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The Best and the Worst of Streaming 2023

April 6, 2024
Notes
Transcript
I’m very excited to be rejoined by the Entertainment Strategy Guy (subscribe to his newsletter!) to discuss the year in streaming. What were the biggest hits in TV and film? What were the biggest misses? Could linear-like ad-supported streaming services be the future for big services like Netflix and Disney+? Is there a double standard for the tech-based streamers and the studio-owned streamers? All that and more on this week’s episode. If you enjoyed it, share it with a friend!
This transcript was generated automatically and may contain errors and omissions. Ironically, the transcription service has particular problems with the word “bulwark,” so you may see it mangled as “Bullard,” “Boulart,” or even “bull word.” Enjoy!
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:07

    Welcome back to the Bulwark Coast Hollywood. My name is Sunny I am culture editor at the bulwark. And I’m very pleased to be rejoined today by the entertainment strategy guy, one of my favorite, sub stack newsletters, he’s also at the Anchler. We’re gonna be talking a little bit about one of his Anchler pieces today, whether or not there is a double standard between, you know, how people talk about the the tech based streamers and the the rest of the more traditional studio run streamers. We can get into that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:32

    We’re gonna talk about the best and the worst of twenty twenty three, what succeeded, what failed, what, what’s what we should be thinking when we think about theatrical versus streaming and all that. But it’s great to have you back on. Thanks.
  • Speaker 2
    0:00:45

    Glad to be here and always excited to talk ratings. And that inkling article I had, and it was pretty buzzy. I heard you guys talk about it on across the movie all, and, happy to chat about it more.
  • Speaker 1
    0:00:56

    We, we did. That was a our controversy or controversy segment of this week. So I was, I was, I was, was like, I should just get him on to talk about. Well, just pick his brain directly. It’s great.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:07

    Alright. So let’s talk. But first, let’s talk about, best and worst of twenty twenty three. So you know, it takes it takes a couple weeks, takes three or four weeks for the ratings numbers to come in, then you gotta compile. It can collate it, etcetera, etcetera.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:20

    So we’ve got we’ve got some data now. The thing here’s here’s what jumped out at me, about the top ten films of the year. Of twenty twenty three, which is that leave the world behind the biggest the biggest movie of twenty twenty three. The biggest streaming movie of twenty twenty three. You should put it should should couch it that way because here is a movie that I know I know was a huge hit.
  • Speaker 1
    0:01:46

    I know I know, you know, I I saw the numbers as they were coming out. And I was like, oh, that’s interesting. But it it didn’t really, hit me until I was looking back at some of these charts, this week. And thinking about how no one has ever mentioned this movie to me, ever, not even not even, like, in twenty twenty four, you know, not even, like, five, six months later or however long it’s been. But I mean, like, even when it was out, nobody I’m a I’m a movie reviewer.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:15

    I’m a film critic. People are constantly coming up to me sitting. I need to know what you think about monkey man. I need to know what you think about the new ghostbusters movie. Zero people have ever mentioned this movie to me in my real life.
  • Speaker 1
    0:02:29

    Zero And I just think I, like, it’s such it’s such and I understand this is anic data. You don’t traffic in anic data. You traffic in data data data. But this is just it’s such a such a telling thing for me where I have this I have this entire I have this entirely mis perceived notion of the world of streaming. So it was leave the world behind the biggest movie of last year in streaming.
  • Speaker 2
    0:02:53

    It was the biggest actually, I’ll say no it was not Oh. With its slight caveat. Okay. If we’re taking the full, span of it. But I would I so you’re right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:05

    I don’t traffic in anecdotes, but I do like anecdotes as a starting point. And I was at a I don’t do very many. I try and be clear on that that, like, I tend to just stay in my little hobbit hole, the Excel bunker, as I call it, but I was with two industry people, and I asked them circa January, what the five biggest films on streaming were. And and I said they’re all on Netflix and and they could not tell me what the films were. But then I asked and when I could do it with you, like, what was the Name is many of the top five biggest theatrical movies of last year.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:39

    And how many can you name? Like,
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:42

    I mean, I could well, this this is not a fair question to ask me because I do, frequently, go to box art, but it would be what? So it’s Barbie, Super Mario Brothers it’s probably guardians of the Galaxy volume three.
  • Speaker 2
    0:03:57

    All the numbers up there as well.
  • Speaker 1
    0:03:59

    Oppenheimer. I did Oppenheimer make the top five? I don’t think
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:01

    it is. It did in the US. Ron DeSantis why I primarily traffic, and that’ll be my caveat for the entire conversation. I’m primarily using US data because that’s where we have the most robust data. The only streamer that publishes global data is Netflix, and we very much appreciate that because it allows us to double check things, but that we’ll be having a US conversation for the most part, but some of these things will extrapolate.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:22

    So anyways, back to your question. When it comes to streaming only films, so films that premiered first on streaming, I call these first run films, leave the world behind was absolutely the biggest film of twenty twenty three. And actually, it is Netflix’s number one first run streaming film because I classify glass onion, as an early film because it hit a significant theatrical run, but it would be number two behind glass onion. That’s the only bigger one. The only film that is bigger, and this is in terms of total hours viewed.
  • Speaker 2
    0:04:53

    If you’re taking unique customers who watched it, it probably would not get that, but no one publishes that data is actually the Super Mario Brothers movie because it’s run if you add up what it did on peacock and then what it did on Netflix to date, It actually has the most hours of any film that came out on streaming in twenty twenty three. So Super Mario’s brother is the most by total hours. And actually, if you go just by total hours viewed, it actually is bigger than according to Nielsen, it is bigger than it’s Netflix’s biggest film of all time.
  • Speaker 1
    0:05:26

    So that’s I mean, like, that’s Yep. That’s wild. That’s why I can. That is that is that is a wild statement to make, and it kind of blows my mind. But, you know, again, it gets to my point that, like, I just I, and I know I know you agree with me on this, but the the the world of streaming is so ephemeral and so transitory that I I have trouble thinking about these things as anything other than content in the the stream of flotsam and Jetsum that just comes and goes, like, It’s like TV in the nineteen seventies, but not the good TV that everybody remembers, like, all in the family.
  • Speaker 1
    0:06:01

    I mean, like, my mother is the car. Right. Or whatever. You know, I, like, what I just don’t I don’t none of this b the whole this whole part of the business makes no sense to me except as It’s something. It’s just something to watch.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:16

    Yeah. And I think we got a big hint actually this week in a Hollywood reporter article they hit a a profile of Dan Lynn, the new head of film for Netflix. I actually like that higher though I tend not to comment on hires because there’s so many factors that determine success or failure. But in that article, they had the line And I wrote about this in my most important story of the week this week that said, Netflix is gonna focus on midsize films because that’s like comedies, romcoms, and family films, because that’s where they’ve seen their biggest hits. And again, we’re talking about the data.
  • Speaker 2
    0:06:49

    I can go look at the genres, and it’s like, no, we know red notice, leave the world behind. They’re both thrillers. These are expensive. They have top talent. So there’s actually, I couldn’t until you get down to Leo It’s their first family film on the list, and they had a couple other animated films that they bought from Sony that are in, say, the top fifteen all time for Netflix.
  • Speaker 2
    0:07:08

    And I don’t think it’s actually those films are their biggest hits. They’re their most profitable films, and that often gets a conversation that we sort of drift, we whenever the theatrical versus streaming debate happens or the inevitable, like, what genre is working, what isn’t. We sort of gloss between the total revenue something makes and how much money, how much profit something makes, and those are not interchangeable terms. So I think even Netflix, but, you know, due to that ephemerality, a midsize film is just a lower swing because you know it’s not gonna have that long lifetime value, unless you can make a sequel for it. That’s the one thing we’ve seen if a film stays on Netflix the whole time, is that when extraction two comes out, extraction one, hops back on the list.
  • Speaker 1
    0:07:56

    Mhmm. Mhmm. Right. That makes sense. And and, you know, and look, this gets to a secondary point that I we may have discussed before, but which is If you’re gonna spend two hundred million dollars, there’s no reason if you are Netflix and you are try just trying to rack up hours, There’s no reason to spend two hundred million dollars on a two hour motion picture when you can spend two hundred million dollars on probably forty hours of TV.
  • Speaker 1
    0:08:21

    Right. That that that that money is is again, if you are just talking about, getting bang for your buck. It feels like it it makes much more sense to make the TV show rather than the film.
  • Speaker 2
    0:08:36

    And that also ties, again, to a topic we’ve talked about before, but I think having another year worth of data really sort of cements it because in my, best of charts. I have the top films on the chart laid out between streaming and theatrical. And basically, if it wasn’t a Netflix first run streaming film, it was basically a theatrical film, and theatrical actually did very well in the top of the charts versus the other one, I’m experiencing what is the first Yeah. Only one other streamer, I think. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:08

    Only one other streamer had a movie, a first run film make the top twenty five last year. Which was Candy Caine Lane on prime video starring Getty Murphy. So when it comes to that, the there was a big move towards blockbuster users in the, two thousand and twenty ten, which everyone blames on the MBAs, you know, like myself. But that was because when you had a blockbuster, the amount of money you can make from it and and when I say money, I mean, like actual cash that came into your bank account, you could go either make more movies with or send the shareholders The upside was much bigger for bigger films, and so you get that demand size return. So you get that longer term value.
  • Speaker 2
    0:09:49

    Plus, you have multiple windows to sell it in. So again, like, I’m not gonna mention this filmmaker by name. I’ll just hint at him, but he had a big film come out in Christmas this year on Netflix. He’s made some other controversial films. He has a lot of fans, and he said more people saw his film than Barbie.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:06

    I’ll call him Zack s just to keep it like vague.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:10

    And my No. That’s too obvious. That’s too obvious.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:13

    You go with z
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:14

    z snider.
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:14

    I see.
  • Speaker 1
    0:10:15

    And now
  • Speaker 2
    0:10:15

    you know who the Simpsons fans were in the early nineteen nineties. So this z Snyder fella said, like, more people watch this film than Barbie to a try response is like, okay, well, Where’s your several hundred million dollar paycheck that, like, we know Margot Robbie got for starring and producing that film? The answer is he didn’t get that paycheck, right, because there was no other upside besides being a film on Netflix and relating to that ephemerality, The other thing, which, you know, it ties to my Angela article of the week, is that when these films do come and they don’t go, which I would say Rebel Moon really didn’t go because no one’s really talking about that one either, and its ratings were not very good. We just never talk about it again. And no one calls it like a huge miss because everyone sort of says, oh, we don’t know what the streaming numbers are, and then we move on.
  • Speaker 2
    0:11:04

    So, yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:06

    And we don’t and it’s hard to quantify what streaming numbers actually mean I mean, I, you know, when people when people talk about box office, it’s a pretty straightforward, like, it made this many dollars. Right. And it costs this much to make, and it could probably cost much to market. And there’s some Bulwark in there, obviously. But it’s like, here here are actual but, like, I I, again, I I don’t think anybody really, in in the real world understands how to value an hour viewed or a hundred million hours viewed or, you know, what what that actually means.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:37

    I wanna I I don’t wanna defend Zack Snyder here because I, even though I, I am I am a known Zach Snyder fan. But I will say that I I do think two things can be true at the same time. You know, when he says more people saw rebel moon than saw Barbie. There it’s entirely possible. That’s correct.
  • Speaker 1
    0:11:58

    It’s entirely possible that more people actually watched his movie because it was available worldwide because it was streaming, you know, for quote unquote free. It’s on Netflix. It’s everybody can Good night. But it but the but it clearly did not have the same kind of cultural impact that something like Barbie had. And beyond box you know, talking about Oscars and just the the the impact it had on the culture at large.
  • Speaker 1
    0:12:24

    Like, I I I don’t think those two things are necessarily mutually exclusive, but it does get back to to the point here, which is like, well, what is it? What is it actually worth? What is it? What what is it? You know, matter.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:37

    Yeah. And again, to quote the, that’s why I fall down on this debate is the, Man, I’m blinking on the website move. What’s the, show me the money quote, right? Jerry McGuire. Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:12:48

    Jerry McGuire. That is where I fall in is that no no money actually is the best proxy for, essentially, we wanna call it demand or value something created. Money comes back to being the best thing. To your point, though, the one part I would push back, and I’ve been pushing back on this since, Game of Thrones was battling with stranger things in twenty nineteen. It was a different time period.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:12

    But I I do think there’s I would actually bet more people did see Barbie globally, not because you factor in ticket sales, but it’s because we still sometimes forget what we don’t actually know in the ratings argument. And so what I would say with Barbie, it’s a perfect example, is that Barbie came out in theatrical worldwide, and we have those numbers so we can put it on there. But we don’t have the home entertainment rental numbers. Those tend to be harder to get. They tend to be put in dollars.
  • Speaker 2
    0:13:39

    We don’t know how to calculate it. And we only have those for the US. But it came out to rent and buy all over the globe, and we don’t know those numbers. Then it came out for streaming again all over the globe. We only have the US data, and we only have it for a few weeks on HBO Max, but it’s actually the only HBO Max film that made the Nielsen top ten list.
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:00

    After it had been released for four weeks or more. The Maxfilms because it’s such a smaller service just don’t tend to last that long. We also don’t have the ratings for when Barbie is gonna come to HBO the linear channel, for example, or when it’ll show up on linear TV, something. So I think what he could say is if we only track numbers of people we know for sure watched it, Rebel Moon has the edge there because Netflix knows that. They can put these numbers up.
  • Speaker 1
    0:14:25

    When
  • Speaker 2
    0:14:25

    you wanna talk, how many people actually watch Barbie or something like, again, when Game of Thrones came out this same issue happened, is that it was the number one movie it’s final season in almost like every country in Europe and America, but we only had ratings for the US and actually like the UK and Australia. Everyone else would just say it’s the number one film or the number one TV show. Stranger things we had the global ratings at the time, so people could look at that number, compare it to the US number and it it’s not quite the same. That said, again, I go back to measuring the dollar impact. And the other point, I’ve been really trying to make more recently, which I think gonna define the streaming wars and we need to get back is that the oldest economic principle is that the cheaper something is, the more people consume of it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:12

    And streaming the marginal cost to watch an extra TV show is essentially zero. So you pay your well, now fifteen dollars a month. Right, to rent Netflix. If you watch a movie, you didn’t actually pay fifteen dollars for it because if you also watch another TV show, you have to factor in that viewing. So essentially, you’re paying like a dollar or two to watch a movie, and you could watch it with one or two people versus if you actually go to the movie theater, you’re paying ten dollars on average in America.
  • Speaker 2
    0:15:41

    You have much higher in certain cities, right, per person. So you just the and and that makes sense because it’s saying the demand you’re capturing more of the demand for the people who want to see something sooner And so, of course, fewer people are gonna watch something because the, again, the oldest economic law, the cheaper something is, the more people consume of it, And a lot of the the shift to streaming is basically defined that the linear bundle got very expensive and for a while streaming was much cheaper. And that’s why people consume more of it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:13

    Yeah. Alright. One last thing in the in the winners category here. The the chart that jumped out to me was the top ten films total hours viewed in twenty twenty three Nielsen in millions. Okay?
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:26

    So the the top here are the top Let’s see. Seven movies. Number one, Moana, number two in Canto. Number three, the Super Mario Brothers movie, number four elemental, number five, the minions, minions, the rise of grew. Number six is sing to, and number seven is frozen.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:47

    And, I mean, look, you you look at this chart and three of the top seven are old Disney movies.
  • Speaker 2
    0:16:54

    Right.
  • Speaker 1
    0:16:54

    Like, I mean, not old, not they’re not snow white or sleeping beauty, but old as in not new. They’re not they’re not the new releases. They’re not, what is out recently. And I I I don’t know what to make of this. If it’s just a function of those are very popular and kids kids rewatch things that they they know and love, I know that’s part of it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:17:15

    If it’s there’s been a declining quality over the last two or three years. I think that’s probably part of it too, or if it’s just, or or if it’s something else. I mean, I, like, what what do we think is the is the reason here? And is it I mean, this is is this why Disney is less worried than maybe it should be about losing subscribers, about subscriber decay?
  • Speaker 2
    0:17:39

    Yet to start with that last one because sort of curveball we read at the end. I think it does speak to Disney, when they’re especially when it comes to Disney plus when they and then when they’re really focused on their core business, they know they have some of these hits and they they know that these hits will continue to drive value for years. Again, to go back to my, analogy earlier. I don’t actually think in a lot of cases, this is that new of a phenomenon because it’s essentially what we’re seeing is all the DVDs people watched in the 2000s and the 1990s. We’re capturing all that data and Disney knows now exactly which DVDs are being rewatched the most.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:20

    But like, for example, I know in my household when I was growing up is like, if you could track aladdin numbers, right? There would have been a ton of aladdin VHS burning. We also with the other one, we burn through like wizard of Oz is the tape. Right? So we burn through because they did that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:18:36

    So this also is somewhat of a data capture issue, because to be clear, I the list we were talking about earlier is my list of the top films by how many weeks they appear in the Nielsen top ten. And then Nielsen also provides the top shows and films by total hours viewed throughout the year. And I think this speaks to the stickiness of the best kids content, and the best kids content tends to get re watched over and over again. And the clear takeaway from that is that Disney is still absolutely the leader in the clubhouse, though Pecock is probably second with their Illumination films, and the success of Super Mario is it like that film is gonna be on this chart next year. I would bet, like, quite a bit that we’re gonna see this as a top five film next year because that’s how well Mario’s been doing.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:27

    Yeah. That makes sense. Alright. Let’s let’s shift to television shows away from movies to television shows. What is alright.
  • Speaker 1
    0:19:34

    So, again, the the Nielsen, you know, biggest show of the year was Ted Lasso, which I think people were surprised by. I know that was a what controversial. There was some some debate there. Was Ted Lasso actually the biggest new show of the year? And how would you compare that to something like, say, suits, which was, you know, the big surprise story of streaming in the last twelve months or so.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:03

    Yeah. So It was controversial group. I actually did. I was one of the people who asked Nielsen, and I said, really, like Ted Lasso in they double checked the data. And the best explanation for why Ted Lasso is so high up on the Charlie Sykes that Apple TV plus gives quite a few free subscriptions out there to customers in the world.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:25

    And amongst those people, they get free subscriptions, they still have a pretty small library overall. And if you’re looking for a new show to watch, what that means is Ted Lasso is the buzziest show because it’s actually been nominated. I think in one of words, it’s also very well liked by customers, with I believe in over an eight point o on IMDB. Again, doing some of these numbers off the top of my head, so I might be wrong. But I know I know directionally it has a very strong IMDB score.
  • Speaker 2
    0:20:52

    So in that realm, there’s Apple TV plus is quite a few shows, but the one people have probably been talked to about the most is Ted Lassos. So when they turn on an Apple TV plus subscription, and even though they’re only gonna have it for three or four months, they tend to watch Ted Lasso so it comes across. So to answer your question, yes, amongst new shows, both returning and new shows, Ted Lasso was the winner. It also won the weekly. It had the most total weekly hours.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:20

    It was a weekly release show, which also helps it in that regard because if a show is very popular, And the episodes come out week to week. You tend to tend to touch higher numbers over the course of, like, say, eight to twelve weeks, which help it versus sort of the Netflix burn bright and collapsed down. Now amongst all TV shows that came to streaming or switch streamers, and that’s where that’s where suits comes in, suits crushes it, and it’s not even close. It has, what, four times the viewership I’m looking at right now. Over the weekly.
  • Speaker 2
    0:21:52

    And that’s simply because, and this is something that streaming hasn’t replicated. It had eight seasons worth of episodes. And some of those seasons were actually longer cable seasons at the time as opposed to now we’re seeing a lot of shows like the one I remember earlier this year. Griselda came out starring Sophia Vergara on Netflix and only had six episodes, I think. And so we’re seeing a lot more six or eight episodes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:22:16

    So to get up to where you can have over a hundred episodes or eight seasons of a show like suits, there’s just not quite the economic model for streaming. And so that means when everyone hops on board a show like suits, it rockets to the moon. And so suits is the number one amongst shows that came from broadcaster cable.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:36

    Yeah. I mean, and and it’s, again, this is, you know, another another kind of data point in the idea of Netflix and streaming in general as the new basic cable. Right? Because you you look at you look at I mean, the the acquired second run-in library shows charts, from Nielsen is it’s a it’s yeah. I mean, it’s it’s an order of magnitude bigger.
  • Speaker 1
    0:22:59

    You got suits is nearly nine hundred million, hours watched. Right? NCIS is five hundred twenty nine million hours watched. Grey’s anatomy and the big bang theory are both at four hundred seven million hours watched. Mean, like, these are these are enormous, enormous numbers.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:16

    And, you know, as much as we like to talk about, something like, I mean, Ted Lassau, again, very, very popular biggest movie or biggest show of the year, a hundred eighty seven million hours viewed. Or other other buzzy
  • Speaker 2
    0:23:33

    Reacher, which came out in Christmas and Reacher ended up, was the number two returning show. Of the year or the night agent, you know, was the number one debut. Yeah. We talk about those ones when they come out.
  • Speaker 1
    0:23:46

    They, but like, they just they do they the the amount of, the amount of hours viewed the, you know, to put it in internet terms, the amount of traffic they drive, is is dwarfed by these, these these legacy shows.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:01

    Yep. And a streamer needs to have both to do well, and that’s actually why I think a lot of the streamers know how valuable the library content is which is why if they can get someone hooked on one of those shows, and they really are rewatching it all the way through as opposed to burning up bright and having a customer for three four weeks. You could have them for ten, twelve, you know, even more weeks to watch a show or rewatch a show that they’ve already watched before. And that actually really helps with the retention and acquisition piece of the puzzle. So it’s really not about acquiring new customers.
  • Speaker 2
    0:24:36

    It’s about keeping them around on the surface. And having all those episodes really helps drive that. The problem with streaming has been we just have not seen the episode orders to get streaming native shows up to that volume. And that’s partially because the economics just aren’t there in streaming. Because you just don’t make as much per subscription the way you made back in the day with broadcast where you could pay almost all your costs on the first run and then the syndication window put you over the top, and then you could write that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:25:08

    So a lot of shows also got canceled very early there.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:12

    Well, let’s let’s also let’s dive let’s drill down on this for a second because I do think this is there there’s an interesting, dichotomy here in terms of what sorts of shows are made. I mean, like right. So what’s what’s what’s the appeal of something like suits or friends or Seinfeld, right, is that you can turn it on and you can flip around. It doesn’t you can watch an episode. It doesn’t really matter which episode you watch.
  • Speaker 1
    0:25:36

    You don’t have to watch them in order. You don’t you can you you you do it like the the old syndication. You just kinda hit random in your brain and you you flip on you flip something on. But, the the shows that have been made for streaming are all in the or I wouldn’t I shouldn’t say all, but are mostly are largely in the, what we could think of as the Prestige TV mold. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:00

    You have eight episode ten episode twelve episode seasons that are telling a discrete story and need to be watched in order. They don’t have you can’t hit random on a playlist and just watch, like, I wanna watch the fourth episode of the second season of Reacher. I don’t have any idea what’s going on because I didn’t watch the episode before. I’m not gonna watch the episode after. I just wanna watch the big man punch some some people And, like, I guess you can do that.
  • Speaker 1
    0:26:24

    It’s but it’s not like it’s not like the a team. It’s not like Magiver, right, to to use, slightly older, date myself a little bit, slightly older references here. It is it’s you know, these shows are intended to be watched sequentially in order to be, you know, they are not short stories, they are novels. And, that that has to that has to have a real impact on the rewatchability, the the I don’t know, the stickiness, the chance that they go viral beyond their first run. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:26:59

    Yeah. I actually have a, a there’s, in my year end, where I talk about the hip films and hit TV shows. I categorized them by genre to sort of answer this very question. And it is if you look I have the crime and procedurals in Bulwark and comedies in orange, and you look at the acquired chart and the top acquired chart of the top ten five of them are all crime or procedural shows. And the other ones were, and then Walking Dead in supernatural and last of us, I have those as genre But, right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:27:32

    So you see this and you also see sitcoms like the Big Bang Theory friends, and then you go to the, debut shows, And there’s only one show that I would call a crime show, which was beef, but it’s not even a procedural. And then there’s only one other procedural in the top twenty five, and that’s poker face. And there was only one comedy on the list, which was that nineties show. So the the question would be, is this because customers don’t wanna watch these on streaming or because streaming hasn’t made sitcoms and procedurals yet. And I would actually argue it’s the latter.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:05

    Partly because we actually have some news about this. And then, and I wrote about this in my most important story column this week, but, HBO Max or sorry, Just Max and Netflix both Greenland. I actually called it HBO at first in the article and was like, oh, gotta fix that typo. Yeah. You know, But, they both greenlit medical procedurals this quarter.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:25

    And in Netflix’s press release, they said this is our first one. We’ve never made one before. So How long has Netflix been around and they just greenlit their first procedural? So it’s a genre that they really haven’t tried. I would also add that the Lincoln lawyer that did very well for Netflix.
  • Speaker 2
    0:28:42

    It’s not a procedural per se, but and I’ve not watched a show, but it does have a legal element to it. It has a little bit more of a consistent plot in there. It would not surprise me if we see more episodes orders for that to get the lincoln lawyer up into an area where it could say be syndicated somewhere in the long future. It won’t it it’ll never be quite you know, episode of the week, but it could get there and be more like that. So my prediction is we’re gonna see more of those.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:09

    I don’t know about sitcoms. My gut with sitcoms, what we’re seeing, is the networks know the streamers aren’t buying sitcoms, so they’re still trying to make sitcoms for broadcast and essentially accumulate up the episodes to have the future sitcoms for streaming. And so Abbott elementary, I think, falls into that category, I think it’s streaming on Max right now, but Nielsen does not report its numbers because it’s day after air TV and they don’t report a lot of those. I would say CBS with ghosts, we’re seeing the same thing. So the future sitcoms are gonna be that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:29:42

    Now, when broadcast eventually dies, what replaces that? I don’t know, sitcoms are gonna have to go somewhere. I actually think the fast distribution method that’s a free advertising supported streamers like to be Pluto Roku channel, Amazon, freebie to a lesser extent. I actually think the linear feeds there might encourage the sort of procedural sitcom element because the format will just lend itself to that as well. And then we’ll see if the streamers ever adopt more linear streaming on their own platforms.
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:16

    This, I, again, this is this is more in the realm of theory, and maybe maybe you don’t have a an opinion on this. But I have long
  • Speaker 2
    0:30:24

    I have an opinion for a long
  • Speaker 1
    0:30:25

    long time. So Okay. Okay. I I have for a long, long time thought and argued that there is something specific about the syndication model about the the idea of giving control away to the programmer you know, of of TBS or TNT or whoever, and just kind of sitting there and watching, like, okay, here’s It’s five PM. I’m gonna throw on Fox five DC w t t g, and I’m gonna watch whatever the the Simpsons episode that they have coming on is gonna be.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:06

    And I I do wonder if the sitcom can exist without that syndication model working. Right? Like, I I just don’t know. I don’t know that I don’t know that audiences I guess this is an audience question as much as a programming question. I don’t know that audiences want to watch things that they are not already familiar with.
  • Speaker 1
    0:31:28

    What in did am I I’m like, I’m I’m I’m I I say I talk about this all the time, and now I’m stuttering and mumbling, but, like, I I, like, I think that taking away control from the viewer is a very key factor in the success and longevity of things like seinfeld, Simpsons, friends, big bang theory, etcetera, etcetera. And without that model, I think the sitcom kind of withers and dies as a format.
  • Speaker 2
    0:31:52

    Well, so that’s why I think the fast model could bring it back. And again, I also think the linear channel model. And this is one of those issues again. Like I say, I’m the entertainment strategy, but I don’t know everything. For what I’ve heard, there might be some costs associated with linear streams, but this is one of those issues where, like, if I were Disney or I were Max, I would be much better on the linear streams I offer people within my app so that I could push some of those things.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:17

    Because again, to your point, I also think some of this relates to kids shows, because I have two youngins, and I’ve been through the streaming wars with them picking shows. And it’s funny to me how unoptimized streaming is for kids shows. Cause I rewatch the first episode of this show again, where back in the day, it was like, you know, I was like telling my daughter, it’s like, when I want to watch X Men animated series, I had to be there when it started at ten o’clock Saturday or I wasn’t gonna watch it. So we like set our clocks and we watched it because we were gonna watch some Xment, but you would watch whatever episode was there. So you would get them and say when the kids show can come out of order, I think a lot.
  • Speaker 2
    0:32:55

    I think the linear consumption of TV customers really do like the growth of the fast over the last year is proof of that. Again, they’re also cheaper because they’re free. Some of them also really don’t a full ad load. So if you can only get two or three ads for an hour of TV. That’s a pretty good deal.
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:12

    But I think that method of consumption can get people back on to watching it because Like, I think, in the twenty tens, my wife and I decided to check out modern family, and I think we watched the show completely out of order. You’d have to, like, guess how like what year it was by how old everyone was on the show because the shows, you know, the episodes are just run at any given time. So I think there is something to do that with the sitcom. I don’t think it’ll work with on demand streaming because to your point, people want that coherent story. But if the linear model keeps growing, I think we might see more animated shows, we might see more sitcoms that don’t have to be watched in order if the plot isn’t that type because a linear distribution model will encourage that Now, when will the streamers listen to me?
  • Speaker 2
    0:33:58

    I don’t know. Maybe never.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:00

    Well, and this is I mean, I you can put to, something like Bluey as an example of, a show that I think is an enormous success that be washed out of order that is frequently washed out of order. Kids, you know, just throw on. And it’s funny whenever we’re in a hotel, with the with my with my children, and we need to just throw we we’ll throw on Disney the Disney channel, not even Disney plus because it’s, like, whatever’s on the, you know, the hotel TV. And whenever we do that, there’s like a not there’s a five out of ten chance that it’s, a bluey episode, and then then it’s maybe either like a spidey in his amazing friends or whatever. But, like, whatever they they’ll just watch it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:34:38

    It doesn’t it doesn’t matter. It’s, you know, if if they they they’ll zone out. As I need them too. Right.
  • Speaker 2
    0:34:45

    And that’s that’s why I think amongst the streamers, I I actually for every streamer, I think incorporating linear channels into their main feed would be really valuable. Netflix, we know is doing a lot of live shows. I just discovered collecting data this week that, They have a new live cooking show with Dave Chang. Again, speaking to awareness, like, I don’t know. It’s never made the charts, so that’s why I didn’t track it at first.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:07

    It’s been going on for since January, and it’s a live once a week show to get people to tune in. I think that’s really smart. I think a lot of their moves to like the WWE deal, which I think we discussed back and forth on newsletters, you saying I stole your thunder, which I I totally did, on purpose too. But, I think to make WWE even more valuable, having those linear streams would help. And I even think for Netflix’s back catalog, It’s one thing to obviously, the recommendation algorithm is best in the streaming game.
  • Speaker 2
    0:35:40

    But if you have just a channel that you had up top in Netflix, there was a linear stream for people to watch. You could pull up some shows from your back catalog that people hop into, and it wouldn’t work for every show but I think a surprising amount of them would, same with Disney, they have a ton of Mickey Mouse cartoons searching their UX to find them as a nightmare. Figuring out a way just having a stream because again, mickey mouse cartoon, I don’t need to watch it in order. I don’t care which one it is. I you just turned it on and people will start watch or the kids, you know, in particular, it’ll start watching it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:36:11

    And, you know, Max could benefit from just having a linear streams of the big bang theory and friends because those are in the two two thousands, probably the two biggest shows on syndication. So clearly people will hop in and just watch an episode to see what’s happening.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:27

    Can I ask a I’m gonna ask a dumb question here? Maybe, or maybe it’s not dumb. Maybe it’s actually a brilliant question. But, let me, like, let me let me pause it an idea, is it possible for Netflix to combine the idea of the, the fast style linear stream with the personalized algorithm. So, like, instead of having, you throw on Netflix and there’s everybody in the world can watch.
  • Speaker 1
    0:36:56

    Here’s our WWE stream. Here’s our cooking stream. You know, whatever. Instead of that, it’s here’s Sunny’s WWE stream. We notice you like watching, Brett the hitman heart matches.
  • Speaker 1
    0:37:10

    Yeah. So we’re gonna give you, of those and we’re gonna throw in an Owen heart Yep. For a tear jerker. You know, like, I, like, or or is that not, is that not technically feasible? Is that, like, or or does it even defeat the purpose of the linear stream is part of the purpose of the linear stream, having people watch the same thing at the same time.
  • Speaker 2
    0:37:29

    So I tend to default to doing both, but What you’re describing is technically feasible, because essentially it’s what the algorithm does right now, you know, when the algorithm pops up this show for you to watch, the algorithm is already tracked on what type of things you’re you and your family or whoever’s on your profile watch, and then it’s offering you shows like that to try and get you to click on them. Linear stream would just take them on and have a a list of them and say, here, click on this, and you can start watching right in the middle. I would just combine that with some curation because I actually think know until AI replaces all of us, I think human curac curation is valuable to either push things or get people to discover things that they haven’t seen before. For Netflix, they have such a large library and such since they have the industry best recommendation algorithm, they would probably benefit the most from that. Disney, not counting the Hulu content, but the Disney plus.
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:21

    It’s just a much smaller, more valuable library. So you can do a lot more human curation there and take essentially what your top brands are. And again, like, I don’t you don’t need to curate what exact Marvel movie I wanna rewatch. Just need to see that a Marvel movies on midway through, and I’m gonna click on it to see what scene it is. Right?
  • Speaker 2
    0:38:39

    And that’s what, like, half of cable television movies are are some combination of superhero movies or big budget or Harry Potter films. Right? So I would think you can do a combination of it, but Your ideas actually would be a great one, but the one thing with Netflix is so far while they are doing live events, They have been the most opposed to anything that reeks of linear streams. And there’s always been rumor. There’s been some rumors that they’re gonna try and do that, but even when they’ve tried to make Discover, it’s still been in an on demand way.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:12

    And I I haven’t defined these terms. I assume most people are business wheel, but linear means a stream of TV that comes in that you can’t really start or stop very well, and it’s sort of just coming. That compares to live, which is a stream of something that’s happening in the actual moment versus on demand, which is scrolling to something picking it and it’s on. Those are the three terms views. But Yeah.
  • Speaker 2
    0:39:34

    Netflix is opposed on demand. So even then they said they they headed a function a little while ago that I think they deprecated which was just show me something to watch where you’re supposed to click on something, and it would just pop up a random episode of something. But so much of their content, was serialized that it just didn’t really work, you know, to hop into a middle of an episode of beef if you’ve never watched it, you know.
  • Speaker 1
    0:39:57

    Right. Right. Alright. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Alright.
  • Speaker 1
    0:40:03

    Let’s, let’s get to the big the big streaming flops. The the flops, bombs, misses. One one thing that jumped out was, the the overall, that Disney Plus for all to talk about how bad a year Disney has been having, that Disney Plus did not really have a ton of, like, straight up misses. Did not did not have a ton of, at least in the TV side of things.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:31

    Yeah. And it surprised me as well And so everyone knows my methodology for this. I’m collecting throughout the year multiple rating sources primarily Nielsen, but also show labs by Plumbing Research, Samba TVs, weekly top ten lists and their data dates. And then I look at a few other things like IMDB rankings, TV time, just watch that provide these rankings. And so I have two levels.
  • Speaker 2
    0:40:56

    One is a show I call it dog knot barking, which is increasingly rare, but it means a show can come out and it doesn’t end up on any plaque, any measurement, and I never see it. So it’s like it’s almost like it never existed because no one watched it and half the time no one will even comment it. And I so those are dogs on parking, then I also have misses because the important thing for a show or a film when it misses isn’t just that it didn’t make the charts or they ratings are low, but it’s how much did it cost to make that. So certain shows got that this opposite of prestigious award, because they’re really expensive, the biggest one being citadel, which I don’t know if we’ll talk about. So I make that list.
  • Speaker 2
    0:41:35

    I exclude most unscripted shows, most reality shows because they tend to be cheaper. They tend not to be as big as swings, and I exclude for the most part foreign May TV shows because as I’ve read about before, while we have seen some big foreign language hits, for the most part, most foreign language shows just don’t travel very well in the US. So I agreed that, Disney did not have as many hits on television as everyone thought they would. They started the year off strong with Amanda Lorian, but secret invasion was a disappointment. It was also cost a lot of money.
  • Speaker 2
    0:42:06

    And then, there are a few other ones. But in the back half of the year, They had really dialed back how many shows they made, so they did not have a lot of huge misses. And Most of the shows they made like ahsoka and goosebumps, and I’m missing one. Oh, Percy Jackson, all made the charts for multiple weeks. So in the second half of twenty twenty three, they actually had very, very few misses compared to some of the other streamers.
  • Speaker 1
    0:42:34

    Yeah. I mean, it it it feels like Disney plus is smartly to my mind shifting to more of a, BO model from the from the nineties or early aughts where they’re they have a couple shows that are kind of must watch if you are in a certain demographic. Rather than flooding the zone with with tons of stuff. Yep. The the the the hulu is an interesting case because Hulu is also in the Disney family.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:00

    So Hulu, you know, had kind of a disastrous year. And I say this as somebody who, like, if I canceled all of my subscriptions, Hulu would be the last one to go because I’m, like, one of the five people who was watching these shows, apparently. But, but, you know,
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:14

    So that’s past max for you. End of the world.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:16

    That’s
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:16

    past because wasn’t max your old number one?
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:18

    Yeah. Yeah. It has passed Max. Well, Max max is a disaster for a bunch of reasons, mostly because I I never I never I I Max used to be my number one surfing streamer. Right?
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:31

    I would go there and I would just, like, click around till I found something to watch. And now I’m so annoyed by the home page that I never go there anymore. I just never go I I don’t wanna watch any of the dumb discovery plus shows that are on my home page, and I know I can click over to HBO or films or whatever. And but I I, like, find it offensive, frankly. I find it it it offends my sensibilities.
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:53

    So I have basically stopped going there. But Hulu
  • Speaker 2
    0:43:56

    is. So
  • Speaker 1
    0:43:57

    Hulu had a bad had a bad twenty twenty three, but it seems to be turning things around. The shogun is a big, big, big hit, big surprise.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:07

    Yeah. So What I would say with Hulu, Shogan is a huge hit. It’s their biggest hit they’ve had going back to twenty twenty one when they had back to back, only murders in the building and non perfect strangers, which were two of their highest rated ones, and then only murders being a half hour is obviously spawned the whole series. It’s also I would argue in some ways it might be one of the funniest shows on streaming. Because I label a lot of shows as comedies, but they come with that asterisk that it’s like, you know, but you don’t laugh at this comedy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:38

    It’s just, you know, a comedy.
  • Speaker 1
    0:44:40

    It’s a chuckle comedy.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:41

    Yeah. Exactly. Where only murders in the building has two of, like, comedy legends, right, trying to, like, just deliver jokes as much as they can. And so that was their last peak. So shogunn has not turned things around, but they have another hit also have a hit in the bear.
  • Speaker 2
    0:44:59

    The problem is when we’re talking hit rate, and this is something I was trying to emphasize, like, if you make enough TV shows, Most development execs are gonna make a show or two that are very, very good. They will hang their hat on those shows for the rest of time, and so even looking to take the streamer level. So, like, again, if you look, and this is just the back half of the year you know, murder at the end of the world, artful dodger, better Bulwark cake culprits, faraway downs, the Hardy Boys, Letter Kenny living for the dead, love and fair hope, not a obituary, the other Bulwark girl. Reservation dog, Shoresy spellbound, such brave girls this fool. And I left out the unscripted shows and a bunch more unscripted shows that are in there.
  • Speaker 2
    0:45:41

    That’s they made a lot of shows. So to have showgun hit to have had the bear hit in twenty twenty two and have a very successful second season. It’s good. It’s better if they didn’t have those, it would be like a disaster. But that’s not enough to have said they really turned it around.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:00

    So I actually think Disney is actually their hit rate is extremely high right now. Hulu’s hit rate has not quite gone there. And I also think Hulu is a little bit of they don’t actually quite know what type of streamer they wanna be. So they essentially dabble. They dabble in everything without having a clear identity.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:17

    They think paramount, reacher, and Max H. B. O. Max brand has. And then Netflix also doubles in everything, but they’re the market leader, so they’re able to pull that off.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:28

    Yeah. Well, I mean, I, you know, Hulu when I say I go to Hulu a lot, mostly what I do is I watch FX shows. I watch I watch the FX on Hulu. And FX has always been one of my favorites, but FX is also it’s niche. That’s a niche.
  • Speaker 1
    0:46:41

    It’s like it’s it’s like a smaller version of HBO. And, you know, I love I love what they do, but it is never gonna be, it’s it’s the the those shows are never gonna put up Netflix numbers.
  • Speaker 2
    0:46:55

    I think they’ve also always punched above their weight in critical acclaim, which is good. But it’s not the same thing as what customers wanna watch. And so, that’s why I think they’ve struggled with some of those shows again when they break out like the bear or Fargo, you know, which we don’t get ratings for because it’s day after air TV Shogunn, they’re calling a streaming original, so we are getting the day after air ratings. So they’re also very good. Anyways, you can get for that.
  • Speaker 2
    0:47:22

    But I just think it shows that the audience is a little more limited than people would have a belief for FX. And so that’s why I think Hulu needs something else, but it’ll be interesting when this Disney plus Hulu mashup comes shortly to see how that affects everything. I also think the other strength Hulu has that we really don’t have visibility in, because again, Nielsen doesn’t track day after air TV, is they can also super serve a lot of the customers with the day after era broadcast shows, like nine one one is on there, Abbit elementary is on there, a lot of the other ABC shows are on there. And so they can deliver some of that more broad based shows, but as we move to a more and more streaming only future, I don’t know that the Hulu development teams are actually developing those broad based originals. I haven’t seen that yet.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:15

    Yeah. Alright. So let’s alright. We’re we’re we’re it’s taken us forty eight minutes to get to the controversy or controversy. But let’s let’s talk, about the the supposed double standard here, between how we talk about what Netflix and what Apple and what Amazon Prime, do as opposed to what the the the standard studio based streamers, the ones owned by Disney or Warner Brothers or Universal, what they do.
  • Speaker 1
    0:48:46

    So what in your in your opinion, what is the double standard here? Why does it exist?
  • Speaker 2
    0:48:51

    So the basic double standard is that over time as you know, Netflix came up as a streamer that was disrupting the industry. And they got a lot of street cred for that, and they were genuinely one of the most disruptive companies of the last you know, twelve, fourteen years, right, moving the streaming, getting people to go over. And then Amazon was also very quickly in copying them. But honestly, so was Hulu, which was owned by all the traditional services. But since that time, there’s always been an idea that in a lot of the coverage I read, when we talk about the strategy of the streamers, we talk about the strategies of the Netflix’s, the Amazons, the apples now and the Googles in one way, and we talk about the strategies of the traditional streamers in a completely opposite way.
  • Speaker 2
    0:49:39

    And sometimes, and this is what my article tried to relay, It’s the exact same strategy, but it gets condemned when it’s done by the traditional studios, for whatever reason. And when it comes to the streamers, it’s like in some cases they can do no wrong. Now partly this gets excused, and there’s like a branch of this which I write about in my inkler article that is, oh, you have to understand. It doesn’t matter if they do bad strategy because Apple and Amazon and Google have so much money. It doesn’t matter.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:09

    This is true, but that doesn’t mean we call bad strategic decisions good strategic decisions. They’re still bad. They’re still losing money. It just doesn’t matter if that’s the case. You know, I again, I’m assuming Apple and Amazon lose money.
  • Speaker 2
    0:50:25

    Because we know how much they’re spending, and we know how much bigger they are compared to the other streamers. And so they’re outspending them. It’s brought up a few examples, for example, like, when certain shows get unordered on which I actually did which I only mentioned briefly, you know, if a streamer had ordered a show and unorders it, it’s like, oh, okay. Well, they decide not to make that show. But if a traditional studio does, we could think pieces about how is this the end of Hollywood and it’s a betrayal of actors’ trust for like weeks and weeks on it.
  • Speaker 1
    0:50:56

    Right. So let’s let’s let’s talk about that specific example, because I do think that this is the most the most glaring double standard. But there was some pushback on this. I’ll I’ll I’ll acknowledge pushback here. So, it, you know, quite famously, Warner Brothers decided to shelve batgirl take a tax write off.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:16

    Throw the digital file in the trash forever. No one’s ever gonna see it until it leaks ten years from now. And then also coyote versus acme, which is a looney tunes, cartoon. It’s they’re still shopping it around technically, but it I would say the odds are better than even that it ends up almost exactly the same. As batgirl, even though I would argue that they should put it in theaters.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:38

    That’s a argument for another time. You wanna miss the people
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:41

    who have kids I also think they should put it in theaters because the calendar’s empty, and it’s now generated. It’s like just take a shot.
  • Speaker 1
    0:51:50

    It’s crazy. But It’s crazy to me that they don’t just put it spend twenty million dollars on Facebook and Twitter and YouTube ads and put it in theater.
  • Speaker 2
    0:51:59

    What I inter I don’t remember that. I’ll I’ll address that point. But, yeah.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:03

    Neither here or there. And then and then you have you have Netflix. Now Netflix has a has a movie that’s in the in the can, it stars Holly Berry. It’s a, sci fi, action y type movie. It’s an original.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:17

    So there’s a little bit of difference there between that and the IP. Brand maintenance that Warner Brothers is worried about. And Netflix has basically said we’re not gonna we’re not gonna we’re not we’re not releasing this. We’re throwing it in the trash can too. And with batgirl and coyote versus Zach Me, everybody got extremely mad at David Zazlava and Warner Brothers and said he hates art.
  • Speaker 1
    0:52:36

    He hates artists. This is a disaster for the people who worked on this movie, they deserve to have the work seen, blah, blah, blah, happens with Netflix and nobody really says anything. Now, part of this again is the IP issue. There it’s you don’t have, you don’t have legions of Halley Berry stands on the internet saying, we need all the Halley Berry content, even though we should have those. We need more Halley Berry content.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:00

    And it’s it’s, and that and then there was a secondary argument somebody somebody in in my Twitter feed was like, oh, that’s not fair. You can’t compare the two. Those two movies were done at Warner Brothers. They were done and, you know, and they were supposedly good. And, you know, but this Holly Berry movie, they need to do reshoots.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:18

    It’s gonna be expensive to get everybody there. So it’s not really the same thing. And like, okay. Fine. That’s an excuse, but it doesn’t change the basic calculus here, which is that you are taking the thing that lots of people have worked Jonathan Last of people if if that is the standard at which we are working.
  • Speaker 1
    0:53:34

    If we’re working on the labor, theory of value and and worth, then those the the Holly Berry movie is just as valuable as the as the the the other two movies, and nobody said boo, nobody could even tell you that there is a Holly Berry movie that has been thrown in the trash. Nobody knows about it. And that’s because there wasn’t a week’s long freak out in the entertainment media about it. Why the double standard?
  • Speaker 2
    0:53:59

    Why the double standard? Yeah. So again, I my theory for partly why the double standard exists is that, the legacy media has just been around longer, and there are some people who just sort of love big tech. And big tech is also very successful, and the reasons why are multifaceted as opposed to boiling it down to one thing, But, you know, I think one thing that benefits them is they have just tremendous size, and that gives them tremendous influence, including giant PR departments that are also very aggressive of giving scoops and things like that. To the point though, with the amount of pushback, which I disagree with, I believe Back Girl actually had to do special effects Bulwark.
  • Speaker 2
    0:54:41

    And on some of the other shows and films that have been canceled by like Disney and others, had VFX works to do. As we know, that can actually be very expensive. And when people rush it, it actually looks bad, which was plaguing a lot of movies in the twenty twenty two, twenty twenty three time frame. So it probably had as much cost as the mothership. So I don’t think that’s actually a super honest explanation.
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:03

    I also think we saw a lot of the same thing with Disney and Paramount when they were unordering shows. They’d given them green lights for second seasons. And they said, Oh, take the backsies. We’re not gonna green light your show anymore. But again, Amazon did that to the peripheral, and it did it to a Spider Man TV show.
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:19

    And again, they they didn’t get the pushback. So I don’t think that argument’s fair. Every show is gonna have these little or film is gonna have these nuances, but I don’t think those are fair. I think the IP issue is a legitimate complaint. I didn’t address it specifically, but then I think this actually gets back to the double standard as it’s like, oh, yes.
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:36

    We care about when Disney has failures with Marvel movies because we all love the IP. And we don’t care about Netflix or Amazon’s IP at all. And then you’re like, Okay. Well, then why do you say that Netflix and Amazon are taking over the world? You just said you don’t care about their shows and films at all in their garbage.
  • Speaker 2
    0:55:53

    But then you’re also, like, but they’re also taken over the world. They’re unstoppable. No one will ever be able to compete with them. The other factor that I think drives a lot of this discussion, especially in, say, the last two years with what has happened is when we shifted from the profit or from the growth mindset, that Netflix essentially benefited from very low interest rates and a focus on growth at all costs for the first ten years. And right when the linear channels, the traditional streamers decided sorry, traditional studios decided.
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:22

    Okay. We have to get into streaming now because it’s achieving critical mass. So we’re gonna get in and we’re gonna lose a bunch of money because frankly, that’s what Netflix did for a decade, and that’s what it takes to make it in the streaming course. Again, we don’t know if Apple or in Amazon are losing money. But, you know, my rule of thumb is if someone’s making tons of money, they tend to tell you about it.
  • Speaker 2
    0:56:44

    And, you know, Google now tells us how much YouTube makes and for years, they did it. Right? So Maybe they’re making tons of money and just not telling anyone about it in their specific media adventures, but we don’t know. But right around the when COVID hit, there’s a brief surge, and then while she realized that all their growth targets were wildly off, something I had been predicting back in like twenty nineteen time frame, And so he said, oh, we don’t want growth anymore. We want profit at all costs.
  • Speaker 2
    0:57:10

    And so, essentially, the studios have all suffered from that. And the fact that streaming isn’t as good of a business model means Netflix can only compare itself to its old self, and so it’s looking very good. The stream the traditional studios are all comparing themselves to much better businesses when you had thriving theatrical home entertainment and linear TV. And those comparisons just don’t look as good, so it’s easy to jump on them, even though their streaming can be successful, it just doesn’t look as good as their old businesses look. And again, for Apple and Amazon, we have a darth of information, and just not knowing means people give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Speaker 2
    0:57:49

    Now, I would love my proposed solution that will never happen, and I love to make proposed solutions that will never happen, would be that either the SEC or the FCC said, hey, You know what? If your business line gets reported into the CEO of the company and you make, say, a billion dollars or you have a billion dollars in costs, you gotta get broken out into your own unit in your ten k, and then just having that visibility would I think make a more level playing field. Now, Apple and Amazon will never do this voluntarily. As far as I know, the SCC is not gonna force them to do it, but just knowing would change the entire nature of the conversation because right now we have the financials for some of the companies competing and streaming, and we have no idea for three of the biggest.
  • Speaker 1
    0:58:37

    Yeah. And it’s, well, look, it this is a It’s it’s a tricky it’s a tricky conversation because I’m like torn between carrying a great deal and not and and like thinking I should not be caring about this at all. I should just be thinking about, like, how good is a thing and is and that that’s what matters. But I this this is an age old This is an age old fight between art and commerce and, the the the reason it exists is because movies and TV shows are expensive as heck. To make.
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:10

    They like, you cannot separate the two. You simply cannot separate the two. Otherwise, everybody would be spending, you know, two hundred million dollars on Ridley Scott movies because I wanna hang out with the guy who made Blade Runner. And you can’t you can’t do that, because it doesn’t work as a business. But it does change what gets made and what doesn’t get made.
  • Speaker 2
    0:59:28

    Yep. And I think the not knowing
  • Speaker 1
    0:59:30

    piece, I
  • Speaker 2
    0:59:31

    think impacts what gets made and what doesn’t get made and what’s good and not good. Or when I try and emphasize, because, again, I’ve never been trained in the dark arts of, you know, critical review, like the critics out there in the world yourself. But I just focus on what’s popular. And I think when you have the disconnect between knowing what’s popular, which tends to correlate very highly with what makes money, That tends also lead to a lot of bad decisions because you just don’t have the forcing function. You know, it’s like The analogy I make is, you know, a company having a ton of money to start a new business in a lot of ways can sometimes make worse decisions or create worse structures because there’s not that financial pressure that if you get it wrong, you’re gonna go out of business.
  • Speaker 2
    1:00:13

    Right? I saw, I like read an article where someone talked about the boondoggle that was quibi, like a bad swing in entertainment. And I I just find that quibi example hilarious because, you know, if quibi were inside of Apple or Amazon, it would still exist. It would still be putting out shows, and people would probably be touting these weird metrics to talk about how effective it is for all the things they did. You know, we saw that with Snapchat for years was pushing how well its originals were doing, then they quietly shut down the whole business because clearly, like, no matter how well they were doing, they weren’t actually making money.
  • Speaker 2
    1:00:48

    I read one article that is a little vague on details, but it implied that Twitch has never actually made money for Amazon. And it’s been there for eight years. Mhmm. So it’s Twitch lost more money than Quibi. We have no idea.
  • Speaker 2
    1:01:02

    We know Quibi burned through its cat, its cash pile. But does that mean it had a worse strategy than Twitch has? Again, they’re losing the same amount of money. So this is and I know for you, you’re talking about what’s good, but I write for, you know, fellow people who work in the industry as like a strategy analyst, and that’s why I really try and hold two separate ideas, essentially, that, this quad chart of, who’s in a really good situation and who is a really good strategy? And who’s in a bad situation and who is a bad strategy?
  • Speaker 2
    1:01:29

    Presumably, they’re gonna go right out of business. But I think it’s that’s like an interesting those are two different issues, and I just don’t think we need to confuse them. Because otherwise you lead to people making bad decisions.
  • Speaker 1
    1:01:43

    Yeah. Yeah. And again, that’s kind of the point of this show. This is a business of showbiz. This is a this is what we talk about here.
  • Speaker 1
    1:01:51

    Yep. Hopefully, everyone enjoys it. Alright. That is that is, everything I wanted to ask you, what what what do you think folks should should know as you know, I like to close by asking if there’s anything I should have asked? What should folks know about state of streaming, winners, losers, what people should be looking for?
  • Speaker 1
    1:02:06

    What’s what’s up?
  • Speaker 2
    1:02:07

    I’ll go off the board. I think I did piracy last time I was on. So again, The industry keeps failing to address piracy, so I’m not gonna mention that again. But if I were making the, you know, four horsemen of the apocalypse piracy would be on there, I would also put the streaming. It’s just not as valuable as business model, but the third one, whichever in a few times about, would be AI, which I know has been discussed, on, like, across the movie aisle.
  • Speaker 2
    1:02:33

    It’s been discussed everywhere. Only caution I would make is just not to make predictions about how good or bad AI is gonna be. Especially if you say AI is never gonna improve because I listened to a podcast last year. Where someone’s like, when is AI gonna be able, I’ll I’ll click, make me a scene, and out pops a scene. And he’s like, that might be years away.
  • Speaker 2
    1:02:54

    And the answer, and this was a podcast from May of last year, and the answer was like February of this year. So AI is gonna be fascinating. I think we’re gonna see a lot of its uses on YouTube amongst creators first because it’s gonna lower cost. But that’s the issue I remain I am definitely looking at. But the other concern I have with it is really gonna be on the cost side because people are spending a fortune.
  • Speaker 2
    1:03:18

    And in some cases, the numbers people describe are more than, you know, the entertainment industry makes in a year. So if that’s what your costs are, then people aren’t gonna be able to use your programs to make these videos. So I’m I’m fascinated by AI and it’s the one that with piracy, I think we should be talking about like every month or two months or three months in the entertainment sphere because it’s easy to forget about them, especially piracy, but they’re all big and important.
  • Speaker 1
    1:03:45

    Yeah. Alright. Thank you to the entertainment strategy guy for, for coming on with me. I I will include links to the the things we discussed, make sure you sign up for his, newsletter. It is, one of the, one of the, one of my must reads every, every week.
  • Speaker 1
    1:04:04

    So I am always happy to get you on. Appreciate it.
  • Speaker 2
    1:04:06

    And, thanks for having me.
  • Speaker 1
    1:04:09

    Alright. Once again, my name is Sunny Bunch. I am your editor at the Bulwark, and I will be back next week with another episode of the Bulwark Coast of Hollywood. We’ll see you guys