Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Apple claims its AppleTV+ streaming service has less than 20 million subscribers and tells Hollywood's IATSE union it therefore doesn't need to pay production crews more.

by Thinus Ferreira

Apple, trying to get away from  having to pay workers more, has told a Hollywood trade union that its Apple TV+ video streaming service is doing much worse than rivals like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video and had less than 20 million subscribers by July this year in the United States and Canada.

Apple has never revealed any subscriber or user numbers for its Apple TV+ service that launched in late-2019 but Apple is trying to worm its way out of having to pay production crews more, claiming it has less than 20 million subscribers.

Apple told the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) union - a union that represents TV and film workers who work in jobs like operating cameras, production designers, set builders, makeup artists and costume designers - that it only has 20 million subscribers in the USA and Canada, which according to an existing agreement allows Apple to pay IATSE crew a smaller discount-rate.

According to an IATSE spokesperson, under its current contract with Apple for Apple TV+ shows like Foundation, The Morning Show and Ted Lasso, high-budget productions are done on lower paying rates because Apple TV+ has less than 20 million subscribers in the USA and Canada.

IATSE is currently in negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) over a new contract, of which Apple is a member, in which it wants to do away with the discount rate.

The alliance negotiates on behalf of all of its members, including Apple's Apple TV+.

"Workers on certain 'new media' streaming projects get paid less, even on productions with budgets that rival or exceed those of traditionally released blockbusters," IATSE says in a press release, noting that negotiations had stalled.

David S. Goyer, the showrunner of the newly-released Foundation series on Apple TV+, for instance mentioned in interviews that the first season of 10 episodes of the new series had a massive budget similar to that of 5 movies. 

Apple is spending $15 million per episode on The Morning Show that entered its second season on Apple TV+.

IATSE says that it is getting ready for a strike, with ballots that will be send out on 1 October to its 150 000 members to authorise possible strike action.

"It is incomprehensible that the AMPTP, an ensemble that includes media mega corporations collectively worth trillions of dollars, claims it cannot provide behind-the-scenes crews with basic human necessities like adequate sleep, meal breaks, and living wages," IATSE says.

IATSE also objects to "excessively unsafe and harmful working hours, unliveable wages for the lowest paid crafts and consistent failure to provide reasonable rest during meal breaks, between workdays and on weekends".

"These issues are real for the workers in our industry, and change is long overdue. However, the explosion of streaming combined with the pandemic has elevated and aggravated working conditions, bringing 60 000 behind-the-scenes workers covered by these contracts to a breaking point."

"We risked our health and safety all year, working through the pandemic to ensure that our business emerged intact. Now, we cannot and will not accept a deal that leaves us with an unsustainable outcome."

IATSE originally agreed on a contract with video streaming services like Apple TV+ in 2009 under which these services would pay a lower production rate while they had under 20 million subscribers.

Although Apple's Apple TV+ has less than 20 million subscribers in the USA and Canada, Apple TV+ is available in more than 100 countries worldwide, including South Africa, although Apple TV+ doesn't seem to regard countries like South Africa as any kind of priority.

This means that Apple TV+ actually has more than 20 million subscribers globally, although the exact number isn't made known publicly.

INTERVIEW. Anela 'Smash' Majozi on Survivor SA: 'I'm not R1 million richer but I feel very richer for having experienced this show.'

by Thinus Ferreira

Anela "Smash" Majozi smashed his way to second place in M-Net's Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island, making it to 39 days and just losing out to Nicole Wilmans.

You're a math educator and a rugby player. How would you say did you math skills help you in Survivor?
Smash: That's a good question, I think obviously when you are a math teacher you have a very a naturally, strategic, analytical way of viewing things and looking at a situation.
I think when it came to problem-solving on my feet, it really did come to the fore in that regard. 

In instances where I was faced with situations and looking at it from different points of views, I was naturally able to navigate it from different angles and what a better move forward might be.

I wish it came out a little bit more in the puzzles and stuff but from the homework I did do to prepare for the show I thought: Let me not put my hand up for puzzles. I never, ever wanted to put up my hand for puzzles while we were still in our tribes.

You're also a rugby coach, and a rugby player. As a team sport it's constantly drilled home that you need to be a team player, and we're all a team. How did you adjust between playing coach and playing an individual strategy?
Smash: Both are of big importance just at different stages of the game, particularly at the beginning when we were still in tribes that was the name of the game: be a team player, encourage the players. So the coaching was more there.
Obviously once we got to merge it became more an individual game – that’s when the player Smash came out. 

That's when it was, "okay, gloves are off, you're fighting for your life now". For me both of them played a big importance – it was just bringing them out at the correct times.

You're a big guy. Chappies. Some of the others. Some of the girls and others are physically smaller. When it's time to divide up the food it's the same quantity for everyone. You don't get more. 
Correct me if I'm wrong but you actually get weaker therefore quicker. If you're bigger like you, how do you navigate the situation of getting even less food than others?
Smash: You ask a brilliant question there, I mean, I've also wondered why. Chappies lost 12kg, I lost 13kg so it definitely takes a bigger toll on us sort of having to downsize all of the food. 

I probably got onto the show in arguably some of the worst condition I've been in in more recent years. 
My normal weight is about 83kg, 84kg and I've been 93kg, so in all honestly to adjust to eating less was challenging but as I got lighter than when the athleticism improved. I felt that as my weight got lighter I got quicker so I actually welcomed the "lack" if I can say.

You took a cowboy hat which I think was the best piece of clothing besides maybe a waterproof, thick jacket. Was that a deliberate decision?
Smash: It's obviously hot out there and I wanted something to protect myself from that but the significance with the cowboy hat in particular is – some of the contestants would know – I had written on the inside of that, in the lining of that hat – I've written messages to myself to just keep me going.
For instance, all glory goes to God; and small little phrases like "I will be the winner". So for me, I was always very intentional where I saw myself landing up, and when times were tough that really did bring myself back, and helped to calm be down.
During quarantine before the game started I had time to watch SuperSport's Chasing the Sun documentary and Makazole Mapimpi and the achievements in his life and where he's come from. 

I wrote in my hat just his name. 

And when times were tough I would think: There's nothing that says you can't be what you want to be in life. If you have the intention and you have that goal and vision, the only person stopping you, is you.

That small little hat literally gave me all of that, so I was very grateful for taking that. 

When you stepped off as the first of the three in the final immunity challenge, did you think now you're definitely out, or did you think that you still might have a chance going on as one of the final two?
Smash: Sjo, it's a very good question, I think at the time I was sort of there I think I felt that either way  these people – both of them view their chances in the final as being better with me being there.
So that's how I perceived things then. I could clearly see how Nicole could argue her game against mine and that she carried me there, plus we had that really solid relationship. 

So I thought if she wins, I'm going. On Chappies' end, again, we spent a lot of time together from Zamba 2.0 and I felt that if you just draw strength to strength comparisons, I thought he also fancies his chances winning against me. 
For me it was a personal victory to last that one hour 58 minutes. 

I was really on the sidelines for only 15 minutes or so. Now that I've seen it from the perspective of home and a fan, it's interesting to see that Chappies as he outlined in the finale that he might not have had a better chance with me in that final.

What did you learn about the experience?
Smash: There are so many amazing things I could take away from this experience. 

I feel that everything happens in the way it's supposed to happen and anything that happens that I miss on in life was obviously not meant for me and I have no regrets with how everything has happened.
This is going to change my life going forward and I've learnt a hell of a lot on the good side and the bad side of things. 

I didn't know how much of an influence I could have on someone else's decision making process. Obviously  as a coach and as an educator I'd be pretty bad at my job if I couldn't motivate someone's thinking. 
I was quite surprised at how effectively I was able to do that. The relationship building I've always knew I had. I'm a nice guy and I'm a flirty person and I get on with people. I knew that part of me was going to come out naturally. 

But then weaknesses that I was able to identify, having played the game of rugby, and being a coach now and always having this temperament of being resilient and that you are going to win – it was humbling to realise that you're not invincible.
If you know where your weaknesses are and you know where your boundaries are, then you can better then or say, I'm going to focus on highlighting the strengths. 

The most important thing is just being grateful for how everything played out in the end. Although I'm not a million rand richer, I feel very richer for having experienced this show. I made amazing friends that I'll probably have for life now and life lessons that are priceless.

It's an insane thing to do or want to take part in, like climbing Everest. What would be your advice for people for someone even remotely considering entering Survivor SA?
Smash: My key pieces of advice would be, if you're going to play, play to win. 
And I say it with the greatest respect to the cast because obviously it was fast and furious from the jump, but you can almost immediately identify the people that are here to play and have a strong chance of going all the way, and the others that are just happy to coast along kind of thing.
Secondly, the deeper you get into the game, you're probably going to be revealed more – the core of yourself. 

With that in mind, yes – there’s obviously a right time to highlight yourself or downplay yourself – but be as true as you can be as an individual because it's bound to come out anyway.
If I reflect on my game personally, I knew that I wanted to be this strategic player or physical but I knew even with that in the back of my mind that the thing that makes Smash, Smash is he is friends with everyone. That was my strength. So I naturally just played my own strength. 

I didn't shirk away from it but I knew that that was the thing that was going to get me there. You can see it when I spent 5 days with Zamba 1.0 and they still saved me over Dino and Qieän who've spent all their time and that was not for nothing besides that I genuinely got to know these people. 

How are you dealing with the fame aspect? You've become an iconic character associated with Survivor SA fandom. People will forever seek you out for advice and to tell stories of your time. How do you handle the fame of it now?
Smash: It's been surreal. For me personally I feel like when you do things well, or when things go well, you want to take the least amount of credit, and when go bad in life, that's when you put your hand up and own it.
For me, I like to stay in the shadows, I don't necessarily want the fame and stuff. 

I was genuinely just playing for the million. Having said that, it's been absolutely incredible and overwhelming just to see how much this show means to and how big Survivor is to so many people. 

If you're going to engage with it and you're going to engage with the fans and you're going to engage with the show, there will be good and bad that you'll see and that's welcome to. Everyone must have their opinion and everyone's opinion deserves to be heard. 
I've really enjoyed engaging with every single aspect of this game. It's crazy and it really hasn't sunken in. When people want to have a photo with me, I think but I'm just me. Ha ha. Why do you want a photo with me? But I'm really appreciative of it.
I try my level best to, if I'm ever speaking to someone – there’s an age old question that you get where someone asks, "How was it?". And you've probably been asked that a thousand times all of us as contestants. 
But I try to answer it to someone like it's my first time answering it because I know for them – either meeting me or engaging with me – even if I've been asked these questions a thousand times, this show means so much to someone, I  want them to experience Smash like it's the first time. 
If someone asks me for a photo I never say no. If someone want to have a quick chat the energy will always be up. I'm so grateful for that stuff – that again is not something you necessarily go looking for, but it's really appreciated.

INTERVIEW. Will there be a Survivor SA season 9? M-Net's local content boss on the reality show's future and its eye-popping 8th season.

by Thinus Ferreira

M-Net is still collecting ratings and data points on the eye-popping and just-concluded 8th season of Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island before it will make a decision on a 9th season, but Kaye-Ann Williams, M-Net’s local content boss, sat down with TVwithThinus for a wide-ranging post-show discussion about the incredible season that adjusted to film at the Wild Coast as a Covid-19 safe bubble.

Kaye-Ann Williams talks about the factors that decides Survivor SA's renewal, how M-Net decides what a next season might be like if there is to be one, the challenges that the black swan event of Covid-19 suddenly caused and when M-Net realised it had a season that would make for extremely compelling viewing.

Why does she think the castaways were better in their gameplay and dramatic actions that even before, what what did M-Net learn from this season? And what does "trending" on social as second-screen viewing mean for a show like Survivor SA?

Will there be a season 9 of Survivor SA?
Kaye-Ann Williams: We really love this format, I think that's obvious and it's always done very well for our brand and also for the DStv brand just in terms of viewership and love for the programme, so we really love the show all-around. 

We would always want t consider next seasons but these considerations are based on budgets, and timing - Survivor SA is not a cheap show, you really have to plan for it, you have to make sure that you have the money for it. Also where do we do it? Do we do it internationally, do we do it locally? That also affects the budget.

We have to look at the ratings and we only get a proper view on that about a month after its aired. 

Then we get more conclusive ratings and we do a whole research on it as well. That process we go through with every show but especially a show like Survivor South Africa that is more expensive than your average reality show. 

Once we go through that process then we have to negotiate the format licence agreement, and then we can only we say "Yes, we're doing it". 

Some years we've gotten it right to do it sooner and approved sooner and not wait on certain things like research, but in this climate we've had to be slightly more cautious and so we're going through that process now. We really love the format.

If there's a next season, would be be a fans vs favourites, or all-stars, or would there ever be returnee players? What kind of season would you do if you do do it?
Kaye-Ann Williams: These producers are absolute fanatics, they're Survivor freaks, so Handrie Basson and Leroux Botha and Darren Lindsay and their whole team - even commissioning editor Terja Beney here at M-Net who also previously produced Survivor SA - obviously always have different iterations of what we could do next. 

So yes, we've got a plan A, B and C and we're always looking at, should we go ahead, what would that creative approach be. 

We're discussing all of that with internal and external partners at the moment. Probably in the next couple of weeks to two months or so we will better know where we stand.

Survivor SA: Immunity Island would have happened "before" Covid but then the global pandemic shut down everything. What surprised M-Net the most about doing a season of Survivor SA in South Africa and despite Covid?
Kaye-Ann Williams: We had already planned to do Survivor SA season 8 overseas, we had cast, we had finished our casting at the end of 2019. 

So we were definitely going overseas, we had a budget for that, we did a recce, we we're on our way in February 2020. And then ... because of Handrie Basson's connections with the different content hubs, the news about Covid-19 hit him sooner and us sooner than everyone else.

In February already he was saying, "People, something is up, we might not be able to film overseas". 

At that point we didn't yet have a case in South Africa. Then we immediately started planning on what if there are lockdowns and shutdowns, what if, what if. 

Everyone said "no we're being premature" but then March arrived - not even a few weeks later - and countries started shutting down, airports started shutting down and then because we had already put money into the pre-production and the reccing, and we had already invested time and energy into the season, what we decided to do was just to hold course and hold pause and see where things are going to get past the crisis point of Lockdown Level 5.

We very quickly realised that the world was not going to open back up very quickly. We started to look at local locations and where the best possible location would be to film at and that's where the exploration came. 

I think Handrie Basson and his team explored two or three different options. So they had to do another recce but locally, and then we decided on the location of the Wild Coast.

Then, after lockdown restrictions were slightly lifted and we were able to go to restaurants again, we had a coffee with the guys from the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC).

We known them very well - M-Net works with them on series and films filming in the Eastern Cape like the Kaalgat Karel film. I mentioned that we're actually planning to do Survivor SA in the Eastern Cape. They said "What! Why are you not partnering with us? We should work together." But I haven't even considered it as an option because we've only done scripted shows, never a format reality show with them before. 

But the ECDC were very keen and so besides that we found a location that we liked, found a venue that we liked, we found a hotel group that we liked, we loved that we could also partner with the ECDC. Everything just worked out and we were very happy. 

The only challenge visually is that you're not "on" an actual island, right; you're definitely not on an island. It was also very cold at night even though it was warm during the day. It was super cold at night because of the weather conditions so the castaways were not in their traditional bikinis and shorts. 

So visually Survivor SA was different, visually it was felt South African, but the response we got from viewers saying "We live in this country, does this place actually exist in South Africa?" was overwhelming. 

We don't always realise the beauty we have in our own country. We got so much love from our subscribers because of making that choice and showcasing the Eastern Cape in a way that you don't often see it on television. 

I feel like it was a hectic compromise. It took a lot of time, energy and money to secure a location location and to find partners and to make that work, but at the end of the day it all melded together and we had the support of the province and a hotel group it worked out beautifully.

It was a closed set, no-one was allowed to go in or out, but it was still a big crew and a strong team who worked closely and excellently together.

As a closed set, obviously not even M-Net executives were allowed to visit where executives travelled globally in the past to visit every season physically. How did it make it more challenging and how did the modus operandi changed in terms of doing oversight during production but remotely?
Kaye-Ann Williams: We're very fortunate in that we have very good relationships with the producers we work with and who we trust. 

Even last year already the first show that we produced as a Covid-19 safe bubble production was The Bachelorette SA

What we did there, and with Survivor SA and now with the new season of My Kitchen Rules SA is that we no longer physically go to set like we used to but we get a Zoom link and we get to watch what's happening on set through a Zoom link, especially if it's something important.

Then what the Afrokaans production team did is that they would data dump all of their important things and dailies like tribal councils and we'd check in on the digital platform. 

The relationship is still very close and we still managed to see things as they happened very close to real filming. We've continued that way of working.

When did M-Net realise that this season of Survivor SA: Immunity Island would be so great and make for such incredibly compelling viewing?
Kaye-Ann Williams: When we cast in 2019 what happened was, as a result of season 6 and season 7 I think, a lot of die-hard fans - a lot of fanatics entered - people who are strategists and die-hard Survivor fans of the Australian and American versions.

What organically came through our casting process was really hyper-invested cast members. Not one person wanted to check out. Not one person wanted to leave and go back home. Everyone had a lot of endurance and staying power. 

Then when we contacted then to say "guys we got a green light, we're going to film locally", I think the fact that they were all on lockdown for so long and had been thinking and dreaming and wondering when the show was going to happen, by the time they got to set they were so invested.

I think the minute we hit green and we hit go, already I knew. Handrie Basson knew. We had this conversation. These people are on another level. They were so ready for the adventure and so ready for the experience that they gave it their all.

I think the combination of being in lockdown whilst knowing there is a possibility of the season happening, really hyped everyone up.

What new did M-Net learn from this season and doing it during a Covid-pandemic?
Kaye-Ann Williams: The learnings were around Covid-safe operations. 

Unlike a scripted show like a drama series, if someone gets sick - like cast or crew - you either give those people time off if they're crew, but if they're cast then you shut down the production  for 8 days, 10 days, or however long and you start up again. 

It's not the same with a reality show because it's not scripted. You can't pick up the script again.

We were extremely strict about our protocols and we were very fortunate that there wasn't even one case of Covid on Survivor SA or even on The Bachelorette SA or even My Kitchen Rules SA because we have a very tight, restricted set. 

We're very strict about our testing and our protocols and the head of departments (HODs) have to be very vigilant about enforcing that with crew members.

Our main learnings were around how to film these kinds of shows under these kinds of restrictions and limitations that are really hard to do; it's really tough to do. 

I just want to push people to please get vaccinated against Covid-19 because our South African TV and film industry suffered so much in the last 2 years. We've lost so many people - on a personal side but also colleagues and people we've worked with. 

Our learnings and education is literally around Covid. We've spent weeks working out how we're going to do it and talking with doctors, with health organisations. I think we've also set the standard in a lot of ways. 

Because of our us shooting in the Eastern Cape there are now other foreign territories looking at filming in South Africa because they realise that it could possibly be a filming hub. So there's been a lot of benefits that came from it. 

Obviously the appeal of a show like Survivor SA is that you're going to an island in a foreign, exotic place. But at the end of the day what I've taken out of this season, and even previous seasons, is that it comes down to characters, it comes down to casting a mixture of really die-hard fans and strategist and social players and making sure that the story comes from those people and not the location.

As much as this location really worked for us, what really made this season work is that we had a really excellent cast and a really good castaway team of participants. 

I also think that some of our players were really star strategists and that really influences your story and it influences how other people responded. 

The minute you have really active players, everyone reacts to that and step up to that. I think casting people who are engaging and who love the format and want to push the format - it really boils down to that.

You said you try to weed out possible docile castaways. Do you think South Africans are changing? 
We're quick to "skinder" behind someone's back but will almost never tell people what we think of someone in their face, especially something bad and the Survivor SA: Immunity Island castaways simply went there and said outrageous things to each other. Are we changing in terms of politeness or was it a result of castaways who've watched a lot of the show?
Kaye-Ann Williams: I think we're evolving and I think it's because of exposure to the format on an international front. 

You understand as a viewer, the tentpoles of the format; you understand this is what strategy is about, it's not a personal thing, I have to make this work, I have to engage all of my skills to make this work. 

As the South African seasons of Survivor SA went on from season 6 to 7 to 8, it became more and more accepted and more and more tolerated. 

Where Chappies stealing the tribe's food, people would have gone "Oh what a terrible human being" maybe three years ago, now viewers are going, "Yes, that's what you have to do". I think we're evolving as viewers and going: This is my understanding of the format, this is how I have to push it and some people handle it better than others. Some people took it more personally, some people are fine and sees it as strategy. 

That evolution happened from season 6 to 7 and you can see through those season that the contestants became stronger throughout the seasons. It's almost as if our viewers gave our castaways permissions to really go for it.

My husband is a die-hard Survivor fan and one of the things he said around 3 or 4 years ago before I started on Survivor SA is that the Australians and the Americans drag each other out by their ankles and we still think about it twice as South Africans. 

But he told me when we watched the Survivor SA: Immunity Island finale together "Wow, this was hectic. This was good." Then I knew that it's fine, I've managed to win him over. 

We've been giving ourselves permission to go there as South Africans because the format allows us to go there if you push it.

It was striking how Survivor SA would "trend" on social media as DStv subscribers watched M-net and the show as live linear viewing. 
When M-Net sees that - what does that strong ongoing engagement means, and that parallel conversation on a second screen, and does that also factor into renewing or is it just a nice-to-have? What does it mean if a show doesn't just make for great viewing but is also great as a second-screen conversation companion?
Kaye-Ann Williams: It does make a huge impact because you want your shows to be watched live.

You want people to rush home and to their TVs and you want that kind of urgency, so it's definitely fantastic when a show has a strong live viewing and then Catch Up is part of our live, and delayed viewing is part of our live because what some people want to do is not watch watch for 3 weeks and then watch 3 episodes in a row. 

Our viewing habits have changed; we're accustomed to both but we love live viewing.

Survivor SA, before it even started filming, sold to an Australian network, so the agreement was that we would air on a Thursday and they would air on a Friday. So they would have a day-after viewing. 

So what we saw was that we had Australian viewers in the mix as well talking about the contestants and what happened. 

From a Twitter point of view we started trending on two days because people would watch it in South Africa, and then watch it in Australia. 

That's just a testament to the quality of the show and the amazing producers that we have because the deal was that they bought season 7 and then they bought season 8 but they wanted to show episodes the day after M-Net's broadcast. It was fantastic and we really enjoyed it and it a massive feather in the cap of the producers. 

It matters when it comes to talkability, it matters because your viewers are engaging with your content.

In an age where viewers are binge-watching and they have a delayed-viewing habit, especially the DStv Premium audience whose content habitat has evolved to no longer watching everything necessarily live but watching it in their own time, it really is a massive complement and it's the reason why we love this show because the show and its format urges you to watch it. 

It urges you to watch it and you can't miss it. Survivor SA gives you that connection and immediate engagement with the audience.

Netflix CEO Ted Sarandos reveals Bridgerton as streamer's most watched TV show, Extraction and Bird Box as its most-watched films, says Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ is an 'awards-ey show' with very small audience.

by Thinus Ferreira

Netflix has released the video streaming service's top 10 most popular TV shows and films, ranked by number of households that watched, and the overall time spent watching, with Shonda Rhimes' Bridgerton topping the list in the number one spot on both lists, and the film Extraction placed first for most households watching, and the film Bird Box placed first for most time spent watching.

Ted Sarandos, Netflix CEO, spoke at the Vox Media Code Conference on Monday in Los Angeles and gave what he described as "the most comprehensive look so far" at the video streamer's most watched TV shows and films.

Although still largely guarding its viewable information but now tracked independently by Nielsen and other ratings companies for the TV and film industry, Netflix has steadily been moving to become more transparent about its audience numbers.

It's because Showmax and others, although growing, are doing so from a very small base, and ratings would give an indication of how small these services still are compared to legacy broadcast channels and services.

In his speech at the Vox Media Code Conference, Ted Sarandos said that Netflix is "trying to be more transparent with talent; with the market", admitting that Netflix's user data and ratings has been a "big black box, mostly" for the past number of years.

Netflix now counts a "view" of its content when a users streamed something for 2 minutes.

Ted Sarandos showed two slides, with the information that is based on Netflix's own internal monitoring of how its users are consuming its content, and that is based on the data of the first 28-days of release of a title.

The spiced-up period drama Bridgerton from Shonda Rhimes ranks number one on Netflix's list of the TV show that racked up the most views from households, as well as the time spent viewing over 4 weeks, with Bridgerton coming in at 82 million accounts, and 625 million hours watched.

The film Extraction with Chris Hemsworth tops the list as the number one film on the list of households that watched (99 million),with Bird Box in the second spot (89 million), with Bird Box topping the film list of most time spent watching (282 million hours).

Ted Sarandos mentioned that the non-English Korean survival drama series Squid Game that was released on Netflix on 17 September is on track to become the most popular Netflix show ever, and is currently ranking as the number one show globally on Netflix.

"We did not see that coming, in terms of its global popularity," he said, noting that Netflix is "competing with ourselves". 

Ted Sarandos also dismissed Ted Lasso of Apple's Apple TV+ streaming service that last week won several Emmy Awards, as an "awards-ey show" that very likely only has a very small audience. 

Like Showmax, Apple TV+ is also deliberately opaque about releasing any viewership information and has never released ratings data or how many subscribers it has as it lags far behind bigger global streaming services like Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video.

"The thing I'm concerned with over the next decade is, can we continue to execute at scale. To me that's more troubling that any competition in the marketplace," Ted Sarandos said.

Netflix ended the second quarter of 2021 with 209.18 million paid global streaming subscribers.

ALSO READ: MultiChoice's Showmax once again make an unsubstantiated viewership record claim, this time for Devilsdorp - here's what Showmax and some other streamers don't want to tell and don't want you to know.

Monday, September 27, 2021

INTERVIEW. Tyson Zulu on his Survivor SA: Immunity Island experience: 'It changes the way you look at life and people.'

by Thinus Ferreira

Tyson Zulu (24), the creative director and entrepreneur from Johannesburg saw his torch snuffed on Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island after Chappies changed his mind and decided not to vote for Tyson, but with Tyson not changing his vote to Anela - leading to his ouster.

Why did you decide to wear the one earring to the island, didn't you think it would hamper you and get caught in something or get lost?
Tyson Zulu: I just decided to take it because it's something that I usually wear, so I just wanted to have it with me on the island. I didn't think it would be a distraction at any point. It was just a part of my look.

In our professional lives and in our families we all have people we just can't stand and limit our interactions with or have decided we will never speak to again. 
How awkward was it to take the initiative and to go and have that last discussion with Chappies who you really didn't want to talk to at all, to try and get him to not vote for you?
Tyson Zulu: I decided to go and talk to Chappies because at that point in the game I was pretty much a unanimous vote for going home but I didn't just want to lay down and not go home without having tried anything to save myself.

As much as over the season I've said I won't go to an enemy in the game and try to save myself, but when I was in that position I realised that I've come so far in this game and I've had to fight every single time, so why would I stop now? 

At least if I go out, at least I go out knowing that I've tried everything to stay in the game.

Why did you decide to enter Survivor SA?
Tyson Zulu: I entered Survivor SA because I want to be a part of the film and TV industry, not just in South Africa but globally. 

When I looked at the productions in South Africa, Survivor South Africa is one of the biggest ones, so my whole objective behind entering Survivor SA was to learn from one of the biggest TV productions, being there and seeing what goes on behind the camera whilst being able to play the game as well.

Before playing Survivor SA I've never watched a full season of Survivor. I wasn't a superfan and not the kind of person who's going to tell you their favourite player and all that type of stuff. 

For me playing the game, I think, aligning with Kiran, was a huge bonus for me because he's a superfan. So I was able to get a lot of Survivor knowledge from him and how the game operates and then I had to be a fast learner and adapt.

But going into it I didn't enter Survivor SA because I was a superfan, I wanted to learn from the production.

And if the production company and show ask you to come and work on Survivor SA for the next season would you take such an opportunity and in what job position would you maybe like to work on the show?
Tyson Zulu: Having been a castaway in Survivor SA I think I would like to work on Survivor South Africa behind the scenes because that's what I want to do anyway within the industry. 

I think I'd like to be one of the content producers because having played the game I understands how it works. I understand how the mind of a castaway works.

Being on the other side and drawing all that content out of them is something I would be able to do because I've been in that position and I know and will know how to draw it out of people.

You said to Chappies you don't have any respect for him and I'm wondering once you have a cold war-like conflict like that with someone, how bad is it being in close proximity to someone that you just can't stand but you can't escape the physical environment?
Tyson Zulu: The beauty of it was - between Chappies and I - we literally stayed out of each other way.

We were never forced to be within the same space. We would come together when we were eating as a tribe but he'd be over there doing his own thing, and I'd be over there doing my own thing. 

We never really mixed although we're all together at camp. We just stayed out of each other's way because we knew that we just don't get along.

If you didn't vote for Nicole and just switched to Anela after Chappies said he won't be voting for you anymore, you'd still be in the game. Was it even a possibility to vote for Anela or was it a case of being impossible for you to vote for him?
Tyson Zulu: With Anela it wasn't the same as with me and Kiran because evidently Anela voted for me and that's what got me out of the game.

The reason why that vote happened how it happened, was that after my conversation with Chappies at the beach, there's a conversation Chappies had with Anela. 

That conversation came back to me after I had spoken with Anela about it. Chappies basically gave me false hope and was just playing around with me for the sake of it. That made me write Chappies off.

When Chappies then approached me at tribal council, in my mind, it was just another thing where Chappies was playing with me again, so I didn't trust him. 

There's a conversation I had with Anela at tribal where I told him that I'm still voting for Nicole, stick to the plan. So I counted on Anela changing his vote as opposed to trusting what Chappies was saying. Anela was a proven flip-flopper in the game so that's a better decision to make.

Chappies whispered to you "I gave you a chance" and you replied: "I checked". What did you mean?
Tyson Zulu: I saw. I saw that he gave me a chance. When the votes were read out I was basically acknowledging what he was saying.

A few episodes earlier at tribal you said "I'm done being an emotionless robot". Was it your conscious strategy to not show emotion initially or are you usually more emotionally guarded?
Tyson Zulu: It was strategy to hold off on showing my emotions because I know that I'm an extremely passionate person. 

In a game like this it wouldn't have bode well for me so I knew that coming into it, I'm passionate and emotional, naturally.

I'm also very reserved, so I chose to stick to being more reserved and emotionless because if I chose to be more myself completely, I would have said a lot more than I did and it probably would have worked against me in a game where you have to bite your tongue all the time.

What surprised you that you didn't know others said about you or did?
Tyson Zulu: between Kiran and myself we were very perceptive of what was going on. 

I'm not surprised about anyone's game. Kiran and I were never on the receiving end of a blindside - we pretty much knew what was going on and how everyone was playing.

The one thing I'd say surprised me the most was how much people were saying. 

I knew Santoni was speaking to everybody but I had no idea how much she was speaking to everybody - for instance if you look back at the merge episode where she goes around telling the entire tribe about the idol. I knew she told people but I didn't know she told that many people. That was a surprise to me.

What didn't you expect Survivor SA to be and to be stranded with strangers?
Tyson Zulu: The surprising thing about it is how normal it becomes. I never thought going into it and you see all these strangers and you see all these cameras - you think, it's still very different from what you're used to.

But as the game goes on it becomes completely normal. You start to get to know these people that you wouldn't necessarily come close to in your everyday life and it changes the way you look at life and it changes the way you look at people.

What have you learned about humanity and what would be your advice for people who want to enter?
Tyson Zulu: You have to be extremely adaptable to be able to play this game because there are so many personalities and so many circumstances that come from the dynamics from within the game. 

So you can't be a rigid person because it's going to be a disadvantage. You have to be adaptable. 

You have to expect the unexpected. For me, I took a lot of things personally because I didn't bother anybody, I kept to myself but a lot of people were coming for me even before I had established myself as a threat. 

A lot of people came for me so I took those things personally. I would advise people not to take things personally. It's a game. Strategy is the best policy as opposed to letting your emotions get the better of you.

How did it feel when your torch got snuffed and you walked away and what did you do at Ponderosa?
Tyson Zulu: I was expecting it for at least 5 tribal councils before it happened so every single time I'd go into tribal expecting it to happen.

When it finally happened it wasn't such a surprise. I was more proud that I'm not a superfan but I made it all the way to the final four. When I got to Ponderosa it was just a case of starting to get back to real life. 

Physically the game affected me a lot more than it affected anybody else. 

I lost 10kg and my body was just not what it used to be. When I got to Ponderosa I was very uncomfortable. 

For the first time ever I was very insecure in my body; I didn't want to be around a lot of people all the time. I just kept to speaking to Kiran and Shaun was also very helpful. 

It was just a transition time to get back to myself and to feel less insecure because my body had completely changed.

Survivor SA: Immunity Island is on M-Net (DStv 101) on Thursdays at 19:30