Transcript: Why We Need to Know What’s Failing
Entertainment Strategy Guy returns to discuss the importance of knowing
Sonny Bunch (00:06):
Welcome back to The Bulwark Goes to Hollywood. My name is Sonny Bunch. I'm culture editor at The Bulwark. And I'm very pleased to be rejoined today by the Entertainment Strategy Guy now. The Entertainment Strategy Guy, one of my favorite Substacks. I read them. I subscribe. I read him every week when he posts, sometimes multiple times a week. Sometimes we got stuff over at The Ankler as well from the ESG, which is great.
But glad to have him back on today to talk about a very important subject, failure. Failure is underdiscussed and underappreciated in this era of streaming war, streaming combat, that sort of thing. So, thanks for being back on the show, really appreciate it.
Entertainment Strategy Guy (00:46):
Happy to be back. This is one of my favorite articles I produce each year. So, more people-
Sonny Bunch (00:52):
You love to revel to failure.
Entertainment Strategy Guy (00:54):
No, and I even wrote that, that this year bummed me out. But I think is where I'm sure we'll get into this is one of the things about the streaming war, specifically the content side that most people still just don't know about, which is what worked. We know what works for the most part. I actually really agree with that. But a lot of people don't realize exactly how much misses out there in the world.
Sonny Bunch (01:17):
Well, all right. So, let's break this down because as you mentioned in the intro to the piece on streaming TV show hits that have flopped, there was a story in Bloomberg, I think it was a couple of weeks ago. It was like nobody knows what's failing. And even I reading that, I was like, "I got a pretty good sense of what is not working out there." I mean, I feel like I look at the Nielsen charts enough and look at the other stuff to have a sense of what is working and what isn't working.
But you have, if not quite a rigorous formula, you have at least a sense of what is going on via a bunch of different inputs. Can you break down for us very quickly how you look at what constitutes success and what constitutes failure and the different inputs that you use?
Entertainment Strategy Guy (02:08):
Yeah. So, I like sort of try to middle ground. I do think we don't know what failed, or it's not that we don't know what fails. We would know what fails if people actually sought out that information. Can I actually ask you a quick question, which I think illuminates this really quick? Okay. So, what are the biggest films in theaters this year, in theaters in America?
Sonny Bunch (02:35):
Well, okay, it depends on what we're looking at here. Are we looking at just your box office total gross?
Entertainment Strategy Guy (02:39):
Just total gross. Yeah. Total gross.
Sonny Bunch (02:41):
Okay. Total worldwide gross, I mean, Super Mario Bros. movie is maybe number one. Barbie is number two. You're looking at probably Oppenheimer getting up to number three. That would be the top three.
Entertainment Strategy Guy (02:54):
You can name them off the top of your head really quick. Okay. What's the biggest films on streaming so far this year?
Sonny Bunch (03:03):
Let's see, that's a great question. No idea.
Entertainment Strategy Guy (03:05):
Sonny Bunch (03:06):
I would assume they're all on Netflix. All right. Let me take an actual shot at answering that. If we're looking just purely at number of hours watched, they're all Netflix originals, things like Heart of Stone or whatever else.