Hollywood loses over $500 billion in market value in 2022

A few days back, the Financial Times reported that the Dow Jones Media Titans index, which tracks the performance of 30 of the world's largest media companies, had a 40 percent fall this year.  This caused a decline from $1.35 trillion to $808 billion in total market value.

These losses were considerably higher than those in other sectors, such as banking, which saw a 14.5-percent drop, and telecommunications, which witnessed a fall of 11.2 percent for the same time frame.

Major studios, streamers, cable providers, and other media giants lost a combined $542 billion in market value in 2022.

Disney Inc., the home of Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, and Toy Story, faltered quite badly.  The stocks of this once invincible brand and iconic American company plummeted by more than 40 percent this year.  The company faces weak profitability for the foreseeable future, prompting the firing of CEO Bob Chapek and the return of former CEO Bob Iger.

Netflix experienced an unprecedented two consecutive quarters of subscriber losses this year, which resulted in layoffs and cost-cutting across the board.  For the year, the stock is down more than 50 percent.

Other big losers include Paramount Global, whose stock has dropped more than 40 percent, and Warner Bros. Discovery — the parent company of CNN — whose stock has tumbled more than 60 percent.

Comcast — the parent of NBC and MSNBC, as well as Universal — is down more than 30 percent for the year.

There are myriad reasons for these losses.

A major reason is the high inflation and the fragile economy that is a consequence of Biden's catastrophic misgovernance.

When the prices of essential items such as food and energy rise steeply, consumers cut down spending on non-essential items such as movie tickets, subscription to streaming services or cable TV, music concerts, music albums, etc.

Another fact is the cratering of the advertising market as households cut spending.

Ironically, Joe Biden, the man most of Hollywood championed, is responsible for their doom.

So is it just that people are financially struggling, and Hollywood will rise up once the economy is back on track?

What happens when content is freely available?

Let's look at the Oscars, which is the foremost showbiz night of the year, broadcast on ABC, which is free to air.

Back in 2000, 46.33 million people tuned in to watch the Oscars, but 2022 saw only 15 million viewers.  This is a precipitous fall.  In fact, it was much worse in 2021, when just 10 million watched.

So what's going on here?

Hollywood, like any other industry, makes and sells, just like a baker.

The primary function of these products is to provide some quality distraction for their duration.

This is exactly what happened in Hollywood from the golden era to fairly recently.  They told stories that engaged the mind and the heart.  If there was a message, it was subtle and uplifting.

But somewhere along the line, Hollywood lost its purpose.

This undesirable trend started in 1973.  Marlon Brando declined his award to highlight "Hollywood's mistreatment of Native Americans."  But Brando also faced harsh criticism.

In 1978, Vanessa Redgrave advocated for the Palestinian cause after winning her Oscar.

But the difference was that Redgrave was excoriated on the stage moments later, a castigation that received applause and approval from the audience.

In 2003, Michael Moore attacked President George W. Bush after receiving his Oscar.  Moore even engaged in election denialism.  But unlike today, there were many who showed disapproval by booing Moore and refusing to applaud.

Alas, those occasional outbursts have become a norm.  Worse, the content was also infected.

As time went by, the lectures got shriller.

Now there is almost no pushback at all because the brainwashed can't see reality while the rest in the echo chamber will be petrified to state the obvious for the risk of being blacklisted.

There is blatant sanctimony and barefaced disdain for those who see the world differently and vote differently.  Some attacked their own family for having different political leanings.

The condescending lectures are relentless.  However, they stayed mum when Will Smith engaged in violence right before their eyes, an occasion on which they should have actually spoken up.

It must also be stated that their talks are hypocritical.  They lecture everyone about respecting women but enable predators such as Harvey Weinstein.  They lecture about the environment but travel exclusively in private jets that pollute the environment.  They talk about gun control at events that are protected by armed guards.  They also think they have earned their wealth and fame, and hence they no longer need their audience.

Part of their arrogance emanates from their presumption of a monopoly.

But it is foolish and arrogant to assume that customers will swallow their pride and turn up.

This is why the media are all suffering losses: people don't like to pay to be insulted and talked down to.

But an oasis of hope emerged in this desert of self-righteousness.

Top Gun: Maverick grossed $718 million in the United States only and $770 million worldwide, making it the best-selling film of the year.

Why did the film work?

Because the makers were solely focused on entertaining their audiences.  There were no lectures or forced agendas.  Instead, the focus was on the valor of the armed forces.  The makers of the film and its star, Tom Cruise, also refrained from engaging in any political messaging during its promotion.

Recently, Cruise released a video expressing gratitude for the success of his film.

"Thank you for allowing us to entertain you. It truly is the honor of a lifetime," were his exact words.

Tom Cruise was behaving like an old-fashioned movie star.  He focused on entertaining and delivered a superlative product. When the audience supported him with their hard earned money, he was humble.

Now for the future.

Twenty twenty-three does look promising.

Harrison Ford returns for one last time as Indiana Jones.  Tom Cruise is back in another Mission: Impossible film.  There is Christopher Nolan's latest, Oppenheimer, along with several other highly anticipated pictures.

In the end, the experience of watching a big adventure on a big screen with a packed audience is unique.  It is perhaps among the few places where a group of people from various backgrounds come together in a dark room, remaining focused on the same screen while they experience the same emotions at the same time.

Hopefully the success of Top Gun: Maverick has taught Hollywood some valuable lessons.

Image: Free image, Pixabay license, no attribution required.

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