Media C-Suite Week No. 26, Issue No. 13

A Week in he Media C-Suite Issue 13

A Week in the Media C-Suite

It’s Sunday, the 25th of June, 2023.

Events are moving at breakneck speed, as often happens in the lead up to the Summer holidays.

Just catching up?

Aren’t we all!

Here’s what you might have missed over the last week.

Capital Ideas

For an industry founded on creativity and artistic license, one would think ideas would never be in short supply. 

For a few months now, CFOs have been preparing earnings reports, forward-looking business plans and financial projections that align the expectations of CEOs and shareholders as the next fiscal year rapidly approaches. This past week has been a busy one for financial advisers and strategy consultants as late-stage draft spending plans are presented to the top brass of media companies seeking to manage their balance sheets and cash flow to pay for the strategies of their CEOs.

The Media C-Suite has been listening intently as our new survey of media industry finance professionals gets underway. What we’re hearing so far requires some suspension of disbelief.

One thing that aligns the interests of shareholders, corporate boards and media executives is a common understanding of the commercial landscape. But that seems to be missing this year.

As we have reported recently, our survey of Professional Investors has made clear that they are perceiving a distinct shift in where the Industry’s consumers are located and that a generational shift in audiences is well underway. 

But senior financial officers within the Media Majors, plus advisers and consultants, are reporting a distinct lack of vision for addressing this with CEOs focused on status quo as the default position.

This makes it difficult to convince existing shareholders and prospective investors to fully buy into how the money should be spent (and how it will perform). For some CFOs, that means being caught between Black Rock and a hard case. 

Financial execs at smaller media companies, however, are reporting quite the opposite. 

So far, the data remains too raw to draw any conclusions as our survey builds momentum. But we are collating.

To go deeper, and beg a few questions, you might find this article interesting:

Are Cancelled Series’ a Symptom of Deeper Issues in Hollywood?

As broadcast television suffers from cord-cutting and global streamers struggle to combat subscriber attrition, executives are cancelling television Series in what may be a monumental case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

Looking Ahead?

So are we.

Battle of the Balls

Sports fans around the world may just be on the verge of a new era.

Flush with cash and growing numbers of fans, televised sport is attracting the attention of the world’s largest investors with their own ambitions and expectations. We spoke of Saudi Arabia’s epic moves into global football and golf last week. 

There is so much more to discuss.

On the football front, one leading expert in sports rights management told the Media C-Suite that the number of football fans today rivals any religious movement in terms of geographic spread, dedication to their favourite clubs and to the sport itself. That global appeal is the result of lucrative deals to broadcast games into television markets around the world.

For the most lucrative television market, football isn’t football, its soccer.  In the United States, soccer competes for air-time with American football, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis and increasingly rugby. 

One might think that this dilutes the fan base. But one might be wrong.

Sports in the United States is booming and the more balls being kicked, pitched, served, driven or run the better.  If there’s a ball involved, fans can’t get enough. 

Investors are lining up for what is being called the Golden Decade of Sport in America. That investment capital will provide more coverage, better quality and more options for how fans experience their favourite teams. Technology will no doubt play a role. As with most advances, what works in the US will likely become the norm globally.

Watch this space. We will report more.

For a few ideas on how investment might change the ways in which sports are experienced, read this article:

Golf’s Power Drive into Media Disruption

This year’s 2023 Masters Invitational in Augusta, Georgia show-cased professional Golf’s biggest conflict with the inclusion of leading golfers from the break-away LIV Golf league.  But it was not drama that drew attention from record audiences, including professional investors, it was the App used to experience it.    

For more on our survey of Professional Investors and a few other insights, you might be interested in:

The Demographics of Media's Future

Professional Investors Eager to Call “Action!” on Media & Entertainment

Less than two decades ago, Netflix changed the Media & Entertainment industry forever while the CEOs of the Media Majors were sleeping at their desks.  Are we about to watch a similar disruption unfold?  Professional Investors seem to think so.

A Venturer Scanning the Horizon

Big Investors Eye Media Shakeup in Three Crucial Areas

The Media C-Suite’s survey of Professional Investors point to changes on the horizon for Media & Entertainment as the Media Majors lead global audiences to derivative content they don’t really want, at quality levels they don’t really want, leaving those paying subscription fees chaffing at the bit.

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