• Making Deals Hollywood Style; Negotiating With Yourself

    Episode Summary

    In this episode, we discuss entertainment industry dealmaking with Sky Moore, a partner in theLos Angeles law firm Greenberg Glusker, and visit with Fortune 500 consultant Shasheen Shah,author of the new book “The Kid and the King: The Hidden Inner Struggle High Achievers Must Conquer to Reignite and Reengage with Life.”


    The Kid and the King: The Hidden Inner Struggle High Achievers Must Conquer to Reignite and Reengage with Life

    Benzinga Pro  


    Phil's Articles on Benzinga.com

    Benzinga Podcasts


    Schuyler (Sky) Moore, Partner at Greenberg Glusker

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreenbergGluske

    Shasheen Shah, Author of The Kid and the King



    Phil Hall

    Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts at https://www.benzinga.com/podcasts


    Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.

    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/benzinga-show-business-with-phil-hall/donations
    28m | Oct 22, 2021
  • Cinedigm’s Approach to Streaming; The Pharma Bro Film

    Episode Summary

    This week, we’re at the movies with a look at Cinedigm Inc.’s distinctive approach to thestreaming industry and an interview with filmmaker Brent Hodge on his film “Pharma Bro”about the controversial hedge fund executive Martin Shkreli.


    Pharma Bro

    Benzinga Pro  


    Phil's Articles on Benzinga.com

    Benzinga Podcasts


    Yolanda Macias Chief Content Officer, Cinedigm Networks

    Erick Opeka President, Cinedigm Networks


    Brent Hodge  Filmmaker, Director: Pharma Bro 


    Phil Hall

    Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts at https://www.benzinga.com/podcasts


    Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.

    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/benzinga-show-business-with-phil-hall/donations
    26m | Oct 15, 2021
  • Steven Steele Talks Dogecoin; Jay Silfen On Sports Betting

    Episode Summary

    On this episode, YouTube talk show host Steven Steele discusses the online world’sfascination with all things Dogecoin while Jay Silfen, editor at Belly Up Sports, offershis insight on the rapid expansion of legalized sports betting across the UnitedStates.


    Benzinga Pro  


    Phil's Articles on Benzinga.com

    Benzinga Podcasts


    Steven Steele,YouTube Talk Show Host, Recording Artist, Consultant

    Jay Silfen,Editor at Belly Up Sports


    Phil Hall

    Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts at https://www.benzinga.com/podcasts


    Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.


    The premier gathering of cannabis entrepreneurs and investors in North America returns for a 2-Day Hybrid Event on October 14-15.

    Speakers will include $SNDL and other major Cannabis Companies, for more information visit https://www.benzinga.com/events/cannabis/

    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/benzinga-show-business-with-phil-hall/donations
    34m | Oct 8, 2021
  • The NFT Show

    Episode Summary

    On this episode, we visit with the chief executives of two of the most popular and innovative NFT platforms: Grant Dexter, co-founder and CEO of Fanaply, and Lin Dai, co-founder and CEO of OneOf.


    Benzinga Pro  


    Phil's Articles on Benzinga.com

    Benzinga Podcasts


    Grant Dexter, CEO of Fanaply

    Lin Dai, CEO of OneOf


    Phil Hall

    Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts at https://www.benzinga.com/podcasts


    Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.


    The premier gathering of cannabis entrepreneurs and investors in North America returns for a 2-Day Hybrid Event on October 14-15.

    Speakers will include $SNDL and other major Cannabis Companies, for more information visit https://www.benzinga.com/events/cannabis/

    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/benzinga-show-business-with-phil-hall/donations
    32m | Oct 1, 2021
  • Disney at the Movies; Facebook in the Metaverse

    Episode Summary

    On this episode, we consider the success that the Walt Disney Co. has enjoyed at the box office with film critic and film festival programmer Joe Meyers, and we visit with Kirill Poskonov, founder and the host of the LikeXR.tech podcast, to discuss Facebook’s forays into the metaverse.


    Benzinga Pro  


    Phil's Articles on Benzinga.com

    Benzinga Podcasts


    Film Critic and Film Festival Programmer Joe Meyers

    Founder and The Host of The LikeXR.tech Podcast Kirill Poskonov


    Phil Hall

    Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts at https://www.benzinga.com/podcasts


    Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.

    Unedited Transcript:

    Welcome to Benzinga show business. I'm Phil hall and on today's show, we're going to be looking at two companies doing rather clever things later in the show. We're going to be discussing. Facebook and they are journey into the metaverse, but first we're going to be going to the movies specifically to the Disney films that have been dominating the box office.

    This year. My guest on the segment is Joe Myers. He is a former film critic with the Connecticut. He's also the programmer with the focus on French film festival that takes place every April in Greenwich, Connecticut, Joe, thanks so much for being a guest on today's show business. Oh my pleasure, Phil. Well, Joe, since the movie theaters reopened this spring, Disney has been dominating the box office month after month with movies like Ryan, the last dragon Prunella black widow jungle cruise.

    Free guy. And, uh, currently a shank tree is raining at the box office. What is Disney doing? Right? That the other studios aren't doing well, it seems like one of the things they've done right is combined theatrical releases with, um, movies being made available simultaneously on streaming services. You know, that old day and date, uh, thing, although as the year has progressed, You know, they've run into some bumps with that.

    I mean, Scarlett Johannson has a lawsuit in progress on black widow because she said it violated the terms of her contract. You know, that she's asked she and her lawyers are estimating that they lost somewhere between 20 to $50 million by the movie, not having us a full theatrical release. And it's interesting that the last movie, the martial arts movie sham key.

    Is that the title of it? Yes, it is. Yeah. I mean, that was a theatrical only, and it has made more than those other movies that they did day in date. So it looks like maybe Disney is getting back into the groove of theatrical exclusivity and then, you know, three, four months later putting it out on Disney.

    Plus what I found kind of strange with the Scarlet Johansson lawsuit is that. I was out in both theatrical and streaming and Emma Stone didn't complain. And then jumble crews came out in theatrical and streaming and the rock and Dwayne Johnson and Emily blunt didn't complain about it. But black widow, uh, was the one that got.

    Uh, Scarlett Johansson's law suit and also a public rebuke by the national association of theater owners against Disney for doing that. Why, what was it about black widow that, uh, uh, people, whereas the other films, nobody even thought twice about. Well, I mean, there were rumblings that Emma Stone might follow suit following the lead of Scarlet.

    The difference between black widow and Cruella and jungle cruise is the black widows part of the Marvel franchise, which has always grossed astronomical business around the world theatrically before it goes to video, uh, Emma Stone's Cruella was part of the, the Disney. As was jungle cruise. And I think the bottom line is not as much money as at stake with those two movies as it would be with a Marvel franchise picture.

    So I think, uh, Scarlet and her minions, we're looking at the, the incredible grosses that Marvel has scored with the theatrical only releases. I mean, I believe one of the Avengers movie is right now, the top theatrical grossing film in. Well, the first Disney had filmed this year. Might've been the weakest in terms of box office, but that was because so many theaters was so closed.

    And that was Ryan. The last dragon. Was that just a case of coming out at the wrong time? I think so. I, I think as the year progressed, things got better and really the theatrical window didn't fully open until New York and LA opened up theaters, which I think. Was in the later spring than that movie, you know, that everyone said that, uh, theatrical releases wouldn't resume full steam until New York and LA theaters were okay to open.

    Because I think I read a figure that those two markets are responsible for about 20% of the domestic gross of movies. That would make sense, but Disney also did something strange. They had a Pixar film called Luca, which they didn't bother putting in us theaters. They put that straight on to streaming and look, it was a charming film and did somewhat well in international markets.

    Was that a mistake on their part? Not to put it into theaters. That's a good question. I think. I think theaters as venues for families took a while to get back on their feet. I think they might've been smart to do that and just make money from home video because. Parents might not have been ready to take their whole family back to theaters, you know, earlier in the year than they are now.

    I, I, you know, Disney is, I think one of the smartest companies about seeing the potential in movies and all of that. So I'm sure they crunch numbers. And also I did not see loca, but the impression I get. From reading about it was that it wasn't considered one of the top Pixar titles. You know what I mean?

    So maybe Disney thought, uh, rather than mess around with a theater and streaming day and date, we'll just do it streaming and, and, and, you know, give a little bonus to our Disney plus subscribers, which is largely a family audience. Well, Disney has a whole slate of films coming out later this year in comparison, there are competition of paramount pictures, pulled all of their films for the remainder of 2021, including the, uh, the long weighted reboot of top gun.

    So with, uh, late middle-age Tom cruise, still writing about his, uh, his motorcycle and leather jacket. Was that a mistake on Paramount's part to pull everything from the theaters and just put it off until next. I think it might've been, I think the real barometer that everybody is waiting for is the James Bond film, no time to kill, which is opening as a theatrical exclusive the first Friday in October, if that is a barnstorming blockbuster, I think paramount will regret having moved two of their big action movies to next year.

    I mean, who knows, but. I was nervous when paramount yank those two films that, uh, James Bond was going to be moved yet. Again, I think it's been moved at least three times since it was supposed to open in 2020. So apparently they're full steam ahead. And if that movie makes abundant. You know, if it, if it, uh, out grosses anything that's open so far during the pandemic, which I think there's a very good chance of will.

    I think that will make everybody start to relax and see that the theater business is not dead the way some people projected this time last year. Well, you and I are both long time lovers of the Broadway theater, particularly musical theater, and Disney has a, one of the big films coming out later this year, Steven Spielberg's remake of west side story, and I'm looking at it with a bit of trepidation because one of the big flops this summer was the musical in the Heights.

    One of the, uh, most, uh, terrifying slew of bad reviews I've ever seen came out of the Toronto film festival with a dear Evan Hansen. He's a terrible movie musicals. Uh, what, uh, what is your take on the new west side story? Because not only are musicals not really catching on with audiences and critics this year, but Spielberg's going into classic territory and remaking a film that really wasn't crying out for reason.

    Uh, I would say that is one of the real huge question marks because like you, I, I wondered why Spielberg particularly wanted to do a remake of a best picture Oscar winner, you know, which has been seeing for the past, what 60 years widely, you know, and has been revived as a stage property, what we don't know, you know?

    And, and I think it all boils down to his execution. I mean, he got Tony Kush. The Pulitzer prize, winning playwright to write a brand new script, you know, so they threw out the Arthur Lawrence book and a new choreography. Uh, so I, I would say it all depends on how good, you know, but on paper, I don't see a crying need for a new movie version of west side story, and actually went in the Heights opened.

    You know, there was a considerable Twitter storm about the ethnicity of the leading ladies, you know, that they weren't Afro that Chino. They were, you know, a lot of people put it bluntly. They weren't dark skinned enough for their tastes to play the leads in, in the Heights. And I believe the leading lady of west side story might have a similar, uh, Twitter challenge.

    You know, I, I. Don't, you know, I'm not sure of this, but I think she may not be. Well, she certainly not madly wouldn't grease paint. So, I mean,

    we're going to go up in terms of ethnic authenticity, but you know, the thing about musicals and frankly, I was. By some of the flap over in the Heights is I would say the musical genre is perhaps the least realistic of all dramatic film genres, you know, and a west side story. You're right. I don't think, I think the only ethnically correct lead in that was Rita Moreno and even her skin was dark and to make her look more ethnic, you know, so.

    I just hope west side story is as good as a Steven Spielberg film could be. You know, and I must say years and years ago, I remember seeing 1941 and which was a terrible flop, but there's an incredible sequence in that film set in a dance hall where it almost becomes like a musical number in terms of the way he marshals the crowds and moves people.

    And I remember thinking at the time, boy, Spielberg ought to do a. At some point and it's taken him all these years, but I would never write him out. You know, I, I, so I, I am very eager to see what he did with this, you know, old property. Indeed. You mentioned about the choreography, so they're not using Jerome Robbins, original choreography.

    No, I I'm not sure who the choreographer is, but it's somewhat akin to that revival that was on Broadway, which closed. With the arrival of the pandemic, I believe that was the first Broadway production, which did not use the Robbins' choreography. It used to be, uh, you had to use Robin's choreography if you staged, uh, west side story, because that was considered part of the authorship of the material.

    Uh, Spielberg has. Broken away from, from all. I mean, other than Stephen Sondheim, you know, the lyricist who I think was called in to do some tweaking, you know, all of the original creators are dead and are not involved in this. Well, prior to this interview, I was reading up on what Disney is, uh, coming up with.

    And I saw that they have a live action version of the little mermaid, which is going to be ready in 2023, where they're looking at the films that they have this year. We have a couple of Marvel films. Uh, we had a Cruella which reboots the 101 Dalmatians franchise. A couple of times, jungle cruise is based on the popular Disney ride.

    It's the creativity. Well at Disney running dry, I know free guy is an original story. And so it was raw, but, uh, most of the films that they have out now, or they're going to be bringing out later this year and into next year, or you the parts of franchises or they're remakes or reboots. Yeah. I, I mean, I gotta tell you that I'm very happy not to be a regular reviewer in recent times because to me, the notion.

    Of converting a cartoon. A very successful cartoon, like the lion king or beauty and the beast into a live action film just seems sort of bonkers to me and also a blatant exploitation of the family market. You know, I mean, the, the thing about Disney and it's always been true is nobody is better at selling a new film to a family audience, you know, and I believe so far all of the lines.

    Action. Reboots of their previous animated hits have been very financially successful. So the thing about Disney that is interesting to me is, you know, they did away with their subsidiaries, Hollywood pictures and, um, touchstone, which used to put out. Mainstream adult film. You know what I mean? Pretty woman was a product of a Disney subsidiary.

    So I mean, I think the hope for Disney now for us adult viewers is the fact that they absorbed 20th century, Fox and seem to be prepared to continue the search. Uh, brand, which, you know, has been responsible for many prestige, Oscar winners. And, uh, it's now just called Searchlight and indeed they have the new Wes Anderson movie, the French dispatch coming out, I think October 22nd and then just a week or so.

    Uh, the Jessica chestain Oscar bait movie, the eyes of Tammy Faye is opening under the Searchlight banner. So it's going to be interesting to see if those films do well. And if Disney wants to keep a hand in the whole year and Oscar. You know, a phenomenon because certainly the movies that Disney produces under the Disney label don't have much chance for Oscar consideration, you know, and I know that's so important to the film community that it's gotta be fascinating to watch what happens to Searchlight.

    And, uh, we should also mention too that, uh, the most recent best picture Oscar winner was a Searchlight film and that was nomad land. So that's, that's not something you think of as a Disney movie. No. And, and, you know, a few years before that, uh, 12 years of slave won best picture, and that was also a Fox Searchlight movie.

    So that, that green. As a good track record in recent years, you know, uh, uh, the question is, you know, in the absorption of that label, what, what Disney branch is doing the marketing, you know what I mean? Did they absorb the Searchlight? People who are so good at Oscar campaigning so that those people will be working on these movies or will they have to.

    Learn how to get back into Oscar campaign. I haven't followed it that closely. I don't know if, if, if a bunch of the Searchlight people moved to Disney. Well, Joe, I know that you're a, an arts and entertainment writer, not a financial writer, but hypothetical situation. Let's say that you go to the movie theater and you find a bag on the floor, on the floor.

    You open the bag and there's a thousand dollars in the bag. Would you invest in Disney stock? Would that. Yeah, I, I don't, I, I might, I don't think it can do too badly with Disney stock. I mean, that company has evolved. Uh, like I said, with the touchstone and, and their Hollywood, you know, they, they found a way of producing adult films.

    When the animated thing was sort of declining in the eighties. Of course, they came back with, uh, animated blockbusters in the nineties. They've also always been savvy about home video, whether it's DVD streaming, And from what I've gleaned Disney plus has just exploded in terms of growth because of things they've done this year, like putting Hamilton on there and, you know, making Corella available through that black widow, et cetera.

    So I would never count Disney out at all. So I might, I might invest a thousand bucks. If you forced me to pick a movie company, I would probably go with Disney. Excellent. Well, we've been speaking with Joe Myers. He is the former film reviewer with the Connecticut post. He is the programmer of the focus on French film festival, which is going to be coming back to Greenwich, Connecticut in April.

    So if you're in Greenwich, which is right outside New York city, please put that on your calendar, Joe. Thanks so much for being on this segment of the show. Thanks for having me, Phil and folks stick around. We have a message from the good people at Benzinga pro, which I think you'll be very, very interested in hearing.

    Get access to actionable news and market research with all the information you need to invest smarter and profit faster. Start your free trial today@prodotbenzinga.com. Welcome back to this segment of Benzinga show business. And now we're going to be going into a very different sector of the metaverse, which is something I have to admit.

    I don't know very much about, but I have a guest who knows a lot about it. He is Carol . He is founder of like XR agency. And you may know him as the host of the like XR podcast. Carol, thank you so much for being a guest on today's program. Yeah, thank you friend, mittens for inviting me. Uh, um, so appreciate.

    So Carol, what is the metaverse all about? And what does it mean for businesses and consumers? Um, well, so the term metaverse was first appeared back in 1992 in new Stevenson, no snow crushed their metaverse and Simonson book is an intertwine, digital and physical worlds. So events in one world can affect life in another.

    And it's sometimes impossible to draw land between the worlds at all. So things then in one version or another, the metaverse regularly appears in verus work of hearts. But in my opinion, the metaverse is shown in the best way in the field and read. So in the modern world, the work metaverse until recently was known only to those who somehow came into contact with the gaming industry, or like to read fiction rather than to a general public or business.

    But during the pandemic, uh, the border between the physical and digital worlds began to become unstable, not only for computer game players and science fiction. So when you went fully functional version of the family or physical world came to our home and mess with the help of digital technologies. So worker study for many cases to be associated with the move, into an office or an Institute, the giraffe watching a movie premiere become available from sofa with a good home theater and then new year's corporate party.

    Turn out to be a very emotional event, not to know. But on the social VR platforms. So with the growth and development of extended reality technologists, the Metro Verisk has become more visible to understand. Well, I'm starting to understand it. Certainly that explanation helps, but how has the metaverse being used today?

    So, um, to answer the question was the questions. Um, we should dive deeper in the study of the metaverse. So, um, if we study, uh, the Metro is deeply, we will understand that the metaverse is a collective or shared space grated by the convergence of enhanced physical reality and to physically resistant future space, including the SAMO pole.

    We have told worlds, augmented reality and the. So if we simplify this definition, then in essence, the Metro versus just a visualization of what we can no longer match out our life doubt. Yes, I am talking about the internet since the internet is the metaverse. It has enabled the emergence of digital twins of power world, such as multiplayer, computer games, social internet platforms.

    And so. So after all, if you think about it, Facebook is already a metaverse, but result with realization. So in the context, Superbird speech about Facebook becoming the metaverse, it can be perceived as a transition from a flat screen laptop or smartphone to a variable VR and mixed reality devices. Yeah.

    I was, uh, very curious about the Facebook announcement about the metaverse. Why was this announcement particularly important? So I think when the leaders of tech giants make policy statements about changing the strategy of their companies, it is always useful to listen to them. So often the change is announced to them will sooner or later affect the entire industry.

    We can recall how Sundar Pichai, the head of Google said that the. To solve and 17 conference that the it giant is rethinking all its products, taking into account. The fact that we now live in AI first world. So the recognition of that fact that Google is no longer a search company, but an AI company at that time became the reason for the headlines there quite accurately determined at the fate of the entire it sector.

    But four years ago, not everyone quickly realized that. The scale of the current churn and the impact that it will have on the development of technologists on business and simply on our lives. Uh, and, um, at the end of June, uh, this year, mark Zuckerberg made the program statement to Facebook employers.

    And a few days later, he gave interesting and detailed comments to a journalist of the verge and their subtitles. So of this material accurately conveys the essence of Superbird clown speech. So the social network games to turn into. And it's time to ask, to get acquainted with this term and get used to it.

    Uh, but, um, what makes super statements stand out against this solar? The fairly regular background of mansions of the metaverse. So of course the scale of the resources that Facebook. The influence of this company in general and the complexity of the approach, which goes far beyond game and entertainment.

    So in this regard, it is very important to be in context of events since the entire internet is moving towards the concept of web 3.0, where the metaverse will be an important point of connection between the internet and the real world. Yeah. Oh, and speaking of the real world, if you should happen to hear a little buzz behind me, it's my neighbor outside is doing his gardening recording, which is a, that happens, uh, unfortunately, but, uh, getting back to the, uh, the unreal world, at least to me, how long will it take for Facebook to achieve the plans that outlined for the metaverse.

    Uh, if you remember in two Southern date, mark Zuckerberg said that Facebook would be the first mobile company and nowadays we can hardly match our life without Facebook, WhatsApp, or Instagram mobile apps. And it is also worth mentioning that the variable, there are devices of vocals, which are also belongs to Facebook.

    I'm about to, I'm talking about tacos, go and balsa focus quests. But this is a question about, um, what the world will van and what is. What science has led us to and how engineers, developers, and innovators use it. So since 2008, a lot has changed. Personal computers have become laptops. And those in turn have become tablets.

    Mobile phones are not just phones, but full fledged pocket computers and all of this allow Facebook to become mobile company and to become a metaverse the real world and master. So firstly variable, our devices must become as common as mobile phones. And for these, they must become more native and convenient and the quality of graphics must increase significantly.

    And then there should also be a large amount of high quality content to make people want to buy. So there should be wearable mixed reality devices that will not differ in dimension from the usual glasses. So at the moment, people are not ready to buy huge HoloLens or magic leap, especially for thousands of dollars.

    And, um, you will not go out and shopping in them or wear them to a party. So at the moment, there are a large number of obstacles from the speed of the mobile internet, to the device. Which do not allow me to be sure that the forecast of a appearance of a full-fledged metaverse will come through within five years.

    So in my opinion, we should expect this on the timeline in 10 years or more. I would hope so. I have no idea where I could even buy a huge calendar or even what a small Howland for that matter. I mean, it's not on my shopping list at the moment, but what companies are the major players in today's medical.

    Uh, well, first of all, it's worse mentioning of course, Facebook, which publicly announced this party, but in the context of creation, the metaverse Facebook is not the leader at the moment. So at least a unity unreal engine and Roblox cannot be ignored. I'm sure that the most, if not all. Micrometric versus we'll be graded on these engines and platforms, which relate to enter the Metro versus planets and star center, the galaxy and the cluster of galaxies into the universe.

    So it is also worth mentioning Microsoft corporation with the. Enterprise metaverse Amazon with their shopping experience, Walt Disney company with them park. Metaverse also NBO Corp has already launched its own omnivorous digital platform for virtual collaboration and simulation. So and so on as we can see the metaverse is not initially a centralized.

    And it cannot be such a many market players, technology companies, political institutions, and so on will be involved in the creation and the, if the nearest future, they believe pair more and more. I just thinking suspicion, Amazon and Disney, we're going to be somewhere in this and you've confirmed that.

    But Carol, if we were to have this conversation a year from today, what do you think the metaverse environment will be? Okay. I think that in common year we should draw, they expect new loud statements rather than a great progress in the creation of the Metro verbs. So of course there will be a new micrometric versus have a limited number of participants due to current technical limitation.

    But mainly it will be the development of existing gaming platforms and social ones and the emergence of course, of new ones that the intersection of XR 5g. Uh, blockchain, AI and other technologies. So without a doubt, this will be an important step and becoming the Metro verse as it should be. But as I said, um, it will still be far away from the level of the ready player.

    One few. Well, he was certainly expanded my scope on the metaverse, but if our listeners wanted to continue the conversation with you, how could they get in touch with you? So, um, they can, um, mailed me, uh, I have mail, uh, It's BK, uh, like xsara.com, uh, or, uh, I have a podcast, uh, like Sara dot that. Excellent.

    So that's a like exhort.tech and, uh, the email you at PK at like XR dot. Yes. Yes. Also I have feature Facebook and every, every social platforms that we have now, well, I think we all do, but at this point in time and, uh, uh, now I know what I'm gonna get myself a Christmas. I'm going to get myself a huge handle.

    And I think that's something Carol Paskin. I'll. Thank you so much for being a guest on today's episode of Benzinger show business. And folks we'll see you again next week until then have yourself most wonderful of experience.

    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/benzinga-show-business-with-phil-hall/donations
    30m | Sep 24, 2021
  • The State of Streaming; What Next for WWE?

    Episode Summary

    On this episode, we take a look at the streaming services industry with Ian Greenblatt, managing director for technology, media and telecommunications intelligence at J.D. Power, and we consider the challenges that face WWE (NYSE:WWE) with Brandon Thurston, editor of Wrestlenomics.


    Benzinga Pro  


    Phil's Articles on Benzinga.com

    Benzinga Podcasts


    Ian Greenblatt, Managing Director at J.D. Power

    Brandon Thurston, Editor of Wrestlenomics


    Phil Hall

    Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts at https://www.benzinga.com/podcasts


    Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.

    Unedited transcript:


    Hello? Hello. Hello. It is. I feel whole for yet. Another episode of Benzinga show business today, we're going to be taking a look at some home entertainment later in our show. We're going to be joined by Brandon thirst and he is the editor of wrestle Nomics. And he's going to be discussing all things WWE.

    Just between you and me, you can admit that you watch WWE wrestling on TV, whether it's broadcast or streaming. I watch it every night. I'm not ashamed of that. But first up on today's program, we're going to be talking about streaming services in general. Our guest is somebody who knows a great deal on the subject.

    He's Ian Greenblatt and he's managing director for technology media and telecommunications intelligence. J D power in Greenblatt. Thank you so much for being a guest on today's episode of Benzinga show business. You recently published an article called despite the return to normal people are spending more time and money on streaming services now than during the height of the pandemic.

    And I found that rather curious, because here we are, uh, we're actually recording this episode at the end of August, going into September, whether it's still nice, uh, Even with the Delta variant, people are still out and about. And yet it seems from your article that more people are home watching Disney plus and Netflix and Hulu and whatever is out there.

    Then they were during the height of the pandemic. How do you, how do you explain that? Well, first thank you for having. So there's a couple parts of that, right? Well, when I say it, when you said, uh, spending more time, well, it's more time, more money on streaming services now than at the pandemic site. So let's take them one by one.

    So. Uh, consumers are spending more on streaming compared to six months ago. And compared to April 20, when we asked you about for the first time. So we did three, just for the sake of the viewers. We did the three pulse surveys when an April 21, December of 21 in June, it's 21 around this topic. Right? So we're charting to trend across those two time points.

    When we asked them, how much time did you spend streaming compared to six months ago, a 79% of respondents, so that they're spending the same, but more time stream than they did six months ago. So that about the same categories, 35% of that 79% number. But if you're talking about, about the same or more, I mean, that's an awful lot.

    And if we're talking about spending, right. Um, how much are you, how much, how much per month are you paying for all of your streaming services combined? This has gone up straight line, but since our first outing at this in April from 38 to 47 out of $55 per month on streaming. So when we take them all together, uh, we feel fairly confident in saying, yeah, they're spending more time and more money.

    One of the things I found fascinating in your report was the success of the HBO max presentation of the friends reunion. I mean, I like to joke with people that friends don't watch live friends, watch friends, but in this case, a lot of people watching friends. And, uh, what, why is that? I mean, this is a show that had been rerun to death for decades.

    What brought people back to watching. So, I, I, there's a very special place in my heart for this show for a couple of different reasons. Uh, my father was in television syndication. If anybody remembers what that was, it's essentially, uh, selling reruns and friends was his show. He sold it. So I I've known this is the show has been a part of the family.

    Moreover, I was a war, uh, lawyer at Warner brothers. Uh, so I remember negotiating with the cast. Um, I, like I said, I have a spare, very special place in my heart for this. Why do others though? We'll keep in mind. This is a largely one sec. That is about friends, spending time with each other. And if we've done anything, we're close, close friends, spending time with each other.

    And if we've all done anything during this pandemic, it spent an awful lot of time with those closest to us. So I think maybe that might be part of it, but it's, it's long been a very successful Mr. Daljit satisfying show. Um, when you're looking for that comfort. That's the thing I can do on that one. But I, you know, like I said, very special place.

    I know I'm not a particularly big friend of fan, so I hope I'm not offending you by saying that friends don't let friends watch friends, but that's a, that's another issue, but what are the shows that people are watching? And th there seems to be an endless amount of programming choices on streaming, or are they watching family, friends?

    Shows are they watching standalone movies? Are they watching animation or are they watching foreign language films, foreign language series. What's what are the hit shows? So th those are, those are great questions and it also, obviously it all depends on which audience are you talking about? You're talking about, uh, you know, largely grownups, um, you'll see that, um, the bulk of them are following sh uh, content thereafter into various silos.

    That they're trying out. So, you know, the star wars crowd or the Marvel crowd is, is trying out their hand and Disney plus many of them are staying. Uh, if you're looking at Netflix is amazing amount of, um, of content, they simply have a ton and continue to invest a ton in first run, uh, original content you're looking at shows like, uh, it was very popular in our last, um, in our last installment here, uh, Handmaid's tale, friends, as you point out Grey's anatomy.

    And then there are the Bingi sort of things like game of Thrones, you know, if you missed it the first time around you come back and spend the time with it. I personally have several friends who called me in various states of panic. Wait, what's going to happen next around game of Thrones. Um, and then I left that I, one of the things I wanted to mention is the, is the huge boom in, uh, in teen focused content.

    Right, which I'll, I'll go ahead and waiter and say that the number of meds streaming of teen content is about to see a big dip because school's back in session and that's, who's watching. And that's why they're watching this because they weren't out running around with their friends. They were at home.

    I entertain themselves being a safer at home. Well, it's certainly no shortage of streaming services to choose from, but. Are we going to get to a point where there is going to be too much quantity and there's going to be some sort of shakeout either with consolidation or companies going out of business.

    I mean, the answer has to be, yes, there's only so many hours in the day. There's only so many sets of eyeballs on the planet and there's only so much first content we can make. Um, That's it. I believe that this is a game of, of aggregators and it always has been, if you look at traditional MVPD, um, you know, traditional cable tolerant, satellite delivered cable or satellite operators themselves, it's always been the role of the aggregator to present surface recommend, uh, deliver curated content and with traditional VPDs and satellite providers, the curation is.

    There's a lot because there has to be something for everybody where I've, I believe that as these, um, silos tend to, you know, the silos condense, um, you'll see, 6, 7, 8, uh, do do continue to do well hard to beat Netflix, given the amount of headstart and ongoing cashflow they have. But Amazon prime video is doing fantastic.

    Who is doing very well Disney plus doing exceedingly well, HBO max to. Um, and so, you know, as we see paramount plus gain steam, as we've seen, as we see whatever the new instance of at and T TV, which will be DirecTV now, um, we're directing stream, um, you know, w we'll see how that shakes out and I believe it will shake out well, the aggregators always do well.

    Um, and that's the, if you can't beat them, join them here. It's a bit demanding. Bring them into the fold. Make sure you all of the various streamers are available across a common search or federated search platform. The aggregators are when, uh, but there will, I think be fewer of them. All of the control. A friend of mine showed me a poster for a film, which is exclusive to Hulu called vacation friends with John Cena.

    Now I've not seen the production. Uh, so perhaps it's not fair for me to pass judgment on adjusting the poster, but the poster looked like. What might've been the cover of a director video title that you would have found in a big box store. It wasn't, uh, it wasn't very, uh, appealing sunlight that didn't want to take a look at the film based on that.

    Uh, but I guess that's a long way of getting to the point is what is being done to ensure that there is quality control and that streaming doesn't turn into a digital version of straight to this. That's it that's a fair point. I mean, it's data, ultimately it's data, uh, folks like red box, right? New. What would rent on a Friday night?

    Was it the $200 million, um, action extravaganza on in tournaments? Just to make it $200 million action extravaganza, summer blockbuster. No, it was Paul Blart mall cop made for I think, $12 million, $36 million.

    It took to get Kevin James, John was on a scooter. Um, and so because they know what runs, because Netflix keeps their own data versus don't share. But because Netflix knows an awful lot about you, what you like when you like to watch it, what you like to watch, it's highly likely, right? Unless they're doing something really wrong, which they're not.

    It's highly likely that the bigger silos that we just talked about will have excellent data on, and I'm more than educated guests on. What's going to do just fine. And that will take care of quality control. One of the stories I've been covering for Benzinga this summer has been the whole brouhaha over Scarlett, Johansson and Disney, uh, regarding the release of black widow coming out, both theatrically and in streaming.

    Uh, Mr. Hanson of course, is suing the studio claiming that her contract was for a theatrical only release and her salary had been pegged to that and that the, the streaming release diluted her earnings. And she's. Of course in the film industry for that going forward. Do you see the studios continuing to put out films, both theatrically and on streaming?

    Or do you think they're going to go back to where it used to be? There'd be a 45 day window between the theatrical release and the streaming. Well now that's, that's the multi-billion dollar question right there. I have to tell you though. I think now that the public has a taste of day and day, uh, releases.

    So same day with the sun streaming that it is in the theaters. Now the public has a taste for it. Now that the public is willing to pay a premium for the privilege. Um, and as Delta and whatever, the follow-on continues to. To be out there. I think there will always be from here on out, uh, at least a willing audience to watch a bandaid at home.

    Um, now this remains to be seen what the appetite is of the studios and of the circuit owners and circuit as theater owners, um, and where they're all going to shake out, right. AMC, rattles, the sword, every time there's, there's any sort of threat and, and promises to never do business with a particular studio again and wait two months.

    And that gets walked back. Um, Disney has very clever strategy and planning folk who, who can model very effectively what the best possible outcome is, um, to monetize a piece of content. And so ultimately I do believe that we'll continue to see Diane selective day in, day out releases, not for example where Warner immediately now want to discovery had said, we're going to do the whole.

    The whole slate is going a day day, the whole slate for that here, that caused a problem, right. That caused the circuit honors to, to calculate ahead of time. Uh, what they do is where here, I believe that, you know, Disney is going to select on title by title basis. I think that'll likely be the model going forward for all of the matrix.

    What about a special events? Uh, either sports or award shows. I've actually done a couple of news pieces for Benzinga about the Tony awards for the most of the broadcast is going over to paramount plus, and the academy of country music awards is going over to Amazon. I know Amazon is doing a lot of.

    Effort to bring more sporting events to its streaming service. Uh, is this going to be the trend where maybe someday something like the Indy 500 or the world series will just be exclusive to streaming as opposed to being on broadcast? Hello. Potentially, um, you know, listen, I've long believed or I've gone back to my first startup that the future of television was on demand.

    Right? So the, the concept of linear networks, um, even the ones that had. I am free ad supported television these days. Um, the concept of linear television is, is a challenge. One of that. So the notion of having and moving these major events that are largely audience driven, uh, to siloed players. There's, there's, there's a lot of reasons why that might just happen again.

    The market's going to bear this one out wherever the largest audience is for that particular piece of content is where it's going to go. What is it about the streaming sector that surprises you the most?

    Why it took so long? Yes. I've, I've been doing this a long time. And like I said, I did a television on demand startup company. We built the, the equipment that made it happen, right. Um, back in 99, so a million years ago. And it seemed so obvious then it seemed so clear that streaming video streaming audio being able to begin a.

    A stream of content from wherever on whatever device and whatever access network you wanted at whatever time you wanted in whatever location Walnut. It just seemed obvious that it took this long and you know, the global pandemic to boot to get there. That's my surprise. Well, Ian Greenblatt we're at the end of this segment of Benzinga show business.

    But if our listeners wanted to continue the conversation with you, how could they get in touch with you? Come see us@jdpower.com backslash business, or feel free to, uh, to reach out, um, via our, uh, portal, right? There's a, there's a contact us on that way. Excellent in green, black. Thank you so much for being a guest or this segment up in Zynga show business.

    It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me and focused on go away. We're going to give you a very quick message from the good people at Benzinga pro. And then we're going to be back with Brandon turns to talking about all things WWE. Get access to actionable news and market research with all the information you need to invest smarter and profit faster.

    Start your free trial today@prodotbenzinga.com. And we are back in the second half of this episode of Benzinga show business. And today we're going to be going into the squared circle. Good folks at WW II and their various shenanigans what's going on with that company. Our guests is somebody who knows more than a little about.

    WWE and professional wrestling in general. He's Brandon Thurston. He is the founder and editor of the website, wrestle nomics.com and Brandon. Thanks so much for joining us on today's program. Thank you very much for having me. I, I am actually not the founder, but I am the one, one, the one man. Almost one man show.

    I do have a couple of people helping out, but yet it's, it's all my work over wrestling monarchs now, uh, take, take, create as much credit as you wanted. It doesn't matter. We're not doing any fact checking here on the show. So it's a whole. So Brandon I've been writing about WWE for Benzinga recently, and a couple of things have come up about, uh, rumors that WWE is a up for sale or considering sale.

    And there was even an interview with Nick Khan, the president of the company who said they would be open to considering, uh, any conversation. Do you see the possibility of the company being sold anytime in the near future? Not well, Vincent man is alive. Uh, whenever they've been asked a question along the lines of whether they would consider, uh, being acquired by a bigger company, uh, they have always used the line we're open for business.

    And, uh, because summer slam has just happened this past weekend. Uh, Nick Khan was doing some media around. I think he was on Peter Kafka's show and, uh, that came up and he said, oh, we're yeah, we're open for business. And I think he's tried to clarify in subsequent interviews that what he just meant was that if anybody comes to them with any sort of dealer wants to talk, we take everybody seriously.

    Um, but I think Adobe will remain controlled by Vincent man. As long as this man, his wife. You know, after that point, I could see WB being, uh, acquired by NBC universal seems like the most likely candidate right now, but I think, uh, Vince wants to control the company as, as, as long as he can and, uh, continue to, uh, be the head of creative and continue to run the biggest wrestling company.

    Yeah, we just had to clarify for our listeners that, um, you just mentioned that this is right after summer slam. We're obviously recording this episode a few weeks before you're hearing it in case you want. You're looking at the calendar saying, wait a minute, summertime was a few weeks ago. We know that, but, uh, We're uh, we're coming to you from the past.

    Uh, but I have to say that I agree with you on, uh, Vince McMahon. I mean, this is a gentleman who's created two failed professional football leagues and kept going. He doesn't strike me as the type to throw in the towel on. No, I think, I think Vince is kind of a control freak, and he wants to, he has class B shares.

    So he has about 80% of the voting power while he controls about one third of the shares. Um, but yeah, I think he wants to continue to be able to control the company and B be the one person who. Who has the final say, he's the chairman, he's the CEO, he's the head of creative. Um, there's been a lot of cost cutting in WWII lately.

    There's been a lot of talent, uh, that that's been cut lately. And that's really alarmed, especially wrestling fans who can't understand why WB is letting go of talent, like Braun, Stroman, and Bray, Wyatt lately, uh, who are, who are some of the bigger names that WWE has had over the last few years. Um, but I think a lot of it has to do.

    Uh, the new executives NECON, who's the new president and chief revenue officer, Christina Salen. Who's the new chief financial officer they've only been around. They just passed the one year mark. Uh, they came in in August, 2020, and I think it's just a case of them looking at what they've inherited from the previous executive.

    Figuring out how they can make the company more profitable in one way to make the company more profitable is to cut costs and maybe to cut some talent that they don't feel that they really need. Ws had a lot of talent too. Uh, it's grown, it's doubled its roster really since 2015 from about 150 to 300 wrestlers.

    So I can see an argument for why maybe they don't need as many wrestlers as they do. Cause I think they've been trying to keep, to keep talented wrestlers away from new potential competitors. The fact that WWE is still going on despite the pandemic. And obviously the, the idea that wrestling is not exactly a social distancing activity.

    How were they able to get away with this? I know that a governor DeSantis in Florida, judge them as being an essential business, which allowed them to keep broadcasting, even though they didn't have people in their audience for over a year. Do you have any insight on how the governor came about to granting this a rather astonishing deal for the company?

    I don't know. It's, it's something that Rhonda Santos did very early on in the pan. I was to declare it a. And essential service WrestleMania in 2020 was supposed to happen in Tampa. So that was an April, 2020. So of course the pandemic started to affect live events in March, 2020. Um, it seemed like maybe that was a factor to maintain a good relationship between the state and WVU so that they would continue to want to have a huge they're huge annual event WrestleMania every year.

    Drives a lot of business to local economy. I'm sure I know. There's speculation that I'm with Linda McMahon, who is Vince McMahon's wife. And she's been very involved with the Trump administration was it was at the time she's a small business administrator for about the first half of a of Trump's administration.

    That maybe there was some connection there, but I'm kind of skeptical that, that, that. That much of a conspiracy going on there, but, uh, no, they were able to, they never, they're very proud of saying that they never missed a week of TV and they never did. They did. They went to their performance center. They have a training center in Orlando, Florida, and they ran TV out of there for, uh, from the middle of March, 2020 until, uh, August, 2020.

    Um, and save a lot of money doing that as opposed to touring around the country and, uh, Loading and unloading, uh, every night it saved them a lot of money. So, so w is actually more profitable. During the pandemic, or at least in the early part of the pan, that'd be four. They brought out the Thunderdome, which is all the video screens that people may have seen.

    Uh, they saved a lot of money by running in the performance center, but they felt like it was affecting their ratings. And, uh, they introduced the Thunderdome, which, which was, uh, they took that to various locations of still around Florida. They stayed in Florida the entire time. They went through a diff uh, a few different, uh, venues, but, uh, they.

    The Thunderdome did seem to help their ratings. But yeah, they, uh, they produced new TV every week for their TV partners, NBC universal and Fox and others around the world. And, uh, they, they continue to get their TV rights fees, which are about, um, about, about half, maybe a slight majority of the revenue with.

    What are the things they've written about with WWE over the past year was the deal with NBC universal, with the peacock streaming service, uh, bringing the, the programming to, uh, to peacock. Do you see that as a good business deal for the company? Yeah. So it's a sports business journal reporter that it's a $1 billion deal over five years.

    If you mean, it means that we average out to $200 million a year. WB, uh, introduced their own self operated WWE network. And now they were contracting out through, uh, MLB am, but, uh, they, they introduced the WWE network in February, 2014. So they're really one of the early players, uh, in streaming. Uh, WWII has been, uh, on pay-per-view they run monthly events on paper.

    You have. As long as I've been alive. And, uh, I think Vince felt that like Vince was kind of an easy sell to the idea of a streaming service because the pay-per-view provider takes usually about 55% of, of the pay-per-view revenue that the content provider only gets 45% is a standard cut. And, uh, but through the network they could just go direct to consumer and, and take all of it.

    So the network was an exciting idea and it was a great deal for the consumer who, uh, you know, the wrestling fan who was paying $60 for a pay-per-view every month, they could subscribe to the streaming service for $10 a month, get the pay-per-views that are part of it. And in the library and everything else that they put on the WWE network, uh, they projected originally three to 4 million subscribers for the WWE network, uh, when it was introduced, they got about halfway there.

    Um, The peaks around 2 million subscribers for, I think the 2018 WrestleMania. So they fell well short of what their publicly stated goal was. They were generating about $185 million in revenue on the network, which they rolled out all, all over the world. Um, so subscribers had stopped growing by 2019 and, uh, I don't know how else they were going to grow subscribers other than to.

    You know, grow the popularity of their brand, which at least from the years of 2016 to 2019 and going into COVID, uh, seems pretty stagnant. So you go from $185 million a year or something like that, where there's not. Any real subscriber growth happening to, to generating $20 million a year. And maybe there's some opportunities for them to, uh, to share ad revenue with peacock as well as they, you know, it's, it's one thing to have a one and a half or 2 million subscribers, but to be on peacock's platform that has higher reach, that's a.

    That's one of the benefits for them. And then they like to, to, uh, celebrate how they're they're on this big reach platform and their pay-per-views. Now, since they've been on peacocks since March are now more highly viewed than they were before the people coming back to the live shows, when they resumed presentations in Texas in July, and they just had summer slam in August in Las Vegas.

    Yeah, they've uh, they've been doing well with, with ticket sales better than they were pre COVID. I think there's, there's a bit of pent up demand. Um, the first, the first show, I think the first show was in Houston for SmackDown on July 16th, that sold out about four 14,000 fans. Las Vegas is the first stadium scale of event.

    They've done a 45,000 paid. I know they have, they announced a bigger number, but 45,000 paid is wouldn't it con said to variety and to BT sport. And we've got. Uh, uh, a person who runs, uh, a little outlet called Russell ticks. Who's actually counting the dots on Ticketmaster to, to find out exactly how many, how many tickets are being distributed.

    So about 45,000 paid, um, they're doing better than they were before. Uh, how long it sustained. Sustained though. I don't know. What's like, what's the state of W's popularity. They're clearly benefiting from the return of live fans and TV ratings are holding up better. And in a lot, in some comparisons they're doing better than they were last year, which is, uh, is a sort of a rare thing these days.

    And TV seems to be doing better than you were last year. But clearly wrestling is not the same without thousands of fans there. To me, that's that's the whole game and the whole. Th th that's the large part of the, of the excitement is to see, to what extent the show, the wrestlers, the performers are going to be able to get the intended reactions out of people.

    Or if the fans just aren't going to react, or if they're going to give some unintended reaction, I think that's in a lot of times, that's the most interesting thing that's happening. Despite, you know, you can do that. You can do a show in front of real fans and everybody's talented and athletic, but it's not the same unless there's people.

    What is the secret to WWE is longevity. I think I'm somewhat older than you. I remember them back in the eighties when they were on NBC and when they used to alternate with Saturday night live, I think they also got better ratings than SNL did during that period. That's right. But I remember. Those days being more of a vaudeville type of a presentation than it is today are people of my generation watching today's WWE, or is this something which is, uh, strictly for the kids and us older folks, looking at those young whippersnappers, wondering what are you watching and why do you find that entertaining?

    Tell you the truth. Sometimes watch Toby. And I wonder who's who this is for who, who finds this entertaining sometimes. Um, I mean, as far as do, do older people watch WWII, I mean, on linear TV, they certainly do. I see all the demographics across their, their TV ratings and P 50 plus is majority of their audience by just by slim margin.

    I think. I think younger people are consuming it as well through other means through, through YouTube or through other clips or, or following it on social media. Um, but that's probably the case with a lot of things, a lot of things, things on TV or that people used to consume more traditionally through TV.

    Um, Yeah. If you w has a new competitor in the wrestling space since 2019, AWN their viewership tends to be younger. Um, if I just in fact look at, at the most recent median age, um, So raw this past Monday, which did a really good rating falling summer slam their median age was 52. This is linear TV, but, but I think when you compare it, it it's meaningful compared to say the last ADA dynamite was 49 and be, uh, the cm punk return for ADW was 43 and median age.

    So it's, it's, it's um, consistently a younger audience and WBS. Uh, a bit of an older audience on linear TV anyway, but I do think a I've seen some stats from, I think it's tubular labs showing how the WWII is one of the most popular content creators on YouTube and on face. Wait, where does WWE go from here are, I know they brought John Cena back for a couple of appearances and their stuff I've seen online.

    They're trying to learn the rock to come back as well. Are they going to get these older performance to come back or are they going to start to groom the next generation of John Sanders and rocks and whole Cogans and whoever came before them? They're always trying, I think. Is relying a lot on older stars and is very challenged to create new stars.

    The biggest booms in wrestling history in terms of business have always centered around, uh, the emergence of some new star, whether that was Hulk Hogan in the eighties, whether that was the rock and stone cold, Steve Austin. And I think bill Goldberg, even NWW in the late nineties, um, to an extent, the emergence of Johnson in the mid two thousands, uh, and, and which did coincide with an increase in business to next time.

    The, the increase in, in consumer metrics have always centered around, or I've always coincide with, with the emergence of a new star. Uh, WB is making more money than ever now, just because of the nature of, of media rights fees, and then the demand for live content. But, uh, they would like to make new stars.

    I've Roman reigns has become a big star for them. He's by far they're they're. Recognizable full-time wrestler. Um, but increasingly over the last several years, so he has become more about the visiting, uh, usually older star, whether it's bill Goldberg, gro John. Now, John Siena, who's very busy with Hollywood or occasionally, rarely the rock.

    Um, but, uh, your w has, uh, a performance center where they train people. They have a developmental brand called NXT. Great deal of turmoil seems to be. Putting in the next team to change the philosophy of, well, what kind of talent they should be cultivating outta the next T to get them ready for the main roster.

    Um, the, the Vinci man philosophy of having, um, you know, athletes who are, who are bigger, taller, um, seems to have checked in on, on an X T. Uh, his son-in-law triple H his philosophy of, uh, bringing in more of these independent wrestlers who have been in wrestling organizations outside of WB. I think Vince has been unhappy with some of the talent that he's, that has graduated from NXT to, to WB.

    And, uh, so that seems to be, uh, about to reset its philosophy, but they have to make new stars and, uh, the nature of WWII television, um, the, uh, The way that it's, I think over scripted, uh, the way that I think a lot of talent is miscast and misunderstood, uh, undermines their ability to create stars, but their, their name ID and their brand is, uh, it towers above every other player in the wrestling industry.

    Still. Uh, last question I have for you, let's just say that you won the Powerball and you have money to burn. Uh, would you take some of that money to burn and invest in WW? I've never invested in WB because I do this and I don't want this to be conflicted. Um, w share price last I checked is somewhere around 50, or maybe just under $50 per share.

    So they've got a market cap of somewhere around, or just under $4 billion. The value of their stock is largely going to be determined by whether or not people think or the, whether they're going through. An increase in their TV rights fees. Um, their current deal give us is by far their biggest media rights market.

    Uh, they're currently getting $205 million from Fox per year, $265 million, uh, from NBC universal. Uh, w just got a 3.6 X increase over their previous round. They they've been doing this round. This term is five years long. It'll expire, fall of 2024. So negotiations will probably start happening next year.

    And if history is any lesson, they'll finish a deal about a year and a half in advance of the expiration. So that means somewhere around the middle of 2023, um, WB program. Uh, it's still highly ranked. I think there'll be, there's a lot of consumer metrics to show that the popularity of WWII has declined from 2016 to 2020.

    Uh, but WB programming on linear TV is still very popular. Ross still ranks. Number one on cable in 1849. Many weeks. SmackDown is on Friday night, usually fighting it out with shark tank for the lead in PA team to 49. Um, so it's still ranks highly and the best I can tell you. The, the content that's going to drive really strong media values is going to be the content that ranks the best, the ranks most highly, especially among younger viewers.

    Uh, even though, yeah, W's got some, some pretty older views, some, some older viewers and an older median age, they still do really well on 18 to 49. And they rank highly. And I think as long as they'll be continues to rank highly, I would err on the side of things. They'll get a moderate increase, their position to get a moderate increase in 2023 something, I feel the Nikon has been hyping on earnings calls lately is that, you know, maybe they can get a digital player.

    Maybe they get one of the fangs interested in bidding for the rights. Um, I'm not sure that, that it, the names that have been mentioned are apple and Amazon. Amazon is obviously interested in live sports rights. Um, I don't know about apple, but there's. I don't know how much sense it makes for WB to put its it's raw or SmackDown content on a, on a streaming player, maybe in a couple years, it'll it'll make sense.

    But I think one thing that's really valuable for Ron SmackDown is to be on a really high reach platform. Fox is ideal because it's. Probably over a hundred million homes, a USA network is good because it's an over 80 million homes. Um, but if you go on Amazon prime, I'm not sure how many people are using Amazon prime that often and would discover it that way, which, which is important to feed all of their downstream businesses like, like tickets and merchandise, um, and consumer products.

    So. I don't know if it makes a ton of sense, at least at this point for them to go on a streaming player. And I, they would love to have a string player bid for them, and that might scare a Fox or NBC universal or some other linear broadcaster to bid strongly for their rights. So. I mean, the con is, uh, is the one who helped them make the deal that they have.

    Now they've brought him in as an executive and he seems exceptionally, uh, experienced and talented at making good, good business deals. So w seems to be in a good position, uh, as far as that goes. And again, I would, I would err, on the side of the, it may they'll get a moderate increase, uh, in their TV rights fees in the next.

    Well, Brenda, Thurswell we're at the end of today's episode, but if our listeners wanted to continue the conversation with you, how can they find you? I have a weekly podcast that you can find in your podcast, app, wrestle, Nomics, radio, just search for Russell Nomics. Uh, uh, you can go to my website, Russell nomics.com, or you can see a lot of my written work and a lot of business, uh, metrics on, uh, the businesses, professional wrestling.

    Uh, I'm on Twitter at Russell omics and at Brandon Thurston. Brenda Thirston. Thank you so much for being guests on this episode of fencing, a show business. Thanks. Thanks so much for having me, Phil and folks. We'll see you again next week until then you have yourself most wonderful of experiences. Take care. .

    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/benzinga-show-business-with-phil-hall/donations
    39m | Sep 17, 2021
  • Matt Kohrs On YouTube; John Valeri On Books

    Episode Summary

    In this episode, Phil Hall interviews Matt Kohrs about his rise to prominence as one of YouTube’s most popular stock investing and trading commentators and John Valeri, host of the talk show “Central Booking,” on the state of the book publishing and retail sectors.




    Benzinga Pro  


    Phil's Articles on Benzinga.com

    Benzinga Podcasts


    Matt Kohrs “Matt Kohrs Investing” https://www.youtube.com/c/MattKohrs

    John Valeri “Central Booking”



    Phil Hall

    Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts at https://www.benzinga.com/podcasts


    Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.

    Unedited Transcript:

    And yet another episode of Benzinga show business. Oh, there is no business, like show business on today's show. We're going to be discussing the state of the book, industry book publishing and book retailing. We have John Valarie is one of the most prominent book critics out there today.

    That's a later in the show, but first up we have a very special guests. Extra special. I would say his name is Matt cores. I mean, if you're one of those happy apes who has been disrupting the markets this year, you know who Matt cores is. Matt, thank you so much for taking the time to be with me today on Zika show business, more than happy to be here.

    I think we're going to have an awesome conversation. I hope so. You know, Matt. I love what you're doing on YouTube. And I'm looking at your YouTube page now, while we're speaking and I see you have 365,000 subscribers as of today. And before we recorded this interview, you did a two hour live stream, which brought in 63,000 views.

    I mean, you're, you're at a, I think you, Mr. Beast and Jake, Paul could all go out to lunch together. I mean, this is, these numbers are not what people usually associate with a financial. YouTube channel. What is the secret of your success on YouTube, man? I've been thinking about that a lot. Well, first of all, I very much appreciate those kind words.

    I would love to be in the league of a Mr. Paul, Mr. Bass. I mean, those guys, like I look up to him, like I looked up just in this world of social media and audio, video production, uh, YouTube and all the other forms of social media. You just, um, some people like that. They're very much Titans and I would love to be in that level one day with me.

    The one thing I've learned is social media very much, uh, it's a big benefit to do something that no one else has done. And I think we saw at the start of this calendar year, there was some sort of appetite at that point. It was mainly GameStop related GME when it went haywire, like, uh, you, you had a year when people were sitting on their couches, really, we were all locked inside.

    Like a lot of people were feeling the financial burden of the situation. And then you hear about GameStop and it's running and all of this. I had this channel, my YouTube channel in March of 2020. And just to give you and your listeners a little bit more. Yeah. Ideal of how it happened in March all the way till January.

    I was calling for every single subscriber and view I got. And I think from March, till January, halfway through January, I hit about 10,000 subscribers and obviously fast forward to now, I think, um, I believe you said 465, which is just crazy. And it puts the biggest smile on my face, but I think what it was.

    At that point, I was doing something that's already been done. Like I was looking up to some of the biggest financial YouTubers, Andre, Jake meet Kevin Graham, Stephan, and I was trying to replicate a model that was there's people that were better at it. They've been doing it long. And then all of a sudden, I thought, Hey, this could be fun.

    I know of live streaming through like the gaming world. A lot of people like to live stream those, but I was like, I wonder if there's some sort of appetite to live stream what's happening in the market. And fortunately, like with the insanity, which I could only describe as a black Swan event, there was a huge appetite.

    And then that was directly related to, I guess, the blow up in my channel. And, um, even the insanity now, like I think for the best. Two two months, AMC, Jimmy kind of quieted down. And I think that's the summer. This is the first summer in two years that people have kind of been able to go out and spend time with family and friends.

    But now that we're getting closer to labor day, people returning to their trading screens, uh, I'm just excited for the upcoming volume volatility and whatever that really brings with it. Who is the audience of your YouTube? So analytically in the backend, a lot of it it's male dominated and it's about 18 to 35 year olds.

    But I would say if I were to describe them, it's people who are identify as being a member of eight nation. It's a bunch of retail traders. Something on a very human level, this story of AMC and GME resonates with them. And the part that resonates with them, obviously you're in stocks. You're trying to make money.

    No one is disagreeing with that, but they look at it as a unique way to stand up against the current wall street system and kind of the lack of transparency that tilted nature of the playing field. It's more of a pay to play. And if you have more money, it's easier for you. And they're finding, I guess, the best way to say it is against some of these.

    Uh, in the qualities that we're really seeing in the current economic wall street system, especially in the UK. You have a background in, in broadcasting because you're very comfortable and very confident on camera and you have a good voice as well. Uh, not at all. Well, it's kind of funny that you say that maybe it's more of a, how people view themselves.

    I actually hate my voice when I hear one of my videos start to auto-play like when I'm on YouTube, myself, and then my video plays, I turned it off. I don't like listening to my voice, but I think a lot of people ended up saying that my background broadcasting, no. My first live stream was December 31st.

    So I went from March till the end of the year. And my friends who were like, honestly, we see that you've been doing YouTube for a while, but if you go to some of my oldest videos, they're horrific, I leave them up for the comedic aspect, but I it's too robotic, too scripted. It doesn't sound natural at all.

    My friends, they basically said, Hey man, like, we love you. And you've been doing it for a while. We don't want to hurt your feelings, but they basically said it's bad. And I was like, well, what can I do to sound better? And they're like, we'll try live streaming. So that's how it started. So December 30. It was my first live stream.

    And I just was doing, at that point, I did some like weekly updates of like, Hey, let's look at what Tesla is, earnings coming up. Apple has earnings coming up. I just did like kind of a weekly recap and then fast forward one month to when Jimmy exploded. And then that's when I started live streaming that, and then in February I ended up quitting my job and my job actually, I'm trained to be my main majors in computer science.

    So I'm very like data, data oriented. And with that. No professional trading whatsoever. I definitely had to learn some of this on the fly. And even that I'm learning day over day of kind of the entertainment aspects of it. I feel confident. And of course I could always learn more in stocks, options, futures, cryptos, uh, but for me, it's getting better on camera having a better camera presence and better speaking ability and things of that nature.

    Uh, I would actually identify as an introvert. So this is the part that I like really have to spend time learning and honing that particular. What do you see as your competition? Are you competing against other financial, YouTube burrs, or do you see yourself competing against the likes of Bloomberg TV or CNBC with that?

    Um, I think it's one of those things that I've experienced with within the YouTube world and other social media. It doesn't seem like people are exclusively watching one. It really does seem like, as the water goes up, all these other big YouTube channels, specifically talking about AMC GME and these finance ones, it seems like all of our views go up together.

    So of course there's healthy competition. Of course you want to be number one, like who wouldn't want to, but I don't think people are necessarily taking other people's views. Um, so I think the competition. Maybe not even taking views. Cause I bet there's people consuming mainstream media and also us. But it's funny that we're in the YouTube world, the social media world starting to be serious competitors.

    Um, this is my high water mark thus far in my career, but when AMC was specifically running an early June, I had a concurrent viewership as in viewers, listening to me all at one time, simultaneously of around 88, 80 9,000. And I'm a graduate of Penn state. So I always compare it to beaver stadium, which can hold 110 ish thousand.

    I was like, man, I almost maxed out an entire football arena. And I'm just sitting in my basement talking about a stock like this. It's not heard before. It's like literally the new edge is the frontier of financial commentary. It's insane that with the rise of technology and kind of this disdain for quote unquote, the man and people in suits, and there's a big trust factor.

    And it's weird that right now, Verifiably, not just me. This is not a one-off thing. There's other YouTube channels, other social media accounts where the numbers are exploding. And I think some of the reason is a little bit upsetting because it shows how much disdain there is for the current system.

    People there's a huge lack of trust. So they would rather listen to a guy, like I said, in a basement wearing silly duck shirts going on about random things. It's a sad commentary on the current state when that's more trustworthy than what some of the mainstream media. Well, I mean, you've had some interesting situations with YouTube offline a few times.

    Do you want to talk about what happened and how they got resolved? Yeah. So two times in my career happening this calendar year, I was terminated. It wasn't like I got a strike against my account. It wasn't that some of my videos were taken down my account. Wiped off of the face of the planet, two separate times.

    And I got an email from it being defined as harmful and dangerous both times. That's how, like that's the category they put me into. And for people who might not have heard of this, that's the category where like truly bad types of videos are uploaded like very violent videos. Like they put me in that I'm like I'm wearing, I wear induction and I talk about stocks.

    How am I harmful and dangerous? So with it, um, I guess to be completely fair here, if YouTube wanted to get rid of. They would have never gotten it back. They would have been like, you know what? No, you're not getting it back. So what I think it is, I think there's some other third party who may be my best guess is like mass reporting my account.

    And maybe there's like a certain level that it goes above that and YouTube just takes you down. And then of course, when it goes down, people now, especially at my size, people start to realize the second time around, it was actually trending in the United States, free Matt cores, like on Twitter. So of course, like at that level, I would assume someone at YouTube is like hanging on, like what's happening here.

    They look into it, they do a human manual review and they're like, all right, this was some sort of hiccup within the system and they give it back. But as a creator, you start to learn the system. And I feel like I should have known this earlier, especially like being in the stock world. You don't put all your eggs in one basket.

    Um, so because of that, I've kind of found out like I have a backup YouTube account. I now have a rumble account and then I also have a Twitch account. It the first time it happened, it's such an emotional punch to your gut when you're like, I just worked on this at this point for just over a year. I had my first one I lost was in April.

    And so I was doing it for over two years. I was like, it was just gone like that. And that was like the moment to me. And I was like, okay, I need to be a little bit more safe. So at that point, the second time around, I had the Twitch and that worked well as a fail safe, but now it's even more redundancies just for like this, I guess, safety of my own brand.

    We have to explain something, because this is obviously an audio podcast about the duck shirt. You're not like you're not like Elton John dressing up like Donald duck when he did his concert in central park. No, no, no. This is, if anything, um, the best way I could describe it. I it's just this random duck shirt that when game star started running in January, like at that point I was kind of poking fun of people wearing suits and that stuff.

    So I went out of my way to just wear it. Pretty strange shirts. And when I was wearing that shirt, that was one of the first days that GameStop really ripped. So people were like, you have to wear it. And all of a sudden, the entire branding of ducks like took on a life of its own. But to your listeners to describe it, it's a Mallard duck shirt.

    They're like there's many, many Mallard ducks in in-between, it there's just random flags. And that's why I bought it. And in college I was going to a random party. I bought it at a thrift store for like a dollar 99 cause of how absurd it was. There's a Canadian flag on it, the us flag and the Mexican flag.

    And from there. I realized that people were saying, oh no, it's indicative of like the flight pattern, the migration pattern of the Mallard duck. I was like, I don't know what genius thought this had to go on his shirt, but I'm super happy. They put it on a shirt and now it's like a staple of my channel.

    That's great. You mentioned Twitch and you mentioned rumble as other platforms. Do you have anywhere near the same number of subscribers on those that you have on YouTube? No. I would say that YouTube. Definitely. My flagship, just cause I've been on it for the longest. And who knows? Maybe when one of these days another one might overtake, you never know.

    Cause it's just, it's social media and it's the internet. You never know. Um, I'm, I'm happy with the size, but it's definitely not at the size of YouTube. I think to remember that you were a guest, was it on Fox business news or, uh, CNBC? Uh, some weeks ago. Yeah. So most recently I was on Fox, but I've had the, uh, opportunity to speak with both CNBC and Fox, but, um, I've somewhat become a frequent guest with Charles Payne making money on Fox.

    And I always love my conversations with him. How did that come about? Why did, uh, the Fox business people hear about you? I'm not really sure. I think maybe. For the first time I spoke to them was in June. And up to that point, this story specifically of AMC was only being told by one side, it was Mo it was mainstream media.

    It was wall street. And you had all these people who were talking about the fundamentals of what was going on and how this was such an obvious choice. And like, it seemed like I'm assuming on their side, they probably said, hang on. Like, why are we only hearing this one thing? Why is this not going up? So I'm assuming that, uh, someone was looking, they probably just searched it.

    And at that point, my channel was like, in the middle of its explosion, I was getting a lot of views, a lot of concurrent viewers. So they just ended up reaching out to me on Twitter. And like Twitter led to an email, led to a phone call and they're like, Hey, would you be interested in doing it and shout out to them?

    Fox making money with Charles Payne was the first one of mainstream media of national TV giving us really a voice. And then from there, one thing led to another, but, uh, it's definitely been a great experience, but I'm assuming they just wanted to hear another voice besides the same thing that we hear regurgitated over and over and over again.

    As I mentioned at the top of our conversation, the next segment of this podcast is all about books. Do you have any book deals in the work or plan to write your own? No. I mean, uh, being a computer science major, unfortunately my skillset is definitely more in the mathematical realm of things and I'm still working to become a better speaker.

    Maybe one of these days I'll work on my writing ability, but, um, uh, nothing in the works right now, unfortunately, but who knows, you know, you can never say that. Indeed. And don't it don't sell yourself short. One of the greatest writers of the 20th century was cringe Russell, who was a mathematician who went on to where the Nobel prize for literature.

    So, oh, wow. Going from two plus two to a thank you. King of Sweden. So, wow. I didn't know that. Give the, give that you learn something new every day. Well, the reason why you should read Benzinger and listen to Benzinga because what you're going to learn. So what is next on your agenda, Matt? Uh, are you going to keep doing what you're doing or are you looking to expand into other areas?

    Definitely. Right now, it's, I'm at the point in my career with it where like, It's always like the next thing. And right now I love the AMC community. I love the GME community. I'm never going to turn my back on them. If anything, I want to bring my own work, schedule up to that next level and start including other types of content for me, it's like, okay, I want to entertain.

    I want to educate. And I see other opportunities right now. It looked like the crypto sector, the fandom behind it took a little bit of time. But as you know, it's probably it's picking up right now. So I'm like, okay. Maybe there's interesting opportunities there recently in the kind of, I guess, calmer nature of AMC and Jimmy I've taken that opportunity to teach more about options.

    So for me, if I could always provide value, whether it's through entertainment or through education of things, stocks, options, futures, crypto. That's what I want to do. And. I view it as, as I provide more and more value, that's going to resonate with more and more people and it's better off because people are being either entertained or educated.

    And for me, I'll hopefully bring that the brand to the next level. Well, Matt, thanks so much for being a guest on this edition of Benzinga show. Super happy to be here. Hopefully we'll be back one of these days. Indeed. I suspect you will. And folks don't go away going to hear a very quick, but very important message from our good friends over at Benzinga pro the access to actionable news and market research.

    With all the information you need to invest smarter and profit faster. Start your free trial today@prodotbenzinga.com. On this segment of our podcast, we're going to be discussing books, publishing, book, retailing, all things biblio. And I certainly have a wonderful expert to help me on that. He's John Valarie.

    He is a well-known book critic and is also host of the central booking talk show where he gets to interview all bunch of famous writers. So, John, thank you so much for taking the time to be on our program. It's my pleasure. Thank you for having me here. You know, John in preparation for this interview, I was reminded of a quote that gore of a doll gave, uh, shortly before he passed away, he was interviewed and he was asked, where are today's great writers and gore Vidal.

    And his usual wonderfully dyspeptic persona looked at the interviewer and said, where are today's great readers? And I guess. I would, uh, channel my inner core of a dollar and ask you at the same question, where are today's great readers? Are people reading books today? You know, I think we're all kind of hunkered down in our homes, but we are still reading.

    And I think that one of the interesting things that happened throughout the course of the pandemic is book sales, print books. Sales actually reached an all time high for the first time in a decade, um, after really struggling to find place with eBooks. So we are still out here looking to read great books and there are still people out there looking to write them, which leads me to be very helpful.

    And actually the, uh, the percentage of the increase that you're citing. 0.2% from 2019 to 2020. So if there was anything good that came out of the pandemic, it certainly was good for the book publishing it. Yeah, I would agree with that. I mean, I think that there's continued to be a struggle, you know, with retailers, you know, independent bookstores versus big box, Amazon Barnes and noble.

    Um, but I think that there was a surge from a lot of people to really try to rally around their independent booksellers and protect them, and also to be, you know, aware of the struggles that authors are facing into sort of, you know, search out those books. And then I think also we. Sort of want that element of escapism.

    Um, and when you can't leave your house safely, you can bring that to you through a book. Well, is this going to continue through 2021 was sort of coming out of the pandemic, but maybe we're not because of the Delta variant, is this momentum that the industry experienced last year going to be something continuing, not only this year, but also into 2022 and beyond.

    That's a great question that I wish I could look into my crystal ball and answer for you. Um, it's so hard to say because there is so much flux with the Delta variant. Um, but I think that publishing has always been a notoriously volatile industry. Um, and it sort of. Finds its way, even if it takes a little bit of time, I think that there are going to be changes.

    Um, I think that there is an initial surge that we'll probably see some drops in the level of book sales. Um, but depending on how the Delta variant plays out, if people are starting to social distance more. Um, I wouldn't be surprised if we saw that rise in book sales. If people feel like they're confined to their homes again.

    Um, but I have heard from some booksellers that there was, you know, a great initial surge of interest in is things normalized. Um, as people were getting vaccinated that, that sort of waned a bit. Um, but I wouldn't again, be surprised now that a lot of us are being more cautious. Um, if there was another increase in those things, Well, according to the figures from last year, and I'm quoting from the, the good people at NPD BookScan, uh, the category, uh, that was the strongest last year was the education reference language category, which had a 55.5% increase.

    Obviously a lot of people wanted to better themselves intellectually while they were stuck at home. But what was interesting, the second biggest sub category involve games, activities, and hobbies, which was up 31.3%. And that seems to be more of a generation spanning type of a category for the youngsters who would like to play games at home.

    And also for the older people who get to catch up on hobbies, they usually weren't able to take care of prior to the pendant. Yeah, it's interesting. I saw that statistic as well. Uh, and it really does show that people are looking for different forms of entertainment. I mean, I think that we're so accustomed to leaving the house and interacting in person.

    And when you don't feel that you can do that safely. What are you going to do? You can pick up a book, which is great, but if you were in a family situation and you want to have that face-to-face engagement, I mean, all of a sudden it was a situation where parents and children were sort of forced to interact in a way that they might not have been, uh, you know, schools shut down.

    Um, a lot of parents couldn't go into the office and had to parent from home. And so I think games presented a way, a fun way for people to really engage with each other meaningfully that they may not have been thinking about before. I mean, the typical is, you know, you get home at the end of the day, you got to get dinner on the table.

    Homework has to be done bath and shower, and then you do it all again the next day. And the pandemic sort of forced the slowing down of all of this. And I think gave us a time to reflect on what was really meaningful. And then, you know, how we would fill that. Well years ago, a lot of the big hit movies were based on the best-selling books.

    We don't really get to see that much. Today. And it's interesting because the last year the adult fiction sales were only up 6% year over year compared to the other categories. Well, what does that mean for the Hollywood studios that used to, uh, go to the bestseller lists to get their projects? Does this mean that we're going to probably be seeing more remakes and reboots of vehicles as opposed to, uh, exciting new films based on new models?

    Well, you were the movie, man, you would probably know better than me, but I think absolutely. Yes. Um, you know, looking even at what's coming out now it does, it tends to be sequels, remakes, reboots. And again, I think that people realize that, you know, if there's a brand that's recognizable, it's easier to draw people back to something that they already know, um, versus creating something entirely new.

    Uh, there are great books out there that I think that. You know, lend themselves very well to the screen, but Hollywood doesn't seem to be in the mindset and I'm talking collectively because there will always be outliers, but they don't seem to be in the mindset of taking great big chances right now.

    Whereas if they know that they have a franchise that is going to be a money draw, if you look at horror specifically, That's really the, the dominant part of that market is reboots remakes. That's why we have another Halloween movie, a scream movies coming out. Um, so, so I agree with you that I think that that is the trend that we're going with right now, at least on a large scale.

    Oh, there's going to be another screen movie that sort of spoils my day. Thank you. You know, it's funny. That is the first franchise I ever loved and I'm actually very excited about it because it's the first one without Wes Craven. But, you know, he passed unfortunately, but they have the whole surviving cast back for it.

    And some directors that seem really invested in the legacy versus a cash grab. So, so we'll see. But yeah, I mean talk about reboots, right? 25 years later, we're starting again. Yeah, I'm, I'm only kidding about, uh, that's one thing I'm not kidding about, and this is rather interesting also from the NPD BookScan data, uh, political books and books tied to social justice.

    Uh, we're only up 4.8% year over year during 2020, of course, last year. Well, it's probably the year for anything political or anything related to social justice. Uh, has this topic just been tapped out? Has it just the media oversaturated it to the point that people are not going to be spending $20 or more to have a hard cover book on the subject?

    I think you hit the nail on the head right there. I have never felt so oversaturated in my life. I mean, we get media in so many different ways now. So between television, our phones, our computers, there's sort of an endless cycle. And I think that people feel like they've seen it on TV. So why do they need to read a book about it?

    And I also think that there's sort of. A conscious unplugging, like I've known so many people who have stopped watching the news, you know, gone on Facebook hiatus just to get away from it. And I think that that's been a bit reflected in book sales as well. I want to talk about a very prominent national book retailer.

    I'm not going to mention the name, but I think you can probably guess who it is. And I've been in a couple of their stores recently and I couldn't help, but notice that when I go into the stores, uh, they have a cafe which is always crowded. Uh, lately they've had a lot more toys for sale, more vinyl albums, uh, DVDs, Blu rays, a lot of accessories, tote bags, scarves, Globes, uh, holiday cards, et cetera, not as many books as I recall before.

    Uh, Is it unique to this particular retailer who will not mention that they seem to be putting more of everything, but books into the stores or is this also happening with the independent bookstores around the country? Wow. Oh, I know exactly the retail you're speaking of I've had the same experience where, you know, you walk in and you'd have to Wade through it.

    Stuff just to find your way to the books. Um, I think that it is true of independent booksellers as well, but on a much smaller scale, um, you know, there are several independent booksellers that do have, you know, a cafe element, uh, or to have a gift element. Um, gift items, but I think that they're more carefully cultivated and it doesn't overwhelm the store.

    It's, you know, it's sort of an accessory to the books, but books continue to be the primary presence in the store. And I think that that tends to be the difference between an independent bookseller and some of the bigger retailers. Like they still want to hand sell you those books, but while you're there, they're going to offer you all those other items as well.

    Let me ask you a somewhat flippant question. Let's assume you're in. Book retailer, who we are still not mentioning. And you're going through, uh, one of the aisles, new pickup, a book, you open the book and much to your surprise. You find a thousand dollars inside the book. If you had a thousand dollars just handed to you, would you see yourself investing in media companies that are concentrating in book publishing either specifically or as part of their overall media strategy?

    You know, my first inclination, it would be that moral dilemma. Oh my gosh, I found a thousand dollars. Do I keep it? And really, you know, being in that environment, I would want to take the money and run to my favorite independent bookseller and just spend it there. I think my inclination would probably be to invest it directly in an independent bookseller in some way.

    That's interesting. So you would go directly to the bookseller to ensure that this small business is able to succeed as opposed to, uh, going on Robin hood or going to calling your broker and saying, Hey, put my, uh, new found thousand dollars into X. I would, I know that's sort of a unique perspective, but you know, money management is not my greatest strength.

    I will tell you. And I do have a lot of friends in the independent bookselling world. So it would be, you know, a real thrill to just show up with a lot of money and be like, hit me with all your best books. That's wonderful. And I hope that people listening to this podcast. We'll also check out their local independent booksellers.

    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/benzinga-show-business-with-phil-hall/donations
    31m | Sep 10, 2021
  • What Is The Future For Broadcasting?

    The play's the thing! Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the King - Hamlet 

    Episode Summary

    On this episode, Phil Hall speaks with veteran TV writer Jeffrey Cintolo and longtime Internet radio host Peter Pinho on the challenges that broadcast television and the radio industry face in attracting new audiences and maintaining financial viability.


    The Peter Pinho Show

    Benzinga Youtube Channel 

    Benzinga Pro  


    Phil's Articles on Benzinga.com

    Benzinga Podcasts


    Jeffrey Cintolo - Screenwriter/Writer at Writers Guild of America West

    Peter Pinho - PPRN President/ CEO Host of The Peter Pinho Show


    Phil Hall

    Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts at https://www.benzinga.com/podcasts


    Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.

    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/benzinga-show-business-with-phil-hall/donations
    41m | Sep 3, 2021
  • A Trip to the Moon

    Episode Summary

    On this episode, Phil Hall speaks with Professor Clark, author of “Stonks on the Moon,” a new children’s book inspired by the WallStreetBets phenomenon, and Nick Balazs, a bodybuilding champion who has become an active social media advocate for Dogecoin.


    Stonks On The Moon! 

    Benzinga Youtube Channel 

    Benzinga Pro  


    Phil's Articles on Benzinga.com

    Benzinga Podcasts


    Professor Clark

    Nick Balazs


    Phil Hall

    Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts at https://www.benzinga.com/podcasts


    Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.

    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/benzinga-show-business-with-phil-hall/donations
    29m | Aug 27, 2021
  • Americans Go to the Movies; The World Comes to Dubai


    Episode Summary

    On the premiere episode of Benzinga’s new podcast focusing on the business side of the entertainment world, Phil Hall talks about the challenge of bringing moviegoers back into theaters with acclaimed film critic and filmmaker David Cornelius, followed by a preview of the business and investment opportunities at Dubai’s Expo 2020 with Exhibitor Magazine’s Charles Pappas.


    Inhumanwich! by Directed by David Cornelius

    Dubai World Expo 2020

    Benzinga Youtube Channel 

    Benzinga Pro  


    Phil's Articles on Benzinga.com

    Benzinga Podcasts


    Writer, Critic, and Member of the Online Film Critics Society, David Cornelius 2:00

    EXHIBITOR Magazine Senior Writer, Charles Pappas 20:00


    Phil Hall

    Subscribe to all Benzinga Podcasts at https://www.benzinga.com/podcasts


    Disclaimer: All of the information, material, and/or content contained in this program is for informational purposes only. Investing in stocks, options, and futures is risky and not suitable for all investors. Please consult your own independent financial adviser before making any investment decisions.

    Support this podcast at — https://redcircle.com/benzinga-show-business-with-phil-hall/donations
    36m | Aug 20, 2021
Benzinga Show Business with Phil Hall