×

Megadeals Show Strength of Streaming Markets

Just in time for this week’s NewFronts digital programming presentations, two recent headlines underscore how significant a business Internet-delivered video has become for traditional media players.

Hell didn’t freeze over on April 23, even after HBO announced a licensing pact with Amazon Prime for selected older programs. In the past, HBO had sworn it would never let its content seep out of the confines of its subscriber base onto streaming-video platforms.

On the same day, Chernin Group and AT&T let it be known that they intend to invest $500 million in over-the-top video services. The partners plan to scout around for new programs and channel offerings. The announcement was short on specifics, but the companies were clear on what they are not trying to do. They’re not building a “virtual” cable service that bundles established channels into a subscription.

Efforts to launch such a business have hardly gone over the top for Intel, Apple and Sony, all of whom have been trying without much luck to recruit high-profile channel partners to ambitious ventures. However, a recent report suggests Dish could launch its own virtual foray as soon as this summer, with a Disney deal in tow.

While many of his associates have waited for Peter Chernin to take over a studio or buy a major network in the years since he left News Corp., his eyes have been on very different prizes, such as Asian tech and content companies that few who dine at the Grill have ever heard of.

In December, Chernin Group acquired a majority stake in Crunchyroll, the subscription VOD service focused on anime — not quite the major channel brand Chernin might be expected to snap up. By putting a $500 million number in their April 23 press release, Chernin and AT&T are signaling they see real value to be derived from next-generation content providers.

HBO’s deal with Amazon Prime represents the other end of the business spectrum for Internet video. Gaining access to HBO’s vault is a coup for Amazon in its jockeying with Netflix. The SVOD rivals have been on a spending binge during the past year to lure new subscribers, and for that they need the carrots of high-end TV programming.

Amazon’s HBO deal comes with many strings attached, all designed to protect the HBO mothership. It covers selected shows in a three-years-from-airing window: “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” “Six Feet Under” and “Deadwood,” plus early seasons of “Boardwalk Empire” and “True Blood,” will be beaming out to Amazon subs as of May 21 — but not boffo hits “Game of Thrones,” and “True Detective” yet. That ensures that HBO and its popular HBO Go authenticated broadband service are the only places to get everything HBO has to offer.

Analysts estimated the Amazon pact is worth $250 million to $400 million to HBO over the initial term of the deal, pegged at three to four years. Those kinds of numbers are too big for even HBO to ignore.

More Biz

  • YGRolling Loud SOCAL, Los Angeles, USA

    YG’s 4Hunnid Label Strikes Joint Venture With Epic Records (EXCLUSIVE)

    Compton rapper YG today unveiled a joint venture between his 4Hunnid label and Epic Records. The Sony Music company will exclusively release, distribute and market new music from the rapper’s Los Angeles-based independent label. The first release from the partnership is scheduled to come from Compton female rapper Day Sulan, who was featured on YG’s [...]

  • Bob Iger and Bob Chapek Disney

    How Disney Veteran Bob Chapek Emerged From Dark-Horse Status to Take CEO Job

    When the final act came in the corporate succession drama that has captivated Hollywood for years, it turned out that Bob Chapek was the logical candidate who was hiding in plain sight the whole time. The news that Chapek would succeed Bob Iger as CEO of the Walt Disney Co. hit the entertainment industry like [...]

  • In this courtroom sketch, Harvey Weinstein,

    Harvey Weinstein Is Behind Bars, but Has the Culture in Hollywood Really Changed?

    Two years ago, as Harvey Weinstein’s company was on the brink of bankruptcy, his lawyer issued a statement blasting the New York attorney general, who had accused the beleaguered mogul of fostering a culture of systemic sexual harassment. “If the purpose of the inquiry is to encourage reform throughout the film industry, Mr. Weinstein will [...]

  • Chrysalis Records Re-Launches, Signs Laura Marling

    Chrysalis Records Re-Launches, Signs Laura Marling in Partnership With Partisan

    Chrysalis Records — the iconic record company that was home to artists ranging from Jethro Tull and Blondie to Billy Idol and Huey Lewis and the News — is re-launching as a front-line label and releasing new music for the first time in more than two decades. British singer-songwriter Laura Marling is the revived label’s [...]

  • Dem Debate

    Democratic Debate: Mike Bloomberg Slams Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren Hammers Both

    Mike Bloomberg threw his first punch early in Tuesday’s Democratic Debate in Charleston, S.C., taking aim at Bernie Sanders over recent reports that Russian hackers are trying to assist his campaign for the presidency. Bloomberg, the billionaire owner of Bloomberg News and former New York City mayor, responded to Sanders’ opening remarks about economic equality [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial and Verdict

    European Industry Buoyed by Weinstein Verdict: 'Things Have Irrevocably Changed'

    Global film and TV executives, including “Elizabeth” producer Alison Owen and “Shakespeare in Love” producer David Parfitt, have spoken out about Harvey Weinstein’s guilty verdict, calling it a “seismic” victory that will bring about immutable change. Monday’s long-awaited outcome to the U.S. trial, which saw Weinstein convicted of sexual assault and third-degree rape, has been [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Alternate Juror: 'Justice Does Work'

    John Deysher served as an alternate juror on Harvey Weinstein’s trial. He sat through six weeks of arguments and testimony in Manhattan Supreme Court. Had any of the jurors been excused, he would have been called on to deliberate. But in the end, Deysher remained a bystander. On Monday, the jury convicted Weinstein of first-degree [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content