☀️ DISNEY's $2 Billion Gambling Bet; Strikes hit ENDEAVOR's 💰 Numbers
TALK TO ME gets sequel / DISH cord cutting worsens / BALLY SPORTS looming carriage crisis
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty (connect with me on LinkedIn here if ya like), and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY Aug 9, 2023.
Where I definitely placed the wrong bet that the day before the DISNEY Q2 Earnings Call would be the busiest this week… 😩.
Ok admittedly not my finest, but this is my brain after decpihering 8 earnings reports and a groundbreaking $2 Billion gambling deal in 2 days, with the now even-bigger-than-before DISNEY call on deck later this afternoon.
BUT: Hopefully the phrase “substantial doubt exists about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern” isn’t spoken on it, like it was on WEWORK’s 😳. The stock is down -26% this morning.
AND: Here is your NY FILM FEST main slate lineup, including SEARCHLIGHT’s Poor Things and All of Us Strangers, and the toast of CANNES, Anatomy of a Fall.
PLUS: The first episode of Stallone’s NETFLIX Nov docuseries Sly will close TIFF this year.
ALSO: Jay-Z’s annual MADE IN AMERICA Labor Day weekend music festival in Philly has been cancelled just 3 weeks out. Lizzo and SZA were set to headline.
GOTTA: Applaud the Music biz for learning the NAPSTER lesson - they’re skipping right to the “hey, let’s make deals and get paid” tactic, or at least UNIVERSAL MUSIC is… as they’re talking with GOOGLE about licensing artists' melodies & voices for AI-generated songs, according to FT, vs. AI just ripping them off and doing it anyway.
THEN: This is just a fun story from Soderbergh about the favor he did Christopher Nolan in getting him a meeting at WB for Insomnia when the exec there didn’t like Memento.
DEJA VU: DISNEY is following NETFLIX’s lead once again, posting 11 new jobs centered around finding ways for DISNEY to better exploit AI across its businesses, according to Reuters.
OH: Just a shout out to Gran Turismo and director Neil Blomkamp who got 3 rather positive reviews from the 3 trades yesterday (THR, Variety, Deadline) - maybe this word-of-mouth thing could yield some results?
IN TODAY’S EDITION
Inside the ENDEAVOR Q2 numbers, including one immediate effect they’re seeing from the WGA-AMPTP debacle on Friday.
But unlike cash-hoarding Studios/Streamers, they’re seeing a noticeable hit to Revenue at WME - a look at some numbers.
Otherwise UFC is full steam ahead going into the debut of TKO on the public markets, which will now be next month.
Some additional color into IMG, ENDEAVOR STREAMING, Events and more.
WTF is going on with ESPN and BARSTOOL and Gambling? A look at how DISNEY’s big 10-year check breaks down, and the challenges ahead.
DISH has another #CordCutting quarter to remember.
A look at International’s strong showing on the NETFLIX Films chart last week.
FOX is still quite profitable… but those #CordCutting rates tho 😳. This is definitely a company inherently tied to the Cable TV bundle.
TUBI viewership hits some big gains… but some interesting data omissions from this Q2 report, and some troubling insight for FAST Channels.
LIONSGATE picks up a nice syndie deal
WBD parts ways with another top International exec
DISNEY’s insights into the Upfronts and… ya know, there’s a lot else going on so I’m just gonna get to it!
Just a follow-up on the KKR purchase of SIMON & SCHUSTER yesterday as part of the PARAMOUNT Q2 Earnings update:
KKR will also be giving S&S employees a path to equity in the company as part of the deal, according to Axios, something that it sounds like KKR has done with other acquisitions.
S&S CEO Jonathan Karp described it in a statement as an “equity ownership program to provide all of our employees with the opportunity to participate in the benefits of ownership.” Details TBA.
Basically it seems like a way of retaining top exec talent/editors under the new ownership which… hey - books are a business of hits too, and S&S editors have a long track record of delivering them:
S&S had a profit/Operating Income of +$93 Million in Q2 this year alone.
Remember PARAMOUNT is selling S&S because they need the cash… not because it’s a money-losing business.
Thus, even a Wall Street institution like KKR is recognizing the “talent cost” unique to these kinds of creative businesses as part of their deal planning, and giving all employees broadly an opportunity to benefit in success… and here is Hollywood, paying executives who made failed and misguided bets on Streaming even more money than before… with many rank and file employees having no idea if they’ll still have a job in 6 to 12 months. Books, who knew?
AND: I forgot to note in my August ‘Specialty Market’ release updates yesterday that there indeed is a new movie for the “older set” in August, Jules from BLEECKER STREET comes out Friday.