Discussions & Ideas: December/Early January Archive

This is now the archive for December and Early January Discussions and Ideas.  See the next paragraph for the link to the new Current Discussions & Ideas page.

All comments should be submitted to one of the following pages, according to the content of your comment:
Discussion: New Format for My List
Discussion: Disney
All other subjects:
Current Discussions & Ideas Page

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News Around the Blog
This space will be used to keep everyone updated about the progress of the blog, and to ask for suggestions/feedback about improvements/changes/additions, etc. Of course, your participation is always optional and voluntary.

December 2
This is the December Discussions & Ideas page. It has a different url than the previous one, which is now archived, so if you have that one bookmarked, please replace it with this one. (This will happen every month; it was the only way I could think of to do this right.) The page tab beneath the blog title will be updated so it will always take you to the current Discussions page.

Open Discussion
The discussion that was in progress was about the new format for "My List" on Netflix. I made a page with all relevant comments for that discussion, so we can continue if we want. That page is at:
Discussion: New My List Format

I have also put a link to that page at the top of the sidebar. There's a link to the Discussions archive there, as well, in case anyone wants to review something there.

This page is a blank slate, ready and waiting for new ideas and thoughts.

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My goal: A blog that looks polished and feels complete, offering helpful content for all, without detracting from the sacred mission of giving followers as much lead time as possible to watch expiring titles.

I'm glad to see people are using this page. David assembled a terrific community - with an impressive collective knowledge base, and individuals who genuinely look out for others in the same Netflix boat. 




So, what's on your mind?


45 comments:

  1. If anyone has a comment about the new My List format, there is a dedicated page for that discussion. The link is above, under Open Discussion.

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  2. I don't want to clog up the boards with needless comments, but I just wanted to say that I think you've settled on a great format for sorting out the pages, active and archived, which is keeping them short and to the point. I glad it is you doing this, as you seem to know what you're doing. Cheers.

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    1. Thanks for your kind and encouraging words, CanandaiguaNY. My know-how is of the seat-of-the-pants variety, but I'm glad the result is working for you. I really appreciate the feedback.

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  3. Up until a couple of weeks ago, "My List" showed up on my computer as a numbered list that could easily be reordered by changing the numbers. Late last week, I went to open "My List" and found an unnumbered list with screen shots of cover art. The list is identical to what had previously shown up, and I have the ability to move a title to the top of the list or to remove a title. However, any other reordering of the list is practically impossible. Under certain circumstances, I can highlight a title and move it up or down but this takes forever and I can't move the title above or below what I can see on my computer screen. I can push it to the bottom of the screen but then I have to scroll down my list and then move the title again. Is anyone else seeing this problem, and does anyone have a better solution to moving titles around.

    Also, I notice if I add a title on my computer, it becomes the first title in My List, not the last title. When I add titles using my iPad, the newly added title becomes the last title (as it always has). Is Netflix trying trying to get us to forget the older titles in our lists so that it is easier for them to put them on their expiration list?

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    1. Hi Wellesley72, there has been quite a bit of discussion about the new format on My List. When I archived the previous Discussions page, I put all those comments on a new page, dedicated to that topic. I have copied your comment, above, in a new comment on that page, and I will respond to your specific questions as soon as I finish today's update, which I need to start now. The link to that page can be found at the top of THIS page, under the heading, "Open Discussion." It's also the top link in the sidebar. See you there!

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  4. Carole, I can (finally) click in the "Notify me" button. Can you reply to this post so I can see if it works? Thanks.

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    1. Replying to your post about the "Notify me" button, Wellesley72. Hoping you receive notification. If you don't, the problem might be on my end. There is a problem with my comments getting through to email. Don't know if that would affect the Notify me option, but wouldn't be surprised.

      Can someone else also please reply to Wellesley72's comment, so this can all get sorted out? Thanks.

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  5. Carol, received your response. The "Notify me" button works. And sorry about misspelling tour name.

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    1. Great - so glad it worked! And no problem about the name.

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  6. RANT OF THE DAY

    Yesterday I saw a Facebook post from Reed Hastings patting himself on the back for all of the talent Netflix has to nab more Golden Globe nominations than any other network or streaming service. Today I saw a review in Variety of The Ridiculous Six stating that is was one of the worst movies the reviewer had ever seen and would probably be nominated for a "Razzie" as one of the worst movies of 2015. While the two events were probably coincidental, it shows the danger of trying to make a "mainstream" movie rather than an indie, particularly when you have Adam Sandler as your lead actor, writer and executive producer. Maybe, as Hastings claims, Sandler is a big draw overseas (much as Jerry Lewis has been hailed as a great actor in France). I guess it would have been too embarrassing for Netflix to have released the movie in all territories outside the U.S. and spared us the humiliation of even seeing the title on the Netflix U.S. web page.

    I don't think Netflix has to become a movie studio to thrive. I think it needs to have in place the Disney deal plus some exclusive deals with indie studios. Does it bother me to wait six or seven months to watch a recent movie on Netflix? No. If I didn't watch the movie at a theater or spend money to watch it on PPV television, I can wait a while longer. Right now we are waiting up to a year to watch past seasons of current TV programs? So does anyone care about a 7-month waiting period for movies (generally shorter for indies)? I would rather wait for a good movie than have instant access to a new Adam Sandler movie. So spend money, Netflix. Just spend it on GOOD content, whether it's a Netflix original or licensed from a third party.


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  7. So Extreamist was right--The West Wing has been renewed. We're they just lucky?

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  8. I have the feeling the exstreamist article author was reassured to a greater extent than he disclosed - maybe he has a really good contact at Netflix, but was asked not to use names, or say anything that could get that person in trouble for making promises before everything was signed and sealed. Just my opinion, but the only thing about the article that made me think he knew what he was talking about was the fact that he went awfully far out on the line for the "evidence" he offered. All's well that ends well.

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  9. Following is a comment from will g, copied from the Home page Comments:

    will g December 22, 2015 at 10:46 PM
    Carol can I make a suggestion about your master list? When I was checking the list for "A Clockwork Orange" from the press release I didn't see it at first. I think titles beginning with "A" should be treated the same as those beginning with "The."

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  10. You're right, but I'm not sure I'm going to make the change. There are 2 schools of thought about alphabetizing lists such as ours. One is to overlook the articles A, An, and The, and sort by the second word. The other is to adhere to strict alphabetical order. Personally, I prefer the second way, but have to admit that long lists with lots of "The" titles can feel a little overwhelming when browsing (our 12/31 list has 26 such titles). A's and An's typically represent a much smaller number of titles, so that for relatively short lists, it's not really an issue - 12/31 has 3 "A" titles, and only 1 "An" - nothing like the "The"s.

    Part of my reason for mixing the 2 styles was to make it easier for contributors, especially newcomers, to submit titles. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible, and I wanted the master list to reflect the same "rules." Also, I think whatever we do, there will be some who look in the "wrong" place for a title. Then, there's the whole foreign language thing - le, la, el, which I have seen put in the same category as "the." Oy!

    All of that said, I'm not married to my somewhat avant-garde method. I will think about this some more, and if anyone has an opinion or preference they would like to share, it would be most welcome.

    Thanks, will g, I value your opinion, and appreciate your interest in improving our humble blog.

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    1. You're certainly correct that there are fewer "A" than "The" titles. Though I somewhat understand your reasoning, I personally find it confusing to treat them differently, but I guess you already knew that.

      Also, sorry I didn't originally post that comment here. Of course that's what this page is for.

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  11. The following comment was copied from the Home page:

    Wellesley72 December 24, 2015 at 2:34 PM
    Granted, there is probably a lot of content that expires on 12/31 but the quality of what is replacing it in January is fairly depressing. Most of the pre-2014 film content looks to be recycled and, with the possible exception of The Last Few Years with Anna Kendrick, the new movies look like they came straight from DVD. Some good documentaries: The Testimony, Drone, Cartel Land. Even their TV fare, with the exception of Parks and Recreation, is mediocre. One exception is Occupied, which shows on lists as if it is a film but is in fact a Norwegian political/thriller mini-series. Based on its trailers, Chelsea Does comes across as an Adam Sandler-type reality show, where she appears to mock her interviewees. If this an example of what her talk show will be like, Netflix has again wasted its money on a Netflix "original". Here's hoping there is some good content coming that has not yet been revealed. Another couple of months of this nonsense, and I'm out of here. Not renewing the Epix deal was a big mistake, particularly since the 2016 Disney films probably won't start streaming until July at the earliest.

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    1. Yeah, I was disappointed to the point of numbness when I read the "New in January" list. The 12/31 exits include 45 movies that won, or were nominated for at least one Oscar, including 15 Best Picture winners/nominees. (There's a detailed listing of all of these on the We Recommend page, and the Best Picture titles are all on the Oscars page.) What are we getting to replace them? Well, just yesterday, Oscillating Fan for Your Home came on board. It did make my family gather 'round and come together - in disbelief.

      I don't know - I think the decision-makers at Netflix have run amok. Good luck to us all in the New Year. Thanks Wellesley72, for pointing out a few of the saving graces.

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    2. After seeing the new January titles on Netflix Queue Busters, I had thought of making a similar comment. Netflix has been on a strong downward trend since June. December was manageable for me only because I had already seen many of the expiring titles. My queue has gone from just under 150 to just over 50. Of the worthwhile new January titles, I have either already seen them or have them on DVD or Bluray.

      At least they added two versions of Fireplace for Your Home in 4K ;)

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  12. I hadn't noticed the Oscillating Fan video, but it's just what we need in the Boston area right now. Christmas Eve high--68 degrees.

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  13. Everyone is reporting a bunch of Disney animated features expiring January 4, though I don't see expiration dates on Netflix itself. Anyone know more about this? This would be particularly disappointing given the ballyhoo over the Disney deal and how it supposedly expands in 2016. Incidentally, that Disney catalog deal started out great, but how many Disney classics have been added in recent months?

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    1. The 1/4 expiration dates do show up on the Netflix site in DVD search. That's the only way to see them on the site before the 7-day My List notifications, which as Carol says below will appear tomorrow.

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  14. Hi Rick - the expiration notice for titles "available until" January 4 (last day to watch is Jan 3) will show up on the Netflix site on Monday, Dec. 28. The Disney deal is not as simple as we'd all like it to be - Everything Disney on Netflix forever. All we can count on is that there will be some Disney content available to stream for as long as the contract lasts, and that starting in 2016, some new Disney releases will become available (I think this starts in April). But, again - not everything new, for example, the new Star Wars film isn't currently part of the deal for U.S. subscribers (you'll have to move to Canada). Finding exact information about what and when isn't easy.

    If anyone knows more details about the deal, or what we can expect, please let us know.

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  15. I'm seeing expiration dates for the movies Carol listed when I click on the movies on my iPad. Netflix doesn't put out a press release listing all content that is expiring. I suspect their subscribers would be up in arms if they knew how much content was disappearing in January.

    I don't know the particulars of the Disney deal with respect to "old" content. I am surprised that we haven't seen more movies that were made between 1980 and 2010. I doubt that Starz has the rights to those films, but Disney has a lot of channels on basic cable plus it's own premium cable channel so it may be funneling content to those outlets. The real classics like Dumbo and Cinderella tend to come out of the Disney vault for a relatively short period of time and then go back into the vault fore five years or more. That's just Disney's way of monetizing its classic content rather than wearing it out by showing it over and over again. Disney doesn't seem shy about licensing its TV content to Netflix. There are some months when there are so many new seasons of Disney or ABC content added that I think it would be cheaper for Netflix to just sell itself to Disney.


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  16. Thank you all for your replies and for the wonderful forum you have provided here. I didn't think to check the DVD listings! My kids are a big fan of even some of the "lesser" Disney animation efforts, so I really hope this is just a blip and not an indication that more of that content is going to be rotated out. Even THAT would be tolerable if I saw more content rotating IN--like the Disney live action movies, for example.

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  17. While I don't know how the Disney deal works, I think this is the current formulation of when "first" non-theatrical rights becomes available: first, the number of theaters screening the movie has to drop below a certain threshold (say the threshold is 10% of the theaters initially screening the movie. When you get to the threshold you then wait 6 to 9 months to go to cable TV or a streaming service (that gets you some time to capture DVD receipts as well as VOD money). My guess is that a lot of movies fade quickly after the first week and probably reach the threshold after one month. However, if you are showing a Star Wars or Pixar movie, you might not get to the threshold for two to three months or more after which you have to wait the 6-9 month period.

    The first Disney movie for 2016 comes out in January. I don't recall the title but I think it involves a Coast Guard ship that capsizes and the rescue of the sailors. Having seen the trailer, I doubt it will last long in theaters. The next film up is an animated feature in April, then a live-action feature in June. In the last half of the year, I think there is a Pixar movie, a stand-alone Star Wars film and a Marvel feature. So it is likely we will see two or three "new" Disney movies in 2016, but those coming out in the last six months probably won't hit Netflix until sometime in 2017. There's a bit of "bait and switch " there. The deal is effective Jan. 1 for movies theatrically released in 2016 and after but the movies won't start hitting Netflix until sometime after June and probably only three will hit Netflix in 2016. The best guess as to when the Marvel and Star Wars movies come to Netflix is to see how quickly The Force Awakens comes to Starz. I'm betting around Xmas of next year.

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  18. There are a couple of other films that Disney is releasing in 2016 for a total of probably 10 to 12 films. Also, I thought I had read somewhere that the waiting period after the threshold is meet is closer to 6 months than 9. I think Netflix releases its quarterly results in January; maybe they will say something about when they can expect the movies then.

    Incidentally, at their last earnings call, they announced that they had exclusive first non-theatrical rights to The Big Short which would show up on Netflix in due course (whatever the "usual" waiting period is. Also, under their distribution deal with Open Road Pictures, Netflix should be streaming Spotlight in 2016. (In 2017, the Open Road deal goes to Amazon Prime, giving Amazon a lock on a majority of indie studios. It probably cost them much less than the $160 million that Netflix is handing to Adam Sandler.

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  19. Thanks, Wellesley72. You aroused my curiosity, so for others who might be wondering, the January Disney theatrical release about a Coast Guard rescue is The Finest Hours. For other 2016 Disney movies, check out http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/2016

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  20. There are more Disney films coming out in the first half of 2016. My guess is that with exception of Captain America, all of those films will make it to Netflix after July 1 but by the end of the year. The question is what Netflix does until those Disney movies start streaming, particularly since those of us who have subscriptions at $7.99/mo. are going to see a price hike in May to $9.99/mo. If the movie content doesn't improve over what is listed for January, I can see Netflix subscribers switching to Amazon Prime (if they don't have it already) for films from Epix and from exclusive deals that Amazon has or will have soon from top notch indie film distributors plus the ability to generate original content and to allow subscribers to download that content off-line. Hulu is getting more aggressive with exclusive deals with new content fro Fox, FX, TNT and AMC (which also includes content from Sundance TV and BBC America funded in part by AMC). In the meantime, Netflix is burning through cash to provide original content or to acquire third-party content on an exclusive, global basis (for which I am sure they are paying a hefty premium, primarily to show in territories or future territories (such as Asia, Africa and the Middle East) where it is not clear to me that subscribers will have any interest in that content. Either Reed Hastings is a true visionary who is able to weave great content from his various territories into a great streaming service or he is an idiot for attempting to replicate what he has developed in English-speaking countries, South America and parts of Europe where the cost of entry is high because of existing competitors or because he has to buy a lot of local content for these territorities to keep Netflix afloat around the world. I think this will be a make or break year for Netflix, which could easily expand too fast and find itself in a big hole.

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  21. I guess I am in the minority (though perhaps not among *this* community!) in that I am just not excited at the prospect of Disney theatricals going to Netflix. I would much rather see a more comprehensive catalog deal that encompasses the history of Disney and its properties. It seems that the average user wants recent blockbuster movies (or at least that's the perception), Netflix is going for the HBO model, and someone like me who wants catalog material (not just Disney, but I'd like to see some of that Universal TV library content return) is going to have to keep buying DVDs as long as they make them.

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  22. First rant of 2016--I saw an article today about possible Oscar nominees, which mentioned the Amazon-financed movie, Chi-Raq, directed by Spike Lee and considered by critics as his best movie in 20 years. There was no mention of Beasts of No Nation. After a two-month theatrical release, the film will show up on Amazon Prime in February. Would be really ironic if, after Netflix spent billions of dollars on content, for Amazon Prime to be the first streaming service to finance a movie that won Oscar nominations. Might be a reality check to Netflix which has started the new year with Bollywood films as its most recent (in turns of release date) film content and with Pee-Wee Herman and a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon sequel (clearly designed to be attractive to its viewers in Asia) as its next two "original" films. After seeing TV networks and movie studios recycle old concepts to death, I find it distressing to see Netflix following suit. Same comment applies to Fuller House. If Netflix is going to spend money on original content, please spend it on original , original content.

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  23. With the recent Disney purge, I had feared that all Disney content save some of its TV channel movies and direct to DVD sequels was gone. Not so. Here's Disney theatrical releases still available to stream:

    Mulan
    Fantasia
    Fantasia 2000
    Treasure Planet
    Escape to Witch Mountain

    Maybe the selection isn't all that great, but at least it's better than nothing for now.

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    1. Hi Brian, always nice to hear from you. I'm a little confused by your list. When I searched under Disney, a lot more titles came up, e.g., Brother Bear - which was nominated for a Best Animated Feature Film Oscar - and also Holes, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Tarzan, and of course, the recently added Pirates of the Caribbean, just to name a few. It's always hard when the classics, like Dumbo, are taken away from us, but I think the remaining selection is adequate at the very least.

      Btw, Treasure Planet is no longer streaming - it expired at the end of December.

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  24. Weird stuff going on with My List today. I can't even log onto my first queue, and my second one has a bunch of TV shows at the top that I didn't put there. Anyone else having problems?

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    1. Finally was able to access my first queue. It has a bunch of MOVIES on top that I didn't put there.

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    2. (Just in case that's unclear, by "didn't put there" I mean I didn't have them in my queue, not that they moved titles in my queue to the top.)

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    3. Sorry for the late reply, will g, but could the mystery titles be returnees that were there at sometime in the past, expired, and now are back? I haven't done a thorough check, but a cursory one of the My List I keep to match this blog now shows that The Lifeguard and Loving Annabelle - both expired, in November and December, respectively - have returned.

      I've only had this list since October, and I'm sure yours go back much longer. Especially if you customarily move expiring titles to the top of your lists, that could be a logical explanation for what happened. If this is not a possibility, and no one else has access to your lists, then we may have to cue up the Ghostbusters theme. :-)

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  25. Hi Carol. No, these were all titles I've never had in my queues. Some were Netflix originals, which I never bother with because they aren't going away, others were things I would never watch or have already seen. So it is indeed a mystery. I don't know if it was somehow related to my having trouble accessing the list on my first profile, which has never happened before either.

    I just now Googled it, didn't find much except this four-year-old comment in a forum: "Nah this happens to me all the time, it randomly adds movies to my queue that I would never have dreamed of watching." So there's that. I guess I'll give them a call. Pushing their recommendations to the top of the queue is one thing, but adding unwanted titles is quite another.

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    1. Customer service actually got to the bottom of it. Someone in Virginia accessed my account yesterday, and stupidly left that evidence behind. If they hadn't they'd still have free Netflix, but now their IP address has been permanently blocked. Idiots!

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    2. Wow, I'm sorry you were victimized, will g. We'll have to give Customer Service some points for figuring that out, and fixing the problem. I'm glad the idiots didn't mess with your titles on the list - at least I hope they didn't.

      Did C.S. say anything about this being fairly common? I'm wondering if we all have to worry about getting hacked?

      Thanks for letting us know about this. I'm glad you solved the mystery, and all is well again.

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    3. It's possible they messed with -- i.e. deleted -- titles in my lists, but I have no way of knowing. Apparently Netlfix accounts being hacked is not uncommon, you'll see many articles on it if you Google it. Just have to change my password.

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  26. Netflix has released a boatload of release dates for some of their series, all detailed in a YouTube video. They also announced that Jessica Jones will have a second season but did not give a release date. Don't know whether it is before or after the "Defenders" movie.

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    1. Thanks, Wellesley72. I found this Variety article on Yahoo:
      https://www.yahoo.com/tv/netflix-sets-premiere-dates-orange-black-season-4-164039398.html

      It gives premiere dates and descriptions of 10 series, returning and new. The only youtube video I could find went very fast.

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  27. Here are release dates for the series mentioned in the YouTube video: Flaked (3/11); Kimmy Schmidt, Season 2 (4/15); Marseilles (5/5); Grace and Frankie, Season 2 (5/6); Orange is the New Black, Season 4 (6/17); stranger Things (7/15); and The Get Down, six episodes of 12 (8/12). Separately, three kids' shows were announced: Lost and Found Music Studios (4/1); Kong of the Apes (4/15); and Word Party 6/3).

    Kimmy Schmidt was renewed for a third season.

    There was quite a kerfuful at the Television Critics Association annual conference when NBC purported to release viewership numbers for several shows on Netflix. The technology and methodology were heavily criticized by Netflix, although they would not release their own numbers. NBC and FX in particular railed against this secrecy. Perhaps the best response was from Tina Fey who said she brought Kimmy Schmidt to Netflix because they did not release viewership numbers, even to her. She said whenever the overnight numbers came in for 30 Rock, the writing staff could not believe the low numbers and left depressed. Netflix said numbers on a particular show meant nothing to them and claimed to not even follow the sacrosanct 18-49 demographics that the TV networks use; they claim their measure of success is based on subscriptions. Netflix also claimed much higher viewership for the shows NBC had mentioned in their presentation, as well as extremely high numbers for Beasts of No Nation and The Ridiculous Six, again without specifying numbers.

    FX also complained that Netflix was outbidding them on content because 21st Century Fox had to show a profit to its shareholders while Netflix did not(?). (There was no mention of the fact that Amazon has never made an annual profit since it went public.). Both NBC and FX have shown large drops in linear viewership. In particular, while The Americans and Fargo have been critical darlings, their ratings have been quite low. Maybe FX should sell their programming to Netflix where they would not have to worry about ratings.

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  28. PLEASE SUBMIT ALL COMMENTS TO THE NEW DISCUSSIONS PAGE, OR ONE OF THE OPEN DISCUSSIONS PAGES. SEE THE TOP OF THIS PAGE FOR LINKS. THE LAST 3 COMMENTS ABOVE THIS ONE HAVE BEEN COPIED TO THE NEW DISCUSSIONS PAGE FOR THOSE WHO MIGHT WANT TO CONTINUE WITH THE SUBJECT. THANKS FOR YOUR COOPERATION, EVERYONE!

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