Rounding up a few stories from the last few days that have gotten my attention.
Compiled while thinking about how we’re in like the 17th news cycle of the “Elon Musk might buy Twitter with money he doesn’t have for purposes that are unclear and with a mindset that seems pulled straight from 2003” story.
The Streaming Wars Enter The “We Do Not Have Troops in Cambodia” Phase
The first interesting bit of data to hit on this front was a Nielsen survey reporting how nearly half of all streaming customers are overwhelmed by the amount of content on the services they subscribe to. While it also states those customers aren’t planning to scale back on those services, many also want some sort of bundling that would make it easier for them to choose what they have access to, something Disney already does with Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.
Those are interesting numbers, but the fact that Netflix reported losing 200,000 subscribers in the most recent quarter indicates there’s a ceiling that’s being bumped into, especially when you remember Disney+ added almost 12 million subscribers in the quarter ending January 1st of this year.
It’s another reminder that the theory of infinite growth that powers investor expectations just isn’t realistic, especially in what’s now a mature market where people are making choices based on content and UX as opposed to significant product innovation. And Netflix keeps canceling popular/well-reviewed series and reducing the rest of its catalog even while raising prices, actively honking off the audience.
As an example of the latter point, things like “adding an ad-supported tier” and “cracking down on password sharing” are now considered market innovation.
Plus, Netflix now finds itself in the position of the one streamer not aligned with a legacy media company/production studio. It used to benefit from that independence, but now it’s regularly shedding popular catalog titles as studios launch their own platforms.
Post-Lockdown Theatrical Audiences Are Extremely Picky
It’s not necessarily that Netflix (and streaming in general) killed action movies, romantic comedies or any other genre’s chances for theatrical box office success.
It’s more that audiences these days, with all the choices available to them, can only focus on one movie in theaters at a time.
Many weekends this year have seen the #1 movie at the domestic box-office gross twice or more what the #2 movie brought in.
So you can guess which movie will win the weekend based on the volume of press coverage more than anything.
Also, while it’s seemingly positive that the average movie ticket price hasn’t increased since 2019, inflation means people are having to weigh whether that $9.17 isn’t better spent on increasingly expensive gasoline, food and other necessities as opposed to luxuries like a movie at the theater.
People have lost jobs and seen their incomes fall in real dollars, not just the value of those dollars, over the last two years, so that’s of course going to impact how they decide to spend their money.
And even with price hikes, that $9.17 goes further and offers more options – many of which are totally “good enough” – when applied to a Netflix or other streaming subscription, though it’s still more than what customers think is a reasonable price for such subscriptions.
You Want to Prioritize Superman, You Say?
This is at least the third “Warner Bros. wants to reorganize DC Entertainment and find a Feige-like film head” story I’ve read in the last 10 years but I’m sure this time something will actually happen that won’t be undone in six months by a new studio head and/or how one movie underperforms compared to expectations.