Welcome to the UK Product Placement Newsletter, a round-up of global stories and industry news from across the last few weeks!
Some highlights this month include:
- The Super Mario Bros Movie continues its global box office domination as it nears $900M worldwide.
- ITVX passes one billion streams mark in just four months.
- West London Film Studios is getting an eco-focused $28 million expansion.
- Netflix confirms plans to spend $2.5bn on Korean content over four years.
- The French film industry sees an increase in international co-productions.
ITVX PASSES ONE BILLION STREAMS MARK IN JUST FOUR MONTHS
ITV’s streaming service ITVX has reached one billion streams, less than five months after it launched. The last time ITV hit a billion streams, in 2022, it took seven months. The service replaced ITV Hub in the UK on December 13, and integrated programs from BritBox, the streamer it ran with the BBC. March represented ITVX’s best streaming month, with 282 million streams, up 100 million year-on-year. READ MORE
LONDON ‘TED LASSO’ STUDIO GETTING ECO-FOCUSED $28 MILLION EXPANSION
West London Film Studios — which was the base for all three seasons of Apple TV+’s Emmy-winning hit Ted Lasso, but has also welcomed films including The Father and Judy — is getting a green-focused expansion. The U.K. facility — located in the town of Hayes in West London, and currently housing five stages over an area of around 105,000 square feet — is growing to incorporate another 85,000 square feet of land over the road, onto which an additional four stages are being built at the cost of around £23 million ($28 million). But alongside the new studio space, which is set to open in June (and already has a booking), owner Frank Khalid is installing a $3.7 million ($4.6 million) three-megawatt gas substation — which he says is the first to be used in a studio — so that the expansion generates its own electricity. READ MORE
'SUPER MARIO BROS’ SPEEDS TOWARDS $900M WORLDWIDE
Illumination/Nintendo/Universal’s The Super Mario Bros Movie continues its global domination, now with an estimated $871.8M through Sunday. Of that, $437.5M is from the international box office. The next worldwide benchmark of $900M will follow in the next days. It’s only a matter of time for the Bros to get to $1B, particularly as Korea and Japan are due to release this week. READ MORE
NETFLIX UNVEILS ‘HEARTSTOPPER’ SEASON TWO PREMIERE DATE & TEASER
Netflix’s highly-anticipated second season of Heartstopper will return August 3 and has unveiled a behind-the-scenes teaser. Produced out of the UK, the show’s Season 1 was a runaway success for Netflix and has already been commissioned for two more seasons. Starring Kit Connor and Joe Locke, the coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama follows Charlie and Nick, who meet at secondary school and quickly discover that their unlikely friendship is blossoming into an unexpected romance. READ MORE
‘HAPPY VALLEY’ STAR SARAH LANCASHIRE AND ‘PEAKY BLINDERS’ CREATOR STEVEN KNIGHT WILL BRING SHAKESPEARE’S LIFE STORY TO TV SCREENS
Fresh from her ratings triumph in the third and final season of Happy Valley, Sarah Lancashire is teaming with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight to bring the story of William Shakespeare’s First Folio to screen. The pair are in the initial stages of creating a series about Shakespeare’s life, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of his first work. The series will be made by Kudos, which previously created Knight’s series about the origins of British elite forces, SAS Rogue Heroes, in association with Via Pictures. The tireless Knight also penned the BBC’s recent dramatization of Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations. READ MORE
NETFLIX CONFIRMS PLANS TO SPEND $2.5BN ON KOREAN CONTENT OVER FOUR YEARS
Netflix has said it will invest $2.5BN in South Korean series, films and unscripted shows over the next four years. Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos made the statement during a meeting at Blair House in Washington with South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who is currently in the U.S. on a state visit. Sarandos said $2.5BN is twice the amount Netflix has invested in South Korea since it launched in the territory in 2016. It was since had global success with shows including Squid Game, The Glory and Physical 100. READ MORE
BBC TO CUT 1,000 HOURS OF NEW TV PROGRAMMING IN 2023 TO SAVE MONEY
The BBC is to broadcast 1,000 fewer hours of new TV programmes this year as part of a drive to save money. The broadcaster made about 12,500 “originated hours” in 2022. Half of the 1,000-hour cut will come from sport, with fewer major events in 2023. Elsewhere, BBC Four is showing more material from the archives. The BBC must find £400m in annual savings by 2027/28, according to the corporation’s latest annual plan, which was published on Thursday. It said the current freeze of the price of a TV licence “continues to place significant financial challenges on the BBC at a time of high inflation and media super-inflation.” READ MORE
PADDINGTON’S BACK: THREEQUEL ‘PADDINGTON IN PERU’ WILL BEGIN FILMING IN JULY
Make that a triple marmalade sandwich. Long-awaited movie threequel Paddington In Peru is on course to start production on July 24, we can reveal. It has been six years since the second film in the hit franchise and the brown bear is keeping plot details for the third installment under his famous red hat for now, but as the title suggests, the movie will see Paddington getting into sticky situations in “deepest, darkest Peru”, his country of birth. The third film will reunite producer Studiocanal, which is once again fully financing, with Heyday, producers of the first two movies as well as the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts movies. READ MORE
FRENCH FILM INDUSTRY SEES INCREASE IN INTERNATIONAL CO-PRODUCTIONS, SPIKE IN INVESTMENT FROM STREAMERS
France engaged in a record 144 international co-productions in 2022, while the number of majority French movies produced dropped by 10% to 208 titles, according to a study unveiled by the National Film Board (CNC). For the first time since 2003, half of the movies produced in France were international co-productions (with 33 countries) last year, compared with 42.1 % in 2021 and 39.6 % between 2017 and 2019. Investment in films dropped by 12.8% to €1.18 billion ($1.30 billion) compared with 2021, while foreign investment broke a 10-year record. In France, TV channels as well as streamers (since the start of 2022) are required to invest a percentage of annual revenue on French and European productions. As such, they invested a total of €280.78 million in 159 films in 2022, a 8.3 % drop compared with the average invested between 2017 and 2019. READ MORE
NETFLIX, DISNEY+, PRIME VIDEO SUBJECT TO INCREASING REGULATION IN U.K. FOLLOWING NEW GOVERNMENT BILL
Streaming platforms including Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video will be subject to more regulation in the U.K. following the release of the Government’s new draft Media Bill. New rules are set to be introduced bringing the platforms under the purview of the U.K.’s media regulator Ofcom, which currently oversees both public and private broadcasters. The new Ofcom “content code” is designed to “protect audiences from a wider range of harmful material – such as misleading health claims” according to a press release issued by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (CMS) shortly before the latest draft of the bill was shared. The changes come as viewing habits and technology rapidly change the needs and practices of the screen industries. According to Ofcom, since 2011 linear viewing has dropped by 68% in the 16-24 demographic. READ MORE
Special thanks to Hannah Butters and Juliette Dorval for their contributions to this newsletter.