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This Week in Netflix: Pulling Plug on Kids Binge-Watching Game; ‘The Crown’s Pay Disparity

Netflix Pulls Plug on Kids Binge-watching Game

TWIN: Netflix said it has abandoned a test that rewarded kids for watching more shows, after the practice attracted a huge Twitter backlash. The SVOD pioneer had “gamified” binge watching for kids, who could earn patches the more children’s shows they watched.

.@netflix has patches /badges now? What’s the deal with this?? As if getting my son to stop watching Netflix wasn’t hard enough. Now I have to deal with him wanting to binge endless hours of shows just to earn a silly patch? Not good. My opinion I know, but still I don’t like it!

— Ed Munoz (@LivingDadly) February 24, 2018

MCN Take: Netflix has been a pioneer in massaging user data to recommend additional programming options, but many saw turning binge-watching into a game for kids as crossing the line. After weathering the ire of parents and parental groups, the company said it had “decided not to move forward with the test.”

Read the full story at Variety

Heaviest Is the Purse That Wears 'The Crown'

TWIN: After taking some serious heat from critics after it admitted it paid The Crown star Claire Foy considerably less than her co-star, Matt Smith, Netflix said that it will correct the discrepancy in future seasons. Foy played a young Queen Elizabeth II to Smith’s Prince Philip, and has ended a much-acclaimed two-season run on the show. Netflix had argued that Smith – who played Dr. Who from 2010-2014 – was the bigger star at the time of their signing. He too is ending his run on the show as The Crown transitions to the Prince Charles-Princess Diana-Camilla Parker Bowles years of the monarchy.

MCN Take: Veteran British actress Olivia Coleman is set to take over the role of Queen Elizabeth II in seasons three and four, and Netflix has said “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen.” Foy, who could still sue the SVOD pioneer, has landed some choice roles in the meantime – she’s playing Lisbeth Salander in the upcoming movie The Girl in the Spiders Web.

Read the full story at Forbes

Netflix Is Developing '60-Minutes-type' News Show

TWIN: Just months after dipping its toes in the monthly talk show format with David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Netflix is reportedly developing a "60 Minutes-type" news magazine program for weekly consumption, according to MarketWatch. Citing executives familiar with the matter, the website said the project is in its early stages and could include comedic takes on the news. via

— FairParkRising (@FairParkRising) March 14, 2018

MCN Take: Netflix is apparently emboldened by the success of Letterman’s show – it first featured formed President Barack Obama followed by actor George Clooney – has landed other talk show deals with Joel McHale, Norm MacDonald, Hassan Minhaj and Michelle Wolf and has signed Obama to a development deal to come up with new shows. It’s mostly older people who watch TV news. Can Netflix and Facebook change that in the 60 Minutes mode?

Read the full story at MarketWatch

Netflix in Space

TWIN: To commemorate the company’s own Hack Day, Netflix engineers jettisoned an iPhone equipped with a downloaded episode of Star Trek: Discovery into space, because they are Netflix and they can. The iPhone, attached to a balloon and also equipped with a GoPro camera, reached a height of 115,000 feet.

MCN Take: To quote Mr. Spock, Netflix’s choice of programming was a bit “illogical” – Star Trek: Discovery isn’t available to stream on Netflix in the U.S. (it’s on CBS All Access). Other hacks from the day included a virtual 3D representation of Bay City from Netflix sci-fi anthology series Altered Carbon that functioned as a workable Netflix homepage.

Get the full story at Engadget

Netflix Not in Apple’s M&A Eye

TWIN: Apple senior VP of software and service Eddy Cue said at the South by Southwest Festival that the computer giant was not in the business of making big acquisitions and was unlikely to buy Disney or Netflix. Cue told the audience that Disney and Netflix are great partners, and that is enough, quoting hockey legend Wayne Gretzky:“Skate to where the puck is going, not where it is.”

MCN Take: While Apple’s track record in TV has been spotty, Cue praised its progress, adding it has taken two years to get the right people to spearhead its efforts. But there is no need to own huge franchises, he said, adding that Apple will focus on long-form TV and movie content. “We are not after quantity, but quality,” he said.

Read the full story at CNBC