Can you smell what Netflix's cookin’?

January 24th, 2024

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Another year, another Oscar. Yesterday’s Academy Award nominations brought the drama. While Ryan Gosling was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Barbie and America Ferrera for Best Supporting Actress, neither leading lady Margot Robbie nor director Greta Gerwig was nominated. What are your thoughts? Did the Academy mess up, or did they make the right decision?

In this issue…

  • More on the Oscar nominations

  • Netflix strikes a deal with WWE

  • Music journalism has issues


Top Trends

Google → The Oscars

Reddit → Barbie

TikTok → “1901”

Spotify → “Running”

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ENTERTAINMENT

Christopher Nolan walking the Oscars red carpet // Courtesy of Universal Pictures

The 2024 Oscar nominations could program a blockbuster telecast

The Future. The Academy Award nominations brought plenty of drama yesterday, with Oppenheimer, Poor Things, Barbie, Maestro, and Killers of the Flower Moon scoring the majority of the nominations. As Oppenheimer and Barbie, two of the biggest blockbusters of 2023, will compete in multiple categories, expect this year’s Oscars telecast to have its biggest ratings bump in a decade.

Box office gold
The Oscar noms announcement — the first since the debut of new representation and inclusion standards — came with a bevy of headlines, records, and firsts.

  • Oppenheimer led the pack with 13 nominations — just shy of the record 14 held by All About Eve, Titanic, and La La Land.

  • Lily Gladstone became the first Native American acting nominee ever with her Best Actress nod for Killers of the Flower Moon.

  • Speaking of Flower Moon, Martin Scorsese became the living director with the most Oscar nominations ever (ten!), surpassing his buddy Steven Spielberg.

  • It was also the first time that three of the Best Picture nominees (Barbie, Anatomy of a Fall, and Past Lives) were directed by women.

  • And John Williams nabbed his 54th Best Original Score nomination for his work on Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, taking him one step closer to matching Walt Disney’s most-Oscar-nominated-person record of 59.

Of course, all eyes will be on the battle between Oppenheimer and Barbie (which has eight nominations, including Best Picture). Considering how Barbenheimer blew up the box office and became a cultural phenomenon, fans may turn out en masse to watch these movies compete onstage at LA’s Dolby Theatre.

That’s a win for Hollywood.

So, now we want to hear from you…

YOUR DAILY POLL

We ask the hard-hitting questions.

Will you tune into this year's Oscars telecast?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

63.5% of you voted No in yesterday’s poll: Are you more likely to see an indie movie in theaters if it premiered at Sundance?

“Especially if it garnered any kind of award or special mention there, it’s a must-see.”

“Post-pandemic, there’s far less to see. Sundance is an indicator of quality.”

“I’ll see an indie movie either way. I prefer them.”

“I don’t pay attention to what’s shown at Sundance.”

“The average cinema-goer doesn’t care about festivals. They just want entertainment.”

“I’m always disappointed by the indie films from Sundance.”

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ENTERTAINMENT

Courtesy of WWE

Netflix enters the ring with WWE

The Future. TKO scored a big win by signing a $5 billion, ten-year deal with Netflix for its most popular WWE fight package, Raw. The announcement has already given TKO’s stock a boost, solidified Netflix’s new “drama of sports” strategy for live-sports deals, and made Dwayne Johnson the spokesperson for it all. Don’t be surprised if big Netflix titles start featuring some wrestling talent from Raw in the hopes of discovering the next Johnson, Cena, or Bautista.

Something’s cookin’
Netflix’s long-term deal with WWE is a boon for both the streamer and the Endeavor-controlled fight giant TKO.

  • Netflix gets exclusive rights to Raw, which it’ll roll out to subscribers in the US, Canada, and Latin America at no extra charge starting in January 2025.

  • It also exclusively licensed all of WWE’s other shows and specials (Wrestlemania, SmackDown, etc.) for all regions outside of the US, even giving subscribers pay-per-view events for free.

  • Additionally, the deal gives the streamer the rights to WWE’s documentaries and original series. The companies are also discussing the production of a behind-the-scenes docuseries akin to Drive to Survive.

And for ultimate synergy, TKO announced that Dwayne Johnson (a client of Endeavor’s WME) will join the company’s board, getting full trademark rights to “The Rock” moniker and providing promotional services, netting him $30 million in stock through 2025.

Since Johnson is one of the biggest stars in Netflix’s stable, it’s a marketing win for the streamer as well.

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MEDIA

Hollowed-out influence // Illustration by Kait Cunniff with Midjourney

Pitchfork’s absorption is the end of a music era

The Future. Pitchfork being folded into GQ has stirred up a lot of emotions in the music and journalism industries. Essentially, if a tastemaker like Pitchfork can get diminished, is any other pure music publication safe? The future of not just music journalism, but all entertainment journalism, may end up becoming a specialized niche business under larger, more general media organizations that can foot the bills.

Background music
Condé Nast is on the defensive, stressing that the Pitchfork brand and website aren’t going away — just the reporting structure will change.

  • At least 12 people were laid off, including ten in editorial, leaving only eight editorial staff members.

  • That scares music journalists — folding the trendsetting publication into a men’s lifestyle magazine recalls the moment when SPIN, Rolling Stone, and Vibe were all narrowly defined as “men’s interest” to advertisers in the 90s.

  • Indie musicians are even more scared — a good review from Pitchfork was a lightning rod for press and listenership, so a smaller publication means fewer resources to cover artists.

Ironically, The Associated Press reports that an audience development editor at Condé Nast said Pitchfork had the “highest daily site visitors” of any of their brands. But that’s clearly not enough, with Max Tani at Semafor saying GQ’s better advertising performance prompted the reorganization.

It looks like the struggling digital advertising business found another high-profile victim.

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Highlights

The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Netflix added a whopping 13 million subscribers last quarter, blowing past Wall Street’s expectations of 9 million. Read More → thr

  • Songwriters cash in: Jenna Andrews — the lyricist for superstars like Drake, BTS, and Jennifer Lopez — has sold her catalog to Warner Chappell Music. Read More → variety

  • Apple announced that it’ll increase royalty payouts on Apple Music by 10% to artists who make their tracks available in spatial audio — even if people don’t listen to those versions. Read More → theverge

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • The IRS is finally releasing its own actually free tax filing program, so the FTC is cracking down on Intuit calling their program “free.” Read More → engadget

  • As businesses stop taking cash, the six million adults in the US without bank accounts will have a tougher time paying for things. Read More → fastcompany

  • French fashion house Schiaparelli made dresses (and a baby doll) out of tech waste, including flip phones, calculators, and CDs. Read More → theverge

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • Alphabet’s moonshot arm, X, is laying off staff and looking for outside funding… potentially compromising its mission for independent R&D. Read More → theinformation

  • Samsung is now competing against Apple to bring a no-prick, constant glucose monitoring feature to its smartwatches. Read More → bloomberg

  • The new Moneyball: Spanish soccer team Sevilla FC is partnering with IBM to bring a data-driven approach to scouting players. Read More → sbj

Creator Economy

  • Since YouTube is banned in China, MrBeast uploaded his first video to the country’s BiliBili platform… and racked up three million views in a matter of hours. Read More → tubefilter

  • The rise and fall of Arielle Charnas’ Something Navy is what happens when influencer brands unravel. Read More → wsj

  • Meme stock alert: after a merger with JetBlue was grounded, its stock has soared 131%. Read More → insider

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Boye Akolade. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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