Reactivating AMC A-List Stubs Membership During Risky Theater Environment

For those regularly watching movies in theaters, at least under normal business operating conditions, the theater memberships can be a good deal. AMC Stubs A-List offers the ability to see three movies a week. Normally, there are 2-4 new movies released.

However, we aren’t in normal times. While we were in Vegas we paid full ticket price to see Promising Young Woman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Despite the times we’re in, and the possibility that theaters might be forced to close a third time, I reactivated my subscription and reserved a ticket to Monster Hunter. A review is coming.

I know it’s on VOD, but was encouraged by previews back in November when all theaters were forced to close in our local area.

Weekend #6 box office receipts as of Sunday morning are showing that Super Bowl Sunday is adding potential pressure to sales results, er, projections.

Streamers Now Average $47 A Month, Says Study

When you love watching movies and TV, what else are you going to do? You need to subscribe to something that has them or watch the free streaming options.

A study is saying the average amount spent is $47/month.

There has been considerable growth in that high subscription area – the number of people in the survey subscribed to either just one, two or three services saw drop-offs of 3-4% each, while those with four, five or six services saw slight rises of 1-2%. The biggest jump was the number of people subscribing to at least seven services with that portion jumping from 8% in April to 13% by December.

SVOD Spend Now Averages $47 A Month – Dark Horizons

We’re currently paying $65+/month to subscribe to the following channels:

  1. Netflix ($18+/month)
  2. Amazon Prime Video ($130/year – around $11/month)
  3. HBO Max (six months, 20% off, paid – around $13/month after taxes)
  4. Hulu ($2/month – student discount)
  5. Disney+ ($80/year – around $7/month after taxes)
  6. CBS All Access ($6.50/month after taxes)
  7. Shudder (free 30-day trial, then around $6.50/month after taxes)

Don’t see us canceling any of these subscriptions in February or March, but maybe April if the Paramount+ launch lineup is underwhelming. Shudder is currently on a 11 week horror new movie promotion that I’m digging, so staying that through the end of Q1-2021. Hulu is on a student discount, so not going anywhere there and HBO Max doesn’t renew until June or July 2021. As for adding any? Maybe Apple TV+ if they have something new worth watching, but we’ll probably be in and then canceling out right away.

What are your current paid streaming subscriptions? Any plans to add or cancel any in the next month or two? Why? Why not?

Wonder Woman 1984 Helps HBO Max Gain 3+ Million Subscribers To 41.5 Million

HBO Max is growing paid subscribers, but a long, long way to go to Netflix at 200+ millio

Not sure if we can credit Wonder Woman 1984, the 20% subscription discount or simultaneously releasing 17 movies between Christmas and the end of 2021 on HBO Max and in theaters.

Regardless, HBO Max are growing paid subscribers and have eclipsed 41 million.

Combined, HBO and HBO Max had 41.5 million U.S. subscribers as of the end of 2020, compared with 38.0 million as of the end of September. “The release of Wonder Woman 1984 helped drive our domestic HBO Max and HBO subscribers to more than 41 million, a full two years faster than our initial forecast,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey.

HBO Max Reaches 37.7M, Including 17.2M “Activated,” Subscribers | Hollywood Reporter

I also read another article that Nielson screwed up by declaring Soul the Christmas day winner for streaming. HBO Max had like 25% more according to that other article to be top of the charts. A ton of people watched Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max on Christmas day.

Considering the top player, Netflix, has surpassed 200 million paid subscribers (see: Streamers and Theaters in 2021 – Netflix The First To Pass 200 million subscribers, Talks About Disney+ To Analysts), HBO Max has a long road ahead. Still, a growth of 3 million paid subscribers is a noteworthy accomplishment. They might be better compared against Disney+, Hulu, CBS All Access (soon to be Paramount+) and Peacock.

Please note the intentional emphasis on “paid” subscriber. When we talk about Peacock and Apple TV+, for example, they both have subscription numbers made up of both paid and free subscribers. When you muddy the subscriber numbers with both paid and free tiers, it can hide the fact that one brings direct revenue and the other are eyeballs for advertisers. Both are important, yes, but an argument could be made that paid subscriber revenue can be more easily and transparently taken to the bank.

Put another way, everybody else would like to be in Netflix’s shoes with 200+ million paid subscribers and not known as having a lot of free or discounted subscriptions. Even Amazon, which essentially gives a Prime Video subscription to anybody that subscribes to Prime for a year. How many of their 150+ million subscriptions are paid directly vs. included with Prime?

We don’t pay directly for it, we get it as included within the Prime annual subscription. If we had to pay extra for it, not sure we’d pay more than we do for Hulu or CBS All Access, certainly not what we pay for Netflix.

FilmRise Grows Grows To Over 31 Million Subscribers in 2020

FilmRise is one of those free, ad-supported TV channels we haven’t paid much attention to, but apparently a lot of people have. Sure, they’re a free service, but 31.5 million subscribers is a huge number of subscribers for anything. Props to them!

New York-based film and television studio and streaming network FilmRise reports the company had a successful year in 2020, thanks to more people turning to in-home entertainment. The free, ad-supported streaming network grew its install base 30% last year now with more than 31.5 million users.

FilmRise Reports 31.5 Million Users in 2020 | Cord Cutters News

So, just installed the app on Google TV. Strangely, we were out of storage space! Apparently, there’s only 4GB and the streaming apps we had already installed filled that up. The storage can easily be expanded adding a USB drive with a mini-USB cable, so will have to add that to our to-do list.

Anyway, launched FilmRise and found a disaster film to queue up called Icetastrophe. A mountain down is the center of a meteor that shoots out icicles and subzero wind freezing people immediately into cubes of ice. Effects, story and acting are laughable, but for a late night movie, it kind of made me chuckle. A little further checking reveals this is one of those Syfy movies and was also originally billed as a Christmas movie, with the title Christmas Icetastrophe. Sorry, guilty pleasure trash lol.

A very quick perusal didn’t yield many A-list movies and TV shows on FilmRise. But hey, they have that fun game show Celebrity Bowling!

Apparently, there is enough B and C grade content on there to interest movie lovers. Anybody reading regular use FilmRise? What do you like watching on there?

Hulu offers Student Discount: $1.99/month to both new and existing subscribers

Here’s a cool deal to share that you might not be aware of and it works for either new or existing Hulu subscribers.

Students: Get Hulu For Just $1.99/Month Stream tons of shows and movies with our ad-supported plan for just $1.99/month (regularly $5.99/month). 65% discount valid as long as you’re a college student.

Student Discount: $1.99/month |

We just saved $4/month because Kara is currently a college student. If you or your significant other are currently enrolled in a college course at a Tier IV college, then Hulu has partnered with SheerID to verify your status and then you can save $4/month off the Hulu monthly subscription.

Quite the deal!

Should Netflix Have More Classic Movies?

Older movies on streaming services — all of the major services, not just Netflix — are very poorly represented in their archives. It’s like the licensing started in the late 70s and newer, increasing in volume after 2000.

As streaming subscription prices increase, subscribers will rightly analyze if the service they’re paying for has content they want to watch.

The back catalog of movies is thin if you enjoy the classics — someone should tell Netflix that there’s an entire century of movies that were made prior to the 2000s — and the number of films that are there seem to be shrinking at the expense of the Netflix originals the streaming service wants to put front and center.

Why I’m canceling Netflix in 2021 | Tom’s Guide

Originals and exclusives are where the majority of streaming channels are focusing, especially Netflix (see: Does Netflix Release Too Many Originals? Maybe Ask New CMO Bozoma Saint John). They want to build their own historical library of titles you can only stream at their channel.

Is this a wise strategy for subscriber longevity and reducing retention? Yes. At the same time, their back catalog of movies is shrinking and as their prices increase, subscribers will need to ask the question the Tom’s Guide writer and his family asked: do they have enough of what we want to watch to stay subscribed?

Netflix had a very good year for originals in 2020. We watched more Netflix than any other streaming channel. It also polled highly among subscribers in at least one industry poll (see: Looper Poll Finds 73% Favor Netflix as #1 Streaming Service, Amazon #2, Others #3, Hulu #4)

Was it enough to keep you subscribed? Was for us. Would we like to see them add more classic movies to their back catalog? Yes. Will they? Probably not. Will having less of these movies make us more likely to unsubscribe? Probably not. What about you?

Will Netflix Price Itself Out Of The Streaming Market?

If your reaction to Netflix raising their monthly subscription prices again is, “didn’t they do that not too long ago?” we’re with you. Raising prices for any streaming channel in the current times is a risky bet.

In fairness, based on the amount of new content Netflix is adding compared to all the other streaming services, they are worth the extra money.

The company’s decision to raise its standard plan by $1 per month, from $12.99 to $13.99, and its premium plan by $2 per month, from $15.99 to $17.99, is an essential part of Netflix’s long-term strategy. It’s why Netflix has a market valuation of $218 billion on just $2.8 billion of net income in the last 12 months.

Why Netflix will keep raising prices with confidence

Of course if you’re #1 already in your field, that will lessen the blow. And Netflix has a pretty good lead over just about everybody else, from a standpoint of a stable of ready new content and existing movies and TV shows to binge-watch.

They just keep adding more, more more, to the point where we questioned not long ago maybe they’re adding too much (see: Does Netflix Release Too Many Originals? Maybe Ask New CMO Bozoma Saint John)

The problem with adding too much is something new usually only gets one chance to be “new.” Then it can get lost in the archives. There are exceptions like TV shows that get to be new every time a new season, special or episode is released. Movie-wise, though, that one opportunity can be fleeting.

We like seeing around 3-5 new movies per week open in theaters. Right now due to the pandemic the number of new releases is one per week, sometimes two.

If I was in charge of organizing new movies for streaming channels, I’d focus on promoting and releasing 1-2 quality new movies (max) per week for the channel. If every streaming channel had one feature new movie per week, that would still be more than most moviegoers could see, but at least it wouldn’t be saturated.

What I mean by “quality” is very subjective. It’s not just a question of the budget, which we can go down a rabbit hole arguing larger budget equals higher quality, something I generally disagree with in concept. Yes, a larger budget can have bigger name actors, more special effects, but it doesn’t mean the story is going to be great. It could also mean a great story without any name actors or decent special effects won’t draw as large an audience. Special effects needed will vary upon the type of films being made of course.

For example, I’d label most of what Blumhouse is producing as “quality.” They shoot for lower budget and not all of their films are good, of course, but there is definitely an emphasis from that studio in getting the bang for their buck. Some other studios making movies on Netflix do not have as high filmmaking standards with similar or larger budgets.

As for a marketing and promotional strategy? Promote these new releases starting with an active campaign 90 days from the release date (release the first trailer, then a second trailer 45 days before) and increasing the amount of promotional activity incrementally until the week before and during which should be at the height of movie lover engagement. Would also buy ads in movie theaters, if allowed, even if it’s during that extended period before the previews begin. The Noovie segment, I think it’s called.

How many new movies would you like to see your favorite streaming channel release per month?

How Many Movie/TV Streaming Subscriptions Do You Have?

We ditched cable a long, long time ago. I was one of the earliest cord cutters at the time when it was sacrilege except in the geekiest of tech circles to ditch cable TV. Then, I would toy with bringing it back several years later, only to keep it for a couple years and then ditch it again.

What’s more, the trend toward getting you to sign up is getting more intense when it comes to streaming media. The spectrum of apps and services, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, Showtime and YouTube, is about to get even more crowded with the advent of Apple TV+, HBO Max (from AT&T), Peacock (from Comcast/NBCUniversal) and Disney+. 

Disney+, Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon: Can we tame subscription fatigue?

That is basically our strategy of how to watch movies and television. We subscribe to what we want to watch, sometimes for as little as the free 7-day trial, then cancel, sometimes staying for a month or two. Staying long enough to see everything we want to watch.

These are the movie/TV-related subscriptions we currently have:

  1. High speed cable internet ($100+/mo.) – when we ditched the TV the price of the high speed internet doubled. They want you to bundle in TV, internet and phone (which why on earth would we need a cable phone when we have cell phones)?
  2. Amazon Prime ($119/year) – for movies, this service is used more than any other. Since August 12, 2019, we’ve watched 122+ movies through Prime Video and various add-on channels.
  3. Netflix Family Account ($17/mo.) – we don’t watch Netflix for movies as often, but do enjoy the TV shows and some of the original content. With Disney+ coming in November, I’m probably going to recommend we cancel this and pick up Disney+ instead for the grandchildren. We’ll save $$$ .
  4. Starz ($8.99/mo.) – we have this premium add-on channel at the moment, but will be getting rid of it in a month or two. We have a rotating system where we go through the premium movie channels, watch all the movies we want to watch, then cancel and choose another
  5. Shudder ($5.99/mo) – recently signed up for this one and may convert to annual subscription ($50/year roughly). Lots of horror genre content here, including some good shudder-only content like the reboot Creepshow anthology series. Totally for me, Kara has no interest in this channel.
  6. Lifetime ($3.99/mo) – was paying $1.99, but the price increased to $3.99/mo. so it’s been canceled. This is Kara’s guilty pleasure.

We currently have no live TV subscription. Haven’t had one for quite some time, other than a brief free trial with Hulu a year ago. We also tried PS Vue for live TV for a couple months and then canceled. We just don’t watch live TV that much. The primary live TV I enjoy is professional sports, but that doesn’t justify the monthly or yearly bills.

What streaming subscriptions, if any, do you have?