In a series of events that have sent shockwaves through the entertainment industry, a feud between Disney and Charter Communications has led to a significant drop in entertainment stocks, PR firms are struggling amid an ongoing Hollywood strike, and Lionsgate has achieved a quiet victory by hitting a market share milestone in transactional home entertainment.
The dispute between media giant Disney and cable provider Charter Communications over television distribution fees has not only dragged down the shares of several U.S. entertainment companies, including Fox Corp and Warner Brothers Discovery Inc, but has also soured investor sentiment on the sector. This comes at a time when the industry is already grappling with a Hollywood writers and actors strike over wages and other issues, raising doubts about whether companies will have enough content in the coming months. Disney blocked its cable channels, including ESPN and ABC, from being shown on Charter’s Spectrum network after the two companies failed to secure a distribution agreement. This move affected Spectrum, the second-largest US cable provider, serving 14.7 million homes across large markets such as New York and Los Angeles.
As a result of the ongoing strikes and the dispute with Charter, midsize PR agencies, which represent both the striking actors and the big studios, are particularly vulnerable. One firm has already reported an 80% drop in revenue, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Charter said Disney rejected its proposal for a new distribution deal that takes into account the rise of competing low-cost streaming services, which has fueled cord-cutting among its customers. The cable provider said it pays Disney $2.2 billion in annual programming costs, excluding advertising. Disney, on the other hand, said it has reached successful deals with pay TV providers across the country and that the rates and terms it sought with Charter “are driven by the marketplace.”
In the midst of this turmoil, Lionsgate has managed to celebrate a quiet victory by promoting Adam Frank and Jill Anderson to lead worldwide transactional home entertainment as it hit a market share milestone in the business. This includes transactional EST (Electronic Sell-Through), where consumers can purchase digital copies of movies or TV shows.
The entertainment industry is currently facing a series of challenges, from disputes over distribution agreements to ongoing strikes affecting both PR agencies and content production. While companies like Lionsgate are finding ways to adapt and thrive, the overall landscape remains uncertain, with the potential for further disruptions in the coming months.