MPN Podcast: Disney Considering Divesting Hulu Ownership; Peacock to Debut a Livestreaming Feature; Box Office Update
February 15, 2023
On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley revisit the latest news coming from the fronts of the streaming wars, and return to the box office to check in on how theatrical releases are doing. The past weekend had the debut of multiple big budget movies during the Super Bowl, including The Flash and Fast X, which the hosts spend some time speculating on.
The Walt Disney Co. is poised to lose control of Hulu by the end of the year if they don’t buy out Comcast’s stake in the company. While Disney has been recently cutting costs (most prominently, laying off 7,000 employees) it may not be in their best interest to lose Hulu, as subscribers on average pay more than double what subscribers to Disney+ pay. This gets more into whether it’s in the consumers’ best interests for Hulu to remain part of Disney, which as Charles gets into, monopolistic control of streaming services by a small number of companies (namely, Disney) is probably going to bring more bad than good. On the opposite end of the streaming spectrum, Peacock is debuting a feature called “Watch With” which will feature stars of shows providing live reactions and commentary during airtime. Charlie is skeptical, since even though streamers are getting more and more popular on platforms like YouTube and Twitch, it’s a fundamentally different medium to be livestreaming yourself playing a video game versus commentating the premiere of a show. Ultimately, seeing Peacock trying something new is a positive sign and will hopefully differentiate it from competitors.
At the box office, Magic Mike’s Last Dance claims the top spot over the weekend with just over $8 million in domestic revenue. Avatar: The Way of Water lags with a sub-$1 million weekend, but gets the last laugh as its worldwide lifetime gross has totaled almost $2.2 billion.
The hosts wrap with a recap of some breaking Marvel news and statistics: reviews for the latest “Ant-Man” have started to drop and they are scathing, with its Rotten Tomatoes score pulling the second-worst number for a Marvel movie ever. On the flip side, in 2022 Marvel’s three releases brought so many people to theaters that one in six tickets sold was for a Marvel movie. So even though the franchise from a critical point of view may appear to be running on fumes, commercially it is as strong as ever.