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ICMYI: WEEKEND EDITION
It's a day to catch up on The Ankler's recent best
Hello! Thanks for joining us today. We’ve put together a Sunday list of great things you may have missed recently that might have meaning for your (sigh, we know) work — or better fulfills your sense of curiosity and context about this business. This collection below highlights some (certainly not all) of our most thoughtful pieces with the breadth and depth of what we believe our team does best. Thank you for spending part of your day catching up with us, and we are grateful to you for being part of our fast-growing community. (FYI, we’re at 31,000 subscribers!) - J.M. and R.R.
The first rule in business? Know the customer! So many of you read this series, and became paid subscribers (thank you!) after taking part in Entertainment Strategy Guy’s 5-part series about the U.S. audience.
We had assigned the series to our fabulous ESG given timely shifts in the industry, particularly the plateau in domestic streaming growth and the industry’s (re)pivot to advertising. The purpose of these articles: to dive deep into the data about who we are, how we watch, and also highlight potential blind spots around the audience and opportunities. All links are here.
Olivia Wilde and Rushfield’s Writings
Richard continued to speak truths about our industry — the good and bad. (Interestingly, he’s also started interviewing the crafts people that make this industry.) His column about the press coverage — particularly by our local trades — around female director Olivia Wilde sparked a brisk reaction.
Likewise, his analysis around the dismal viewership of the Emmys, but more importantly, the bifurcation of audience and Hollywood’s narrow view in serving a smaller and smaller slice of it, hit a powerful note among our subscribers.
‘What the World is Watching: Asia’ Series
Nowhere is the growth opportunity (some might say only opportunity) for American streamers as significant as it is in Asia. To that end, Janice and our brilliant colleague Sean McNulty of The Wakeup trekked across the world to the APOS conference in Singapore (we came home with jet-lag and, for one of us, Covid — ugh!). We recorded a bunch of must-hear conversations with newsmakers while over there, for paid subscribers only:
How Formula 1 Caught Fire Before the Singapore Grand Prix, Ian Holmes talked deals with China, Netflix, ESPN — and revealed that Apple's Brad Pitt F1 film isn't (yet) a go
'One Warner Bros. Discovery Mindset' WBD's Gerhard Zeiler on 'Black Adam', CNN's global future, Casey Bloys' big comment and '100% belief' in theatrical
The Asian Market in 45 Minutes Vivek Couto on the overseas war being waged between Amazon, Netflix and Disney
(BONUS COLUMN!) ESG on Lessons from Asia’s Streaming Wars
The State of Slate series from contributor Jeff Sneider has been a massive hit. The series offers a deep dive into Hollywood’s biggest studios, taking stock of franchises, deals, upcoming film and TV releases and awards contenders, as well as their strategies, and org charts of the people in power making it all happen. Here’s the list so far (with more to come):
Apple TV+ Three years in, a strategy takes shape: A-listers > franchises
Netflix Bruised but busy: A deep dive into what's really happening at the biggest producer in town
Sony Every division, every decision — and a coming theme park (for real)!
Warner Bros. Harry Potter, The Hangover, Hot Wheels and an under-leveraged vault
Paramount A title-by-title look at the suddenly swaggy studio. Oh Shari!
And from this week…
PSA: So You Wanna Be a TV Writer
By Kit Sargent
The editor Nan Graham has said that before he started writing Mao II, Don DeLillo “told me he had two folders: one marked ‘Art’ and the other marked ‘Terror.’” DeLillo’s folders were literal and filled with pictures. Mine are on my Desktop (I don’t fuck with the Downloads folder) and are filled, respectively, with scripts and unreimbursed medical bills. You can probably guess which one is bigger. Continue reading
Netflix is #1. But #2 is Gaining Fast
By Entertainment Strategy Guy
It’s time to check back in on the domestic streaming wars. We’re already three-quarters of the way through the calendar year (cue clichéd joke on time having no meaning post-Covid), so, as I did in June, I’m ranking all of the streamers on a variety of metrics. Continue reading
The WGA Strike is Coming
By Richard Rushfield
The likelihood of the strike happening, as of this writing seven months off when the current deal expires next May, seems decent. Many I've talked to — on both sides — talk about it as a near certainty. But let's be sober-minded (for now) and call the likelihood of a strike taking place 50/50. If it does happen, its potential for causing real mayhem is not inconsiderable. If the strike stretched beyond a brief walkout, as one exec friend described it, “It would be a disaster for the industry that will be felt for decades.” Continue reading
Martini Shot: 'We're Going to Be Okay!'
On this week’s episode, host Rob Long tells the story of a friend on a flight about to make an emergency landing. The worst wasn’t the pilot’s announcement that they were in trouble; it was the flight attendant’s attempt to get everyone to chant, hands clapping, “We’re going to be okay!” As anyone in the industry long enough knows, such happy self-talk usually indicates something that is exactly the opposite — particularly in this era of Entertainment 2022. Enter the ninth planet. Listen here
Lastly, OMG, Richard Went on TV
Thanks and have a great week ahead! We hope The Ankler continues to be a valuable resource in understanding this industry just a little bit better. See you back here tomorrow.