CORD-CUTTERS NOW RIVAL PAY TV SUBSCRIBERS: Cord-cutting continues to ramp up in the U.S., according to a new study by eMarketer. The number of households cutting the cord jumped 19.2% in 2019, with the number of pay TV households declininb by 4.2% to 86.5 million. If the negative growth holds, the number of households subscribing to pay TV services will drop below 80 million by 2021. "As programming costs continue to rise, cable, satellite and telco operators are finding it difficult to turn a profit on some TV subscriptions," eMarketer forecasting analyst Eric Haggstrom said. "Their answer has been to raise prices across the board, and it seems that they are willing to lose customers rather than retain them with unprofitable deals. This has been a boon for TV providers, who also offer broadband internet, as it removes consumers from bundled deals. It forces consumers to pay a higher price for internet, which dramatically improves profit margins."
THOR DIRECTOR TAIKA WAITITI TO BE HONORED AT TIFF: The Toronto Film Festival will honor Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi with the TIFF Ebert Director Award. While there, Waititi will also debut his satire Jojo Rabbit, in which he stars as Adolf Hitler. "Taika Waititi is the rock star cinema needs right now. His films are full of razor-sharp humor, faultless style and boundless generosity," Toronto artistic director and co-head Cameron Bailey said in a statement. The Toronto Film Festival is set to run Sept. 5-15. He is at work on Thor 4, starring Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson.
PATRICK SCHWARZENEGGER, GILLES GEARY, MORE JOIN ECHO BOOMERS: Patrick Schwarzenegger (Midnight Sun), Gilles Geary (The I-Land) and Hayley Law (Riverdale) are set to join Michael Shannon and Alex Pettyfer in feature crime-drama Echo Boomers, which is shooting now in Utah. The film is based on a true story and follows a group of 20-somethings who break into homes of the rich.
BABY-SITTERS CLUB ROUNDS OUT CAST: Netflix has snagged Alicia Silverstone and Mark Fauerstein to star in its live-action contemporary reboot of Ann M. Martin's classic book series. The show was picked up straight-to-series in February, with 10-episodes on tap.