Culture Clips: Unwrapping a Streaming Service for Christmas?

Santa watching Netflix

Christmas Day is over, and some of us are still swimming through used wrapping paper in our living rooms. But we’re not the only ones who gave and/or got a few gifts in our stockings. Burgeoning streaming services did, too—even if they came at the expense of other streaming services.

Take the upstart Disney+, for instance. According to the brokerage firm Cowen & Co., consumers have already given the new streaming network (which launched in mid-November) about 24 million subscriptions—about 4 million more than analysts had predicted Disney would collect this year. A good chunk of those came at the expense of the streaming giant Netflix: Cowen & Co. estimates that 1 million subscribers switched services, favoring apparently The Mandalorian over, say, Stranger Things.

But don’t fret that Netflix executives are crying over their glasses of eggnog right about now. Another survey, this one by TV Time, found that 19 of the 20 most-streamed shows in 2019 were all on Netflix. Lucifer reruns, of all things, topped the list, followed by Stranger Things and 13 Reasons Why. Fourth on the list was Money Heist, a Spanish-language show now in its third season. It was watched by 44 million people in its first month, making it Netflix’s most-watched non-English language program. Only Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale broke Netflix’s stranglehold of the list of most-watched streaming shows.

(Netflix’s movies are pretty popular, too. Earlier this month, Netflix claimed that 26.4 million people had already watched its award-season hopeful The Irishman during its first week on the platform.)

The Mandalorian did not make TV Time’s list. But that hasn’t stopped a Pennsylvania hospital from dressing up its newborns as Baby Yoda.

But it wasn’t just small-screen services that got a present under the tree this year. Some really, really big screens did, too. IMAX collected more than $1 billion in grosses in 2019 ($1.035 billion to be exact), setting a new record for itself and marking the second-straight year that the company has grossed more than $1 billion.

Naturally, as we push past 2019 and look forward to 2020, we’re seeing scads of lists recounting the year’s—and the decade’s—most notable achievements and interesting trends. The Los Angeles Times did a fun little recap of the year’s best memes, including our odd fascination with an Instagram egg. Meanwhile CNN, notes that Instagram began its life at the beginning of this decade (Oct. 6, 2010) and chronicles how social networks themselves have changed in this turbulent 10 years: Lots of them were born, more than a few died, and many familiar names morphed and grew and disappointed us and grew some more. Facebook had its corporate face in the news plenty in the 2010s, suffering plenty of scandals but still growing 600% in that time. Ars Technica even called the 2010s “The Facebook decade.” Meanwhile, The Verge offers some predictions on how these social networks might change in the year to come.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the device you use to connect to social media—your phone—is still listening to you. Always.

But technology isn’t all bad. Indeed, if you have a robotic vacuum cleaner and you happen to be a cat, it can be purrfectly wonderful. YouTube is now home to a nine-hour, nine-minute and nine-second video of a cat riding one such vacuum, meowing its delight on occasion. It’s been viewed more than 105,000 times.

Meowy Christmas.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

charitysplace More than 1 year ago
The good thing about Disney+ is I won't be inundated with foul content like on Netflix, where almost all their new shows are MA-rated. The bad thing is, I either own a large chunk of what is already on there (Disney classics) or am not super interested, and they haven't fleshed out their content with originals yet. I think given time, Disney+ will be a formidable, largely family-friendly alternative to Netflix, but Netflix is still home to Stranger Things, The Queen, and the future Narnia series. So I may wind up keeping both. Still cheaper than cable. ;)