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November 17, 2021
🎄 Good morning! It's bleak enough here that just on the edge of starting to wear random Christmas outfits. Or at least my very warm Xmas socks...
Netflix dishes data

Netflix was on the front foot yesterday, with a new Top10 page announced+released to wash away claims it cherry-picks its data. 

  • The new Top 10 list displays the most-viewed shows and movies for English and non-English titles, ranked by aggregate viewing hours.
  • Netflix says, “We will publish our new weekly ‘Top 10 on Netflix’ every Tuesday based on hours viewed from Monday to Sunday the previous week for both original and licensed titles.”
  • Netflix previously threatened Bloombergwith legal action over some of this data.

But while the data is interesting, it’s a flex:

  • Variety points out that Netflix’s move here “…is ultimately self-serving — designed to promote its most popular titles. The release of the additional info is aimed at giving Netflix subscribers new ways to find what to watch next.”
  • “Netflix is flexing here: It’s underscoring the fact that it operates the biggest subscription-video service on the planet (with 213.6 million paid subs as of Q3). The streamer is giving notice to the industry, customers, and Wall Street that it has an engine capable of producing a surprise hit like ‘Squid Game,’ which (Netflix says) was viewed an astronomical 1.6 billion hours over its first 28 days of release. It will be interesting to see if Netflix rivals like Amazon, Disney, and HBO Max follow suit by releasing their own metrics.”
  • And what we don’t get insight into is Netflix’s stinkers: there’s no great shame in stuff that bombs given how Netflix approaches its business, but it’s easier when it’s out of sight and dwarfed by its hits, too.
  • In any case, Disney, HBO, and so on, will probably hit back with their own data, obfuscated in just the ways they want…

💳 Here’s something I didn’t expect to read: Amazon will stop accepting Visa credit cards in the UK from early next year, citing high fees. High Interchange fees now the UK is out of the EU is just the start, apparently (BBC).

Motorola’s new $100 smartwatch foregoes Wear OS, available for pre-order now (Android Authority).

👆 Google improves Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor with surprise mid-month update (Android Authority).

🤔 Qualcomm’s Arm-based competitor to the Apple M1 for Windows PCs has a launch window set for within nine months, but by final release in 2023, Apple’s going to be even further ahead… (Android Authority).

🍎 Apple developing new ‘SportsKit’ framework as it invests in sports content for Apple TV. Start of something new? (9to5Mac).

🥽 Well worth seeing/watching Meta’s sci-fi haptic glove prototype, including the video, that lets you feel VR objects using air pockets, but it’s probably a decade from being a consumer item (The Verge).

🏀 LA’s iconic Staples Center to be renamed to Arena, with a deal worth $700M+ for 20 years. The Lakers, Clippers, and so on, will now all play in an arena that’ll take some time to get used to… (LA Times).

😬 Yikes: Activision CEO reportedly knew about allegations of sexual misconduct for years (CNET).

🤐 In Moscow’s technological advances, a double-edged sword: The latest example is Face Pay, which replaces a Metro card with facial recognition (New York Times, gift link)

🐶” Is my dog aware that I am not a dog?” (r/nostupidquestions).

Wednesday Weirdness
tiger king netflix reality shows

While we’re talking streaming, Netflix, and so on, Tiger King 2 and the Weird Rise of Documentary Sequels is exactly what I want to talk about, because, as Wired writes: “Hours-long multipart documentaries should be able to tell a whole story. And yet, more and more of them just keep going.”


  • Should we be grateful for the continued exploration and extra content of hot topics, or “concerned that we’re being fed filler by execs hungry for eyeballs”?
  • I mean, it’s the latter most of the time, but the piece here actually does a decent job of showing why “more is more,” and we’re not necessarily worse off for the old one-hour documentary now being a long series, and possibly a sequel that keeps following the story.
  • Making A Murderer is one example that walks a tightrope: It was filmed for 10 years before it was released, but the follow-up was out within three years and dragged on and on. At least it had ongoing court battles to document and follow.
  • The problem is when there’s not really much of anything to emerge, just more rehashing, or worse, a documentary follow-up that celebrates its own success yet doesn’t really matter.
  • Still, one filmmaker interviewed says: “As a filmmaker, I love the idea that characters and stories are so compelling that when a viewer finishes watching a film or a series that they continue to think about those characters.”
  • The problem is when those characters slip away from feeling like a wild slice of real life and they become just characters.

From a veyr real place,

Tristan Rayner, Senior Editor

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