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Product Placement Newsletter – May 2023


  • Korean entertainment has driven significant trends in world culture in recent years. A Netflix production commitment of $2.5B proves the belief from the streamer that this trend won’t be changing anytime soon. 
  • The legal questions surrounding AI-generated content that will dominate the music industry in the coming years are just now being formed. The “use of likeness” laws discussed in the wake of the “Heart On My Sleeve” incident are just the tip of the iceberg here. 
  • Paramount+ has slightly changed its cornerstone offering to add value to its service while also bringing in more revenue from subscribers. As the platform looks to solidify its place among the mainstays it will be interesting to see how the sunsetting of Showtime as a standalone brand affects consumer appetite for the Paramount+ service. 
  • Universal’s Fast X has gotten off the starting blocks with an estimated $319M global opening. This is the 2nd best worldwide debut of the year, behind only The Super Mario Bros. Movie, as well as the 3rd biggest global launch for the franchise. This is a clear sign that audiences have an appetite and a desire to go back to theaters. 
  • Comcast’s offering is an effort to be mindful of the current economic climate while also adding a value-focused entertainment package that bridges the gap between cable and streaming.  The new service is unique in that it combines linear TV, FAST, and subscription VOD. In the pay-TV marketplace, it most closely resembles Philo TV. It will be interesting to see if this offering leads to success as between this and Philo TV, there is a model that other providers could work to emulate. 
Movie poster of Fast X

Netflix Commits to $2.5 Billion Production Spend on Korean Content

Global streaming giant Netflix has publicly committed to spending $2.5 billion (approx. KRW3.34 trillion) on South Korean film and TV production over the next four years. The total is double the amount it has spent in Korea since 2016, the company said. The promise was made by Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of Netflix, at a meeting in Washington DC with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol. Read More

After the AI x Fake Drake debacle there will likely be more AI songs, but are they are legal?

While the “Heart On My Sleeve” song appeared to be an original composition that doesn’t directly copy any of Drake or the Weeknd’s songs, the track mimics their voices which would be a violation of the Artists’ “right of publicity” which is the legal right to control how your individual identity is commercially exploited by others. Whether a right of publicity lawsuit is legally viable against this kind of voice mimicry might be tested in court soon, albeit in a case dealing with decidedly more old school tech. However, the fight ahead will likely be over how AI platforms are “trained” – the process whereby machines “learn” to spit out new creations by ingesting millions of existing works. From the point of view of many in the music industry, if that process is accomplished by feeding a platform copyrighted songs, then those platforms and their owners are infringing copyrights on a mass scale. Read More

Paramount+ Raises Price As It Adds Showtime, Sets Launch Date

Paramount says that it will launch its new Paramount+ with Showtime service on June 27, bringing Showtime’s programming into the main Paramount+ experience. The new tier will become the cornerstone plan for Paramount+, and will cost $11.99 per month (up from $9.99 currently for the top tier of Paramount+, but on par with the price for the current Paramount+ with Showtime offering).  Read More

Fast X Speeds To 319M Global Opening

Universal’s Fast X has gotten off the starting blocks with an estimated $319M global opening. While that’s just a skosh lower than where we had it yesterday, this is still the 2nd best worldwide debut of the year, behind only The Super Mario Bros. Movie (which itself has jumped up to the No. 3 position for an animated film of all time, overtaking The Incredibles 2), as well as the 3rd biggest global launch for the franchise. Overseas, the weekend take is $251.4M from 84 markets. This is the top international opening of the year and, for the series, the 2nd best start, after The Fate of the Furious. Read More

Comcast Launches Now TV, A $20-A-Month Streaming Service With 40-Plus Entertainment Channels, FAST Offerings And Peacock Premium 

Comcast is rolling out NowTV, a streaming service offering targeted toward “the value-conscious consumer who wants an entertainment product.” For $20/month, the service includes more than 40 live channels, along with 20+ FAST channels, and a subscription to Peacock Premium at no extra cost. Now TV will be made available to paying customers of Xfinity. Read More

Special thanks to Ani Mayo for her contributions to this edition of the Product Placement newsletter.

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