Bob Iger, Disney CEO: The Sequel — Five Issues Iger Must Address

At the September 2022 Code Conference, we asked Bob Iger, then-former Disney CEO, what legacy media companies can do as the broadcast and cable network businesses enter secular decline. He responded: “That’s [the cable networks and broadcast business entering secular decline] why everybody’s anxious. That’s why I call it the age of great anxiety because the businesses that formed the underpinning of our traditional media and entertainment world or space or industry are facing competition unlike competition they ever faced … Continue reading Bob Iger, Disney CEO: The Sequel — Five Issues Iger Must Address

Dissecting Zaslav: Malone is Betting on Team Zaslav, Should Investors?

We asked Liberty’s Dr. John Malone at Liberty’s 2022 Investor Day yesterday, why he remains confident in Warner Bros. Discovery given investor fear it is effectively an LBO gone bad, as the legacy media sector faces the double-whammy of secular (affiliate fee) headwinds and a cyclical economic (advertising) downturn. Malone responded stating: “Well, I think the number one thing that gives me confidence is the management. I have enormous confidence in David Zaslav and his guys having seen the integration … Continue reading Dissecting Zaslav: Malone is Betting on Team Zaslav, Should Investors?

First Impressions of Netflix Advertising Tier Launch

Netflix’s ad tier went live in the US at noon EST yesterday, with the announcement on Netflix’s Twitter account embedded to the right. The Netflix homepage updated at the same time (as shown in the screenshot embedded at the top of this post), with the new wording: “Plans now start at $6.99.” When you click to sign up, you are presented with… Continue reading

Do Brian, David and Shari Need to Pick a Lane: Streaming or Arms Dealer?

Everything Netflix, Amazon Prime and Apple TV+ create flows to their direct-to-consumer streaming services, with the only question being whether movies have a short stop in theaters before streaming. None sell content to third parties. Disney is similar to their tech peers in keeping everything for internal exploitation, albeit with the additional complexity of deciding whether TV content should flow to broadcast or cable networks first before streaming along with a flexible approach to theatrical release and streaming movies. On … Continue reading Do Brian, David and Shari Need to Pick a Lane: Streaming or Arms Dealer?

Podcast: Will Zaslav and Warner Bros. Discovery Eat or Be Eaten?

Earlier this week, a podcast interview of Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav was released. The podcast was recorded in mid-September 2022. Key highlights from the 50-minute interview are included below with timestamps followed by our reaction to each (entire podcast is embedded below). Listening to the interview it is hard not to walk away believing AT&T had great timing in their sale of WarnerMedia (there should be a clawback in WBD’s banker fees) and the unspoken reality is that … Continue reading Podcast: Will Zaslav and Warner Bros. Discovery Eat or Be Eaten?

10 Questions for Netflix’s Q3 2022 Earnings Interview Tonight

Here are our 10 key questions for Netflix management on tonight’s Q3 2022 earnings interview (our Q2 2022 questions can be found here). 1) Is Your Approach to Advertising Primitive on Purpose? Your advertising announcement feels like a scale play similar to broadcast TV, with targeting limited to genre and location. Prior to launching your advertising strategy, you talked about how hard it would be to compete with Google and Facebook as a reason for staying away from advertising entirely. Is … Continue reading 10 Questions for Netflix’s Q3 2022 Earnings Interview Tonight

What Happens Next in the Twitter Elon-verse?

This past Monday, Elon Musk sent Twitter a letter (link) offering to buy the company at $54.20/share, which is the exact same price he originally offered in April 2022.  As we detailed back in September (link), Musk’s bot-controversy was never a material event that enabled him to get out of his original acquisition agreement with Twitter.  We fully expected Delaware’s Chancery Court to side with Twitter and force Musk to close at $54.20. We suspect Musk knew that all along but … Continue reading What Happens Next in the Twitter Elon-verse?

LightShed Earnings Scorecard: 5th Edition

Welcome to the Fifth Edition of the LightShed Earnings Scorecard – our attempt to hold companies and analysts accountable for the quality of earnings calls. Now tracking 69 companies We listened to 69 quarterly earnings calls this quarter. That accounted for 63 total listening hours. We added Starry, which was not public a year ago, and Airspan. We excluded Activision Blizzard, Nielsen, and Twitter, which did not host calls because they are all in the process of being acquired. Inflation and … Continue reading LightShed Earnings Scorecard: 5th Edition

Without a TikTok Ban, What Happens to Meta?

TikTok’s Chief Operating Officer, Vanessa Pappas, was interviewed by Kara Swisher on her new podcast, On With Kara Swisher (link to listen on Spotify and full podcast embedded below). We have pulled out key portions of the interview with associated minute markers highlighted below. The podcast episode was called “So…Should We Ban TikTok?” While the noise level around banning TikTok has certainly increased in recent months with Pappas facing tough questions in front of a congressional committee last month, it … Continue reading Without a TikTok Ban, What Happens to Meta?

Should Disney Reconsider ESPN’s Future?

Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s modus operandi appears to be driving price, knowing Disney (super) fans cannot live without Disney experiences and content. Chapek has used park reservations and new pricing schemes to meaningfully raise guest spending across Disney’s theme parks, even as international visitation to Disney parks remains anemic (with international guests historically spending far more than domestic visitors). Then in August, he announced a 38% Disney+ price increase aimed at meaningfully reducing streaming losses with a goal of reaching … Continue reading Should Disney Reconsider ESPN’s Future?