Well, 2022 was a humbling year: Netflix’s valuation dropped by as much as 70 percent, dragging most of Hollywood down with it; Amazon bought MGM out of a post-bankruptcy reorg; The CW was sold to a broadcast chop shop; David Zaslav pulled the cost-cutting ripcord at Warner Bros. Discovery; Bob Chapek was canceled mid-season and Bob Iger was rebooted, and everyone had a Damascene conversion on advertising.
For executives from Los Gatos to Burbank and New York, the end of 2022 marks a time to reflect on the jarring new realities facing the once up-and-to-the-right streaming businesses—and preparing for a similarly challenging 2023. The ad market is softening, streaming revenue isn’t increasing fast enough to offset the death of traditional TV, and, oh yeah, the entire industry is weighted down by tens of billions of dollars in debt.
It’s not all doom and gloom, of course. Broadband penetration rates are still rising internationally, more viewers are watching global content than ever before, streaming usage surpassed broadcast viewing in the U.S. in December, according to Nielsen, and fragmenting audience interest means there’s more subgenres and subcultures than ever (and just as many ways to monetize them). As Iger told employees when he returned to Burbank last month, quoting Hamilton, “There is no more status quo … But the sun comes up and the world still spins.”