ROKU bidding for stake in STARZ from LIONSGATE
HBOMAX kills WONDER TWINS pic / CHAPPELLE attacked on stage / NY Times has 2nd biggest Q1 of digtial era
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on WEDNESDAY May 4, 2022.
Where for some reason I don’t think the NFT I created of the January 14th edition of this newsletter is doing well (oh trust me - it was a good one…). Although I’m just gonna blame the NFT market - according to the WSJ:
NFT sales have have fallen 92% from their Sept high
# of Active crypto wallets in the NFT market have plunged 88% since November
Google searches for NFT’s have fallen 80% since January
It seems the market for visual artists in the NFT space is still robust… but for SNOOP DOGG - maybe not so much. An NFT from his April collection that sold for $32k had a bid of… $210 this week.
ALSO: Wendell Pierce will play the lead in “Death of a Salesman” next year on Broadway. He previously did it in London in 2019.
PLUS: Journalists discover that mingling with hundreds of each other in close indoor quarters at parties and a massive dinner all weekend in DC at a time of a rising Covid variant in the Northeast could very well lead to a rash of Covid cases breaking out among the press corps, incl Jonathan Karl at ABC. #NewsAt11
AND: Yes, I know it’s May the Fourth.
IN OTHER WORDS…
“Was that Will Smith?”
- CHRIS ROCK on stage at the NETFLIX is a Joke show at the HOLLYWOOD BOWL last night, after a man attacked DAVE CHAPPELLE on stage. The man reportedly had a knife on him, but Dave is OK after being knocked down.
The man got the crap beat out of him by security and was brought away in an ambulance but no other info avail on his attacker.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
Zaslav regime reportedly kills HBOMAX “Wonder Twins” movie
Or at least the project as it currently exists… It was set for a July production start, but sounds like the crew was told the project has been abandoned.
Certainly tracks with the word around town that the new exec team is not a fan of big original movies just for HBOMAX strategy. /ThatHashtagShow
ALSO IN MOVIES
If you’re one of those people that marks their 2023 calendars 8 months early - SUNDANCE 2023 will be Jan 19 to Jan 29. Will be hybrid once again.
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📺 THE TV SET
NETFLIX orders next show from “Dead To Me” creator
That would be Liz Feldman - show is a dark comedy called “No Good Deed”.
About 3 different families vying to buy the same 1920s villa, a house with motivated sellers as… unbeknownst to the buyers, the house is a nightmare. Ah good deed - I get it 👍. /THR
APPLE TV+ sets Allison Janney to co-star with Kristen Wiig & Laura Dern in comedy series “Mrs. American Pie”
The 1970’s series is set in Palm Beach, following a woman trying to secure her place in the town’s high society. 🍸
10 episodes, created by Abe Sylvia (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), based on a book. Tate Taylor (“The Help”) directing. /THR
HBOMAX looking to set Viola Davis for “Peacemaker“ spinoff series
Not too much known, other than Christal Waller (“Watchmen”) is signed up to write it. /Variety
ALSO IN TV
HBO doing docuseries on Memphis’s legendary STAX RECORDS. /Deadline
ROKU CHANNEL developing new culinary series with Martha Stewart and Emeril. Will also acquire streaming rights to some of their old series 👩🍳👨🍳. /THR
HULU series “Saint X” replaces lead actress - Victoria Pedretti (“You”) is departing over creative differences, Alycia Debnam-Carey (“Fear the Walking Dead”) is stepping in. Show is currently shooting in the DR, about the death of a young woman on a Caribbean vacation, and is told from multiple perspectives. /Deadline
HBO renews “Game Theory with Bomani Jones” for a Season 2. /Deadline
Sharon Osbourne doing “docuseries” for FOX NATION streaming service, “Sharon Osbourne: To Hell & Back” about being in the ‘crosshairs’ of cancel culture. Wait since when can you say Hell on FOX NATION?? ⛪️/Variety
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
ROKU & APOLLO private equity firm exploring joint bid for up to 20% of STARZ
Which is of course owned by LIONSGATE, who paid $4.4 Billion for it in 2016. LIONSGATE’s current valuation overall including STARZ is $3 Billion so… yeah.
LGF announced they were looking to unload at least some of STARZ in November, and of course just signed that (oddly brief) Pay2-ish output deal with ROKU.
No word on the valuation the ROKU / APOLLO duo are offering on it… although obviously LGF is looking for a # that doesn’t make it look like they overpaid that much for it in 2016.
The stock was… basically neutral for the day in after hours trading.
LIONSGATE has yet to announce their Q1 Earnings Call date this month, which will have updated STARZ #s. /WSJ
#medianerd’s hurrah, for this week
NEW YORK TIMES has strong Q1. Except for THE ATHLETIC
Had the 2nd best Q1 of the digital era in terms of total digital subscriber adds:
+387k in Q1. 9.1 Million people pay the NY TIMES for a subscription.
8.3 Million digital subscriptions - News, Cooking, Games, Wirecutter (+36% vs. this time last year… but this also now includes 1.1 Million ATHLETIC subscribers, who only added 19k in Q1).
Core News subscribers were +17% to 6.1 Million.
780k print subscribers (-7% vs this time last year)
NY TIMES Co. sells 10.4 million subscriptions, due to some people buying more than one (News, Games, Cooking etc).
19% are International
NEWSLETTERS reach almost 1/3 of their total news subscriber base.
+13% vs a year ago, with DIGITAL Revenue +26%, and total Ad Revenue +20%.
Granted… this is vs. the depth of Q1 2021, but still impressive.
Overall NY TIMES Profit took a subsequent hit, down to $60 Million in Q1 thanks a lot to…
Their 1.1 Million subscribers officially joined the comany in Feb… and the company lost almost $7 Million in its first 2 months. This place is bleeding money.
The company lost $55 Million last year, on $65 Million of Revenue. Yikes. No wonder they talked to… anyone they could about a sale last year.
The TIMES said this should “improve slightly” this year… but a long way to go to turn around this business.
So - solid quarter, although compared to the tough times of Q1 2021, and Q2 is looking to increase revenue by 7-9%.
But they’re expecting year-over-year gains to dissipate in later half of the year as the 2021 comps get much stronger.
Oh right - WORDLE! The vast majority of the tens of millions of people who play WORDLE… just play that game and that’s it. But the NYT had their best quarter ever for GAMES subscriber adds.
UNIVERSAL MUSIC Q1 Earnings give snapshot into the state of Revenue for Music Labels in 2022
UNIVERSAL MUSIC is of course the world’s biggest label, and here’s where their money came from in Q1 - amazing how much the business model has changed many times for labels over the past 20 years. Poor Digital Downloads. /MBW
TOTAL Q1 REVENUE: $2.3 Billion (+21% vs a year ago)
41% STREAMING subscriptions: $946 Million (+18%)
14% Ad-supported STREAMING: $325 Million (+25%)
UNI gets 55% of their Revenue from streaming companies alone (SPOTIFY, APPLE MUSIC, AMAZON MUSIC etc)
17% Music PUBLISHING: $394 Million (+38%)
11% PHYSICAL Copies: $249 Million (+11%) #🙌vinyl
9% LICENSING Revenue: $217 Million (+14%) (ad campaigns, movies etc)
5% MERCH: $112 Million (+70%)
3% DIGITAL Downloads: $71 Million (-16%). RIP Apple Store
ALSO IN MEDIA
Elon plans to bring TWITTER public again in a few years so… he can get his billions back. Yeah that tracks. /WSJ
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
Uneventful Tuesday. The above-expected PARAMOUNT+ numbers negated any flash panic about Revenues or… streaming in general.
DISNEY+… the floor is yours next week.
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👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
Nada but thankfully it’s NHL and NBA playoff season.
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
HBO “Pause with Sam Jay” Season 2 trailer - Premieres Fri May 20
ROKU “The Weird Al Yankovic Story” teaser - Premieres “This Fall”
NETFLIX “The G Word with Adam Conover” trailer - Looks at the common and uncommon ways the US Government affects our daily lives. Your civics lesson begins Thu May 19
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
LADY GAGA dropped her “Top Gun: Maverick” song, “Hold My Hand”. Call me a traditionalist but I’d rather take your breath away. I’m here all month! Thank you goodnight. 🎤⬇️
If you need some new tunes:
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