Netflix cuts ties with House of Cards actor Kevin Spacey

More fallout from allegations surrounding House of Cards actor, Kevin Spacey: Netflix has said it will no longer work with the actor at all.

In a statement given to the Verge yesterday, a Netflix spokesperson said: “Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey. We will continue to work with MRC [HoC production company Media Rights Capital] during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the show. We have also decided we will not be moving forward with the release of the film Gore, which was in post-production, starring and produced by Kevin Spacey.”

It’s not clear what that means for the sixth season of House of Cards, for which production was underway at the time the allegation was made against Spacey, and given how central his character, congressman Frank Underwood, is to the show.

The Verge suggests producers are considering killing off Underwood or possibly moving to spin-off shows that focus on other characters.

Netflix severing ties with Spacey follows an account by actor Anthony Rapp, given to Buzzfeed last month, alleging that the older actor made a sexual advance towards him when Rapp was only 14 and Spacey was 26.

Spacey’s response to the allegation has been to say he does not “remember the encounter”, and also to say that: “If I did behave the way he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”

But he also chose the same moment to publicly come out as gay — in what was widely criticized as an attempt to distract attention from Rapp’s accusation that he made sexual advances towards a minor.

At the end of last month Netflix said production on House of Cards had been suspended while it and the show’s production company reviewed the situation — and to “address any concerns of our cast and crew”.

Just prior to that it had also announced House of Cards would end after season six, saying it was “deeply troubled” by the allegations made against Spacey. Although TV industry press reported that the decision to end the show had been taken months before.

On iPhone X launch day, Apple draws a crowd

Today, the iPhone X became available in Apple retail stores across the globe. And given the fanfare around iPhone launches for the past decade, we couldn’t help but show up and chat with one of the world’s most loyal consumer fan bases.

At Apple’s 5th Avenue Manhattan store, lines stretched down the block and across Madison Avenue, with some pre-order folks arriving only a couple of hours before opening, while others (without a pre-order reservation) arriving early morning yesterday.

Most seemed pretty excited about the new model iPhone, though, as buyers who wait in line, that’s to be expected. Check out the reactions in the video above.

Over 15 Million watched the ‘Stranger Things 2’ premiere by its third day on Netflix

Netflix definitely has a hit show on its hands with the recent release of Stranger Things 2. According to new data this week from Nielsen, which only recently began measuring subscription video on demand services, 361,000 viewers binged their way through the entire second season of Stranger Things 2 – that’s 9 straight episodes – within the first day it was available.

That’s some serious binge watching, folks.

Within the first three days, the first episode averaged 15.8 million U.S. viewers (P2+), 11 million of whom were ages 18 through 49.

In that same time frame, every episode of Stranger Things 2 averaged more than 4 million viewers, over 3 million of whom were 18 through 49.

Nielsen also noted that people who watched this program binged on nearly 3 episodes when viewing. That’s not too surprising, given Stranger Things 2‘s format. Each episode left viewers on something of a cliffhanger, and quickly offered the option to keep watching the next in the series. It was difficult to find a good stopping point.

While the numbers for Stranger Things 2 seem notable, what Nielsen’s data didn’t immediately make clear is how well the show is performing in comparison to other hits on Netflix. However, prior Nielsen data on Defenders, Fuller House, and House of Cards (pre-scandal, that is), offers a pretty good indication of Stranger Things 2‘s success.

Compared with the 15.8 million viewers who watched Stranger Things 2‘s first episode within the first three days, only 6.1 million watched the first episode of Defenders within its first week. (Yes, week, not 3 days.)

Similarly, the first episode of Fuller House saw 4.6 million viewers its first week, and the first episode of House of Cards, season 5 – that is, after it was an established hit – was also watched by 4.6 million people.

Stranger Things 2‘s premiere didn’t just beat out other Netflix shows, though. It beat out some traditional TV, too. As TV Guide reported, ST2 beat The Walking Dead in ratings, which had pulled in 11.4 million viewers for its Season 8 premiere about a week earlier.

Internally, Netflix clearly knew the potential for ST2, thanks to its data on ST’s first season. So it’s no wonder that the company had doubled down on marketing Stranger Things 2 across just about every channel available. In recent days, there have been Stranger Things Snapchat filters, Spotify tie-ins with characters playlists and spooky interactive experiences, haunted rides on Lyft, Stranger Things clothing, and much more.

That marketing buzz has paid off, as well. Nielsen’s Social Content Ratings found there were 7.2 million social interactions across Facebook and Twitter over the first three days the show was live.

Netflix doesn’t typically announce its shows’ viewership data, and it has gone so far as to call Nielsen’s data for SVOD viewing “not accurate,” when the measurement firm first announced its plans to track streaming video metrics.

In response to our request about Nielsen’s ST2 numbers, a company spokesperson replied:

“Their math might be from the upside down. Nielsen only measures a fraction of our members’ viewing. For example, they don’t measure mobile viewing. Our series are global and member viewing patterns vary greatly (what device they watch on, where they’re watching, what they are watching), making it very difficult to model, even if they had accurate samples.”

In other words, it sounds like ST2‘s numbers are even better than Nielsen is reporting.

Snap, where are my anibitmoji?

The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone X has made it into the hands of everyday customers. I’m a big weirdo, so I’ve been mostly looking forward to being able to use Face ID for the purposes of animoji.

Animoji takes emoji to the extreme and it works using the iPhone X’s new facial recognition system. As Apple’s Craig Federighi explained at the company’s big press event in September, the goal of animoji is to “breathe our own personality” into our favorite emojis. So far, it’s great. But I want more.

Here’s my idea: anibitmoji, a mashup of animoji and Bitmoji, owned by Snap. Instead of a talking pile of poo, what about a talking pile of my Bitmoji hanging out with the dancing hot dog?

At that same event in September, Apple gave a shout-out to Snap, noting that the two companies are working together to create realistic filters that can track your facial expressions. In his iPhone X review, my boss was able to test out these new lenses, and they’re pretty sweet, so what’s one more integration?

I’ve reached out to Snap and will update this story if I hear back.