By Peter White for Deadline:
Netflix plans to launch its advertising tier in early 2023, but not all of the shows that are currently streaming on the service will make the cut.
Obviously, they’ll still be offering all of their original content, as confirmed by the article, but this is a peculiar licensing issue. Either these studios don’t want their shows played with ads or there needs to be a new deal struck anytime the status quo changes. I’m betting on the second one. Rarely are things simple when media companies are involved.
Or there’s some mystery third reason. Your guess is as good as mine there; I’m no industry insider.
I’m certain this ad-supported tier will actually be a boon for Netflix—their pricing is exceptionally high and this new tier should be far more affordable. It’ll be great for people who can stand ads playing during their shows and movies.
I’m not one of those people.
Limiting the number of available shows probably isn’t going to make someone interested in this new tier think twice about signing up. It’s not going to convince me to downgrade, though. Fewer content options and unskippable ads? That sounds like a nightmare. No thank you, sir!
On top of all this, Netflix has been losing subscribers (albeit at a slower rate than predicted), so I’ll be curious to see how this new shake-up shakes out.
I’ve never been more happy to be on Micro.blog.
I often try to think about what I can do to make the world a better place.
I was reminded of a serious problem recently: Why don’t the number of hot dog buns in a package ever match the number of hot dogs you can get? Six buns to eight dogs? Madness.
What better way to improve the world than create a company that ends this madness once and for all? Coming soon: The eight bun package! Sure to revolutionize barbecues everywhere and make the world just a little bit nicer.
Discovery completed its $43 billion acquisition of WarnerMedia from AT&T on Friday to form new company Warner Bros. Discovery, Variety has confirmed.
WarnerMedia owns HBO, HBO Max, CNN, Warner Bros., DC Films, New Line Cinema, TBS, TNT, TruTV, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim, Turner Sports and Rooster Teeth, among other brands, and is part owner of the CW Network along with Paramount.
Discovery is the parent of Discovery Plus, Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, Turbo/Velocity, Animal Planet, Science Channel and OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).
What’s going to happen now will be, to say the least, mysterious and interesting. Here’s hoping that they can keep everything in their respective lanes. I don’t care to see a bunch of gritty, HBO-style reality shows.
Gabrielle Sanchez, writing for The A.V. Club,
Speaking about her own injuries as Batwoman, Rose explained that she underwent emergency surgery for two herniated discs, with doctors telling her she could have been paralyzed.
The actor said she was required to return to work 10 days after her surgery, with [Warner Bros. TV executive Peter] Roth telling her the crew would lose their jobs and it would cost the studio millions if she did not promptly return. She also alleged Roth hired a private investigator to trail her after she left the show.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s a terrible thing to read, and what happened to her is inexcusable. Combined with the recent story about the grotesque treatment Gal Gadot received from Joss Whedon during the reshoots of Justice League, and a clearer picture starts to form. See also: Ray Fisher’s hellish time on the same set.
It’s more evident than ever that Warner Bros. and the people running it are rotten to the core. It’s a damn shame. The company has a long history of bringing great entertainment to audiences for decades. I have serious doubts that anything there will change unless they raze it all to the ground and start over again.
The WarnerMedia-Discovery merger continues to roll along. Say hello to Warner Bros. Discovery!
A less creative and exciting name there could not be, but I guess that’s not the point. I can’t wait for the upcoming app which will surely be named: HBO Discovery Max+.
Speaking of AT&T and its acquisition of Time Warner, and therefore also HBO, the whole deal has always disappointed me.
On the one hand, HBO Max has done well for AT&T. It got 4.1 million new signups in its first month of existence, which is nothing to sneeze at. Even more impressive is that it’s accomplished this while demanding $15 a month, making it one of the most expensive streaming services available. By all accounts, it’s a big success for AT&T. No doubt it was helped along by the COVID pandemic; when we’re all stuck at home, it helps to have excellent and fresh programming to consume.
The decision to premiere feature films that otherwise would have been theater exclusives on the service was another boon for them. Sure, it upset many people involved with both the entertainment and theater industries, but their objections were never going to sway business daddy AT&T. Until HBO Max starts losing money, nothing will deter them from their present course.
On the other hand, HBO as we knew it before the acquisition is gone and will likely never return. The blame for that lies entirely on the shoulders of AT&T’s CEO, John Stankey.1 In an incredibly detailed and well-researched CNBC article, Alex Sherman details the rocky process of this acquisition. The article boils down to this quote from a former HBO executive:
If HBO stood for anything, it was making a product for the customer, not the advertiser. It’s not as though John is unpleasant. He doesn’t throw stuff. He just knows much less about television than he thinks and won’t be debated.
Is Time Warner and HBO’s acquisitions by AT&T good for business, or at least the business of AT&T? Undoubtedly. This opens up a bevy of new revenue opportunities, which will, in turn, make the bottom line of the telecommunication giant look great. However, I don’t believe this will improve the quality of the content that’ll appear on HBO Max in the coming years. HBO was doing just fine without AT&T’s heavy, leading hand before the acquisition. You can expect the familiar HBO quality to get watered down as AT&T spreads the focus to areas that have never mattered to past HBO. In an interview with Jillian Morgan at Realscreen, executive vice-president of original non-fiction and kids programming, Jennifer O’Connell, says:
There is a ton of weight on unscripted… We’re doing dating, we’re doing social experiments, we have competition shows, we have really big competition shows… That is an area that, for example, our colleagues at HBO, they are not necessarily in that space so deeply, so it’s very rich, very fertile ground for us to dig into.
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with unscripted programming. It’s enormously popular for a reason—people flock to those shows in droves. However, it was never HBO’s area of interest. AT&T doesn’t care about that history. It cares about making money, and there’s a lot of money to be made in unscripted, non-HBO style content.
If you’re looking for a future replacement for HBO, the service that’s making the strongest play is Apple TV+. Netflix has become flooded with content that’s aimed at appealing to the broadest number of viewers. A service like Hulu has an advertising-supported pricing tier, meaning their content is ultimately beholden to other entities. Disney+ has shown that they’re interested in telling unique stories, but they’re doing it off the springboard of their massive library of previously made content.
The only service out there that’s charting a unique course is Apple TV+. They’re walking the HBO path of debuting movies and shows that will, over time, grow to be a body of impressive work that’s all their own. They’re going to stumble along the way—even HBO was never perfect—but they’ll catch themselves and improve on their mistakes. They’ve invested too much money already to just ditch all their hard work. I’m looking forward to seeing where they’ll go.
It’s just a damn shame about HBO.
UPDATE: From a 9to5Mac article published on April 13, 2021: Apple TV+ features the highest-rated content of any streaming service, study says. Seems like Apple TV+ is already beginning to deliver on my estimation of it being the new HBO.
I’m going to put aside the baffling issue of a telecommunications company deciding to purchase a visual media company for now. Nonetheless, it’s a strange pairing. Should the quality of the content available on HBO Max begin to degrade, surely this business arrangement will be the culprit. ↩︎
Suhauna Hussain and Jenny Jarvie reporting for Los Angeles Times:
Over half of the 3,215 employees who cast ballots by mail since early February voted against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which led the effort to unionize employees at the facility in Bessemer, Ala., according to a preliminary tally Friday overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.
What a damn shame. This could have been something positive, not just for the employees at this particular Alabama warehouse and not just for all Amazon employees, but for workers everywhere. Instead, it suggests that it’s okay for the heavy boot of all too powerful corporations to remain on the backs of the people those corporations need the most—their employees.
On the other hand, perhaps the exposure this unionizing effort has gained is still a good step in the right direction.
I wasn’t alive when labor unions were at their peak in this country, but I would hazard an educated guess that things were better back then. At the very least, more progress was made than it is now.
The public vote count came after more than a week of the labor board reviewing and certifying each ballot cast behind closed doors, with representatives from both the union and Amazon contesting the eligibility of some ballots. The union said about 500 ballots total had been challenged, largely by Amazon. The union said it intends to challenge the results.
We’ll see what comes of that.