Matt & Ben re-teaming for new company, likely with former WB head
WBD getting greedy with Ad buyers / NETFLIX + ROKU deal speculation heats up / Chalamet joins NETFLIX Kid Cudi animated series cast
Mornin! This is Sean McNulty and here’s the Hollywood + Media news to know on THURSDAY June 9, 2022.
(NOTE: SUBSTACK is again having major tech “issues” this morning so if you’re getting it late, that’s why. Also the reason if there any errors in this newsletter today naturally)
Where we’ll start with one especially for my fellow old & current HBO folks.
I was in Bryant Park yesterday, and in a sign of the times for the TV / streaming business that couldn’t be more apt… the decades-long home where HBO was built into one of the strongest brands in media history… is now fully stripped and rebuilt as a BANK OF AMERICA building.
I don’t even wanna know what they turned CINEMAX into.
AND: The FOO FIGHTERS will play their first shows without and in tribute to Taylor Hawkins in September. Sept 3 in London at WEMBLEY, and Sept 27 in LA at the KIA Forum. Additional guests TBA.
📽 THE SILVER SCREEN
Their former company was PEARL STREET for many years, and this one is… well, Untitled (was WICKED SMAHT PICTCHAS taken?). But it’s going the en-vogue, private equity funding route from REDBIRD CAPITAL.
No word on the funding size as the details are not quite 100 yet, but former WB PICTURES head Jeff Robinov is in talks to come run it.
Ben just started directing Matt in the biopic of Sonny Vaccaro over at AMAZON this week (aka the guy who built NIKE’s hoops empire with Michael Jordan).
REDBIRD also has stakes in SKYDANCE, Lebron’s SPRING HILL and… the XFL. /Deadline
ALSO IN MOVIES
NETFLIX adds Anthony Hopkins to Zack Snyder’s Sci-Fi pic “Rebel Moon”, although in voice only - he’ll be playing a sentient robot. A robot that sounds like Hannibal Lecter - yeah ok i’m in for that. /Deadline
IN THE HOLLYWOOD EXECUTIVE SUITE
WB PICS COO Carolyn Blackwood is the latest WBD C-suite exec to depart, after a 23 year run at the company. Move not unexpected with the departure of Toby Emmerich, whom she worked alongside for many of those 23 years. /THR
HULU’s ONYX COLLECTIVE names former WME partner Ashley Holland as SVP of Scripted TV, reporting into ONYX head Tara Duncan. 2 other VP’s in scripted hired as well. /Deadline
LIONSGATE Prez & EVP of marketing, Marisa Liston & Dave Edwards are both leaving. No word on next destinations, and replacement search is underway. /Deadline
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📺 THE TV SET
NETLIX adds Timotheé Chalamet, Vanessa Hudgens, Jessica Williams and Macaulay Culkin to “Entergalactic” animated series
It’s from KID CUDI and Kenya Barris and will feature music from his album of the same name. Teaser spot below in the TRAILER HOUSE.
About a young artist (voiced by CUDI) trying to balance life and love. Aren’t we all Scott.... /Variety
ALSO IN TV
HBO buys docu short about former KNICK Jeremy Lin called “38 at the Garden” . It’s also at TRIBECA this week. /Deadline
CBS sets Bill Martin & Mike Schiff as showrunners for “The Neighborhood” Season 5. Both worked with Cedric the Entertainer on his TV LAND show “The Soul Man” and most recently created “The Unicorn” at CBS. /Deadline
📝 IN OTHER WORDS
“I can confidently say that this model in its totality is doing way better than you think.”
- SPOTIFY CEO Daniel Ek at an investors day conference yesterday… not instilling much confidence in me by saying that, and by outlining future business extensions as “X, Y and Z.” #notajoke
Their podcast biz was about $110 Million in the red for 2021, and their CFO said podcast investments would become profitable in “one to two years”. So 2 years.
I actually think SPOTIFY is doing a good job with their business… but I wasn’t hearing a lot specifically about how they’re going to grow from a company who gives the vast majority of their revenue back to the Music Labels… into one with far diversified and impressive other revenue streams where SPOT gets to keep the money. Love the Audiobooks idea… not sure it’s gonna break the bank.
Wall Street felt otherwise when they heard SPOTIFY say “1 Billion users by 2030”… and you know how easily distracted Wall Street gets by big numbers. SPOT stock was up about 7% yesterday.
💻 THE MEDIA BIZ
BUSINESS INSIDER reported that ROKU froze the ability of employees to cash out any vested stock this week which… well, could mean a few things. Or nothing. But the most likely scenario is something’s cooking, and the house money is on NETFLIX. /NextTV
The case for the deal:
NETFLIX needs streaming Ad sales tech know-how, and Ad biz relationships… fast. ROKU’s got both.
ROKU’s annual user growth rate in Q1 fell to 14% vs 35% the year before, and with underlying supply chain & US market saturation issues not going away anytime soon - plus given a quite depressed stock price (-70% vs about a year ago), selling now isn’t a terrible idea for the right price, even if NETFLIX’s appetite for owning the device part of the company is likely not too high.
BUT: NETFLIX’s relationships and penetration in global markets could also help ROKU device growth, which has been primarily US focused to date.
#FunFact - ROKU was created in the 2000’s by a former NETFLIX employee when the company wasn’t interested in building streaming devices.
YES: This is all high speculation….
BUT: If NETFLIX is gonna have an Ad-supported version live within 6 months… a plug-and-play acquisition of a company already well versed in that biz makes the most sense, vs. building an internal Ad sales team and Ad-Tech Engineer group from scratch.
ROKU’s worth about $14 Billion these days, NETFLIX is standing around $90 Billion.
ROKU stock was +9% yesterday.
WBD is asking for 2X the Ad rate price hikes that other Media co’s are asking for in Upfront negotiations
They’re also withholding placements in their top content unless advertisers agree to very large Ad buys across networks. Madison Avenue is not happy. And from the sounds of it - not agreeing to said terms (as of yet).
AGAIN - Zaz’s promised $3 Billion in cost efficiencies from the WBD deal has to kick in from a lotta places… /Variety
ALSO IN MEDIA
CNN Digital’s interim head Alex McCallum is leaving on June 30. She previously was GM for CNN+ before moving into the “interim” title when… well I think you know what happened. CNN Digital CTO Robyn Peterson is also leaving. /Variety
🏦 STOCK NOTES:
ROKU and SPOTIFY were the big movers but…
BUZZFEED kept on… not truckin, -5% ($2.16)
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👩💻 NEW TO WATCH:
HBOMAX “Roadrunner” - The Bourdain doc from last year hits the streaming service… ok yes this is mainly a reminder for me to add to my List.
PEACOCK “Queer as Folk” reboot
The infamous Saudi (Government) backed “LIV Golf Tournament” tees off in the UK with all the PGA golfers they could buy (Mickelson & Dustin Johnson took the $150-$200 Million paydays… with DJ leaving the PGA yesterday. Tiger & Rory passed) .
But the tournament has no US TV deal so you can only watch it on FACEBOOK or YOUTUBE - like any true world-class athletic league.
🎥 TRAILER HOUSE
HULU “Mike” limited series teaser - Bioseries on Mike Tyson that Tyson has already thoroughly denounced, from the producing braintrust behind “I, Tonya”. PREMIERES THU AUG 25.
WB “Black Adam” movie trailer - The Rock’s DC pic, and I suppose I get the character… but not really sure what this is about. Then again I’m not the target demo here so I’m guessing the fanboys are more excited. IN THEATERS OCT 21
APPLE TV+ “Blackbird” series trailer - This is certainly on brand for the guy who gave us “Mystic River”…. New Dennis Lehane series (although funny how this trailer really felt more like it was a movie to me), inspired by a true story of a felon convinced to befriend a mentally unstable guy who kills young women in order to get a confession. Also with Ray Liotta, looks very good… intense, but good. And a solid role for Taron Egerton in the lead. PREMIERES FRI JULY 8
NETFLIX “Dirty Daddy: The Bob Saget Tribute” trailer - Recorded at the Comedy Store soon after his death, Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Jeff Ross, John Mayer and Stamos among others. PREMIERES TOMORROW
NETFLIX “Entergalactic” teaser spot - the KID CUDI show from the TV SET section today. PREMIERES “This Fall”
🎧 PLAYING ME OFF
Let’s throw it back over to KID CUDI for some classic “Day N’ Nite” … club mix to go out on today, if only for PAULY D.
If you need some new tunes:
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