Mediaweek Roundup: Netflix, Midnight Oil, Survivor + more

• Mad as Hell, Survivor, and The Voice

Business of Media

Netflix subscriber growth sharply slows during second quarter

Amid the threat of more competition from major media companies like Disney and WarnerMedia, Netflix reported slower growth than expected for the second quarter, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

Netflix’s paid memberships grew by 2.7 million during the period, less than half of the 5.5 million it added during the same period last year. In fact, it lost around 130,000 subscribers in the U.S., where it has more market penetration. The company, which now has just over 151 million total paid members, had projected additions of 5 million during the period and Wall Street, per FactSet, was expecting 5.1 million new subscribers.

Investors sent the stock down more than 10% on the disappointing subscriber growth.

Netflix says its subscriber miss occurred across all regions, but slightly more in areas where its price increase went into effect. Netflix announced in January that its plans would go up in price starting with the May billing cycle. Its standard plan now costs $13 in the US.

The company adds competition wasn’t a factor, especially since many of the biggest competitors, including HBO Max and Disney+, have yet to launch. Instead, original programming released during the second quarter — including Dead to Me, When They See Us, Murder Mystery and Always Be My Maybe — failed to drive growth. Still, Netflix noted that Adam Sandler‘s Murder Mystery is the most-watched of his Netflix originals to date, with over 73 million households tuning in during its first four weeks.

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Events

Midnight Oil back with passion to the dead heart

When Midnight Oil went into the desert 33 years ago in search of a better understanding of indigenous Australia, the experience produced a batch of songs that became the band’s defining and most enduring work, reports The Australian’s Andrew McMillen.

Tonight, on the edge of the Simpson Desert in western Queensland, against the backdrop of a giant sand dune known as Big Red, the Sydney rock group will headline an event organisers claim is the world’s most remote music festival. It is the final night of the Big Red Bash, near Birdsville, and many of the 10,000 people there will be waiting to hear those Midnight Oil anthems Beds Are Burning and The Dead Heart.

“You have moments where the stars are shining a little brighter in the night sky, where the pulse beats a little more quickly,” singer Peter Garrett said yesterday. “It’ll be one of those nights.”

Fellow performers on the final night of the three-day event include Kasey Chambers and Steve Kilbey, frontman of The Church.

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Television

Oops. ABC replays Shaun Micellef’s Mad as Hell episode

ABC has mistakenly put to air last week’s Mad As Hell episode to air.

ITV Studios Australia CEO David Mott told TV Tonight he had spoken with ABC managing director David Anderson who was looking into the stuff-up.

“Meanwhile we’re enjoying a lovely encore of last week’s episode,” he joked. “I look forward to seeing the new one soon.”

On screen ABC ran a crawl “Apologies due to technical error, last week’s episode was played.”

ABC has now uploaded the new episode to iview. It will screen at 9pm Thursday on ABC.

An ABC spokesperson said, “The ABC apologises for broadcasting the incorrect episode of Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell. This fault was due to a technical error. This week’s episode has been put up on ABC iview for fans to watch as soon as they like. The episode will also be shown on the ABC’s main channel at 9pm Thursday night as well as at its regular repeat timeslot on Friday night.”

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New challenge as Janine Allis steps outside her comfort zone on Survivor

Janine Allis did not simply pack her bathers and sunscreen, fly to Fiji and hope for the best, reports The Age’s Debi Enker.

 The 53-year-old mother of four and head of a global business empire landed at the destination for the fourth Australian season of Survivor a day before she was due and arranged for a local to teach her how to crack coconuts, make fire and build a shelter.

She also watched previous seasons of the show set in Fiji to get a sense of the weather conditions. Noting that it looked chilly at night, and knowing that she’d be limited to a meagre number of possessions, she made sure that one of her items was made of merino wool, which she learned from her research was warm and fast-drying.

“I did as much prep work as I could,” she says. “Often, when you’re prepared, it takes the fear away.”

Allis’ pre-contest regimen indicates the kind of initiative, application and focus that has enabled her to become such a successful businesswoman. From humble beginnings in her kitchen, she built a retail operation that now spans 15 countries and more than 630 outlets selling juices, coffee, burgers and Mexican food. In addition, she’s been a Shark Tank mentor/investor for four seasons. All of which probably makes her more qualified to be the tycoon type who snaps, “You’re fired!” on The Apprentice, were she so inclined, than one of the 24 Survivor contestants.

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Curse of The Voice: Diana Rouvas is just another victim

Over one million Australians tuned into the bitter end of The Voice to watch Diana Rouvas take out the winner’s title this year, reports News Corp’s Cameron Adams.

Channel 9 claimed that at-home voter figures that helped Rouvas take home the prize were in the six figure range (which takes into account that one person could vote at least six times).

So why then did Rouvas’ single, Wait For No One, sell less than 788 copies in its first week and miss the ARIA Top 500 entirely? Some industry pundits predict the figure could be as low as 300 sales.

This dismal translation from television engagement into real sales illustrates, more strikingly than ever, the disconnect between watching a music-based reality TV show and actually caring about the artist pumped out the other end.

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