Streaming wars heat up as media companies battle for the biggest, baddest producers

WarnerMedia will pay J.J. Abrams more than $250m to produce exclusive content, the latest big deal in the streaming wars.

Last week, J.J. Abrams inked a $250m “exclusivity agreement” with WarnerMedia, which will see the superstar showrunner creating TV and movies for the media group through 2024. 

This mega-contract was one of the largest yet in the ongoing fight for streaming supremacy, but given the amount of money at stake, it’s likely that more big deals like this will go down.

It’s a competitive market for streaming services

In the early years, digital streaming was a money saver for cord cutters looking to 86 expensive cable bundles. 

But now there are more than a dozen streaming services ranging from $5/month to $55/month, which means consumers must piece together service combos that offer the content they want at a price they’re willing to pay.

And subscribers aren’t a loyal bunch

Because streaming subscribers aren’t locked into contracts as with traditional cable, they’re able to leapfrog to other services at any time… like when they finish bingeing their favorite show or land a better deal.

So the heat is on to nab top talent in order to keep viewers

WarnerMedia, which is betting big on Abrams partly in preparation for its launch of HBO Max, wasn’t the only streaming giant that was bidding: Abrams chose WarnerMedia over its rival Apple, which reportedly offered him a $500m contract.

Meanwhile, Netflix has struck deals with Shonda Rhimes ($150m), Ryan Murphy ($300m), and “Game of Thrones” creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss ($200m). Oprah, meanwhile, will cast her documentary-and-book-club magic for Apple.

Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox​

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less​



How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?