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Business Features

That Was My Idea! How Hollywood Is Avoiding Story Theft Claims

A ragtag group of misfits, each with their own unique skill, bands together to pull off a high-stakes con. Depending on your preferences and streaming subscriptions, the film that comes to mind could be the 1955 classic Rififi, this year’s DreamWorks animated comedy The Bad Guys or any of the dozens of other heist movies […]

David Zaslav’s Hollywood Doctrine: “Make Sure We Get Paid”

In 2015, David Zaslav compared the industrywide rush to scripted TV to a kids’ soccer game — all players are clumped around the ball, while the rest of the field is wide open. “It’s quite crowded, it’s pretty expensive, and it’s looking more and more like the movie business,” the then-Discovery CEO said, explaining why […]

Instagram’s TikTok Identity Crisis: Focusing on Reels Isn’t Working

Instagram is having an identity crisis. The once-cool social platform that helped usher in the rise of the “influencer” signaled an impending shift last summer when its chief, Adam Mosseri, proclaimed Instagram was “no longer a photo-sharing app.” Citing the “stiff competition” coming from TikTok and YouTube, the executive said Instagram would lean into video […]

Hollywood’s Recession Hedge: Lean on IRL Businesses

For much of Hollywood, things are looking rough right now. Streaming subscriptions seem to be stalling, with Netflix reporting subscriber losses for the second straight quarter (the first time that’s happened) and NBCUniversal’s Peacock flat on growth quarter-to-quarter. Advertising is in worse shape, with Apple, Roku, Snap and Meta seeing a slowdown in spend and […]

As Feds Take Aim at Books Megadeal, Their Tactics May Be Used Against Hollywood

Federal antitrust enforcement has typically been considered through the lens of consumers. The logic goes, if a megamerger leads to lower prices and more choices, then it’s good for competition and good for the economy. Conversely, if it leads to higher prices and fewer choices, then it’s bad for competition and bad for the economy. […]

Pro Sports’ Dilemma: Ownership or Rich TV Rights Deals?

For the major U.S. sports leagues, changing viewer habits and lucrative TV deals are giving way to a happy dilemma: Do they forge a direct relationship with fans? Or do they lean on their media partners to help them win the streaming wars? Increasingly, the answer seems to be both. The latest effort to split […]

Marvel’s Movie Math: Comic Creators Claim It’s “Bait and Switch” On Payments

In July 2021, Scarlett Johansson stunned Hollywood with a lawsuit accusing Disney of breach of contract for sending Black Widow day-and-date to Disney+, a move her lawyers said diminished its box office (and the star’s backend compensation). As that legal battle stretched into the summer, two other Black Widow stakeholders were quietly seeking what they […]

Hollywood’s Mirage Earnings Season: Fear That the Worst Isn’t Here Yet

It’s the economy, stupid. The phrase made famous in the 1992 presidential campaign could well be on Wall Street’s mind as entertainment giants report their second-quarter earnings in late July and August. After all, the upcoming quarterly results might not look so bad, as streaming hits like Stranger Things and Obi-Wan Kenobi respectively boost viewership […]

Why That Reality TV Song Sounds Familiar (But Isn’t)

Tune in to a hit reality show these days and you’re likely to hear a trend: songs extolling the empowered, girlboss lifestyle, from artists you’ve probably never heard of. While the reality landscape was once soundtracked by top 40 hits on shows like The Hills, today’s content takes a different approach, relying heavily on music […]

Hollywood’s Chief Diversity Officers Tell All

This is the first in an ongoing series on the status of progress with inclusion in Hollywood. *** Latasha Gillespie remembers having a doctor’s appointment on May 30, 2020. It was five days after George Floyd was suffocated by a police officer, his excruciating nine-minute, 29-second death — captured on video and witnessed by millions […]

Private Equity Money Picks Hollywood as Smart Bet Even in Downturn

Hollywood executives may be worried about a cooling in content spending, but the smart money doesn’t seem to be. Even though companies like Netflix, Warner Bros. Discovery and Disney have indicated that they will be more prudent with their content investments, private equity firms are continuing to invest in entertainment assets at a torrid pace. […]

Bob Chapek’s Sun Valley Challenge: Define His Vision for Disney

This week Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek, joined by dozens of others representing the business and political elite, is in Sun Valley, Idaho, for the annual Sun Valley Conference, hosted by the boutique investment bank Allen & Co. Instead of conducting business next to the wood-paneled walls of the bank’s New York office (many […]