How Apple TV beat Netflix with &x27CODA&x27s&x27 best picture Oscar – Los Angeles Times

It was only three years ago that Hollywood viewed Apple with intense skepticism.

Before launching its apple tv+ streaming service in late 2019, the iphone maker had confused traditional movie and TV industry players with a presentation that had plenty of star power (oprah winfrey, steven spielberg plus a musical performance by sara bareilles) and real low-light programming.

Reading: This year big oscar winners apple

For some filmmakers and agents, the cupertino, california tech giant’s seemingly cautious approach to content exposed a culture clash between entertainment and silicon valley, one that seemed to hamper the company’s ability to compete with netflix and walt Disney. company’s disney+. Now, with an Oscar for best picture in hand for Sian Heder’s family drama “Coda,” Apple can flaunt gold-plated hardware in front of its critics. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Apple its greatest achievement, making it the first broadcast company to take the best picture.

apple beat netflix to the end.

Netflix has spent tens of millions of dollars campaigning for the Oscars in recent years, winning key awards including Alfonso Cuaron’s directorial achievement for “Roma,” and securing seven nominations for best picture, all without getting the coveted main statuette. Apple did it with its first best picture nominee, a small, understated independent film that it picked up at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival for a record $25 million.

Congratulating the filmmakers and cast, Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted, “The coda team created a profoundly beautiful film, a story of hope and heart that celebrates our differences.”

daniel ives, managing director of wedbush securities, called the award for best film a “game changer” for apple tv+ and said the award will help encourage more talent to work with the streamer as it takes on to his rivals. still, netflix, amazon prime, and disney+ are far ahead of apple in terms of subscribers, which is the metric that really matters.

“They’ve been waiting for validation of the platform and, ultimately, the awards,” ives said. “It’s a huge validation, not just from a talent perspective, but especially when it comes to consumers.”

apple tv+’s subscriber base remains small, with an estimated 25 million paying customers, considering there are 975 million active iphones on the market, ives said. Apple does not disclose the number of subscribers for its streaming video business, which charges a modest $5 a month. For comparison, around 222 million people subscribe to Netflix worldwide. the standard netflix plan is $15.50.

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both netflix and amazon have broadened their film strategies in recent years to focus on releasing more popular movies, rather than just chasing critical acclaim. Netflix has released several blockbuster movies with marquee-busting casts, like “Red Notice” and “The Adam Project.”

the apple streamer, aimed at expanding the company’s subscription revenue in its largest services business, opened with just nine shows in 2019. the shows received mixed reviews, though “the morning show” and “dickinson” won early devotees.

Since then, Apple TV’s lineup has expanded and won accolades, especially the hit comedy “Ted Lasso,” which racked up an impressive seven Emmy Awards last year. The new psychological thriller series “Severance,” directed by Ben Stiller, has garnered widespread praise from critics, signaling Apple’s ambitions in the space.

Its original film unit has been slower to gain traction. It released movies like Sofia Coppola’s “On the Rocks,” Tom Holland’s crime drama “Cherry,” and Tom Hanks’ sci-fi flick “Finch,” but nothing has caused much of a stir in mainstream culture.

The victory of “coda” marks a breakthrough. The film is about a deaf family who relies on their only hearing member, Ruby, to interpret for them and help them navigate through the fishing community in Gloucester, Massachusetts. but ruby ​​has her own aspirations to pursue a music career.

“coda” won all three awards for which it was nominated, with troy kotsur honored for supporting actor and heder winning for adapted screenplay. Kotsur is the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar. Apple was also nominated in three categories for Joel Coen’s “Macbeth’s Tragedy,” starring Denzel Washington, who was up for lead actor.

Among best picture nominees, coda” saw the largest percentage increase in post-nomination viewership, according to data from samba tv, which measures broadcast viewing. nearly 40% of “coda’s” lifetime streaming audience occurred after the nominations were announced. the average for the others, excluding “nightmare alley,” which was released on streaming in February, was 15%, the firm said.

“is a new kid on the block in regards to streaming. Many within the Hollywood elite always viewed Apple as something of an outsider and never took Apple’s content effort seriously,” Ives said. “It would be seen as a groundbreaking achievement for Apple, where I think many in Hollywood never thought Apple would get to smell the Academy Awards.”

apple makes most of its revenue from the iphone. apple tv+ is part of a growing revenue category for services called apple, which also includes other subscriptions, such as access to news and streaming music.

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The services division, part of a strategy that keeps apple users loyal to the company’s products, generated $19.5 billion in revenue during the first fiscal quarter of 2022, or 16% of sales of the company.

ives estimates that apple spends roughly $7 billion a year on streaming video content, which is far less than the $19 billion netflix is ​​estimated to spend on programming this year. Apple is preparing big changes in cinema, agreeing to finance Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio said to have a budget of some $200 million.

compared to the scorsese drama, “coda” was a bargain. The film reportedly cost less than $10 million to produce, and the industry estimates Apple’s awards season campaign to exceed $10 million. That’s nothing for Apple, which has a ballpark of $200 billion in cash on hand.

apple tv+ still has a much smaller library than netflix and amazon, which recently closed an $8.45 billion acquisition of beverly hills studio mgm and its catalog of 4,000 movies. With rivals rising after significant early leads, Apple will have to keep churning out hits to compete effectively. Some analysts think Apple should step it up by buying a production company or studio, but the company has shown little interest in doing so.

“Apple has the least amount of content and needs to increase its volume,” said Tom Nunan, a former studio and network executive who executive produced the 2006 Oscar-winning “Crash.”

Apple released “Coda” to relatively little fanfare in August in limited theaters and on Apple TV+. After the Oscar nominations were announced, the company brought the film to theaters in major United States. cities and in London, allowing visitors to watch it for free over the weekend starting February 2. 25.

The company blanketed social media and Los Angeles billboards with “for your consideration” ads for “Coda” and promoted the film through device screens displayed in Apple Stores.

but oscar voters don’t vote for campaigns. They award movies themselves, and this is where Apple had an edge, with the kind of uplifting personal drama the academy often likes to acknowledge.

“We’ve seen this from miles around that streamers are taking charge when it comes to character-driven stories, stories that can be told on your TV screen at home that don’t need to be seen in a cineplex, Nunan said. “Broadly speaking, the Oscars celebrate those kinds of movies: character-driven stories.”

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