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The CAA/ICM Merger is Easy to Explain: Size = Power

We’re switching things up this week. Since Nielsen delayed this week’s streaming ratings data, you’ll get the “Most Important Story of the Week” column today, and the “Streaming Ratings Report” on Monday. Sound good? If so, then onto the big story of the week, which I’ve been itching to write about since last week. (As always, sign up for my newsletter to get all my columns, streaming ratings reports, and

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Hulu Is Going Streaking: Only Murders In the Building is Hulu’s Third Successful Show in a Row

To quote Will Ferrell in Old School, Hulu is going streaking! Specifically, they’ve launched their second successful TV series in August. Toss in an okay film performance and The Handmaid’s Tale’s good run, and they’ve had a successful summer. Of course, a Hulu “success” isn’t a Netflix success, or even a Disney+ success. Let’s explain that, plus look at Cinderella’s debut on Prime Video. (Reminder: The streaming ratings report compiles

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Triple IATSE: Why a Hard To Pronounce Workers Guild May Control the Fate of the Streaming Wars

Last Monday, as I was assembling the flotsam and jetsam of news stories that compiled the week of news that was, I noticed a trio of stories about unions in Hollywood. SAG-AFTRA elected a new president, the Writer’s Guild East had a fight over its future, and then a little story about IATSE—the catch-all guild for “below the line” workers in Hollywood—was contemplating a strike. But I cut that little

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A Streaming Royale Rumble: Who Won Cruella, He’s All That or Vacation Friends?

Folks, last week I promised you a show down of straight-to-streaming films, and by golly, we got it. Given the datecdotes, Nielsen ratings and creative auspices of the films involved, the battle lived up to the hype. (Reminder: The streaming ratings report compiles data from Nielsen’s weekly top ten viewership ranks, Netflix datecdotes, Top Ten lists, Google Trends and IMDb to determine the most popular content. While most data points

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Manning the Booth…Is This the Future of Broadcasting?

Jerry Seinfeld had a terrific joke about the news: somehow there was always enough for the daily newspaper. Never more, never less. Well, the internet blew that up by magnitudes. It turns out we–as a society/community–can crank out tons of words on anything. But is it all “news”? Maybe? Probably not.  Take my newsletter. I put out one column each week on the business of entertainment. And somehow there is

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Can Disney’s Weekly Releases Keep Up With Netflix’s Binges?

Let me level with you: if Netflix took over the entire rankings list for another week—like they did the last two weeks—I probably would have quit. That level of dominance ceases to be impressive and just starts to be boring. (Fine, I wouldn’t have actually quit. But I would have complained.) It reminds me of why I like the NFL. Sure, the NFL has its dynasties—the Patriots and Chiefs come

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Thoughts on Comparing Manifest to You, Serialized Content and the The Craziest Theory Yet about Manifest

Inspired by DVDs of old, whenever I dig into a particularly juicy topic—especially for another outlet—I write up a director’s commentary article for my own website.  (Speaking of which, how does Disney+ not have director’s commentary versions of every MCU film? You’re telling me a cut of Avengers: Endgame with Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth doesn’t do crazy numbers? Or Kevin Feige with the Russo Brothers? Seriously

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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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