Listening to Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) management talk *down* previous WarnerMedia management’s approach of “for the fans” to streaming distribution, and talk *up* an “overall reach” strategy akin to growing broadcasting inventory in the 1990s under then-GE CEO Jack Welch at NBC, one had to wonder whether they see any value in a direct-to-consumer (DTC) relationship in 2022.
Zaslav rejected the strategy of “for the fans” and “Project Popcorn” - which uploaded “expensive movies” directly to HBO Max for day-and-date release - as not making “economic sense”. That was no surprise.
But they talked up reach (effectively, more scale and more inventory) as a strategy at a time when Connected TV (CTV) advertising promises to solve for the “attribution gap” between (1) where people learn about products, services and brands, and (2) the mediums where they do the shopping and the buying. That solution certainly needs reach, but it also *needs* the type of valuable consumer data that “Project Popcorn” sought to acquire.
In trying to “correct” the “mistakes” of previous WarnerMedia management, WBD management seems to be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.