The Media Weekly: Netflix caught in the web

A strong box office end to 2021 hints at a potential return to normality in 2022, and for FIPP’s part, we’re counting down the days until real-world Congress in June… Meanwhile, Nike is moving in the opposite direction as it morphs into the metaverse, and the BBC enters its centenary year. Welcome back! 

Box Office bounces back…

New data from comScore and published here in the Hollywood Reporter shows that the cinema sector showed signs of recovery in 2021. Marvel Cinematic Universe-integrated Spider-Man: No Way Home finished the year strongly, banking US$605m domestically and becoming the first release since the onset of the global Covid-19 pandemic to achieve $1bn globally. Total US box office revenue for 2021 hit $4.5bn – that’s 101% up on 2021, but remains 60% down on 2019. 

Meanwhile, the Reporter also says that China ended 2021 as the world’s largest theatrical film market, regaining its crown from the previous year. Total ticket revenue in the country reached $7.3bn last year, down just 26% on its pre-pandemic high.

… Netflix caught in the web

As audiences return to cinemas, there is evidence that the streaming boom sparked by lockdown growth may be starting to slow. In the UK, The Guardian reports that Netflix attracted its lowest number of new subscribers in 2021 since its launch in the country a year ago.

The news comes as Netflix prepares to spend a staggering $17bn on content in 2022, as the streaming wars against competitors such as Disney+ heat up. “There is no turning back,” MoffettNathanson Media Analyst, Michael Nathanson, told the FT in a recent article, “The only way to compete is spending more and more money on premium content.”   

100 not out for the BBC 🏏

At least one of the UK’s opening players has hit 100, as the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) this week begins its centenary year. In an article originally penned for the Sunday Times and republished here by the BBC press team, Director General Tim Davie acknowledges the rich history of the institution, and says that the moment also offers a chance for the broadcasting sector to look forward: 

“The BBC has been a story of innovation, creativity and resilience. It has survived crisis, conflict and changing technology. In almost every decade, it has been written off, debated and loved. More than anything, its survival is down to the extraordinary people at the BBC who care deeply about the power of truth and great storytelling.” 

Nike enters the metaverse 

Just when you thought the metaverse was another newfanghled-term designed to distract regulators from the Facebook frenzy, one of the world’s largest brands jumps in feet first! Nike has announced the acquisition of RTFKT, a company that creates virtual sneakers and other NFTs for the metaverse. The creative studio was formed in January 2020, and uses the latest in game engines, NFT, blockchain authentication and augmented reality. 

Nike President & CEO, John Donahoe, says that the acquisition will accelerate the brand’s digital transformation: “We’re acquiring a very talented team of creators with an authentic and connected brand. Our plan is to invest in the RTFKT brand, serve and grow their innovative and creative community and extend Nike’s digital footprint and capabilities.”

As for FIPP…

Today the countdown to Congress takes centre stage, as a new year brings renewed focus on a return to real-world events… It’s undoubtedly been an arduous journey for many in the media industry over the past two years, having previously been used to networking with friends and colleagues in a real-life setting. 

However, all that looks (knock on wood) set to change, as the world begins to take tentative steps out of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent national lockdowns it has brought. Congress 2022 takes place in Portugal in June and you can find out more here.  

Main Image: Adobe/Claudio Caridi

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