PARQOR is the handbook every media and technology executive needs to navigate the seismic shifts underway in the media business. Through in-depth analysis from a network of senior media and tech leaders, Andrew Rosen cuts through what's happening, highlights what it means and suggests where you should go next.
In Q4 2022, PARQOR will be focusing on four trends. This essay focuses on the themes, "Media companies have consumer credit cards on file. What happens next?"
Author's Note: This week I will write more on Robert Iger’s return to Disney from two perspectives:
I thought this line in returning Disney CEO Bob Iger’s memo to Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution staff — his second communication since his surprise return — was notable: “It is my intention to restructure things in a way that honors and respects creativity as the heart and soul of who we are.”
The obvious implication is that the way that former Disney CEO Bob Chapek restructured the organization did *not* honor and respect creativity as the heart and soul of Disney.
Another way Iger could have written that is, “creativity is at the heart and soul of the ‘magic’ of Disney’s ‘Magic Kingdom’, and since I stepped down we have strayed from that.” There are obvious reasons he wouldn’t write it that way. But, the core logic mirrors something he said at his last official appearance at Disney’s annual retreat back in June 2021, as Kim Masters reported for The Hollywood Reporter:
Iger decided to open the meeting by offering his parting advice. A longtime critic of over-reliance on market research rather than instinct and taste, he made an inspirational plea for the value of talent. He touched on the challenges of managing creators but stressed that every transaction at Disney — parks, consumer products, movies and television — starts with creativity.
“In a world and business that is awash with data, it is tempting to use data to answer all of our questions, including creative questions,” he said. “I urge all of you not to do that.” If Disney had relied too heavily on data, he noted, the company might never have made big, breakthrough movies like Black Panther, Coco and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
It’s now increasingly clear that this era of YouTube’s and TikTok’s growing dominance of video streaming has transformed the value of both creative and data.
Meaning, audiences increasingly are proving on those platforms that they no longer want to pay only for what legacy media guys would define as "magic". But it's not yet clear that Iger understands this paradigm shift.
Returning Disney CEO Bob Iger strongly prefers the "magic" of creativity-driven business models over creative business models driven by data. But the latter are now increasingly Disney's main competitors, and the future of media.
Total words: 1,700
Total time reading: 7 minutes
The question that Iger and every other media CEO has had to wrestle with over the past two to three decades is that the Internet would enable new “magic”, but what would that magic be?
In video, YouTube, TikTok and even Netflix have all primarily defined magic ...