Warner Bros. Discovery Adds Nearly 3 Million DTC Subs in Q3

Warner Bros. Discovery saw streaming subscriptions grow to almost 95 million globally in Q3 across HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+, propelled largely by “House of the Dragon,” the hotly anticipated “Game of Thrones” prequel. The buoyant performance prompted WBD CEO David Zaslav to announce on the earnings call that the company has accelerated the U.S. launch for the new streaming platform that combines HBO Max and Discovery+ to spring, rather than waiting until summer 2023 as originally planned. The growth translates to 2.8 million HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ subscriptions added from Q2 to Q3 — 500,000 of them domestically. Continue reading Warner Bros. Discovery Adds Nearly 3 Million DTC Subs in Q3

CJ ENM Opens the Largest MicroLED Virtual Production Stage

Entertainment company CJ ENM has opened what is being described as the world’s largest virtual production stage to use Samsung MicroLED technology. The facility, created in collaboration with Samsung Electronics, is outfitted with connected cameras and offers a 360-degree backdrop using Samsung’s “The Wall.” The South Korean virtual production stage will be used to produce scripted and unscripted shows for film and television and serve as a venue for concerts and other entertainment events. CJ ENM says the virtual production technology will also produce the next generation of immersive content for augmented reality experiences and the metaverse. Continue reading CJ ENM Opens the Largest MicroLED Virtual Production Stage

AT&T Announces Subscription Growth for HBO and HBO Max

AT&T’s Q1 quarterly earnings — the last to include results for WarnerMedia, which was offloaded to Discovery in early Q2 — reported good news about HBO Max and HBO, which AT&T said ended Q1 with global subscribers totaling 76.8 million, an increase of 12.8 million year-over-year, and a 3 million subscription increase from Q4 of last year. AT&T also disclosed that WarnerMedia’s Q1 operating income fell to $1.3 billion, a 32.7 percent decline year-over-year. Diminished WarnerMedia earnings were attributed in part to “investments incurred in launching CNN+,” which new owner Discovery announced will cease operations as of April 30. Continue reading AT&T Announces Subscription Growth for HBO and HBO Max

WarnerMedia and Discovery Merger Alters Media Landscape

Discovery Inc., the broadcasting and film production company founded by John Hendricks in 1985, on Friday completed its $43 billion acquisition of AT&T’s subsidiary WarnerMedia, the multinational M&E conglomerate and parent of the famed Warner Bros. motion picture studio launched in 1923. The newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery includes film, television and news operations that generate roughly $50 billion in annual revenue, creating an entity valued at about $130 billion, placing it at the forefront of the world’s media empires. Continue reading WarnerMedia and Discovery Merger Alters Media Landscape

HPA Tech Retreat: Bridge Between Creatives and Tech Firms

As the Renaissance was a reaction to the Dark Ages that preceded it, so too the entertainment industrial complex finds itself on the brink of a fruitful new era of technological and creative achievement triggered by COVID-19. The need for remote production has encouraged a cross pollination of new tools and techniques that will likely lead to significant change in the next era of media production. Roaring back to an in-person event in Rancho Mirage last week after hosting a virtual summit in 2021, the HPA Tech Retreat 2022 showcased the groundbreaking exchange between content-makers and tech providers. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Bridge Between Creatives and Tech Firms

Popular Kids Content Creator Moonbug Acquired for $3 Billion

Digital-first company Moonbug Entertainment has been purchased by the newly formed and as yet unnamed venture of former TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer and fellow Disney alum Tom Staggs, with backing from private equity firm Blackstone. An aggregate of YouTube channels with a focus on children’s content — including CoComelon, Little Baby Bum and Blippi — Moonbug launched in 2018 and currently has a market value of about $3 billion. Other recent children’s IP transactions include Epic Games’ purchase of SuperAwesome in September 2020, and the $500 million July acquisition by Indian educational firm Byju of a learning platform also named Epic. Continue reading Popular Kids Content Creator Moonbug Acquired for $3 Billion

Adobe Is Buying Collaborative Video Software Firm Frame.io

Adobe is purchasing cloud-based video collaboration platform Frame.io for $1.275 billion in a deal expected to close in Q4 2021, which ends in late November. Frame.io co-founder and chief executive Emery Wells and co-founder John Traver will join Adobe, with Wells leading the Frame.io team and reporting to Adobe chief product officer Scott Belsky, who is also executive vice president of Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe will integrate the company’s review-and-approval functionality with Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and “other Adobe Creative Cloud applications.” Continue reading Adobe Is Buying Collaborative Video Software Firm Frame.io

WarnerMedia Launches House of Max Studio to Produce Ads

WarnerMedia’s ad sales division is launching House of Max in Q4 this year to develop commercials that incorporate characters and concepts from its various HBO Max series. WarnerMedia senior VP of entertainment marketing solutions Maureen Polo said the studio’s “wide array of programs” will “allow brands to make more thoughtful and meaningful connections” with consumers, adding “we can produce content that doesn’t feel like advertising.” Intellectual property will be available from programs including “Hacks,” “The Flight Attendant,” and “Gossip Girl.” Continue reading WarnerMedia Launches House of Max Studio to Produce Ads

AT&T Spins Off DirecTV, Combines It with AT&T TV, U-verse

After acquiring DirecTV six years ago, AT&T has spun it off and, along with AT&T TV and U-verse, formed a new company it will co-manage with TPG Capital. AT&T received $7.1 billion in cash and a 70 percent interest in the new company, and TPG contributed $1.8 billion and owns the remaining 30 percent. In 2015, AT&T had paid $49 billion to acquire DirecTV, absorbing another $18 billion in debt, becoming the largest U.S. pay-TV provider with 26 million customers. It then lost almost 40 percent of its TV subscriber base. Continue reading AT&T Spins Off DirecTV, Combines It with AT&T TV, U-verse

Hello Sunshine Sold to New Media Company for $900 Million

Reese Witherspoon’s media business, Hello Sunshine, valued at about $900 million, has sold to a unnamed firm supported by Blackstone Group, which is spending $500+ million in cash to purchase shares from existing investors, including AT&T and Emerson Collective. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs will run the unnamed media company backed by Blackstone, while Witherspoon and chief executive Sarah Harden will join the board of the new venture and continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of Hello Sunshine. Continue reading Hello Sunshine Sold to New Media Company for $900 Million

WarnerMedia Report: ‘Intentionality’ Key to Content and Ads

WarnerMedia advertising sales has identified “intentionality” as key to what drives today’s viewers. A survey it recently conducted found that 59 percent of respondents agreed that “I am more thoughtful about how I spend my time since the pandemic.” HBO Max, which now has an ad-supported tier, described the trend in a report, “Welcome to the Age of Intentionalism,” stating that consumers “are rethinking the essentials in their lives and making decisions of all sizes with increased intention — including … what, where, and why they stream.” Continue reading WarnerMedia Report: ‘Intentionality’ Key to Content and Ads

HBO and HBO Max Subscriber Numbers Exceed Expectations

AT&T reported advances made by HBO in Q2 2021: a net gain of 2.85 million total domestic HBO Max and HBO subscribers, including 2.38 million retail net additions, for a total of 47.0 million at the end of the period, representing a gain of 10.7 million over the last year in the United Sates. HBO and HBO Max counted 67.5 million customers worldwide, up 12 million from last year. AT&T chief financial officer Pascal Desroches noted that the numbers exceeded Wall Street forecasts as well as AT&T’s own expectations. Continue reading HBO and HBO Max Subscriber Numbers Exceed Expectations

HBO to Stream Episodes, Enable Watch Parties on Snapchat

Thanks to a new partnership between WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and social messaging platform Snapchat, up to 64 Snapchatters will be able to co-watch full-length episodes of HBO series via the HBO Max Mini, part of the Snap Minis feature, which debuted last year to host third-party experiences through the social app. With Minis, the user can access Headspace to meditate, buy movie tickets with friends via Atom and, now, watch entire HBO episodes including pilots of “Lovecraft Country” and “Game of Thrones.” Viewers will be able to synchronize playback and watch the same title together. Continue reading HBO to Stream Episodes, Enable Watch Parties on Snapchat

Universal Signs New Streaming Deals with Peacock, Amazon

Starting next year, Comcast’s streaming service Peacock will begin to show movies from sister company Universal Pictures, sidestepping a long-time deal with HBO for initial TV rights. The 2022 movies — which will reach Peacock no more than four months after theatrical release — include the next “Jurassic World” and the new “Halloween” movies. In addition, Amazon has signed a multiyear deal with Universal to bring the studio’s movies to Prime Video and IMDb TV following their four-month runs on Peacock. Under the new deal, Universal movies will be available on Amazon for 10 months and then return to Peacock for another four months. Continue reading Universal Signs New Streaming Deals with Peacock, Amazon

Amazon to Acquire MGM in Deal Valued at Nearly $8.5 Billion

Amazon announced this morning that it will purchase MGM Studios for $8.45 billion, signaling the tech giant’s serious intent to expand its entertainment ambitions by beefing up its Prime Video content library to better compete with Netflix, Hulu and the growing collection of streaming video services. The deal marks the second largest acquisition for Amazon; the company paid $13.7 billion for Whole Foods in 2017. Amazon plans to leverage MGM’s significant catalog of 4,000 movies and 17,000 television shows to help strengthen its film and TV unit Amazon Studios. Continue reading Amazon to Acquire MGM in Deal Valued at Nearly $8.5 Billion