Relegate Ryan Murphy and Chris Licht, Promote Roku City - Next TV’s New Weekly Sorting of Who’s Up and Who’s Down in the TMT Business

Roku City
(Image credit: Roku)

As every Ted Lasso fan knows, there are consequences to having a bad season in the English Premier League. Last season, Burnley, Watford and Norwich City were relegated (aka “demoted) to the English Football League Championship after each team finished in the bottom three of the Premier League. They’ll now have to finish in the top three in the Championship in the 2022-23 campaign if they want to be promoted back. 

Next TV managing editor Daniel Frankel

(Image credit: Future)

Not to let Heidi Klum clutter up a perfectly good sports analogy for Next TV's new Friday afternoon navel-gazer, the business o’ video streaming is the same way — one week you’re in, the next you’re out. 

Here are some companies, executives, technologies or … things that we’d like to see promoted this week, and here’s another list we’d like to see relegated. 

PROMOTE 

* Roku City - Created as a homepage backdrop and screensaver for the Roku OS four years ago by former freelance graphic artist Kyle Jones, the scrolling magenta urban scape, filled with easter eggs, and now known as “Roku City,” has emerged as a happy hashtag on Twitter in recent weeks amid the social media platform’s post-apocalyptic chaos. It’s meme-liness was even spotlighted by the New York Times last weekend, which noted that Roku City has “become the unlikely venue for a massive public art experiment.” Of all the #RokuCity tweets referenced in the article, we liked this one from comedian Michelle Gold best:

(Image credit: Twitter)

Bob Chapek - Faced with EBITDA losses on direct-to-consumer businesses that would flush lesser quarterbacks into “course corrections” that make little sense in an age of accelerated cratering of linear media businesses, the Disney CEO stood tall in the pocket this week during his company’s third-quarter earnings report. Sure, he got hit after throwing the ball — Disney stock cratered 13%, a massive Wall Street setback that hasn’t been experienced in a generation. To Chapek, it’s just a matter of finding his open guys — ARPU on Disney Plus and the broader “Disney Bundle” have to be improved, and the advertising side of the business has to get launched and ironed out. But the blocking and tacking are there. The lighting-quick growth of Disney’s DTC scale — it blew by Netlfix in just three years — backs Chapek’s pledge to investors that Disney will be the first media conglomerate to be profitable in the new IP-distributed world. 

(Image credit: Championship Research)

NBCUniversal - Amassing only 15 million paid users after two and a half years in the market, we’re not about to consider promoting NBCU’s DTC platform into our proverbial “Premier League.” Maybe out of the National League (which is like four rungs below the Premier)? But NBCU had a big programming win recently, releasing Universal Pictures’ 17th Halloween franchise movie, Halloween Ends, day and date onto Peacock and in theaters. The film generated what appears to be Peacock’s biggest audience to date. In fact, Nielsen revealed Thursday that a Peacock program surfaced for the first time on its weekly top 10 ranking of streaming shows, with Halloween Ends registering 717 million streaming minutes in the U.S. from Oct. 14-16. The film also generated $103.3 million at the global box office. Not a bad blended distribution strategy for a Blumhouse Productions movie with a reported production budget of around $33 million. 

(Image credit: Halloween Ends)

RELEGATE

Ryan Murphy and Netflix - Sure, the prolific creative just hoisted some of Netflix’s biggest audience numbers of the year with Monster - The Jeffrey Dahmer Story and The Watcher. But just because Netflix could have expanded both limited series into multi-season enterprises doesn’t mean it should have. We won’t get into it again how The Watcher took Next TV — which had been hooked by episode 3 — down with it off a creative cliff with its convoluted ending in episode 7. But it's been the decision to expand Monster into an anthology series, transforming it into a full  “universe” of serial killers (Netflix’s words), that’s drawn all the ire on social media. “They’re franchising a bunch of psychotic, misogynistic serial killers like they're the f***ing Avengers,” tweeted one unhappy social media denizen. 

(Image credit: Twitter)

Chris Licht - The man brought in by David Zaslav to replace CNN chief Jeff Zucker, and ostensibly restore centrism and ratings sense to the network, just laid a pretty big egg with what is always one of cable news’ biggest nights, the midterm elections. The presumed radical lefties at MSNBC beat the Wolf Blitzer-less CNN in primetime election coverage on Tuesday night with a 3.2 million to 2.6 million viewer advantage. Granted, the overall audience for Tuesday’s midterms — which determined if candidates with absolutely no faith in the election process assumed lever-arm control of it on a national and state level — was somehow the smallest it has been for a midterm since 2014. But if you’re gonna come in cracking skulls and tanking morale, you better produce some damned audience ratings. 

CNN chief Chris Licht

CNN chief Chris Licht (Image credit: CBS)

Spectrum Internet - The Former Guy’s decision to gut the U.S. Postal Service ahead of the 2020 election has left a lasting imprint here at Next TV’s West Adams District headquarters in Los Angeles. The two mailboxes at our duplex remain festooned with not only our own spam mail from Charter Communications, but also the cable come-ons being sent to no less than five generations of occupants who lived here prior to our October 2016 purchase of the property. (There’s simply no effective, easy way anymore to tell the USPS that a previous occupant no longer lives at your house.) If I had kept all of the promotional mail sent by Charter over this six-year span, I would have a stack tall enough to reach the highest T-Mobile 5G tower, where affordable $50-a-month fixed-wireless-access home internet is being transmitted and received every damned second of every damned day. Instead, Next TV has chosen to further fill local landfills with Charter's wasteful paper marketing refuse … while we also continue paying Charter $74.99 a month — nay, $79.99 a month, after the just imposed price increase for broadband-only customers — for 300 Mbps, last-generation DOCSIS 3.0 Spectrum Internet service. With no managed Wi-Fi. On top of that, we have to listen to Charter execs wax on during earnings reports about how unhappy we’ll be with the performance of FWA services if we choose to switch. Well, sir, we just might have to see for ourselves, won’t we? 

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!