Netflix, Amazon shaking up US entertainment industry

World Today

Netflix, Amazon shaking up US entertainment industry

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are sending shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry not just because of they’re direct to consumer platforms, but now the tech giants are poaching big talent, even former US presidents, from traditional media companies.

CGTN’s May Lee has more on the brain drain.

Netflix has come a long way since it debuted its political drama, House of Cards back in 2013. At the time, the streaming service was seen as taking a big risk. It signed up high profile actors and spent $100 million to produce two seasons.

Now, the tech giant, as well as others like Amazon and Apple, have been on a content creating rampage and doing so by poaching talent from traditional networks with offers of huge deals and lots of creative freedom.

Michael Schneider, executive editor at IndieWire says, “They have the money and the wherewithal to cherrypick the best and it is causing some real heartbreak and some real concern at the traditional broadcast networks and studios because they just can’t compete.”

Some recent examples of poaching deals are eye-popping, to say the least. Ryan Murphy, creator of hits like “Glee” and “The People vs. OJ Simpson”, jumped ship from 21st Century Fox and signed with Netflix for a whopping $300 million.

Shonda Rhimes, creator of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” is leaving ABC for Netflix for a reported $100 million.

Former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle inked a high eight-figure deal with Netflix.

And the most recent tech coup, media mogul Oprah Winfrey just signed a deal with Apple to create exclusive original content.

“Oprah already has a deal with Discovery networks,” says Schneider. “She has a network called OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network and the fact that she can still turn around and do a deal with Apple on top of already having a deal with Discovery shows you, tech comes in and they don’t care, they’re going to take whatever talent they want regardless of what that talent is already doing in the traditional world.”

To survive in this fast-changing media landscape, traditional media companies are swirling in merger mania. AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner was just approved.

Jason E. Squire of the USC School of Cinematic Arts and editor of “The Movie Business Book” says, “For both parties because they were not direct competitors they saw the value of bulking up by combining, in the face of these newcomers who are enormously powerful by virtue of their customer reach, they’re growing curve and the money that they’re spending.”

The AT&T/Time Warner approval triggered a massive bidding war between Disney and Comcast for 21st Century Fox. On Wednesday, Disney boosted its bid to acquire Fox with an offer of $71 billion in cash and stock, topping Comcast’s $65 billion all cash offer.

Who would have thought that the once risk-taking newbie, Netflix, is now the cause of such turmoil among corporate titans… but that’s exactly what’s happening. The industry expects more mergers, more acquisitions and more poaching and that could mean smaller companies and small to mid-range writers and producers may get gobbled up or squeezed out completely.