×

Listen: What a Recession Could Mean for the Media Business

With many economists predicting a recession could hit the U.S. economy in the coming months, the media business could be in for a rough ride. But there’s a lot more roiling this sector right now that must be taken into account to understand what the future might bring.

On the latest episode of the Variety podcast “Strictly Business,” S&P Global Ratings senior director Naveen Sarma offers a wide-ranging assessment of the content industries. If the threat of economic slowdown wasn’t enough of a potential problem, the pending launch of new streaming services from Disney, WarnerMedia, and NBCUniversal could compound the challenges facing these companies.

Listen to the podcast here:

“A lot of these companies are going to see a significant degradation in their credit quality not only from the launch of new services but layer in a recession that could exacerbate that problem,” said Sarma, who has covered the media and telecom worlds over the past two decades.

Sarma believes it won’t be smooth sailing for ventures like Disney+, but the companies need to persevere.

“What Disney is doing is very brave,” he said. “And they’re going to stumble and fall. And having the vision to say, ‘We’ll stumble and fall but we’ll go back and experiment again, and we’re willing to take the hit for 3-4-5-whatever number of years,’ is very courageous on their part.”

Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Listen to the podcast below for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring HBO chairman/CEO Richard Plepler, Discovery CEO David Zaslav, and TV star Tyra Banks. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

More Biz

  • Eddie Vedder addresses the crowd during

    Congressman Rejects Pearl Jam’s Criticism of BOSS Ticket-Reform Act

    New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr., the principal sponsor of the Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing (BOSS Act) designed to reform the live-events ticket market, today rejected Pearl Jam’s call to reject the bill. Calling the bill “flawed,” the group said in a letter yesterday that it “blocks non-transferable ticketing” [...]

  • UK Producers Roundtable co-founder Loran Dunn

    Why the U.K.'s Struggling Indie Film Business Is Only Getting Tougher

    A startling one-two punch of new statistics from the British Film Institute and industry body U.K. Producers’ Roundtable have revealed the stark challenges facing the country’s independent filmmakers.  After a BFI study published in late January revealed that spending on U.K. independent film production fell by 45% to £175 million ($228 million) in 2019, a [...]

  • TV Decline Pay TV Placeholder

    Traditional Pay-TV Operators Lost 6 Million Subscribers in 2019 as Cord-Cutting Picks Up Speed

    The U.S. satellite and cable TV business declined at an unprecedented rate last year — with traditional pay-TV providers dropping a staggering 6 million customers, a 7% year-over-year decline. In the fourth quarter of 2019 alone, traditional TV distributors lost around 1.5 million subs, dropping to about 83 million total at year-end, according to estimates [...]

  • A+E Networks Renews Focus on Lifetime

    Listen: How A+E Networks Bucked the Trend and Fell Back in Love With Lifetime Movies

    In an era of overflowing choice, focus is more important than ever for traditional television executives. On the latest episode of Variety podcast Strictly Business, A+E Networks’ president of programming Rob Sharenow discusses how the cable giant pulled its flagship brands out of the ratings trenches over the past two years, thanks in large part [...]

  • Former Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein arrives

    Harvey Weinstein Jury Wants to Hear Rosie Perez's Testimony Again

    The jury in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial asked on Wednesday afternoon to re-hear the testimony of Rosie Perez, and asked to see several exhibits, including emails involving Annabella Sciorra. Perez testified on Jan. 24 that Sciorra confided in her in the early 1990s that Weinstein had raped her. Perez said she advised her friend to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content