: @netflix

Netflix hikes prices on subscription plans

January 15, 2019

As the old saying goes, “You pays your money and you takes your choice”—and that’s certainly true for Netflix.

The Los Gatos, California-based streaming video service has just raised prices for all of its subscription plans—a move that will enable the company to continue its aggressive spending on content in the face of stepped-up competition from rivals, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Netflix will increase the price of its most popular plan by 18%—to $13 a month from $11. That plan allows users to stream from two screens at the same time. The most basic plan, which allows a single stream in standard definition, will go up one dollar, or 13%, to $9 a month.

“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,” a Netflix spokesperson told the Journal.

The new rates will go into effect immediately for new customers and be applied to the accounts of existing customers in the next few months, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Netflix last raised prices in October 2017, when the standard plan increased $1, to $11 a month; and the premium plan went up $2,  to $14.

The increase in monthly subscriber fees comes as Netflix continues to spend heavily to woo talent to its streaming service. Already, it has cut long-term deals costing hundreds of millions of dollars with powerful Hollywood producers—among them, Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy.

Indeed, the Journal reports, industry analysts expect Netflix this year will spend $12 billion on licensing and creating content, more than double what it spent just two years ago.

Research contact: joe.flint@wsj.com

Digital publishers see the future—and it is streaming video

May 2, 2018

Digital publishers are doubling down on new TV-like video programming— specifically with streaming services, like Netflix, as well as with linear TV networks—Axios reported on May 1.

Indeed, a Nielsen Total Audience Report found that, as of June 2017, 69.5 million U.S. TV households owned at least one Internet-enabled device capable of streaming content to the television set.

And, as streaming video becomes an increasingly integral part of home entertainment, publishers are seeing a new way to reach their target audiences. The latest developments, according to Axios, include the following:

  • The New York Times announced on April 30 that it will turn its medical column, “Diagnosis,”’ into a Netflix series.
  • It joins Buzzfeed, Vox and Fusion Media Group, which all have inked deals with Netflix this year, for programs varying in length. (Buzzfeed shows will run roughly 15 minutes per episode.)
  • Conde Nast has distributed its original content series, “The Fashion Fund,” on Amazon since 2016.

The social media sites also are turning their attention to show-like content, pushing publishers to create content partnerships on their video channels, like Facebook Watch and Snapchat Discover.

While monetization opportunities vary by platform, advertisers see premium on-demand video as a solid branding opportunity. It has “the potential to create deeper context while building communities for brands who go all in with this approach,” Laura Correnti, EVP of marketing and communications strategy agency Giant Spoon, told Axios.

Research contact: news@axios.com

Looking back at 12 months of Netflix binge-watching

December 13, 2017

What a difference a year makes, according to Netflix. Thanks to streaming video, 24/7, viewers of the 10-year-old entertainment network watched more 140 million hours per day of television programming worldwide—or more than 1 billion hours per week.

And how we watched also was intriguing. With binge-watching practically accepted as a competitive sport now, there were several series we devoured that way. Others, we savored; cheated on; or appreciated together, Netlfix reports.

We took an escape from reality in 2017 by devouring/bingeing on (watching more than two hours per day) sci-fi series such as 3%Travelers and The OA. The question of ‘whodunit’ (and didn’t do it) tempted us to tune in to The Keepers and The Confession Tapes. The number-one show rated bingeworthy by viewers was American Vandal.

When we needed a laugh this year, we turned to the following shows (watching less than two hours per day, from most popular to least): Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Glow, Friends from College, Ozark, Atypical, Dear White People and Disjointed.

We couldn’t resist a thrill and shamelessly watched the following shows ahead of our significant others: Narcos, 13 Reasons Why, Stranger Things, Orange Is the New Black, Sense 8, Black Mirror, Marvel’s The Defenders, Marvel’s Iron Fist, Ozark (again!), and Mindhunter.

And finally—whether for shivers, bromance, or nostalgia—we watched several shows together as a family. Among those were: Stranger Things (again; this time, rated as the top show for families), 13 Reasons Why, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Star Trek Discovery, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Riverdale, Fuller House, Chef’s Table, Atypical and Anne with E.

Popularity of the shows was rated by Netflix based on the average daily viewing hours per member between November 1, 2016, and November 1 of this year.

Research contact: edwyer@netflix.com

Anonymous survey finds Netflix pays more than other tech companies

December 5, 2017

Recently, Blind—the anonymous chat app that is being used surreptitiously by thousands of employees nationwide—asked followers who work at tech companies a sensitive question, Business Insider reports: Do you think you are paid fairly?

The answers, from over 4,000 respondents, were somewhat unexpected. For example, the tech workers who are happiest with their compensation are not employed at tech giants Google or Facebook; they are at Netflix, followed by Dropbox, NerdWallet, Twitch and Snapchat.

Conversely, based on the survey findings, the employees who are least happy with their earnings work at Walmart Labs. And 40% or more of employees polled at PayPal, Spotify and Twitter said they weren’t happy with their remuneration, either. In fact, 49% of all respondents were not satisfied with their salaries; leaving 51% who were.

As  to which companies had the most employees in this poll who were dreaming of leaving for the day and not returning? Groupon, HPE and Oracle each came in at around 90%.

Among the ten hottest tech companies today, Microsoft has the least loyal employees in this survey—with about 75% of its staff who responded that they are looking to leave.

Amazon also scored at the top of corporations that were not good at retaining staff, with about 60% of the company’s respondents on their way out the door.

Finally, it is little surprise that the most steadfast employees worked at Netflix, where respondents said they were happiest with their pay.

Research contact: blindapp@teamblind.com