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Publishers and Hollywood are a perfect match

Publishers need revenue, and Hollywood needs better stories.

Back in the day, publishers had two revenue streams: advertising and subscriptions.

Enter Google and Facebook, which have snatched away advertising dollars and ushered in an era of unprecedented media consolidation.

  • Case in point: In 1983, media in the US was controlled by 50 companies — today, 90% is controlled by five.

To survive, publishers have had to find new revenue streams, and an increasingly popular option is selling their backlog to Hollywood, per Axios.

Hollywood licensing…

… has been embraced by massive imprints like The New York Times and The Washington Post, but it’s also become popular with smaller publications:

  • The Atlantic recently announced that its first two film and television projects will soon be released on Peacock.
  • Texas Monthly pulled in ~$1m last year after making 20+ licensing deals between 2020 and 2021.

Texas Monthly president Scott Brown says a credit in the main titles can drive viewers back to the magazine’s properties, making the deals a lucrative marketing play in addition to licensing revenue.

Hollywood could use help, too

While the 2022 box office started off hot, it’s since cooled off, and recent data suggests superhero fatigue is setting in.

Publisher archives can be a great source for non-Marvel fare and can lead to massive hits — a Texas Monthly story was the source for “Tiger King,” which took over Netflix in 2020.

Perhaps a marriage between these two struggling industries could be the love story we never knew we needed.

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