Burning Questions About the Future of Media: Netflix vs. Disney, TikTok vs. Everyone, and the Metaverse

Will Netflix be the king? streaming in five years? What’s the biggest threat to ousting him: Apple, Disney, or HBO? Is cinema back for real? How has the pandemic changed the film industry? Is TikTok the biggest villain in entertainment? Where do hits come from? What is the metaverse, and would I be happy to live in it? Derek has lots of questions. The guests—Bloomberg entertainment reporter Lucas Shaw, and writer ENTIRE METAVERSE Matthew Ball—has lots of answers.


Below, an excerpt from Thompson’s introduction to Tuesday’s podcast, where he looks at the history of media and entertainment. In the last century-plus, the US has seen cinema, then linear TV, and now streaming captivates the viewing audience. What’s next?

Today’s episode is a dual feature on the future of media and entertainment.

I recently thought that this was a very strange summer for Hollywood. The theme of the last decade has been: “Streaming is taking over the world and cinema is in stagnation or slow-motion decline.” And you can really tell that the pandemic is putting that narrative into hyperdrive. Cinema tickets are dropping. The box office was obliterated for two years. The stream is zoomed forward. It seems very clear that the future of film is moving away from the cinema and towards your living room couch.

But then, this summer happened. Netflix is ​​hitting a subscriber wall, and a lot of media and entertainment execs are now looking at that subscriber wall and thinking, “Hmm, does our pure-play streaming make as much sense as it did six months ago? Is the global streaming subscriber ceiling really a billion, as we thought a few months ago? Or much lower?” They recognize the benefits of being a diversified old-fashioned company, where your fortunes are balanced between theme parks and merchandising, cable, and yes, cinemas.

this summer, Best Weapon: Maverick set an all-time box office record for a Memorial Day opening. Then, minion set an all-time box office record for a July 4 opening. Does that sound like a dying industry? You can scream “This is ticket inflation, this is ticket inflation” all you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that the movies are back, or at least the movies as a tentpole business are back.

This intersection really fascinated me. I see the history of media and entertainment as the history of borders that rise and fall like waves that come and go. Cinema is the wave of the early 1900s. They went up and up, and then tickets bought per American peaked in the 1930s, 1940s with about 35 movie tickets bought per person in America, an astonishing number. It’s been going downhill since then. Now about two or three. So what happened? Well, in the 1950s, linear TV came along, changing the world. TV, changed everything, but then linear TV itself reached its peak around 2010. And what’s the next wave? Well, that’s streaming. Streaming is soaring. It revolutionized entertainment. Everything will just flow to your sofa. Your sofa is the future of all entertainment. However, now we see it may be peaking. Movies, TV, streaming. What’s next?

My guest today is Lucas Shaw, entertainment reporter at Bloomberg and is a frequent guest at City podcast, and Matthew Ball, investor, SAS, author METAVERSE. I have burning questions for both of them about apex TV, Netflix, Disney, Apple, the metaverse and the future of our attention.

This quote is slightly edited for clarity.

Host: Derek Thompson
Guests: Lucas Shaw and Matthew Ball
Producer: Devon Manze

Customer: Spotify

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