Netflix’s Bonds Have More Fun

So exactly how deep in the hole does a company have to go before it stops looking like the next Amazon and starts looking like the next MoviePass? But, you say, Amazon stayed in the hole for almost two decades before it became consistently profitable. True enough, but unfortunately not every company that takes on massive debt turns out to be Amazon. (Also: Netflix is also more than 20 years old!) Who wouldn’t become an entertainment goliath if we could take out a $2 billion bond on top of $10 billion in debt to fund a bunch of new shows? Give me one billion with no expectations of results and I promise you I’ll get myself on the cover of the NYT Magazine as the greatest innovator and disruptive genius Hollywood has ever known. Netflix may yet turn out to be the Amazon of entertainment, not just standing astride the

Continue reading »

Oi Gevalt AMPAS

Now, it’s great news that AMPAS is walking away from an ill-conceived idea which would’ve undermined their entire existence, so let’s not look a gift horse and all. But on the other hand . . . Oy gevalt! If say, you saw the Midwest regional division of some insurance conglomerate having a very public nervous breakdown about the speakers and presentations lineup for its quarterly sales meeting, you’d shrug your shoulders and say, well, Midwestern regional divisions of insurance conglomerates aren’t in show biz. They’re not used to this kind of attention, so let’s cut them some slack. But the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is in show business. By all rights, it should have a very good idea how attractive it is to stage a multi-year nervous breakdown on a public stage. Yet this keeps happening! Thankfully, the NYT story explains how it’s all the fault of these darn governors and

Continue reading »

THE NETFLIX JUBILEE

It feels a little like we’re turning a corner in the Age of Netflix Hooplah, that the industry and the media are inching slowly forward from “THEY WON ENTERTAINMENT!!!” to “So . . . what comes next here?” I wouldn’t say dots are being connected yet, but they are becoming visible, and more and more of them are everywhere. In today’s special edition, we’ll lay them out. Maybe–probably–it’s too soon to say what they will all definitively add up to, but there’s enough cause for . . . head scratching to suggest the prevailing hoopla is overdue for an update. To recap, or for those who have joined us recently: 1. Unquestionably, Netflix won Round 1 of the War for Entertainment. 2. In doing so, it created a service beloved by many, with lots of wonderful shows. 3. Netflix did this, however, in the great tradition of 21st Century Tech Startups: with

Continue reading »

LES MISERABLES

That’s what you call an official cave-in. Let’s recap among the wreckage of the past days: In the face of charges, a stream of CBS executives have come forward to say, in terms of varying mealy-mouthedness, that they stand by Les, including the network’s head of programming who stood before the TCA to offer, “I’m not saying we’re perfect, but…a lot of us have been here a long time precisely because CBS Entertainment is such a fulfilling place to work.” If you’re notsexually harassed, CBS is a lot of fun! Off the record, many friends of Les have been pounding away at the Farrow story: claiming Ileanna Douglas left the show for creative reasons, that the story insanely inflated Christine Peters position, was ancient history.. In his much-anticipated appearance on the CBS earnings call, Moonves sounded as though he’d be at the helm of an independent CBS well into the 2020’s.

Continue reading »

Laika Rolling Stone

There is no place more dangerous place to be in Hollywood than on a dilettante’s payroll. However well-intentioned the dilettante, however talented, however, driven they might be–at some point if it isn’t at least 30% about the money, this business just gets too hard. Making, marketing, financing, and selling movies is a business that will break and humiliate you in a zillion ways. Not to mention dealing every day with the heartwarming group of geniuses who staff this business. If you don’t on some level need to be doing it, the day will come when you get tired or broken, or sick of fighting. When whatever genuine creative inspiration you brought to Hollywood has been trampled on by the whims of fate and undeserving popcorn eaters and you finally turn the card over in your head: There has to be a better way. Too bad then if you’re one of

Continue reading »

THE ANKLER’S EXCLUSIVE WEEK OF DESTINY TIP SHEET

Entertainment history was made yesterday. Or maybe it was ended. The starting gun sounded on the dismantling of some major slice of the entertainment industry–and all the institutional knowledge, traditions, real estate, and jobs that go with that. The poohbahs, the conglomerates and the tech giants are off and running, vying to build up a big enough war chest to lock up a seat in the Great Entertainment Semi-Finals. Here’s your tip sheet to the drama that lays ahead as so many sit and wait for history to happen to them. RANDALL STEPHENSON: He’s the no-nonsense accountant from Texas, ready to ride down Main Street Showbiz and clean up this town. But even with Time Warner, has he got what it takes to fight it out with the big bad streamers? Warners Film and TV + HBO + Turner + DirecTV + a bunch of cables and cell towers = The

Continue reading »

JORDAN PEELE’S GARGOYLE DREAMS MEET DISNEY’S BIG IP REALITY

This month we’re going to see the media get very confused about what story to tell about Disney. It could focus solely on the upside: Incredibles 2 is about to make something northward of a gazillion and a half dollars, reminding everyone of the power of these brands when executed at the level Disney can still execute. On the one hand: you’ve got a shopping cart overflowing with fiascos and more curses unfolding than one company should have to bear. Losing John Lasseter in such a drawn-out manner certainly counts as a fiasco. What he does next may count as a wrecking ball. That said, to paraphrase a recovery catchphrase, they’ve got problems in areas where other studios don’t have areas. This month we’ve seen a couple of downsides of the Big IP game. The first one, from the Solo experience, is clear: When you concentrate all your chips in the Big IP game,

Continue reading »

LASSEDAMMERUNG! DISNEY’S LAW OF THE JUNGLE CRUISE

The moment of decision approaches on the Fate of John Lasseter. At stake is more than the management of one animation division. This is the precedent-setting crossroads: On the line here is whether Me Too remains on the march or starts to be swept under the red carpet. Not to mention, incidentally, the fates of two or three studios. After an initially blasé reaction, the battle has been raging over the past week with increasing volume inside and out, as a social media Stop John movement has gained traction.  Over the past few days, the #LoseLasseter hashtag has been catching fire on Twitter; contributors include people from across the animation industry and even, shockingly for a company that brooks no public dissent, some Disney employees sprinkled in among the protesters. (I’ll let you find them yourself rather than draw undo attention to them.) And now, because of one obscure pebble in

Continue reading »

Dark Day in Mousetown

This is a preview of today’s edition of The Ankler, the entertainment industry’s most feared newsletter. Remember all the way back to yesterday morning when a mere disappointment was the worst thing that could happen to a company like Disney? What a difference a Tweet makes! Remember last week when all CEO IP Bob had to worry about was his still uncertain path to victory against Netflix in the Great Entertainment Semi-Finals, how to finesse a Lasseter return, and Comcast’s challenge to his Fox acquisition? As of this week, you can add to that: canceling his network’s top-rated show and suddenly, concerns about one of the major tentpoles of his whole corporate strategy, Lucasfilm. (Okay, if you want to really get mean, you can throw in that once we get past the Incredibles 2, Disney has a suddenly very iffy release calendar for the next 12 months). That’s a lot

Continue reading »

A NETFLIXONIMICS CASE STUDY: THE BEN-GLE HAS LANDED

THE LATEST VERY SPECIAL ISSUE OF THE ANKLER FEATURES TRUE TALES FROM THE STREETS OF HOLLYWOOD IN THE TIME OF THE APP.  BELOW IS A BRIEF PREVIEW OF ONE OF THESE STORIES: Who doesn’t love a good bonfire? And a bonfire of cash! Well, that’s not just entertainment, that’s an accomplishment. Which seems to be the working frame of reference for the entire world when talking about Netflix. Look at the mountains of cash they are willing to set on fire – now thatis a company! (Especially if somewhere in those mountains of cash are bags full of FYC advertising dollars). They made a hundred movies to no discernible effect or public response…Well, let’s watch them make 200!  200 bigger movies! We’ll let directors spend more money than they ever dreamed of! As Mike Fleming put it yesterday, Netflix “is doing too many risky things on the feature front to be defined derogatorily

Continue reading »