The Last Ask

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Well, this is it, the last appeal from me for you to subscribe. After this, well, it’s on you. And we’re going back to our regular writing schedule.

In case you need it, here’s a handful of reasons about why you to take the plunge and support us.

More Subscribers Will Make This Product Better

I’ll say this: we don’t want to beg. 

This may change, if we don’t get the subscribers we need, but I’m confident that you’ll show up in big enough numbers to allow me to keep this website running and churning out great content for a long time. And we’re well on our way to that goal.

Plus, this isn’t like a Patreon campaign where, if we hit a certain number of subscribers, I’ll promise extra features. Frankly, between the Streaming Ratings Report, my Ankler column, and alternating between a “Visual of the Week” and the “Most Important Story of the Week” column, frankly, I’m about at my writing limit.

That said, careful, eagle-eyed readers may have noticed the key word in an earlier sentence. Not “I” but “we”. Why should you subscribe?

Because I’m not a one man team anymore. 

I have a researcher assistant/editor/co-writer who’s been with me working part-time for the last few months. If I’m successful launching this paywall, they join the team full-time, which means more data collection, more analysis, and better insights for you. 

We also have a copy editor who’s been volunteering time to help us; we’d like to pay him too. 

The more people that I can hire to work on this website/newsletter with me, the better that everything gets, from the writing to the website design to the amount of data we can crunch to how good the visuals look and more. Building out my team will allow us to collect more data, from more sources, to make a more accurate report. And guarantee its timeliness.

I don’t want to promise extra features, but I can promise that, the more people subscribe, this report will only get better.

So please subscribe!

Entertainment Journalism Needs Independent Voices

As long time readers know, there’s one political issue I’m very, very passionate about: Antitrust. 

I love markets. I love lots of buyers and lots of sellers creating an actual marketplace, which after decades of consolidation, is not the case in countless markets in America right now.

For example, in “the trades”.

The entertainment press has its own antitrust problem. Right now, the same corporate overlord, Penske Media Corporation, owns, operates, or has a controlling stake in the three major industry trades (The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Deadline) along with other websites like IndieWire, TVLine, Rolling Stone, Gold Derby, Billboard and more!

The entertainment press needs more independent voices and upstarts, especially if they challenge the dominant media assumptions. 

Why should you subscribe? To support independent voices in the entertainment press.

You Won’t Find My Focus on Business Strategy Anywhere Else

I think I do two things differently than everyone else.

The first is that I provide comprehensive analysis of streaming ratings. If you want to know more about that, read this article or this one. 

My other focus is on business strategy. Ostensibly, so does a lot of the business press and the entertainment trades. But sometimes they get distracted by shiny new startups or gossipy stories about what insiders said about what executive. This industry has probably seen more upheaval and change than at any time in its history over the last few years; this makes carefully considered strategy analysis—that avoids clickbait—more important than ever.

Every executive in Hollywood should be reading the smartest, best voices on this subject. And not just executives, but everyone, from the entertainment guilds to reporters to talent.

My Analysis is Pretty Damn Good (Or The “I Called It On Netflix” Reason)

I don’t like touting myself. 

Perhaps this is a humble brag, but I don’t like bragging about myself and what I’ve gotten right. Perhaps it’s just residual annoyance at the 2000s biggest, loudest Hollywood pundit constantly saying, “Toldja!” but I just don’t want to do it. 

That said…

Most of entertainment journalism got the Netflix story wrong. For years.

I didn’t. 

I looked at Netflix’s business models, balance sheets and strategies and saw trouble coming. Years ago. And I looked at the entire industry’s focus on streaming—at the expense of profitable business models—and expressed my skepticism. 

This was the biggest, most impactful change in the entertainment industry in a generation, probably since the rise of the cable TV and yet, almost all of the coverage of Netflix from 2015 to 2021 was uniformly positive, if not down right cheerleader-y. Until last year, it was very, very hard to find anyone who would express any skepticism about Netflix, its wild spending, its struggle to turn a profit, or its questionable outlook for the future. 

If anything, it was the opposite. The storyline—in December 2021!!!!—was that, with Squid Game, they were the most dominant streamer/media company in the world and anyone who disagreed wasn’t just pushing back against them, but against the future.

It’s not just Netflix. This lack of criticism even applied to CNN+, an obviously, ludicrously expensive boondoggle that anyone could see coming, but as one media pundit said, no one wants to pour cold water on a bunch of well-paid Hollywood professionals getting jobs. Even MoviePass got remarkably positive coverage for an entity hemorrhaging money.

Put the “Analyst” Back in Analysis

One major reason that a lot of people called it wrong on Netflix is because they have sources. At Netflix. (Or Disney. Or wherever.) And reporters don’t want to anger their sources. And it’s pretty obvious that many top level execs regularly dish scoops to powerful reporters, hamstringing those reporters from reporting accurately on their companies.

For me, I’m deliberately not courting sources inside of corporations because I don’t want it to color my analysis. That’s an intentional choice. I even get nervous when I find out that the people I’m writing about read what I’ve written—it’s happened twice in the last two months, where Ive found out that the CEOs of major studios liked what I wrote—for fear it’ll affect my writing. 

In exchange, well, I need you. I need you to subscribe to keep this independence going.

I Admit When I’m Wrong

A few months ago, I started a new feature tracking what I get right and what I get wrong, based on Twitter feedback and emails from readers pointing out my mistakes. If you’re wrong, you should say so. (I think your readers will probably trust you more.)

If you anointed Squid Game’s success as the story of the year in December, 2021, then you probably owe your readers and listeners an explanation for what you missed just four months later. And blaming Wall Street investors for being capricious doesn’t cut it. (Because that’s the sort of thing you should have seen coming…They’ve always been that way) 

For example, I thought the FTC would take a hardline on the Amazon-MGM acquisition. I was way wrong, and explained why. And will do so again when I’m surely wrong again. But I’ll tell you about it. As I often say, the voices who insist they’ve never been wrong are the ones most likely leading you astray.

So One Last Time…

Subscribe here if you’re interested in supporting us and to help us keep up this great work.

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

The Entertainment Strategy Guy

Former strategy and business development guy at a major streaming company. But I like writing more than sending email, so I launched this website to share what I know.


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