WarnerMedia & Discovery To Merge, Amazon Looking To Buy MGM, HBO Max With Ads For $10 Per Month.
Film Industry News Weekly Digest, Sunday May 16th
AT&T’s WarnerMedia And Discovery To Merge
Under the deal, AT&T shareholders will own 71% of the combined entity and Discovery’s the remaining 29%, with 2023 revenue projected at $52 billion. Joining forces are entertainment and media brands like HBO, HGTV, Warner Bros, TLC, TNT, TBS and Food Network, with a goal of creating a larger-scale player capable of challenging Netflix.
The partners said today the new company will compete globally in the fast-growing direct-to-consumer business, bringing compelling content to DTC subscribers across its portfolio, including HBO Max and the recently launched discovery+. It will combine WarnerMedia’s storied content library of popular and valuable IP with Discovery’s global footprint, trove of local-language content and deep regional expertise across more than 200 countries and territories. The new company will be able to invest in more original content for its streaming services, enhance the programming options across its global linear pay TV and broadcast channels, and offer more innovative video experiences and consumer choices. The transaction is anticipated to close in mid-2022.
Amazon Said to Make $9 Billion Offer for MGM
MGM claims to own one of the world’s “deepest libraries” of premium film and TV content.
Its 4,000 film titles include the James Bond, Hobbit, Rocky/Creed, RoboCop and Pink Panther franchises, as well as movies like “The Silence of the Lambs,” “The Magnificent Seven” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” The MGM TV library includes approximately 17,000 episodes of programming, including “Stargate SG-1,” “Stargate Atlantis,” “Stargate Universe,” “Vikings,” “Fargo,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Get Shorty,” “Condor,” “Fame,” “American Gladiators,” “Teen Wolf” and “In the Heat of the Night.” Unscripted shows in its portfolio include “The Voice,” “Survivor,” “Shark Tank,” “”The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and “The Hills.”
For Amazon, media is a relatively small piece of its gargantuan empire but represents a fast-growing business segment. In 2020, the company spent $11 billion on TV shows, movies and music for Prime services — up 40% from the year prior.
New Curzon membership scheme to combine cinema tickets and streaming
UK distributor and exhibitor Curzon has created a new membership offering which covers both cinema tickets and streaming. Customers on the CULT membership package will receive five credits each week to use either as cinema tickets or to stream films on Curzon Home Cinema, the company’s own streaming platform.
HBO Max Will Debut Ad-Supported Tier At $9.99 In First Week Of June
HBO Max’s long-awaited, ad-supported tier will roll out in the first week of June, at $9.99 a month — $5 less than the ad-free version launched a year ago. At $15 a month for the ad-free version, HBO Max at the high end of the streaming market and is seen as a limiting factor. Paying subscribers to traditional HBO can get Max at no extra cost, and AT&T bundled it and discounted it in its wireless and pay-TV packages. As of the end of the first quarter, HBO Max and HBO had 44.2 million subscribers, which is ahead of internal projections for 2025 levels. Even though the numbers are less than half the reach of Disney+, WarnerMedia and AT&T have pointed to robust revenue per user figures, saying they make more money from a smaller base.
Deepfake dubs could help translate film and TV without losing an actor’s original performance
What makes Flawless’ technology particularly interesting is its potential to scale. Flawless’ pitch is that deepfake dubs offer tremendous value for money: they’re cheap and quick to create, especially when compared to the cost of full remakes. And, with the advent of global streaming platforms like Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video, it’s easier than ever for such dubbed content to reach international markets.