Hello from Janice Min: One Big Streaming Question, and My Queue
A few brief thoughts today.
Earlier this week, I woke up bright and early for an appearance on Bloomberg Quicktake to talk this industry’s topic du jour, Netflix, whose rough earnings report and subsequent stock nosedive sent both a shiver (and river of schadenfreude) through the entertainment world. In the segment, with host Jennifer Zabasajja and Bloomberg’s Alex Webb, I reiterated a hypothetical that appeared in a column from our own sage Entertainment Strategy Guy: What if streaming never makes money?
That existential question is arguably the biggest in this coming decade of entertainment, with Hollywood, playing catch up to Netflix, reorienting towards a new North Star of streaming. The change has meant jobs lost, org chart musical chairs, and a pivot from old-fashioned P&L, whose olde time models of theatrical, cable affiliate fees, advertising, and downstream value are about as popular today as Woody Allen at a women’s conference. With subscriber growth the new yardstick for Wall Street, streaming’s leaders must feel like Sandra Bullock in Speed. The growth can’t…slow…down. If it does, you risk blowing up. Add to that a potential bear market, and, well…it will be quite the ride.
Intertwined in future growth is another theme populating Ankler content lately, particularly voiced by Richard: the notion of entertainment actually being entertaining. Thus, for your consideration (and my potential embarrassment) my queue these last 30 days:
And Just Like that… (I know, I know)
Emily in Paris 2 (same)
Cobra Kai (!)
Money Heist (too many guns but needed to see it through to the end)
LOTS of Encanto (with my daughter)
Everything on this list, as I like to say, goes down easy (and with the exception of Encanto, probably isn’t submitting to the Peabody Awards). Some of these shows certainly are not good in the elite important-with-a-capital-I critical sense, but as a viewer, they are examples of what Hollywood has traditionally done well for a century: deliver a mental vacation from our day-to-day lives, which in the last two years, have become an unbearably tedious, dystopic tableau of swabs, masks and isolation (and far worse for so many). In other words, none of these shows (largely about the bonds of friendship) are adding stress to my life. In fact, they are providing enormous enjoyment.
A year ago, I wrote about my thoughts on post-Covid entertainment, using as precedent what happened after 9/11. Despite pronouncements of a new, serious, irony-free America, we instead embraced The Bachelor, Joe Millionaire and American Idol within months. It’s something to consider as TikTok, the ultimate escape, and video games currently overtake consumer mindshare among the youngest parts of our country that, headlines will tell you, is in full-blown mental health crisis.
Lastly, a few matters around Ankler HQ. Our Optionist newsletter by Andy Lewis about available intellectual property is off to a huge start (thank you to the many of you who signed up). Andy broke some fun news about big authors this week and their rights available, following up on one of my favorite podcasts of the past year, Once Upon a Time at…Bennington College (about Bret Easton Ellis, Donna Tartt and Jonathan Lethem). The Optionist will arrive in your inbox every Friday during its free beta period if you sign up here.
Also, we’re getting a few more things off the ground that aren’t quite ready to announce but should be in the coming days. I also spoke to the very fine Sonny Bunch on his podcast this week to talk about The Ankler and give some explanation about what to expect.
Also on The Ankler:
The Superagent Behind Sinead O’Connor, the Obamas and Billie Eilish Josh Braun helped bring Mr. & Mrs. O an Oscar win with American Factory, and Eilish set a record in the $26 million sale of her documentary to Apple. Now Braun talks about how he pursued O'Connor for years for a documentary, and how the tragic death of her son right before Sundance almost changed everything. How he does it, and his thoughts on the new entertainment market.
In Wall St. Just Handed Netflix a Golden Opportunity to Grow Up, Entertainment Strategy Guy discussing eight ways the streaming service can emerge from a disastrous week. A few weeks before the Netflix subscriber miss, ESG also delivered four charts predicting Netflix’s challenges in Streaming’s Winner-Take-All Theory Collapses. Because the news isn’t all-Netfix all the time, he also recently weighed in on The Worst Case Scenario for Disney, now facing some of the same downward pressures afflicting its rival.
However, Is Bob Chapek Secretly the One Hollywood’s Been Waiting For? Richard Rushfield looks at the mobs forming against Disney’s still-getting-comfortable kingpin and asks, what if we’re getting it all wrong? A look at the business under Chapek, the Iger ghost that haunts the company, and how the low key, non-nonsense boss might in fact be what Disney needs (if not what they want).
Again, The Optionist, edition two is a good one!
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