Local TV bidding alliances could shake Netflix

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 18 January 2016

Netflix shows no sign of slowing down its rapid global expansion. Just yesterday it announced premiere dates for 11 (see below for the full list) upcoming comedy, drama and kids' series – confirming also that Marvel's Jessica Jones will return for a second instalment.

But with the tidal wave of growth, and ever-increasing successful original content comes the local market stresses, intensified competition and real fears about how to compete.

In order to go head-to-head with streaming giant Netflix, local TV players around the world are banding together to challenge the multinational business.

An article in The Wall Street Journal highlights how rivals abroad are now teaming up as competition at home heats up, putting new pressure on Netflix.

It says when Netflix scooped the rights to premiere TV drama, Penny Dreadful, in several European countries, this naturally unsettled local TV players – leaving them on the sidelines.

But, instead of letting the streaming behemoth run riot, top execs at rival French TV stations met to discuss joint bidding for TV shows, as a way to counter Netflix.

The WSJ also noted discussions are taking place among Netflix’s rivals outside of Europe between streaming service Viaplay in the Nordics, which has been talking with Australian streaming service Stan, Lightbox in New Zealand and Hulu in the US with the aim of forming a bidding alliance in time for May’s annual screenings of new shows for international buyers in Los Angeles.

Last week Netflix also announced it would crack down on people using proxies or “unblockers” to access titles available outside their territory, as it works to eventually make all its content global.

Its VP of content delivery architecture David Fullagar says: “To address this, we employ the same or similar measures other firms do. This technology continues to evolve and we are evolving with it.

"That means in coming weeks, those using proxies and unblockers will only be able to access the service in the country where they currently are. We are confident this change won’t impact members not using proxies.

“We look forward to offering all of our content everywhere and to consumers being able to enjoy all of Netflix without using a proxy. That’s the goal we will keep pushing towards.”

Did you catch Netflix's fresh batch of content it unveiled yesterday? Check out the full list below.

Black Mirror

British star Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights, Concussion and Doctor Who) and Canada's Mackenzie Davis (The F Word, Halt and Catch Fire and The Martian) have been cast in lead roles in one of the episodes of the Netflix original series Black Mirror. Owen Harris (Kill Your Friends) will direct the episode. Created and written by Charlie Brooker, the series is produced by House of Tomorrow and Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones serve as executive producers.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones will return for second instalment

Currently streaming its first season on Netflix, Marvel’s Jessica Jones is a suspenseful, edgy look into the life of Jessica Jones, one of the most popular new Marvel characters of the last decade. After a tragic ending to her short-lived super hero stint, Jessica Jones is rebuilding her personal life and career as a private investigator in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood. Critics’ Choice award nominee Krysten Ritter (Jessica Jones) is joined by an amazing cast including David Tennant (Kilgrave), Mike Colter (Luke Cage), Rachael Taylor (Trish Walker), Carrie-Anne Moss, Eka Darville, Erin Moriarty, and Wil Traval, among others. The series is executive produced by series showrunner Melissa Rosenberg (Twilight, Dexter) and Liz Friedman (Elementary), along with Jeph Loeb (Marvel’s Daredevil, Lost, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.).

Flaked premieres globally Friday 11 March 2016 at 12:01am Pacific Time (PT)

Flaked is the serio-comic story of Chip, a celebrated long-time resident of the insular world of Venice, California who falls for the object of his best friend's fascination. Soon the tangled web of half-truths and semi-bullshit that underpins his all-important image and sobriety begins to unravel. Five-time Emmy Award nominee Will Arnett plays Chip, a man doing his honest best to stay one step ahead of his own lies. The series also stars David Sullivan, Ruth Kearney and George Basil. Executive producers Will Arnett and Mark Chappell (The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret) co-created and co-wrote the 8-episode series. Ben Silverman (founder and chairman of Electus), Peter Principato and Mitch Hurwitz (Arrested Development) also serve as executive producers on the show. Electus and Principato-Young are providing production services. Flaked is a Netflix production.

The Ranch - first 10 episodes premiere globally Friday 1 April 2016 at 12:01am PT

Set in present day on a Colorado ranch, this multi-camera comedy series stars Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Sam Elliott and Debra Winger. The show follows Colt’s (Kutcher) return home after a brief and failed semi-pro football career to run the family ranching business with his older brother Jameson “Rooster” (Masterson) and father Beau (Elliott), whom he hasn’t seen in 15 years. Winger stars as Colt’s and Rooster’s mother, Maggie, who runs the local town bar. The Ranch is executive produced by Don Reo (Two and Half Men, My Wife and Kids) and Jim Patterson (Two and a Half Men, Mike and Molly). Kutcher and Masterson serve as executive producer and co-executive producer, respectively.

Lost & Found Music Studios premieres globally on Friday 1 April at 12:01am PT

As part of the expanding slate for tweens and teens, Lost & Found Music Studios is a live action series about a group of talented teenage musicians who struggle to find their authentic sound and place in the world as they hone their craft at a prestigious music studio. In each episode, young artists navigate the ups and downs of the music industry as they find their way to love, inspiration, and redemption. After all, the next hit song could be just one heartbreak away.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - second instalment premieres globally Friday 15 April 2016 at 12:01am PT

After living in a cult for 15 years, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper, The Office) decides to reclaim her life and start over in New York City. Armed with just a backpack, light-up sneakers and a couple of way past due library books, she’s ready to take on a world she didn’t even think existed anymore. Wide-eyed but resilient, nothing is going to stand in her way. She quickly finds a new job (working for 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski), a new roommate (Tituss Burgess, 30 Rock), and a new beginning. The cast also includes Lauren Adams, Sara Chase, Sol Miranda and Emmy winner Carol Kane (Taxi, The Princess Bride). The first season of this acclaimed comedy was nominated for an Emmy award.

Kong: King of the Apes premieres globally on Friday 15 April 2016 at 12:01am PT

This animated TV series for kids from executive producer Avi Arad is a fresh and modern take on the classic King Kong story. Set in 2050, Kong is still the strongest creature ever born with many human traits that make him the ultimate iconic hero. In Kong, the future looks bright for San Francisco’s Alcatraz Island since its transformation into the most impressive natural history and marine preserve on the planet. But when the star attraction suddenly goes ape and Kong becomes public enemy number one, the villain who framed him is free to unleash an army of gigantic robotic dinosaurs on the unsuspecting world. Ironically, Kong is the only force formidable enough to stop these super-powered dinosaurs and the evil genius manipulating them except he is now the world’s most hunted fugitive. Fortunately, there are three young humans who know the truth and are willing to risk their lives to help Kong evade capture while he battles to save humankind.

Marseille premieres globally Friday 5 May 2016 at 12:01am CET (Central European Time)

As the municipal elections approach in Marseille, Robert Taro, the city's mayor for the last 20 years, prepares his last coup: push through the vote for the construction of a casino in the historic centre of the marina. Nothing has been left to chance and his successor, Lucas Barrès, is already designated. But the latter's all-consuming ambition and the secret interests of the city's leaders, whether they come from its opulent villas or from the cities of the northern suburbs, impede the mayor's plans. The race for mayor becomes a power struggle where no holds are barred. Only one question arises: how far will they go? The cast includes Gérard Depardieu (Robert Taro), Benoît Magimel (Lucas Barrès), Géraldine Pailhas (Rachel Taro), Nadia Farès (Vanessa d’Abrantès), Stéphane Caillard (Julia), Jean-René Privat (Cosini), Guillaume Arnault (Eric), Hedi Bouchenafa (Farid), Carolina Jurczak (Barbara), and Nassim Si Ahmed (Selim). Marseille is written by Dan Franck who serves as executive producer. Florent Siri (‘Cloclo’), director of episodes 1-4, also serves as executive producer. Thomas Gilou is the director of episodes 5-8. Marseille is produced by Paris-based Federation Entertainment, led by Pascal Breton, producer of the hit French series Dolmen and Sous le Soleil.

Grace and Frankie - second instalment premieres globally Friday, 6 May 2016 at 12:01am PT

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin star as Grace and Frankie, two women whose lives are suddenly turned upside down when their husbands, played by Martin Sheen (“Robert”) and Sam Waterston (“Sol”), reveal they are gay and leave them for each other. Both sparring partners and partners-in-crime, the pair form an unlikely bond to face an uncertain future together and discover a new definition of “family,” with laughter, tears and plenty of mood enhancers along the way. From executive producers Marta Kauffman (Friends) and Howard J Morris (Home Improvement), the hilarious and heartbreaking comedy takes on ageing with gusto – from joint pain to joint rolling and blind dates to night blindness – and offers a poignant look at how life’s turning points show us who we really are. The series also stars Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, Baron Vaughn and June Diane Raphael. In addition to Kauffman and Morris, the series is also executive produced by David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Marcy Ross from Skydance Productions, along with Paula Weinstein and Fonda and Tomlin.

Word Party premieres globally on Friday, 3 June at 12:01am PT

A vocabulary building show for preschoolers from The Jim Henson Company, Word Party follows four adorable baby animals as they sing, dance and play. The show invites our youngest viewers to help teach the baby animals new words, learn these new words themselves and even celebrate these achievements with a 'Word Party'. The series is produced using the ground-breaking Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, a proprietary technology from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop that allows puppeteers to perform digitally animated characters in real time - enabling the animation to be more life-like and spontaneous.

Orange is the New Black - fourth instalment premieres Friday, 17 June 2016 at 12:01am PT

Ready to do a little more time with the ladies of Litchfield? The outrageous, award-winning and critically-acclaimed series from Emmy Award winner Jenji Kohan stars Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba, Laura Prepon, Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Laverne Cox, Dascha Polanco, Michael Harney, Danielle Brooks, Taryn Manning, Selenis Leyva, Yael Stone, Nick Sandow, Samira Wiley, Lea DeLaria, Jackie Cruz, Elizabeth Rodriguez and Adrienne Moore. Lionsgate Television produces the series.

Stranger Things premieres globally Friday, 15 July 2016 at 12:01am PT

The new drama series written and directed by Matt Duffer and Ross Duffer (Wayward Pines, Hidden) consists of eight, one-hour episodes. In the series, a young boy vanishes into thin air. As friends, family, and local police search for answers, they are drawn into an extraordinary mystery involving top secret experiments, terrifying supernatural forces, and one very strange little girl. Set in Indiana, the series is a love letter to the 1980s classics that captivated a generation. Stranger Things stars Winona Ryder (Show Me a Hero), David Harbour (Suicide Squad), Finn Wolfhard (The 100, Aftermath, The Resurrection), Millie Brown (BBC’s Intruders, Once Upon A Time, NCIS), Gaten Matarazzo (The Blacklist), Caleb McLaughlin (The Lion King on Broadway), Noah Schnapp (Bridge of Spies, The Peanuts Movie), Natalia Dyer (After Darkness, Hannah Montana: The Movie), Charlie Heaton (Shut In, Urban and the Shed Crew), and Matthew Modine (Weeds, Proof). The Duffer brothers are writing, directing and show-running the series, and will serve as executive producers along with Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen via their 21 Laps entertainment banner (The Spectacular Now, Night At The Museum, Real Steel, Date Night). Stranger Things is a Netflix production.

The Get Down - part one premieres globally Friday 12 August 2016 at 12:01am PT

The first six episodes of Baz Luhrmann’s all-new music-driven drama from Sony Pictures Television will focus on 1970s New York City – broken down and beaten up, violent, cash strapped, dying. Consigned to rubble, a rag-tag crew of South Bronx teenagers are nothings and nobodies with no one to shelter them except each other, armed only with verbal games, improvised dance steps, some magic markers and spray cans. From Bronx tenements to the Soho art scene, from CBGBs to Studio 54 and even the glass towers of the just-built World Trade Center, The Get Down is a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco, told through the lives and music of the South Bronx kids who changed the city and the world forever. Luhrmann, director of Moulin Rouge!, Romeo + Juliet, and The Great Gatsby, will direct the first episode and serve as executive producer, overseeing all creative aspects of the show. Joining him on the creative team are four-time Academy Award winner Catherine Martin (The Great Gatsby, Moulin Rouge!), along with Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Stephen Adly Guirgis (The Motherf***er With The Hat) and hip-hop historian and writer Nelson George, and a trio of the pioneers of hip-hop: Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, and Afrika Bambaataa, each of whom will also be portrayed on the series. The cast includes Shameik Moore, Justice Smith, Herizen Guardiola, Skylan Brooks, Tremaine Brown Jr, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Jimmy Smits, Giancarlo Esposito and Jaden Smith.

Exclusive assets

Love - created, written and executive produced by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin, Love follows nice guy Gus (Paul Rust) and brazen wild-child Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) as they navigate the exhilarations and humiliations of intimacy, commitment, love and other things they were hoping to avoid. Love is an unflinching, hilarious and excruciatingly honest take on modern relationships. Brent Forrester and Dean Holland serve as executive producers. The first instalment of 10-half-hour episodes premieres globally Friday 19 February 2016.

House of Cards - fourth installment of the acclaimed and award-winning drama, starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, premieres Friday, 4 March 2016.

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