View Finder: Can the rebooted Monkey Magic boost Netflix subscriber growth?

Nick Broughall 21 April 2017

The Legend of Monkey

Netflix goes big while Stan goes 4K.

Australian social media feeds were sent into a frenzy this week as news broke that the ABC was working with New Zealand's TVNZ and Netflix to reboot the beloved Monkey (Magic) TV series from the 1980s.

For those who need a quick flashback to remind them of the wonder of Monkey (and a tasty earworm for the rest of the day):

The new series will be called The Legend of Monkey and will begin streaming in 2018, with 10 half-hour episodes currently in production in New Zealand. The show will chronicle the story of a teenage girl and a trio of fallen Gods as they try to restore balance to the world.

While it's safe to assume that the ABC will get first run of the show in Australia, Netflix is on board for global distribution. If the producers manage to nail that catchy intro music and make sure that Monkey's cloud call whistle is a critical part of the show, who wouldn't want to watch it?

Turning around slower Netflix subscriber growth

The rebooted Monkey could definitely be an important cog in Netflix's subscriber growth strategy. This week the streaming giant announced to investors that its international subscriber growth had slowed during the last quarter.

While the news sent Netflix stock prices south, there was still plenty of positive news in the announcement, including the fact that many of Netflix's international operations are already profitable and that the company is only just shy of the 100 million subscriber mark.

But perhaps most interesting is who – or what – Netflix sees as its major competitor. When asked about competition from cable companies, CEO Reed Hastings claimed that Netflix and cable in the US were largely complementary: "You know, think about it. When you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night. We’re competing with sleep, on the margin."

I for one am keen to see how Netflix plans to defeat the human need for sleep so we can binge-watch Adam Sandler movies 24/7.

4K it, Stan

We knew it was coming, but Stan officially switched on 4K streams yesterday for subscribers, bringing the Aussie service in line with the quality of the international streamers.

It won't come for free though. If you want to watch 4K episodes of Better Call Saul, you're going to need to give Stan an extra $5 a month.

$15 a month for 4K video is far from bad value though. Stan has also increased the number of concurrent streams you can watch with and the number of devices you can download to for offline viewing as part of the premium package.

The biggest hurdle in the way of this premium plan is the compatible device list. Currently, you'll need a compatible 4K 2015, 2016 or 2017 model of Samsung or LG TV, or the PS4 Pro to access 4K streams.

Trailer of the week

Kimmy's back!

The third season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt lands on 19 May.



Each week, View Finder rounds up the latest news in TV and movie streaming in Australia.

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Image: ABC

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