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Sub-Genre Media Newsletter:
Semi-frequent musings on indie film, media, branded content and related items from Brian Newman.

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Brian Newman & Sub-Genre Media

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Free Original Content Coming to Apple

This week CNBC (and probably others) carried the news that Apple is going to be making a lot of original content available for free (h/t to Sundance’s Creative Distribution newsletter for the link). While they are “only” spending $1Billion on content this year, people suspect they’ll be spending more. Later in the day of this news, I was meeting with another film executive who pondered – with consumers expecting more and more free content, can any media company not attached to something bigger survive?
I think it’s a valid question – prognosticators on Wall Street in particular keep betting that Netflix will sell after it starts crashing – and they keep getting proven wrong. But you gotta wonder – with Amazon and Apple and (eventually) Google and Facebook all being big enough to make content and give it away so you use their other services – where they make a lot of money – what happens not just to Netflix, but also Disney- even with the recent mergers – most other studios, and even a lot of broadcasters, etc. It’s not hard to imagine a world where we’re back to the Big Four, but with FAA(n)G being the last folks standing. And yes, I put the Netflix n in lower case because I am not betting against them yet, especially on their current streak. But I can see a world where they start missing subscriber growth as the economy cools globally, and then one of the others just buys the remains.
I think branded content will push this trend along faster. Right now, only a few are doing anything more serious than some dalliances. But Pepsi, Lego, and I think soon – Lyft, Red Bull and many others are going to take a cue from Katzenberg’s Quibi (which will also be bought) and start upping their game with much bigger investments in the space. And they won’t need to sell their content. They can give it away, maybe just via Google or Amazon, and will be damn good at marketing it too. It’s gonna be an interesting few years ahead.

Stuff I'm Reading

Per the above, Katzenberg unveiled the name of his new service and it’s Quibi, for quick bites. Dumb name, but the fact that he could even find a 5 letter word still available online is amazing unto itself. A lot of people keep poo-pooing this new company, but I think it’s damn smart to be making high quality short form content with big name creators like those he’s announced  - Sam Raimi, Guillermo del Toro, Antoine Fuqua and Jason Blum (but let’s see some women…). He’s basically doing what Vimeo could have done if Barry had been willing to invest more in the brand. Anyways, five bucks says Quibi will be a channel on Apple TV within five years.
Branded Content
 Joy Howard is the new CMO at Lyft. Ok, this isn’t branded content news yet, but I’ve worked with Joy at both Patagonia and Sonos – her previous jobs – on cool branded content, and as I've written before, Lyft is already doing cool things in the space, so expect to see more soon.
Advertising Week was all about original content, and Forbes reports that brands are figuring out that in a saturated media world, distribution is f-n hard stuff. Welcome to my world.
Copyright © 2018 Brian Newman, All rights reserved.

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