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Everyone In Streaming Is Raising Prices…Why?

The last time I wrote about price increases was last November, when Netflix decided to up their monthly prices by $1. At the time, I thought this was big news because it really signified a change in focus for Netflix. The news that Hulu will raise prices by a similar amount isn’t as groundbreaking, but is a key sign that all of streaming is moving from growth to maturity. So

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Do Sequels Still Work?

Manifest had quite the summer. The show of the summer, if you will. It went from cancelled on NBC—with a cliffhanger—to thriving on Netflix. Most headlines/coverage repeated something along the lines that this proved that Netflix could make hits where broadcasters like NBC had failed. At least, that’s the narrative. But did it? I mean, what do the number say? Did more folks watch more Manifest on Netflix than NBC?

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Three Stories about Theatrical Distribution

Hollywood can have a short memory. All it takes is one good weekend, and suddenly Hollywood is back! Since we went long on Wednesday writing about Apple, app stores and distribution fees, here’s all the other stories that caught my eye in the realm of entertainment business strategy. (Apologies for the slight delay. Sometimes I’m behind finishing my columns. In this case, I forgot to press publish yesterday. Doh. As

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How 30% Can Hyper Charge the Streaming Wars

I hope everyone had a relaxing Labor Day weekend. (Or Monday, if you aren’t in America.) Now that the summer is behind us—with lots of writers/execs taking off for August—maybe some really juicy news stories will drop. In the meantime, I had my eyes on Apple, which made some small, under-publicized, but potentially consequential moves in the streaming wars. (Sign up for my newsletter to get all my columns, streaming

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A Cruel, Cruel Summer (For Non-Netflix Streamers), Plus Did Vivo Flop?

Folks, let’s call it. This is the week that Netflix won the streaming wars. Last week, Netflix owned almost every spot on the TV lists. This week they went even further: they have every TV series on the top Original and Acquired Nielsen lists. This war is over. Kidding!  The war is far from over, and we’ll have a fun and competitive fall. But let’s explain how Netflix took over

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Live TV (er, Non-Sports Live TV) Comes To Streaming!

Sometimes you can immediately recognize certain strategic moves as game changing. The big, obviously huge moves, like AT&T buying Time-Warner. Like NBC announcing Peacock. Like Bob Iger stepping down. You don’t need me to tell you those news stories matter. But if a company is a “collection of decisions”—strategy is choosing what to do and what not to do—a lot of smaller decisions slide under the radar. The story of

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Is All American The New Manifest? No, But That’s a Great Headline

College football returns this week. Will it impact streaming ratings? Probably not. If anything, it’s the reverse: football comes back and broadcast ratings go up! But it got me thinking. Because college football is boring now. The seemingly same four schools go to the College Football Playoffs every year. Boring! (But is it good ratings? ESPN certainly seems to think a few juggernauts drive ratings. Maybe this is a “me”

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European Invasion, Local Productions Are Back, And Other Contenders for Most Important Story of the Week

When you go long writing about OnlyFans, some stuff winds up on the cutting room floor. But let’s not leave it there! Let’s pick it up, dust it off, and give you a bonus 1,200 words of my thoughts on the entertainment strategy of last week. (Sign up for my newsletter to get all my columns, streaming ratings reports, and articles in your inbox.) Almost Most Important Story of the

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Sex Sells, Social Media is Popular and Other Lessons from OnlyFans Changing Strategy

Folks, this week I’m writing outside of my comfort zone. Because sex is on the agenda. And frankly talking about sex is tough. Folks have moral objections to it from the right, moral objections to it from the left, and moral objections from nearly every other perspective too. (Pretty much only libertarians are cool with it.) As a result, most mainstream publications avoid it. Yet I can’t avoid it this week. From

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Is “Twilight Summer” A Good or Bad Sign for Netflix?

In the middle of July, teenage vampire dramas had a moment: Like all things Netflix, the “Twilight takeover” caused a kerfuffle between the warring “Netflix bears” and “Netflix bulls”. Is the online war of words as fierce as the battle between vampires and werewolves à la Twilight? You bet. So is “Twilight takeover” a sign of good things or bad for Netflix? Let’s discuss. (Reminder: The streaming ratings report compiles

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Is 45 (Days) the New 90? Thoughts on the New Theatrical Window

Last year, the big question after Covid-19 shuttered theaters, stopped productions and generally upended the movie industry was, “What comes next?” Specifically, how long would the around-90-days-of-theatrical exclusivity last? With some recent news stories, I think we have an answer.  (Sign up for my newsletter to get all my columns, streaming ratings reports, and articles in your inbox.) Most Important Story of the Week – Disney and Warner Bros Are

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The Handmaid’s Tale is a Hulu Sized Hit…Plus Loki Rocks, Black Widow Drops and Action Flops

– Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale is their biggest show, but that’s only good for the 18th best streaming season among all streamers. – After a great year of action films in 2020, 2021 has seen a few Netflix action films underperform their predecessors. – Loki is the biggest series by “viewership per episode” and maybe Disney’s biggest hit this year. – Black Widow dropped 18% in its second week of

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Is Disney Finally Bigger than Netflix in the US? Yes…

– Disney and Netflix are in the “top tier” of US streaming subscribers, with 69.1 million and 66.8 million respectively. Disney just passed Netflix for top streaming subscriber in the US. – HBO, Prime Video, and Showtime/Paramount+ make up the next tier of streamers.    The latest issue of the Economist features a topic near and dear to my heart, intelligence. Specifically, “open source” intelligence, meaning publicly available data. The

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Is Hello Sunshine the Next Maker Studios or Pluto TV?

– Private equity group Blackstone bought Reese Witherspoon’s production company Hello Sunshine for $500 million in cash at a $900 million valuation. – The best analogy to this deal is Maker Studios, another big payday for a “next generation media company” that failed to deliver on its high payday, leaving Disney “holding the bag”. – By traditional financial metrics, Hello Sunshine is valued at 7-14 times revenue, which is historically

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Marketing Works! Boss Baby Shows the Power of Old Fashioned Campaigns

– The Boss Baby film (on Peacock) drove additional viewership to the Boss Baby TV series (on Netflix). This shows the value of marketing in driving awareness. – Black Widow surpassed Mulan for PVOD viewership in its first weekend. – Virgin River did very strong numbers for Netflix, with 24.2 million hours viewed. – The Tomorrow War and Luca both continue to hold very strong into their second and fourth

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You Can’t Split the “G”

If you’re reading this article, you read the trades. You subscribe to multiple other newsletters. So when Scarlett Johanson sued Disney last week, every Rich, Matt and Lucas (the entertainment journalist equivalents to Tom, Dick and Harry) provided the simple explanation: The big studios are prioritizing stock price over film profitability, and talent is mad. That sentence is 100% true. But there is more to the story. Enough so that

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Is Manifest the “G.O.A.T.” of Streaming?

Here’s a funny feature of NBC’s Olympic coverage: Everyone is the greatest athlete in the history of athletics. I don’t want to call out specific athletes. That’s not nice. But if you watched the introduction, featuring The Rock, you’d be forgiven for thinking that not only were these American athletes the best America has to offer, they were the best athletes to ever step on a sporting field or track

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Welcome to the Entertainment Strategy Guy 2.0

Chatting with Kasey Moore of Whats-on-Netflix a few weeks back, I mentioned that I was thinking about redesigning the Entertainment Strategy Guy website. In my humble opinion, websites should update their look about every three years or so, so I’d been noodling on what it could look like. Kasey mentioned that he could remake the website pretty easily. And he had some ideas. Well, here we are. We have a

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The NBA Final’s Ratings Were Down. Does It Even Matter?

I’m a sports fan. Usually come July, this is a bummer. Because nothing’s on. It’s a barren wasteland with only some baseball to occupy my time.  This year, though, what a wonderland of competition. The delayed NBA Finals filled the sports itch in early July and now I’m binging the Olympics 24/7. (On cable, for those curious.) By the time August starts, we’ll have the NFL and (formerly amateur) college

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Netflix’s Own Data Shows That They Had a Bad Quarter

– Netflix only released four “datecdotes” for film for Q2, one of the lowest totals on record. – In TV, Netflix released 8 datecdotes, and they were generally lower than past quarters. – Luca has the most viewership, according to Nielsen, of any film through its first two weeks, with 28.6 million hours in week 2.   I was as indecisive as a Netflix viewer without a “Play Something” button

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