The following are some thoughts on the entertainment, media, and sports industry expectations as we move closer to the Fall and New Year. Here are four things that are likely to occur.
1. Content Providers and Streamers will Dominate the Headlines
2019-2020 will see Disney+, Apple+, and HBO Max (through Warner Media) enter the content streaming space to compete with Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. Licensing content, while creating, producing, and distributing original content will continue to surpass multi-billion dollar levels. The aforementioned list does not include Quibi and the many sports streaming opportunities through professional sports (i.e., Wave, FloSports, ESPN+, YouTube, and social media platforms, etc.). Meanwhile, the providers will continue to protect their space through copyright law.
2. Agencies will Continue their Push into Production and Distribution
WME/Endeavor will be a publicly traded company and the firm continues to sign top sports talent. UTA now has a significant sports branch. How the industry and the government react in light of the existing 1948 United States v. Paramount decision is yet to be seen. Specifically, whether agencies can continue to push their way into content creation, production, distribution, and ownership. The Writers Guild of America and other Hollywood guilds may also have a say on their future relationships with agents and studios.
3. Unless Regulated, Mergers and Acquisitions will Continue between Properties
CBS and Viacom are the latest to be nearing a merger. AT&T-Time Warner and Disney-Fox were the big merger stories in 2019. The United States Justice Department did challenge the AT&T-Time Warner merger, but lost in court. However, should the industry continue to down a path of competitor domination the government will take notice especially if prices rise beyond consumer comfort level. There is some sign that the major mergers have subsided outside the Sprint-T-Mobile merger.
4. Tech & Social Media Companies will be Under the Microscope
Similar to the entertainment and media companies mentioned above, tech and social media platforms are in line for challenges. Tech and social media companies are facing backlash over user privacy, specifically the collection and release of private data and information. These same companies are also likely to face First Amendment concerns and litigation as their platforms become more like public platforms and any restriction on free speech requires some level of justification.