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Louis Tomlinson Slams BBC Breakfast Over Questions About His Grief

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  • Former One Direction star Louis Tomlinson said he won’t appear on BBC Breakfast again after being asked questions about his grief over the loss of his mother and sister. 
  • One of the interviewers apologized for upsetting the singer but defended the questions, which were related to a song on his new album. 
  • Despite much backlash from Tomlinson’s fans, BBC also issued a statement calling the questions “fair.”

The Interview 

Singer Louis Tomlinson vowed to never appear on BBC Breakfast again after a promotional interview for his debut solo album, Walls, included questions that made him uncomfortable.

During Monday morning’s show, journalists Dan Walker and Louise Minchin asked about how personal loss influenced his music, mentioning the deaths of his mother and sister. Tomlinson’s mother, Johanna, died of leukemia in December 2016 and his 18-year-old sister Félicité died after an accidental drug overdose just last March.

“Is there a point at which you write that stuff –and it is quite clearly from the heart when people listen to the music– do you feel that at some stage ‘I’ve put too much of myself in there’ or is that part of helping you in writing that way as well about the loss of your mom and your sister and other things?” Walker asked.

Tomilson explained that because he started his career on X-Factor, with cameras around him from such an early time, he’s always given a lot of himself. “It’s kind of all I know in my career really, so I almost use that to my advantage, you know I’m brave enough to talk about these things,” he continued. 

Minchin then added, “and you talk about grief don’t you in ‘Two of Us’’ and that’s had quite an impact I understand on fans as well actually.” The singer agreed and talked about how special it is for him to see the emotional weight of this song and what the lyrics mean to different people. 

Immediately after, Minchin asked about his relationship with former bandmate Zayn Malik.  “You’ve had a bit of a spat with Zayn. How’s that going?” she asked. 

“God, you’re proper going in it today aren’t you?” Tomlinson responded. When Walker explained that people would be interested to know the answer to this question, Louis said, “Yeah they will but people pick off on every little thing I say and, look I’m just not ready to have that conversation yet. I think that’s fair enough.”

When the presenters raised the possibility of a 1D reunion, the singer’s frustration became even more apparent. “You’ve ticked them all off now. You’ve got trauma, Zayn, and now we’re finally on this one.” However, Tomlinson eventually conceded, saying, “I’ll give you the answer I give everyone else. It’s inevitable. I don’t know when. We don’t know when. I think we’d be stupid not to get back together, but we don’t know. I’ve only just made my first album.”

BBC Defends Interview Questions 

After the segment aired, Tomlinson told his 33.5 million Twitter followers: “Defo won’t be going on there again Haha! Love to all my fans for always having my back.”

When Walker saw the posts, he said he was sorry that Tomlinson felt that way and asked what specifically made him upset. 

Tomlinson explained that he was “upset that you continued to ask me about my grief. It goes without saying how hard it is to lose both people so close to me.”

“The least I ask is that you respect my decision of not wanting to be asked in interviews about something so painful.” he continued. “I’m lucky enough to have a creative outlet for me to talk about grief this doesn’t however, give you the right to talk about it for gossip purposes.”

However, Walker defended the line of questioning, tweeting back. “We were asking you about the song on your new album about your mum. We know it’s painful which is why we didn’t dwell on it. No intention to upset you or be ‘gossipy’ about it at all. That’s not our style on #BBCBreakfast.

The singer’s tweets seemed to suggest that he or his team has previously made the show aware of topics he did not want to discuss. When one Twitter user told Walker that he should respect Tomlinson’s limits, Walker responded saying, “Totally understand that – which is why we checked. We were told by his team that he didn’t want a picture of his mum on screen (which we didn’t do) and he wouldn’t mention her specifically but would talk about grief more generally. Which is why we asked the 2 questions.” 

Another fan said the questions were not general since they specifically mentioned his mother and sister, to which Walker responded: “I get that you know his life inside out but lots of people don’t. We mentioned his loss to make it clear what we were talking about to those watching who weren’t aware what he’d been through. He was on for about 9 minutes and we asked him 2 questions about grief & moved on.”

A BBC spokesperson also told several media outlets: “We wanted to cover all aspects of Louis’s life that have influenced his new album and feel the questioning was fair.”

The incident has resulted in a ton of internet backlash against the BBC reporters, with some fans accusing the show of exploiting his grief and not asking enough questions about the album.

 See what others are saying: (CNN) (Paper Magazine) (HuffPost)

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Netflix Passes 200M Subscribers as Other Streamers Struggle With Retention

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  • In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it has hit over 200 million subscribers following a successful year of growth.
  • The pandemic gave Netflix a significant subscriber boost in March and April. The company continued to perform well even in its final quarter, gaining 8.5 million subscribers when it was only projected to add 6 million.
  • The data also highlights how relatively unaffected Netflix has been by new streaming services entering the market. While companies like Disney+, HBO Max, and Peacock continue to grow, they also struggle to retain the subscribers that sign up.

Netflix Passes 200 Million Subscribers

Netflix has topped 200 million subscribers following a year of strong growth in 2020.

In its Tuesday letter to shareholders, Netflix announced that it added 8.5 million subscribers in its fourth quarter. This exceeds projections, which estimated the streaming giant would only add around 6 million. In total, Netflix gained 37 million new memberships throughout 2020, bringing the company to 203.6 million subscribers.

Pandemic lockdowns gave Netflix a substantial boost in March in April. In the company’s first two quarters, it added a combined 25.7 million subscribers. According to data from the letter, Netflix had added over 10 million more subscribers by May of 2020 than it had by May of 2019.

When it comes to the success of their fourth quarter, Netflix pointed to shows like “Bridgerton” and “The Crown.” The fourth season of “The Crown” hit the platform in November, prompting many to return to older seasons of the show. Netflix claims the series has been viewed by 100 million households since it first aired in 2016.

Success Amid Growth of Competition

The year 2020 could have been a difficult one for Netflix as new streaming services entered the market. Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock and more have all made waves with their original programming or by taking some of their brand’s content from Netflix to host on their own site. User-based content on YouTube and TikTok also became increasingly popular throughout the pandemic, further posing as a threat to Netflix. 

Still, it reached a massive milestone. 

“Our strategy is simple: if we can continue to improve Netflix every day to better delight our members, we can be their first choice for streaming entertainment,” Netflix said in the letter. “This past year is a testament to this approach.”

Netflix potentially sees Disney+ as the biggest competitor among new platforms. In its letter, the company noted that the streamer added 87 million subscribers in its first year. In a Q&A, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings seemed enthusiastic about this competition.

“It’s super impressive what Disney’s done,” he said. “It’s going to be great for the world that Disney and Netflix are competing show-by-show, movie-by-movie. We’re very fired up about catching them in family animation, maybe eventually passing them, we’ll see. It’s a long way to go just to catch them, and maintaining our lead in general entertainment that’s so stimulating like ‘Bridgerton,’ which I don’t think you’re going to see on Disney anytime soon.”

Streamers Struggle with Retaining Subscribers

Even as new streamers have had impressive years, there is one hurdle that many are still struggling to jump over: retaining the subscribers who sign up. The Los Angeles Times named Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, and Apple TV+ in particular, writing that people create accounts with these services, watch the TV shows or movies they are interested in, and cancel once they are done.

An October survey from Deloitte said that 46% of respondents canceled at least one streaming service in the last 6 months, which is up 20% from January of last year. Most who had canceled said they did so because they had finished watching whatever programming it was that brought them to that service. 

Places like Disney+ and HBO Max are really vulnerable to this because they have banked on drawing people in with exclusive marquis titles like “Hamilton” or “Wonder Woman 1984.” However, since they are newer, they are still building their original programming catalog, meaning that people can quickly burn through highlight titles. 

See what others are saying: (Los Angeles Times) (Wall Street Journal) (The Hollywood Reporter)

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Paramount+ To Launch March 4

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  • ViacomCBS is launching Paramount+ in the United States and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out to other markets internationally later this year. 
  • The streaming service will be a relaunch and expansion of CBS All Access. It will include content from Nickelodeon, MTV, and more on top of the CBS-focused selection. 

Paramount+ Gets Launch Date

ViacomCBS will be launching its streaming service Paramount+ in the U.S. and Latin America on March 4 before rolling out in more countries throughout the year. 

It will be an expansion and rebrand of CBS All Access, the service the company currently offers that is used by nearly 8 million subscribers. Paramount+ will go beyond the CBS-centric content promoted there, including works from brands like Nickelodeon, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel.

More details about their streaming strategy will be released during an investor event on February 24. Right now, ViacomCBS is boasting that the service will have over 30,000 episodes and movies in their catalog, which will also include live sports and breaking news. 

“The Paramount brand is known and loved all around the world, and is synonymous with great entertainment. It’s always brought people together, which makes it a perfect fit for a streaming service that’s uniquely positioned to do the same,” Josh Line the chief brand officer of ViacomCBS said during a brand announcement in September. “The Paramount+ streaming service will elevate ViacomCBS’ iconic family of brands.”

State of the Streaming Wars

Paramount+ has already announced a slew of original projects including a revival of “iCarly” and a series about the making of “The Godfather” titled “The Offer.”

The service is entering an already crowded battlefield as the streaming wars wages on. It will have plenty of uphill battles to fight since brand recognition for Paramount is not nearly as strong as it is for studios like Disney or NBCUniversal. It will also have to compete with Netflix, which leads the pack in subscribers and unveils new content regularly; HBO Max, which will be home to Warner Media’s new theatrical releases; and Hulu, which hosts original content as well as shows currently airing on cable and network television. 

ViacomCBS has not released information on pricing, but that will likely come during or before the February investor event.

See what others are saying: (Variety) (Deadline) (CNBC)

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Olivia Rodrigo Smashes Records with “drivers license”

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  • Olivia Rodrigo’s debut single “drivers license” has set multiple records on Spotify, becoming both the most streamed song in one day for non-holiday music and the most streamed song in a week.
  • It also has become the most globally requested song on Alexa in one day on Amazon Music. 
  • After its Jan. 8 release, the song became a trending audio on TikTok. Since TikTok’s rise to popularity, the app has helped many songs reach viral success at lightning speed. 

“driver’s license” Breaks Records

At just 17-year-old, Olivia Rodrigo is smashing records with her new single “drivers license” after debuting the tune on Jan. 8.

On Friday, Spotify announced the single set the record for most streams in a week. Prior to this, it set the record for most streams on the platform in one day for a non-holiday song.

As of Monday morning, the song has over 125 million plays on Spotify. According to Pop Crave, it was also the fastest song to reach 100 million streams on the popular music service. 

Over on Amazon Music, “drivers license” became the most globally requested song on Alexa in a single day. It also became the biggest global streaming debut on the site. 

Song Goes Viral on TikTok

Rodrigo is best known for her role as Nini on “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” She has also appeared in a variety of other Disney projects where she showcased her singing and songwriting capabilities. In “drivers license,” she croons about using the newly minted independence her license affords her to mourn a recent breakup.  

The pop ballad has become a popular audio on TikTok. Many use it for dances, to discuss the possibility that Rodrigo wrote it about her co-star Joshua Bassett, or to just wallow in its lyrics. It has been used by some of the app’s most popular creators, including Charli D’Amelio. 

Its success on the platform has likely contributed to its success on streaming platforms and charts. The app has had an immeasurable impact on the music industry by helping songs and artists reach the mainstream at lightning speed. Hits like “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X first found a home on TikTok before breaking records on the billboard charts. 

Rodrigo has been happy and surprised to see her song perform so well and be so positively received. 

“Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this,” she wrote on Instagram after learning that “drivers license” was the number one song on global iTunes charts. “thank u guys so much for listening. I can’t believe this is real life.”

See what others are saying: (Teen Vogue) (CBS News) (Billboard)

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