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Welcome to TheGrill 2021: How to Ride Hollywood’s Consolidation Wave
What you think you know about the content business is changing minute by minute. But we’ll keep you up to speed, join us!
Welcome to TheGrill 2021, presented by our WrapPRO community! After a year and a half of a global pandemic, we are smarter than we were a year ago about where the entertainment and media industry is headed. But there is a lot that is continuing to shift.
We are seeing the results of wave after wave of consolidation at the top of entertainment, from Viacom and CBS re-merging, to Discovery taking over Warner Bros. to Amazon buying MGM and just this week CAA acquiring ICM. It’s an industry with fewer, bigger giants. Is there still more to come?
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We are seeing public markets get involved in entertainment companies — Endeavor has gone public, and special purpose acquisition companies, SPACs, have taken center stage, sniffing at the edges of LeBron James’ SpringHill and Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.
Content is king, again. Hello Sunshine sold at a reported $900 million valuation. BuzzFeed is on the SPAC market at a reported $1.5 billion valuation. Producers continue to make seven- and eight-figure development deals.
And why? Because streaming. Streaming on Netfix. On Hulu. On HBO Max. On Disney+. On Peacock. On whatever CBS is now calling its services. And on a broad array of specialized streaming services too.
Box office is down 70% from 2019. But the number of households that pay for four or more subscriptions has doubled in the past year, according to a study we wrote about in June. Consumers now pay for an average of five subscriptions, up from three before the pandemic, according to a Deloitte study.
Worldwide viewing time grew 44% in the last three months of 2020, compared with the same period a year ago.
So while the entertainment industry is changing – it’s also thriving. And nobody is thriving more than… gaming companies which are going to rake in something like $175 billion globally this year.
We have two full days ahead of us to talk about these topics along with many others including the innovation in marketing, the disruption in media by social platforms, a producers roundtable to explain how they’re dealing post-COVID… or is it post-COVID? We will also, as always, explore the state of diversity and inclusion in Hollywood.
We are delighted to welcome industry leaders from dealmakers Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs to the new L.A. Times executive editor Kevin Merida to Xbox chief Phil Spencer to Netflix head of global film Scott Stuber. They will be Grilled.
Today, we will kick off the conversation with Merida and Casey Wasserman, the founder of Wasserman, the talent agency; followed by our keynote interview with Stuber.
After that we will have what promises to be a riveting conversation about the future of music labels, featuring top music executives. And there will be a performance! We are going to focus on diversity in gaming, and whether progress is being achieved. And a second roundtable features leading producers who are grappling with the challenges of creating entertainment during COVID.
And that’s just today. Thursday will be equally jam-packed.
You can participate as well – and we encourage you to do so on our Grill Slack channel. If you registered for the conference, you received information about how to join the conversations going on there.
I’d like to take a moment to thank our sponsors, without whom we could not put this together: Gerber Kawasaki, Known, City National Bank, Loeb & Loeb, Take-Two Interactive, RIAA, Sony, WarnerMedia, Audible, Pantaya, Imax and Lionsgate.
And my personal thanks to the staff of TheWrap and Wrap PRO, who put together a fascinating program and are working behind the scenes to make sure you have a fantastic experience.
So – onward to TheGrill!