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NETFLIX HIT 230MILLION SUBSCRIBERS, CO-FOUNDER QUITS

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United States streaming giant Netflix ended last year with more than 230 million global subscribers, it said Thursday, beating analysts’ expectations as hits such as “Wednesday” and “Harry & Meghan” enticed new viewers.

“2022 was a tough year, with a bumpy start but a brighter finish,” the company said in a letter announcing bumper fourth-quarter earnings.

Netflix also announced that co-founder Reed Hastings was standing down as the Chief Executive Officer, ending a 25-year leadership that saw the company grow from a rent-by-mail DVD service to an entertainment juggernaut.

Hastings ceded control of Netflix to his two longtime associates Chief Operating Officer Greg Peters and Ted Sarandos, who has been the face of Netflix in Hollywood and had already been named co-CEO.

“It feels like yesterday was our IPO; we were covered in red envelopes,” Hastings said during an earnings call.

“Hopefully, some of you have held the stock for all 21 years.”

Netflix became a publicly traded company in early 2002 at an opening price of $15 a share.

Shares in the streaming television service were up nearly 7 percent to $337.31 in after-market trades that followed release of the earnings figures.

The Netflix board has been discussing succession planning for many years, Hastings pointed out in a blog post, joking “even founders need to evolve!”

He said he would hold the new job of executive chairman, noting this was a role that tech giant founders often took, using Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Microsoft’s Bill Gates as examples.

The changing of the guard was announced as Netflix posted added subscribers that blew past even the most optimistic expectations.

The streaming giant said it enticed 7.7 million new members in three months, bringing Netflix membership around the world to 230 million people.

Netflix praised a successful slate of new content that included horror-themed comedy “Wednesday,” saying the “Addams Family” spinoff was the company’s third most popular series ever.

Royal tell-all documentary “Harry & Meghan” also scored, Netflix said, as well as “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” starring Daniel Craig.

– New rivals –

The fresh titles helped attract users to a new lower-priced “Basic with Ads” subscription, as consumers cut back on their entertainment spending amid soaring inflation and an uncertain economy.

Revenue in the October to December period, at $7.85 billion, was in line with estimates.

Netflix insists that counting new users is no longer the most important criteria for assessing the company’s health and that revenue should instead be the main metric.

“What may be getting lost in the mix is that some number of new subscribers – we don’t know how many – likely came in on Netflix’s ad-supported tier,” said Insider Intelligence principal analyst Paul Verna.

“That means, most likely, lower average revenue per subscriber, which is a measure Wall Street will be paying more attention to as Netflix’s ad businesses scales up,” he said.

Netflix goals this year include “nudging” viewers who use passwords shared by subscribers to pay their own way.

“We have high confidence in our ability to accelerate revenue throughout the course of the year as we scale ads and we launch paid sharing (of accounts),” said Netflix chief financial officer Spencer Neumann.

Netflix faces strong competition from deep-pocketed rivals, including Disney+, which has also introduced an ad-based subscription.

But despite the challenges, Netflix is one of the rare tech giants to have garnered confidence from Wall Street with its share price up almost 50 percent in the past six months.

Other tech giants and Disney have been hammered on the markets as firms lay off employees and cut costs after a massive hiring and spending spree at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

AFP

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How I became the best Nollywood movie poster designer — Frank Emeka Ozomah

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Talented Nigerian movie poster designer, Franklin Emeka Ozomah, has said that there are many advantages to Nollywood as a globally recognised industry from Nigeria, saying, he has enjoyed every bit of his involvement in this creative world dealing with a wide range of audiences.

Ozomah, an award-winning graphics artist with seven years of industrial experience said one of the things that helped him to go far, and today being celebrated as the best poster designer was being able to discover the abilities he naturally possessed, some of which include his artistic skills, concepts development and drive to explore the creative world.

He said not only that, but he still had to go further to develop these skills to perfect his outputs, and to understand the nitty-gritty of the job, while also gathering materials and the needed technology, he had to know their operational mechanisms to make his job easier.

“I am a product of grass to grace. I wasn’t inspired to do what I am doing today because of a need to compete with anyone. Rather, my motivation was to develop my talents and contribute my quota to the development of other people’s creative works.

“No matter how talented you are, you still need to nurture your raw skills by way of training in a formal setting, so you can be well groomed and also acquire abilities to face challenges and overcome them,” Ozomah said.

Since he launched out in 2016, Ozomah has featured in many Nollywood projects, promoting movies which later became bestsellers some of which include Omo Ghetto The Saga; Rattle Snake; The Ghost; The Tout; Battle On Bukka Street; Rattlesnake; Living In Bondage; Christmas In Miami; Ayinla; Obara’m and The Johnson’s, Oloibiri.

The excellence that distinguished him in the industry has brought honour to Ozomah, winning awards such as Toronto International Film Festival Best Movie Poster 2020 (The Session) and Niaja Graphics Designer Top Poster Designer 2022.

What Ozomah does basically is to make the best graphical presentation of newly released movies in posters to create an impressive attraction to the general audience, and of all these creative concepts, Ozomah’s designs have been rated among the best in the movie industry.

There are more top movie projects with Ozomah’s touch which include Battle On Buka, (a Funke Akindele and Tobi Makinde film); Rattle Snake (a Play Network Studio production); The Mystic River Series (a Native Media Production); Voiceless (a Native Media TV); Nneka (The Pretty Serpent) and Petty Evil.

Others are Dante’s Inferno; Dinner At My Place; Exit Plan; The Stand Up Movie; The UnderDog Diary; FatBulous; Win or Lose (by James Amuta); and Passport (directed by Demeji Ajibola), among others.

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TEMS BECOMES FIRST NIGERIAN OSCAR NOMINEE

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Temilade Openiyi, better known by his stage name Tems, a famous Nigerian musician, has been nominated for an Academy Award in the 95th annual ceremony, which will take place on March 12, 2023.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made the announcement in their Tuesday tweet announcing the 2023 nominations.

Temilade Openiyi, better known by his stage name Tems

In anticipation of the 95th Academy Awards, which will take place in Los Angeles, Tems was given a nomination for the category of Best Original Song.

Her work with Rihanna on “Lift Me Up” earned them a nomination for Best Original Song. For “Best Original Song,” the two musicians received a nomination.

Temilade Openiyi, better known by his stage name Tems

Marvel’s ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ featured the song ‘Lift Me Up’ as part of an official soundtrack. Rihanna and Tems co-wrote the evocative tune, produced by Ludwig Göransson and helmed by Ryan Coogler.

This news comes less than a week after the famed American rapper Snoop Dogg sought to collaborate with the artist; therefore, it has piqued the interest of many Nigerians.

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I DIDN’T BRUSH, BATH FOR DAYS OVER ‘SHANTY TOWN’ ROLE — CHIDI MOKEME

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The Nigerian actor, Chidi Mokeme has recounted how he was able to interpret his part in the six-part television series “Shanty Town.”

The series tells the tale of a gang of prostitutes, who want to free themselves from the influence of a notorious kingpin but quickly learn that doing so will be very challenging due to political corruption and family ties.

Mokeme has proceeded to win the hearts of many fans and garner a wealth of awards with his portrayal of the kingpin Scar.

The actor claimed, in a BBC Pidgin interview on Thursday, that he had to undergo drastic physique changes in order to play his part.

He said, “Some of the body modifications I did to enter into the character of Scar was to shave off my hair and go bald. I also did not take my bath for a few days before going on set so that when they say I should do something dirty, I can do it freely because I know I am not clean.

“Sometimes I don’t brush my teeth and when I open my mouth to talk to people, they wonder what kind of a person I am.

“I don’t smoke but I had to smoke about three packets per day to make my voice sound the way it did in the series.”

Mokeme also revealed that he is finding it difficult to separate himself from the character Scar.

“The character and I have become one and it will take some time before we can let each other go,” he said.

“Scar and I are struggling with each other on who owns my body. I told Scar that I’m through and that he can go but if I can be allowed to, I will remain as Scar.”

‘Shanty Town’ is Mokeme’s comeback movie after a long hiatus due to a battle with Bell’s Palsy.

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