Happy New Year!
A reminder I wrote three essays before the holidays:
I also offered five predictions for 2023 in this month’s opinion essay for The Information “2023 Will Be Another Difficult Year for Traditional Media”.
Two follow-up thoughts “clicked” into place yesterday about one of my predictions for the media marketplace in 2023: “Investors will remain disappointed in corporate leadership. Disney’s Bob Iger and Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav will bear the brunt.”
The first thought “clicked” after Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels spoke at Citi's 2023 Communications, Media & Entertainment Brokers Conference. Citigroup Managing Director Jason Bazinet spent part of the discussion highlighting the execution risk of Warner Bros. Discovery’s plans to merge HBO Max and discovery+ into a single app, and “rebuild the whole thing.” He described the initiative to Wiedenfels as “something that sounds easy to do, but actually seems pretty complicated when you think about it.” In doing so, he’s effectively asking, “are you sure this is a risk you want to take with shareholder dollars?”
Wiedenfels’ responded with an argument for a single app built upon the premise that“the experience [with HBO Max] is not where it needs to be”. Bazinet asked him to clarify this answer: “Sorry, when you say the experience is not where it needs to be, is that just in terms of the user interface, is it in terms of sort of software flexibility that the consumer has within the… ?”
As seismic shifts continue in media's business model paradigm, there is a growing question of whether the C-Suite needs to be digital natives.
Total words: 1,400
Total time reading: 6 minutes
Bazinet is asking about product development, and Wiedenfels answered, in part:
“I don't want to go too deeply into the sausage making, but it’s both sides. It's also I think the product team as well. Let's just say it's not – it's not manageable as efficiently as you would like a modern day ...