Hollywood's Bad News Dump Rattles Wall Street
Disappointing Netflix financials, a WGA writers strike, and a Fox election-fraud settlement gives Bob Iger, David Zaslav, Bob Bakish, and Jon Feltheimer all the cover they need. Will investors buy it?
Hollywood is dumping its dirty laundry. Quickly.
Entertainment industry moguls are enjoying a stroke of unconventional luck, using bad news from rivals to minimize their even worse news. Just the past week: Netflix revealed struggling subscriptions, Fox settled an election-fraud lawsuit for nearly $1 billion, Jeff Shell got fired from NBCUniversal, Don Lemon out at CNN, Tucker Carlson jettisoned from Fox News, and almost 99% of Tinseltown screenwriters want to strike.
This is a windfall (of sorts) for Disney CEO Bob Iger, who this week is set to cut thousands of jobs from the company's entertainment division. David Zaslav at Warner Bros. Discovery has breathing room to launch the re-branded streaming platform Max, while Paramount CEO Bob Bakish takes heat about earnings growth. Lions Gate Entertainment's Jon Feltheimer can't rely on a Twilight television spinoff due to a writers' strike and has yet to cement a deal to separate streamer Starz from the studio.
And that’s even before the studios begin reporting quarterly earnings over the next several weeks.
“This is exactly the moment where any CEO or any CFO is going to take advantage of the situation to say ‘you think we’re bad, look at those guys,’” said a former Disney senior executive who was one of Iger’s direct reports. “This is now a game of deflect, finger pointing, and unveiling new growth strategies.”
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