Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Tuesday, September 1st, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities suburbs, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by lukewarm coffee and Skittles.
THE LIVE EVENTS INDUSTRY IS HAVING ITS NAPSTER MOMENT
Live events are an integral part of the entertainment industry. From fan-centric events like Comic-Con and the Austin Television Festival to industry gatherings to set visits, live events are woven into the fabric of how we do business. All of the larger media web sites use special events and festivals as a prime revenue stream. And according to Skift CEO and founder Rafat Ali, the event industry is undergoing what he describes as its "Napster moment":
Zoom is the Napster of the event industry, the ease with which you can put on good-enough virtual events with a global audience, almost for free, much to the undercutting of the underlying economics of the physical events world. All types of business event — conferences, trade shows, conventions — are in danger of their revenues streams of tickets, sponsorships, memberships, and other types of fees being eroded as the world gets used to digital formats and alternatives emerge to physical networking, matchmaking and other tasks we get out of these events.
The problem, according to Ali, is that virtual events bring in only a small percentage of the revenue generated by live events. While also making some things such as casual business travel a luxury of the past:
We estimate for our Skift events, in the best case scenario, virtual one-day events bring in only about a quarter to a third of what a physical conference revenues used to pre-pandemic, and while that is one example and mileage will vary from industry to industry, company to company, and event to event, very likely revenues from digital events will never get close to offline events. We are habituating the business world to free or almost free events where we used to charge thousands of dollars for conferences and other business events. We are habituating sponsors to pay up fraction of what they used to pay, with more precise targeting that online tech and tracking allows. We are habituating a world to less business travel, a world that is arguably better and happier without so much weight of people criss crossing the planet and countries. We at Skift are estimating that about 10 to 15 percent of business travel demand may leave the market permanently, and it may also lead to the death of single-meeting business trip, all of which will have direct and indirect implications for the events industry.
It's a really thought-provoking piece on an issue that is going to permanently alter the way the entertainment industry functions on a daily basis. As a journalist working in the Twin Cities, the growth in virtual events has been a net positive. Virtual press tours and live events has given me access to people I wouldn't normally be able to speak with because I'm not located in Southern California. I won't lie. I love the physical set visit and would be sad if those went away permanently. But I can already see some changes becoming permanent, no matter what the outcome of the pandemic.
It's also a reminder of how quickly an idea can change the landscape of an industry. Benchmark's Chetan Puttagunta shared this tidbit today about the virtual networking software company Zoom:
Zoom's market cap today ($133B) is higher than Cisco's market cap in 2011 when Eric Yuan left Cisco to start Zoom. This is after Cisco rejected his idea of a new video conferencing app.
SPEAKING OF VIRTUAL EVENTS
I'll be doing a 15-minute virtual session for this year's Twin Cities Start-Up Week on Thursday, September 17th at 12:30 pm CT. I'll be talking about the economics of running a web site that creates original reporting and content and walking everyone through some of what I've learned running AllYourScreens.com. A lot of attention is paid to the revenue streams for sites such as Buzzfedd or Vox. But there isn't a lot of discussion about smaller operations and I think the talk will be very informative. And hopefully, entertaining.
THE BATTLE FOR OUTPUT DEALS
Bloomberg's Lucas Shaw has a good look at what promises to be the next battleground in the streaming wars. Two big movie output deals that will be coming up for renewal at the end of next year:
The deals could generate as much as $250 million per studio annually — and, in some cases, more — according to people familiar with the matter. Amazon.com Inc., Netflix Inc. and Hulu have all expressed interest in the rights, as have HBO and Starz, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are in preliminary stages.
As many as a half-dozen services are bidding for the rights, which would let streaming companies show the movies about nine months after the films have appeared in theaters. The winning platforms may have the exclusive rights for 18 months and then regain them for a second window of time, several years later. But the companies are discussing many options, especially since the biggest media giants now have their own streaming services to feed.
This is an especially big deal for HBO and Starz:
Currently, AT&T Inc.’s HBO has the exclusive rights to new movies from Universal, a collection that includes the latest installments in the “Jurassic World” and “Fast & Furious” franchises. Starz, which is owned by Lions Gate Entertainment Corp., holds the exclusive rights to movies from Sony, including the latest “Jumanji” and “Spider-Man” sequels.
Both HBO and Starz are trying to renew their current deals, which are set to expire at the end of next year. But they’re facing competition from deep-pocketed streaming services — Netflix, Amazon and Hulu — and find themselves negotiating with studios owned by companies that also have streaming services.
Here is a rundown of the new television programs premiering today:
1) Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices (Netflix)
This is a live-action collection of twelve five minute episodes featuring prominent Black celebrities and artists reading children's books from Black authors that highlight the Black experience. Hosted by Marley Dias (author and founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign), the collection of books and conversations center around themes of identity, respect, justice, and action -- providing families a toolset to start meaningful conversations with kids about difficult topics through short-form book-based content.
2) Felipe Esparza: Bad Decisions and Felipe Esparza: Malas Decisiones (Netflix)
Stand-up comedian, actor and “Last Comic Standing” winner Felipe Esparza digs deeper into his past in his first Netflix Original comedy specials, Felipe Esparza: Bad Decisions and Felipe Esparza: Malas Decisiones. Filmed in Santa Ana, California as two separate performances – one in English and one in Spanish – the specials showcase Esparza’s edgy style of humor as the perfect vehicle to weave through difficult anecdotes of his childhood and mistakes in his adult life with ease.
3) Ghosted: Love Gone Missing Season Premiere (MTV)
Hosts Rachel Lindsay and Travis Mills help distraught people track down former friends or lovers who suddenly cut off all contact with them, and the truth about the ghosting is revealed.
4) Pieges Series Premiere (MHz Choice)
An ordinary woman discovers she’s the lucky beneficiary of one million euros gifted to her by a stranger. But before she can touch it, she must complete one macabre task: "To kill a man who deserves to die."
5) 16 And Recovering (MTV)
The four-part documentary series follows the triumphs and tragedies of students working toward graduation while living with substance use and mental health issues at a recovery high school in Boston.
6) Supernany Season Premiere (Lifetime)
With new the social and behavioral challenges parents face today, Jo Frost will bring hope and uplift families with her advice, techniques, and tips to iron out the chaos in their homes.
7) The Boss Baby: Get That Baby! (Netflix)
In this interactive special, you'll find your calling at Baby Corp by making choices and carrying out missions as part of a virtual aptitude test.
8) The Match (La Partita) (Netflix)
A single football match played on a dirt pitch in suburban Rome centers this story of a poor community struggling with ethical and moral dilemmas.
9) Transplant Series Premiere (NBC)
When Dr. Bashir Hamed, a charismatic Syrian doctor with battle-tested skills in emergency medicine, flees his war-torn homeland, he and younger sister Amira (Sirena Gulamgaus) become refugees, struggling to forge a new life in Canada. But if Bash ever wants to be a doctor again, he must redo his medical training from the ground up and obtaining a coveted residency position is nearly impossible.
10) True: Friendship Day (Netflix)
When a giant Grippity-Grab snags Grizelda’s friendship bracelet and turns her into a mermaid, True heads under the sea with magic wishes to save the day.
TOO MUCH TV REALLY IS A THING
This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.
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