TV & Video Week in Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

Disney+ gets Imax sound  

Marvel movies will soon be available with Imax sound quality. Disney Streaming has partnered with Imax and Xperi’s DTS audio-tech subsidiary to put Imax Enhanced titles on Disney+ starting this year. This comes after Disney+ partnered with Imax in November 2021 to release Marvel movies in the expanded Imax aspect ratio. These changes will upgrade the viewing experience on Disney+ that viewers can’t get elsewhere – not even in normal theaters. The Imax signature sound for these movies will provide an immersive sound experience and will launch first on Imax Enhanced-certified TVs only. Marvel Universe movies have been some of the highest-grossing Imax films since they first collaborated in 2010, and this collaboration expands that viewing experience to the new way many are watching moves in 2023.

The NPD Take:

  • As streamers are competing for a share of viewers’ time, improved features such as Imax sound quality will be a welcome feature for high-end techies.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe is known, in part, for its high-quality filmmaking creating a unique viewing experience, and Imax ratio and sound quality allow this to happen at home for viewers who are no longer going to theaters.

Amazon leans into sports  

Amazon may be planning to develop a standalone app for consumers to exclusively watch sports. The company has been shifting focus toward sports programming through Prime Video over the last year, seen by its current ownership of the rights to Thursday Night Football and Premier League Soccer. As consumers are switching from pay-TV subscriptions to streaming services, sports viewership remains one aspect of linear TV that many may stick around for. Amazon’s consideration of a standalone app is one way they may squeeze revenue out of their very costly sports rights.

The NPD Take

  • There are two schools of thought here. One is that sports fees unduly increase subscription costs for those that don’t tune-in. The other is that they are too expense to standalone. At this juncture the Amazon sports library may be too lean to be an independent subscription. But that doesn’t mean the viewing experience can’t be highlighted through its own portal.
  • The 2020s are shaping up to be the transition decade for sports rights. Given they tend to be tied up in extremely long-term deals, expect this shift to be like moving a battleship.