Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has announced that new bundles are on the horizon. During a Goldman Sachs conference, Zaslav revealed that his company has been in discussions with other companies in the content industry about creating new bundles to enhance the consumer experience. These conversations have gained momentum in recent months.
Zaslav emphasized the difficulty that consumers face in navigating the multitude of content options available to them. He suggested that bundling could be a solution to this problem, stating, “Some of this disruption and some of these moments of what’s going to happen may activate a quicker transition to things like some of us in the content business bundling together as a way to create more value and create a better consumer experience.”
To illustrate the potential of bundling, Zaslav mentioned Max’s recent experiment of offering content from AMC Networks for a limited period. This collaboration between Kristin Dolan, AMC’s CEO, and JB Perrette, WBD’s streaming chief, aimed to boost AMC’s direct-to-consumer product. Zaslav sees these initiatives as opportunities for companies to work together and grow their respective businesses.
However, Zaslav also acknowledged the challenges currently facing the entertainment industry, particularly the ongoing writer and actor strikes. Warner Bros. Discovery projects that these strikes could result in a hit of up to $500 million on the company’s 2023 earnings. Despite the financial impact, Zaslav emphasized the importance of fair compensation and recognition for creative professionals. He asserted that both writers and actors should be paid fairly and valued by their corporate partners.
“We’re a content company. We’re a storytelling company. We need to do everything we can to get people back to work,” Zaslav stated. “But more importantly, it’s true of creative people, but it’s true for all of us: People need to be compensated fairly, and they need to feel valued.”
Zaslav also highlighted the aspirations of talented individuals in the industry. Great writers, directors, and actors want their work to have an impact on the culture and the way people perceive themselves and the world. Zaslav believes that this can only be achieved through collaborative efforts.
Regarding the ongoing Charter Spectrum-Disney dispute, Zaslav commented that it feels like a pivotal moment but emphasized that the outcome remains uncertain. He pointed out that Warner Bros. Discovery does not have any significant deals scheduled until 2025, and he stressed his company’s commitment to linear television, noting that they continue to invest heavily in this format.
On a positive note, Zaslav discussed the success of the marketing strategy employed for the film Barbie. He attributed the achievement to the united efforts of Warner Bros. Discovery’s divisions. The company utilized various platforms, including television shows like Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, and Ernie Johnson’s Inside the NBA, and even transformed the fields during a football match in Sweden to showcase the strength of Barbie. Warner Bros. Discovery’s all-encompassing marketing approach demonstrated the power of the company’s expansive resources.
In conclusion, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav shared his vision of new bundles in the content industry and emphasized the need for collaboration to enhance the consumer experience. While challenges such as writer and actor strikes persist, Zaslav reiterated the company’s commitment to fair compensation and recognition for creative professionals. Additionally, he recognized the importance of linear television and highlighted the success of the marketing strategy for Barbie as an example of Warner Bros. Discovery’s united approach. Through these initiatives, Zaslav aims to create meaningful impact in the industry and the cultural landscape.