With Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV adapting Elaine Weiss’ acclaimed book, The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, research firm Alpha decided to compare audience reaction to that project with the film and TV deal the Barack and Michelle Obama struck with Netflix.
It turns out that art imitates life.
The Clinton project, which chronicles the decades-long fight by activists to ratify the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote, produced more negative reaction among subscribers to the major streaming services than did the Obamas’ creative partnership with Netflix. Under the Netflix arrangement, the former first couple agreed to produce content that highlights the issues and themes the president underscored during his administration.
“There’s resentment for each, but even more for Clinton,” said Alpha co-founder Nis Frome, whose New York-based firm polled 1,000 subscribers. “Democrats were not super excited about Clinton.”
A greater percentage of HBO’s subscribers identified as Democrats than any of the other streaming platforms. (That tilt is not exactly a shocker, since the premium service is home to the likes of Real Time with Bill Maher and Last Week Tonight With John Oliver, both of which regularly skewer Donald Trump.)
Even with its left-leaning audience, however, 13% of HBO subscribers polled had an extremely negative reaction to a Clinton-backed TV project, versus 8% for the Obamas. Fewer subscribers said they’d be willing to watch the Woman’s Hour show than any future projects involving the Obamas. And yet, more subscribers said they’d be tempted to cancel should the 44th president appear on the screen. (One declared, “I do not wish to be associated with the people who hate the country that has given them so much.”)
Reports this spring of a Netflix subscriber boycott to protest the Obama’s multi-year production deal didn’t show up in Alpha’s survey results. Instead, they revealed more visceral reaction to the upcoming Clinton project (with 20% expressing extremely negative views). Few said they’d actually cancel their Netflix subscriptions in protest over the Obamas.
Amazon Prime Video subscribers largely were unmoved, with Obama and Clinton drawing nearly identical negative reaction (10% and 11%, respectively) and few indicating a willingness to abandon Amazon — and other perquisites of membership, such as two-day delivery — to protest content associated with these prominent political figures.