☀️The State of WBD: Reading Between the Q1 Numbers
YELLOWSTONE ending, YELLOWSTONE 2 ordered / Another pro team goes to Free TV / AMPTP officially esponds to WGA
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty (connect here on LINKED-IN if ya like) and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on FRIDAY May 5, 2023.
Where after a week like this… think it’s time to relax with a Friday morning coffee ☕️ no? And let’s hang poolside and hear what the kids are into today (guessing no Stike talk there)… and what better place than the compound that THE KID LEROI just layed out $5.5 Million for in Encino.
But uh, definitely don’t make those coffee’s Irish - the chart-topping rapper/singer is only 19-years-old.
AND: The MTV Movie & TV Awards just got a bit more challenging - host Drew Barrymore has pulled out, citing solidarity with the WGA Strike… but said she’ll totally return next year to do it 🤷♂️ (assuming the Strike is over that is). Contingency plans (sans a host) are still being formulated. Too late to throw the word “Music” in there instead?
PLUS: Damien Chazelle is your VENICE FILM FEST Jury Prez this September.
ALSO: If you wanna get into some 90’s pop culture nostalgia and Page Six worthy ‘tea’ - listen to Gwyneth Paltrow go into detail on her dating life in her 20’s. She was pretty candid as always on SPOTIFY’s Call Her Daddy podcast.
WAKEUP BOX OFFICE POLL RESULTS
Everyone’s big on Guardians! 53% are taking the over $120 Million, 17% are bears at under $114 Million, the rest are in the middle.
IN TODAY’S EDITION:
WBD (technically) gets into the black with Streaming… as TV Advertising woes deepen even in a huge quarter for Sports. A look at how what tactics Zaz took to re-steer the company, and what his challenges still are ahead (WBD still lost -$1 Billion in Q1) as #medianerd🤓 rounds out the week.
PAR doubles down on Yellowstone, and will finally move the franchise back to PAR+ (with at least this new sequel series).
Another pro sports team makes a Local TV + DtoC Streaming deal.
FUBO makes… less of a loss in Q1, but also loses subscribers.
SONY MUSIC makes podcast layoffs.
The weekend preview of the new things to watch and stream, and more.
note: PARAMOUNT’s net loss in Q1 was -$1.1 Billion… the $1.2 Billion I indicated was their operating loss, my apologies for not clarifying that yesterday.
of note: In a year’s time, PARAMOUNT’s Revenue shifted from:
77% for CBS/SHO linear/Cable TV, and 15% for Streaming in Q1 ‘22
to 72% and 21% in Q1 ‘23. Films stayed around 8%.
and: AMC NETWORKS moved their earnings call to Tuesday, my apologies for the error yesterday.
🪧 STRIKE UPDATES
SERIES ARE SHUTTING DOWN
NETFLIX’s Rob & John Owen Lowe series Unstable shut down as it was prepping for production on a new season (and awaiting a full official Season 2 greenlight), having only completed 6 of the 8 scripts for the season. /Deadline
ALSO: WGGB writers in the UK can still work on pre-existing Streaming projects from AMPTP members, but not take on any new deals/work from them. /Variety
AND: Richard had a good read over at The Ankler’s Strikegeist newsletter yesterday (it’s free to read, and subscribe to), recapping the big night at the Shrine on Weds, the increasing spotlight being centered on NETFLIX that’s starting to emerge, and things to keep in mind about the road ahead here.
David Zaslav said absoluately nothing about the Strike, and was not asked about it on the Q1 Earnings Call this morning.
He did go on CNBC this morning beforehand, and made some very broad, non-quotable/meaningful (IMO) comments you can read here.
As you likely saw, the Studios/Streamers responded to the claims in the WGA document put out on Strike day 1. There are responses on AI, “The Gig Economy” claim (You guys have full benefits! Do you know how luck you are??) and others… but on the big one:
Essentially - the AMPTP is going with the tactic of saying the WGA is trying to set quotas, with no exceptions. And everyone hates quotas… much less in a business of creativity - so let’s lean into that.
And they’re right. The WGA is asking for quotas (if there are caveats… it’s not in their document).
6-episode comedy? 10-episode drama from a Showrunner known to write most of the scripts themselves? Doesn’t matter. Gotta hire & pay 6 writers, incl. 4 of Writer-Producer level (or 8 in the case of a 10-episode series, and 5 Writer-Producers).
There are other quotas cited in the document related to MINI-ROOMS, and how many weeks a writer needs to be paid per 1 episode of TV, namely 3 (again, 30-min comedy or 60-min drama, no delineation).
Studios are saying we’re not going to bow to quotas, this is a creative business and every project hires the amount of writers it needs. Full Stop.
This is gonna be a long bridge to build folks.