from dysfunction loop department
We’ve noted many times that as the streaming sector grows and consolidates, it’s exposing the same problems we saw in traditional, crappy, cable TV. Because of Wall Street’s need to deliver improved quarterly earnings at all costs, they are doing things that are common in the traditional cable sector that they have criticized and disrupted in the past (see Netflix password exchange cash).
Elsewhere we see the consequences of mindless consolidation leading to other problems. For example, in the case of the AT&T/Time Warner/Discovery mess, a series of completely pointless mergers that significantly worsened the bottom line while also leading to thousands of job cuts, price hikes, companies too cheap to pay artists’ residuals, writer’s strikes, and widespread distribution. anxiety and restlessness.
Warner Brother Discovery has been too cheap to pay artist residuals, resulting in many popular shows being dropped by the company.
HBO: The ultimate streaming platform. We’re seeing the same thing with Disney+, which has apparently proven unable to keep shows they’ve recently released, like Willow , online and available to a handful of customers via streaming.
The reason given to us is that the same giant media conglomerates that spent hundreds of billions of dollars on pointless megagames, and received tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks for doing absolutely nothing, suddenly unable to afford to pay their writers a living wage or keep shows like Willow available to consumers;
Broadcasters like Disney+, in many cases, have to continually pay rights holders and content creators to keep their content on their platforms, but often that content is viewed by very few people and does not lead to new subscriptions. As such, these businesses see layoffs as an obvious way to save money in troubled times.
The layoffs come as corporations once again flex their muscles in the wake of a brief shift of power to the workforce during peak COVID. As the story goes, this kind of belt-tightening only makes sense given the “tumultuous times” and supposed recession (?) waiting in the wings. You are lucky to have a job. Sit down and be quiet.
In fact, ditching your own streaming catalog is just one of several ruthless decisions made by bean counters who are no strangers to wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on failed luxury theme parks and massive mega-mergers, but somehow now can’t afford to keep the user. : access to a relative handful of niche programming.
So who decides which shows get the boot? Bean counters, basically who calculate the cost of moving library content based on how much is paid for balances, subscriptions, and royalties. That’s weighed against views and a title’s ability to attract more subscribers, like The Office on Peacock, and generate less excitement. Before Showtime’s dumping titles, Chris McCarthy, president/CEO of Showtime and Paramount Media, said “we will divest from areas that are underperforming and that account for less than 10% of our views.”
But again, it’s not just lesser-known shows like Willow getting the axe. Sesame Street and other popular children’s programs were shown the door. Mad Magazine was an early victim of the merger craze. There’s logic-based belt-tightening, and then there’s that just being cheap.
Usually lost in the conversation are all the endless promises of “unspeakable synergies” that have accompanied decades of mindless media consolidation. The synergies that should have made these companies lean and nimble long ago. In fact, that consolidation has instead created a massive, wasteful mess, fraught with consistent managerial inefficiency, that increasingly grips the industry;
On Tuesday morning, subscribers complained on social media that they were having trouble accessing Max, which replaces the three-year-old HBO Max service. According to users, the problems have spread to the Max.com website as well as mobile apps, including iOS and connected TV apps for Roku and Samsung TV.
It’s growth for growth’s sake. Change for the sake of change. And making deals for the sake of deals. Usually just to generate tax write-offs and allow incompetent media executives to fail to the top pretending to be savvy businessmen.
You’ll notice how much money wasted on pointless consolidation, pointless mega deals, and consistent management incompetence kind of gets lost in the weeds when it comes time to explain why streaming catalogs are shrinking, prices are going up, writers can’t get paid. , and reductions around. But harmful and often pointless consolidation remains the main reason why streaming is slowly turning into the dreaded segment of cable TV it once derided.
Filed Under: cable tv, merges, streaming, streaming tv, video, wall street, willow, writers
Companies: Warner Bros. discovery