Explaining the New Stark 'Un-Order' Economy
What to know about the erasure of hours and hours of Hollywood content underway
Scrolling the PBS Kids app last week — an underrated powerhouse in the kids battlefield of the Streaming Wars — what did I see but…
The Late Show with Elmo!
For those not well versed in all things Elmo — meaning you don’t have a three-year-old — that was HBO Max’s short-lived “original” series starring Sesame Street’s top star. While I had heard it was leaving HBO Max as part of the big removal last fall, I hadn’t heard that PBS Kids swooped in to get rewatch rights. (By the way, if HBO Max loses Mecha Builders, I may drop my subscription.)
That got me thinking about the tri-headed monster of 2022 into 2023: Cancellations, “un-orders” and removals.
Every so often a trend pops up that surprises even me, and the wave of “take-backs” of recent months is one of those. I cut my teeth on the Streaming Wars at a time when costs barely mattered. The idea of removing TV shows that people spent a lot of time (and money) making just didn’t register in my mental headspace.
Not to mention… why? And why all of a sudden? Some of it seems so frenzied that some creators and talent say they learned about their shows’ disappearances from news headlines. Just this morning Paramount Global reported it was going to write-off $1.3-$1.5 billion in content costs. (Newly mashed-up with Paramount+, Showtime recently disappeared Super Pumped, American Gigolo and other series from the platform.)
My mission today: explaining the tsunami of cancellations, un-orders and removals (and distinguishing between them), why they’re happening now, and what could happen in the future.
In this issue, you will learn…
What residuals have to do with it
The free cash flow phenomenon and how Wall Street rewards it (or doesn’t)
Why “removals” are likely here to stay
The role also of license fees