If you are looking for an expert to discuss Rupert Murdoch stepping down at Fox News, Lynne Vincent, associate professor of management at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management, is available for interviews. If you’d like to schedule an interview…
Streaming Shuffle Continues as HBO Max Rebrands: What Does the Future Look Like?
A little more than a year after the merger that created Warner Bros. Discovery, the entertainment conglomerate has officially unveiled changes to its premiere streaming platform. HBO Max relaunched as simply Max. It’s the latest move in an industry that appears to still be going through some growing pains.
J. Christopher Hamilton is a Syracuse University professor and entertainment attorney. He took time to answers some questions about the current state of streaming, and what the future could hold for the industry.
Q: It seems like there’s a lot of change happening quickly in the streaming market. What is behind some of these moves?
A: “Notwithstanding the fluidity of the streaming market at the moment, many of the decisions being made were inevitable and should not be a surprise. For instance, Disney would eventually need to reconcile Comcast’s 2/3rd equity stake in Hulu based on its need to create more strategic alignment among its multiple streaming platforms and Comcast’s right to compel Disney to take over its stake as of 2024. Warner Discovery’s restructuring and rebranding campaign (e.g., HBO Max to Max) was an inevitable pivot based on the AT&T’s failed acquisition turned spinoff debacle of Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) which left WBD with more than $50B in debt from the transaction along with falling into the crosshairs of DC antitrust regulators.”
We will continue to see layoffs, shows being purged from streaming platforms to save on residual payments and massive swings to capture new domestic and international market share.
Q: How much of a role does new leadership play in these decisions?
A: “These seismic shifts among the media conglomerates are all taking place in the wake of leadership changes in their C-suites. Disney’s Bob Iger recently replaced Bob Chapek. Comcast’s Mike Cavanagh recently replaced Jeff Shell and a slew of ousted execs in the Warner Bros. camp such as former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, EVP and general manager of HBO Max Andy Forssell, and chair and chief executive officer of WarnerMedia’s studios/networks group, Ann Sarnoff were replaced by Kathleen Finch in a newly created role of chairman and chief content officer, US Networks Group, Chris Licht as chairman & CEO of CNN Global, and JB Perrette, formerly president and CEO, Discovery Streaming/International, assumed the role of CEO and president, Warner Bros. Discovery Global Streaming/Interactive Entertainment. And, as we know, with new leadership comes new business strategies, bigger ideas and better innovations that distinguish the old guard from their predecessors while appealing to investors and Wall Street.”
Q: How do you see streaming services evolving in the face of ongoing challenges?
A: “As things continue to change amongst the media and tech juggernauts most things will remain the same such as cost cutting, cost containment, and agendas that support business growth amid a declining US economy, a massive WGA labor strike and the slow death of cable and broadcast television. Therefore, we will continue to see layoffs, shows being purged from streaming platforms to save on residual payments and massive swings to capture new domestic and international market share.”
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