The 2015 ‘Media bubble’ - will it burst or deflate?

Sunday, 09 August 2015

Two stories this week point to a parallel between today’s media market and 2008’s credit market.

The LA Times reports that a statement from Disney in about a lack of subscribers for premium cable content caused media stocks to be sold off:

“One sentence from Disney and nearly $60 billion in market value gets wiped out,” Doug Creutz, media analyst with Cowen & Co., said Thursday. “Can you say panic?”

The Hollywood Reporter quoted FX Networks CEO John Landgraf:

“This is simply too much television. My sense is that 2015 or 2016 will represent peak TV in America, and that we’ll begin to see declines coming the year after that and beyond”

[…]

Still, the FX/FXX chief was careful to note that he doesn’t foresee the aforementioned bubble outright bursting, so much as slowly deflating in the years to come. What will become increasingly key, in his mind, are strong network brands, which he likens to a mission statement or promise to viewers. “Programmers without a defining brand identity and the scale to support that brand with great and plentiful programming and marketing are going to have a huge struggle as time goes on”

While those who fund content weather the storm over the next few years, maybe it would be a good idea for those who make content to develop alternate business models. Part of that might be involvement in developing brands that appeal to modern audiences. For creative people, it’s a matter of finding different routes to market. Gary Newman, chairman of (TV show makers) Fox Television Group as quoted by the LA Times:

“On the most simplistic level, our point of view is create content, we'll figure out some way to get it into the homes and on the mobile devices of consumers,” Newman said. “We'll be able to figure out a business model that will allow us to continue to do that.”

Ilene Chaiken, an executive producer of ‘Empire,’ agreed.

“I would venture for most writers I know, none of that matters,” Chaiken said. “We're all about the story. Wherever our work is being seen, whatever technology is distributing or producing it, we're doing the same thing: We're telling the very best story we can. And I think you can tell those stories on broadcast TV, on cable, on streaming services — just give me the opportunity to tell my stories.”