“I’D SIT DOWN AND SAY, ‘SO, WHAT’S THE PLAN?’ AND THEY’D SAY, ‘I DON’T KNOW. WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD?’’’
RR: My whole journey with The Ankler has been trying to educate myself on Hollywood’s secret plan. I went higher up the ladder, talking to more and more people, finally getting to the inner circle. I’d sit down say, ‘so what’s the plan?’ And they’d say, ‘I don’t know.What have you heard’? I finally came to the conclusion that there is no plan. Apart from maybe building up their streaming businesses as much as possible, cannibalising from every other division in order to do that. FEED: In the middle of this streaming war zone, how are the big Hollywood studios doing?
RR: Companies are spending a lot of money, and some of them are not going to be successful, because the overhead is so huge – and they won’t be able to keep doing that indefinitely with no profit. More studios are going to shut down, or be folded into something else. I think that’s tragic. There used to be this rule of thumb that people will only pay for four services. But who knows, maybe they’ll pay for 15 services at $2 each. Or one that’s $20. Maybe they’ll just pirate it and not pay any.There’s no saying what all this will turn into, except that it’s not going to work out for everybody. Entertainment is not a closed system. All it takes is one hit and you’re a major player.The services are big, but it’s not that hard to get something out there. It will continue to be in flux, which is probably good for the consumer, but scary for the people who work there. FEED: What do you think about the proliferation of services? How big can it go?
RR: The studios are all publicly traded companies. When that’s your position, you can’t ignore the stockholders completely. If you do, you won’t be the CEO very long. And Netflix was basically the miracle stock of the last decade. If you invested any amount of money ten years ago, you’ve done well. Investors look at that and want another. It came to a point in 2019 where one studio, Disney, was approaching a monopoly on blockbusters. Most of the top ten movies coming out were from this studio.They haveTV shows, theme parks, toys and cruise ships, but investors were saying ‘yeah, fine, but how is the streaming service coming along?’They were having a miracle decade in terms of their core business, but their stock was flat. Until Bob Iger announced Disney+, then it shot up.That’s the story of what was already the most successful company in the industry. FEED: Why do you think they aren’t reacting as proactively or creatively as they could be?
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