Is the Studio star system dead? Not at Netflix. Back in the golden years of Hollywood, an actor could carve out a great living being attached to a single studio who would then cast them in a whole bunch of its productions.
The success of Ali Wong on Netflix indicates that we may soon see a rise in ‘vertical integration’ of talent like the comedian who has found huge success on the platform with her stand-up comedy special Baby Cobra, voicing a lead character in animated show Tuca & Bertie, and now is starring in the film she co-wrote Always Be My Maybe.
And speaking of the highly-rated Chernobyl, Vanity Fair takes a look at the show alongside new Netflix mini When They See Us and asks whether we are in an era of ‘Must endure TV’. These are shows that are not about our entertainment, but rather are designed to keep us in our seats to witness the horrors of our past in an effort to shake us out of our complacent modern day malaise.
Transparent will end with a two-hour finale. And now we have a trailer (but still no release date):
With talk brewing about a CBS/Viacom merger (which is interesting in itself as they are owned by the same parent company National Amusements), boss Shari Redstone has commented on the need to bring the companies together in an effort to scale up. Viacom’s media holdings are primarily tied up with cable TV legacy brands like MTV and Comedy Central, while CBS is a highly successful broadcaster. Both sections of the business look doomed if they continue on their current trajectory. But, team them up and invest in their digital futures and you just might have a company strong enough to hold its own against the other media giants (ie Disney, Netflix, and Amazon).
Another company consolidating all of its media assets in an effort to scale up is WarnerMedia which will soon launch its own streaming video service to stay relevant against Netflix and Disney. But WarnerMedia has a problem: What can they charge the audience?
Potential subscribers can get incredible value from just one streaming service at a low price point, so to get any traction in the market, it’s difficult to price too far beyond a Netflix subscription price. So, you’re looking at the $15 mark. The problem for WarnerMedia is that their content jewel in the crown is HBO and, wait for it… they’re already charging customers $15 for it.
How does WarnerMedia monetise the service it wants to launch, which will include HBO content, while also keeping all of its traditional cable TV partnerships happy? It’s a difficult tightrope that I sense Warners is going to need to blindly jump off if they want to make this work.