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Friday, August 16, 2019

Entertainment China, Will It Ever Be Number 1

With China it's all about volume, as in headcount, and that goes for entertainment as well.

  • Within the last decade over 60,000 movie screens have been constructed, over 20,000 more than in North America. 
  • There are 800 million internet users in China, 98% of which access the web via phone. 
  • Over 90% of cinema admissions are sold online.

With all that said, China remains a very dicey place for  entertainment businesses to function. So far, entertainment has been able to escape the wrath of the U.S./China trade issues - but talks of expanding foreign entertainment have stopped.

The movie industry is the poster child for everything entertainment in Big Red.  Local movie production and its accompanying boxoffice has been on a steep rise and when added to U.S. produced films the total gate is expected to surpass the U.S. boxoffice next year.

China is also looking Westward. Gone are the days of co-produced films with the major studios for local consumption - the goal now is to create home-grown films that satisfy local tastes and also 'play' in overseas markets.

Qingdao Metropolis
For example, the newly constructed Qingdao Oriental Movie Metropolis is the world's largest studio complex with 40 soundstages, currently running at 70% capacity. What the Chinese lack is talent in screenwriting, production, script consulting, and VFX know-how.

Content streaming is very big in China. Netflix is not allowed to operate as is YouTube and Amazon. Instead it's TenCent Video, Alibaba's Youku, and iQiyi, these three streamers represent a full 60% of all video-on-demand subscribers in the world!

The greatest foe of the entertainment industry are the government censors. Beijing views entertainment as a vehicle to boost China's image and bolster the Communist Party's politically correct values. Movies come under the control of the propaganda bureau - a group with no sensitivity for a commercial film's success or failure.

Currently there is a cap on the number of foreign films imported each year into the China market at 34. This cap was set in 2014 and there are no on-going discussions to increase this quota.

The Chinese entertainment market is huge and remains the big prize. The entertainment landscape has changed greatly over the last 10 years and the next 10 will see greater change and greater opportunities.

Jim Lavorato, President & Founder
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Access Over Possession : UltraViolet Falls

Back in 2014 (a lifetime in the digital domain) we posted about a cloud-based video locker service called UltraViolet - this week UV will be tossed into the proverbial trash bin of cinema history.

UltraViolet as launched by a number of media-based companies from equipment manufacturers, to retailers, to all of the major HWD studios with the exception of Disney (which introduced its own service called Disney Movies Anywhere).

UltraViolet never really got much traction from consumers as they embraced streaming services, i.e. Netflix, over media ownership as access vs. possession has become the norm in our lives.

Several of UV's members
Shuttering its doors this coming Wednesday (7/31) puts an end to one of the media industry's most ambitious efforts to promote the ownership of content with retrieval of that content from one site specific by the owner.

In hindsight, UltraViolet was doomed from the start. Like many services from Uber to Netflix it is not the possession that counts but the access to the service that matters.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Netflix Tightens The Noose on HWD

SAG-AFTRA, inked a new deal with Netflix yesterday, which expanded the coverage and benefits of  Union's members.

Up to the present, Netflix and the Union had a standard master contract which was signed on a production by production basis. The new deal, a master two-year contract, includes gains for the Union's members in theatrical residuals, improved overtime rates for stunt performers, and member protections regarding harassment and auditions.

The new agreement was "overwhelmingly" approved by the national board which issued a statement saying, "Netflix has set the gold-standard in the industry for awareness of gender equality and promoting the participation of all regardless of gender, ethnicity, or race".

SAG-AFTRA's agenda now includes getting the major film studios to match the Netflix deal. This was a very smart move by Netflix.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Euro-exhibs Go Ballistic

The European exhibitors organization, UNIC, blasted the Venice Film Fest for allowing Netflix into the fest's competition lineup.

The UNIC demanded that all Netflix titles get "a full theatrical release." All of the Netflix entries were streamed but had "technical only releases in cinemas." 

Last year, Netflix had six entries and was embraced by the Festival bigwigs which repeatedly stated that it was not up to the Festival to get involved in distribution issues. There are three Netflix titles entered this year: 'Sullen Mia Pelle', 'Roma', and 'The King'. Cannes did not include any Netflix films in its main competition because of fierce opposition from French exhibs. Berlin did include them.

Festival does not want to get involved in
distribution issues.

CMG believes the battle will continue but given the dominance of Disney at the cinema boxoffice, Netflix has, by default, only one competitor. If Netflix continues to outpace all of the major studios in terms of content delivery the tide will turn in its favor.

Note: The Venice Fest will close with 'The Burnt Orange Heresy' starring Mick Jagger and Donald Sutherland. Tagged a "erotic neo-noir thriller" it's a must see.

Jim Lavorato President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

iPic Hits The Wall

iPic, the high-end, exclusive cinema chain warned yesterday that they were facing a 'cash crunch' that could push them into Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Citing its inability to pay a $10.1m interest payment
due on its $204 outstanding debt, the company issued a press release stating,"If we are unable to
restructure our debt, given our lack of liquidity, we 
will not have the ability to continue as an on-going

iPic, founded in 2006, operates 16 theatres (123 screens) in major cities throughout the U.S. It provides luxury movie-going with admission
prices topping $30 and offering waiter-served gourmet food and cocktails. 

iPic Lounge in Restaurant/Bar area
iPic was the first chain to screen Netflix original films day-and-date with the streamer. 

I've visited the iPic in Scottsdale, AZ and it does live up to the expectations and experience one anticipates. Everything is first-rate: setting, seating, service, and concession. This level of movie-going does come with a price however - a movie for two with food and drink is north of $100.

Jim Lavorato
Cinema Mucho Gusto

Sabo Strikes Again

Sabo with his Art
An L.A. billboard for 'Once Upon A Time In Hollywood' was Sabo'ed. The faces of Brad Pitt and Leo DiCaprio replaced with those of Roman Polanski and Jeffery Epstein and the word 'Pedowood' placed over "Hollywood'.

A street artist, Sabo (whose works have graced the our writings before) took full credit for what he calls "alterations" of the billboard. Sabo, like Banksy, highlights the hypocrisy inherent in our entertainment and political arenas. Good going Sabo.

Other Sabo works:

Friday, July 19, 2019

What's Going On

Admission Price Surges in 2Q

U.S. admissions averaged $9.26 for the 2nd Qtr., up 25 cents over the 1st Qtr. This compares to an average price of  $9.11 for FY 2018.

YTD, the N. American boxoffice is running about 10% behind last year with 18-34 yr. olds accounting for half of all tickets sold in the 2nd Q., while the 18-44 group accounted for 64% of the total.

Rubber Chickens OUT!

The big gala fund-raisers are passe' in H'wd. Schlepping to a mass get-together to back-slap with group thinkers and dine on droll while shelling-out the obligatory donation is no longer in vogue.

Customizing to the organization and audience and the use of  'lower tier' celebs and influencers vs. 'A' listers as guests is now fashionable in raising moola.  Gala charity dinners aren't completely out but there is a shifting toward more intimate, more engaging 'give us your money' experiences.

Weinstein: Stalling Tactics?
Harvey with new defense team

In NYC, last week, Harvey Weinstein announced to the presiding Judge that he was switching his legal team (for the 2nd time). His new defense team stepped-in as the prior attorneys requested to be excused from the case, "for not getting along with their client."

Last January, Weinstein's original legal team also sited differences with their client - which delayed the trail by 5 months. This current switch (which many feel is a stalling tactic on Weinstein's part) postponed the trial until September. For his part, Harvey continues to declare his innocence of all sexual and abuse charges.

Case Dismissed
In a related, #MeToo case, against Kevin Spacey, being adjudicated in Massachusetts, all charges were dropped after the alleged victim in the case decided not to testify. The District Attorneys in the case stated the reason for dismissal was "the unavailability of a complaining witness."

Spacey contends he is innocent of all charges. He is still under investigation in LA and England for other alleged sexual assaults. He is currently a persona non grata in H'wd.

Jim Lavorato, Editor
Cinema Mucho Gusto

Monday, July 08, 2019

UPDATE: Bond 'Goldfinger' Aston Gets Real

DB5 'Continuation' will feature machine guns!

Building out the DB5s

Back on January 14th, I posted that Aston Martin was going to do a remake of the DB5 that appeared in the 'Goldfinger' film. 25 of these cars were going to be made and they would include the 'Q -gadgets' that the iconic Bond auto featured. Aston has now revealed what those 'gadgets' will be.

To be hand-built at the Aston Martin Works in Newport Pagnell, all 25 will be in the original Silver Birch color and include the following Bond-inspired gadgets:

- Revolving Number Plates
- Rear Smoke Screen
- Replica Machine Guns
- Battering Rams Front & Rear
- Retractable Bullet-proof Rear Screen
- Oil Slick Delivery System

In addition, the cars will feature a simulated radar screen, telephone in the driver's door, under-seat weapons storage, and gearknob actuator button (no seat ejector but will be used for something, as yet unspecified).

The Goldfinger DB5 is the latest in a series of Continuation Cars to be made by Aston. It started with the DB4-GT and GT Zagato - all being pre-sold to deep-pocketed motor-heads.

The DB5, as delivered will not be road-legal, but I have no doubt that it is not beyond the ingenuity of the buyers (coupled with the funds to do it) to make these replicas approved for road use. I mean they are really all about having a license to Thrill.

Current Aston models include: Vantage, DB11, DBS Superleggera, Rapide AMR & E, and the Valkyrie. Pricing, $153k for the base Vantage up to $3.25m for the Valkyrie. Coming soon, the DBX (SUV).  Great cars!
2019 Valkyrie
Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Academy's New Members

Getting an invite to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is 'heady', but then you learn that 842 others were also invited kind of puts the prestige on a lower peg.
Gaga, Lennox, Adele

Regardless, this years invitees include three noted songwriters: Gaga, Adele, and Lennox. All three are prior Oscar winners and are among 28 composers, songwriters, and music editors who were asked to join the group.

Acceptance into the Academy is virtually universal. Membership currently stands at 8,946 (including retirees 9,794).  So, it's not all that exclusive, but to the glitterati it represents acceptance by the flock.

After the invitations are accepted, the Academy will hold a autumn mixer for the new arrivals. All the best ladies!

So it goes,

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Cinema BUZZ by Seymour Flix

Judy Dench says, Weinstein and Spacey cinema credits and contributions should be repected. 

The veteran acting star says that both Weinstein and Spacey should be separated from their alleged sexual offences (both of whom have stated in court that they are not guilty of the charges).

According to Dench, their works still deserve recognition and respect. "You can not deny somebody a talent" that's wrong says Dench. She went on to speak about how Spacey helped her in the aftermath of her husband's death.

It's clear that both men have made major contributions to the cinema industry. CMG agrees with Dench, you can't deny talent no matter who has it and the contributions made should not be diminished.

The Full Monty
The Great Pythons

As a part of their 50th anniversary celebration never-before heard radio specials will be released.  These will air on the BBC and then travel across the pond for millions of MP fans to hear on Sirius XM radio. This is all part of a bigger celebration that will include film and TV specials.

Michael Palin, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and the late Graham Chapman will be showcased in the five BBC specials. Restored episodes of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' will be screened in London along with rare pre and post Python shows.

According to a statement by the group, "Python has survived because we live in an increasingly Pythonesque world. Extreme silliness seems more relevant now then it ever was."

Horse v Rooster

It's the  battle of the Chinese film award shows - the Golden Horse Awards Show (held in Taiwan) vs. the Golden Rooster Awards (held in China) because this year they are being held on the same day.

No coincidence this as the Communist -backed Golden Rooster will ensure that no major mainland Chinese talent will attend the Golden Horse event (which is considered to be Asia's Oscar  show.'

The Chinese government wants to stymie any notion to Taiwanese independence, as it considers Taiwan part of its territory. Taiwan, doesn't see it that way and wants full-independence from China.

It will be interesting to see how the Horse vs. Rooster awards battle unfolds.
Both shows are to be held on November 23rd.

All the Best
Seymour Flix aka Jim Lavorato

Friday, June 21, 2019

Oscar Must Wait For Its Museum, AGAIN!

Museum as it current stands
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences' Museum is on hold once again, as it appears the H'wood glitterati are reluctant to pony-up the $100m required to complete the project. 

According to the Academy, "we have always chosen the path that would enhance the structure, even if that meant construction would take more time to complete". Funny, they left out the words 'we need more cash to complete this wildly out-of-control project". 

Since original inception, the Museum's exhibitions have been expanded in scope (requiring more interior space) and the collection of items to be exhibited has doubled - thereby bringing the new budget to $388m. It has been reported, by Variety, that fundraising has stalled at $281m - leaving a $100m+ shortfall.

Hmmm.... I guess all of the big-monied H'wood movers & shakers aren't up for doing the civic, good-deed.  Who needs the Museum anyway? Who cares about the fans? Let them eat cake.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

It's All About Egos : Pissing Rights to Biggest B.O.

Who will hold the B.O. record?
Yes, it's all about who has the biggest gross. In the egotistical world of entertainment Disney has decided that it wants to have the record for the film with the largest box office in history - so, it is re-releasing a new version of  'Avengers: End Game' next weekend.

The new version will have a "few new twists at the end of the movie and if you stay until after the credits, there will be a deleted scene from the first film, a little tribute, and a few minor surprises", according to a Disney spokesperson.

The reason for the re-release is an effort to take-down 'Avatar' as the biggest grossing film on record. For nearly a decade, 'Avatar' has held the gate-take record at $2.78b. 'Avengers: End Game' has amassed $2.74b to date - it needs to garner $44m to surpass 'Avatar's' record.

Now, 'Avengers: End Game' (the first version) is still in release in second-run houses and even in first-run auditoriums at megaplexes (nothing else to screen), so was it wise to release the revised version so soon?  Could the prospect that Disney (Marvel) in unveiling deleted scenes and post-credit footage be enough to get the comic-crazy fans back into cinema seats?


'Avenger' devotees have been busy on social media, rallying support for 'End Game' to be the world b.o. champ. CMG predicts Disney will make at least the $44m required to break 'Avatar's' record and than some. As one should  never
underestimate fan-power and its inexplicable emotional draw.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

F&F In Good Company

Only Potter and Star Wars can match Fast and Furious when it comes to franchise stardom - as Universal announced that the ninth film in the series will be release in May 2020.

First launched in 2001 (can you believe it) with  'The Fast and the Furious', the series is centered on family and friend relationships with a heavy dose of supped-up  import cars and a loose code of moral ethics.

Note: if by some odd quirk you missed or purposely avoided any of the past eight films, iTunes is offering them as a package for $49.99. So, if you want to catch-up do so, and turn up the volume.

To give you some perspective as to what the F&F films are all about, the opening lines in the first movie pretty much indicate what to expect. "We just packed up the real money load, and it's comin' your way." a dockworker says. Then three black Hondas attack a semi with grappling hooks - what's not to like?

Ad: Entertainment Equipment

The Fast Franchise is not high-end drama. Plot is loose here. What is the sell, is the interaction of the characters and the special effects and stunts. Where else can you witness over 200 vehicles being destroyed - cars, planes, trucks, helicopters, motorcycles, - it's all in a day's work for the Furious. Oh, did I mention explosions both via pyrotechnics and in the interaction of the characters. Realism is irrelevant in the Furious films, as it should be. They are intended to be over-the-top, high-impact films - and moviegoers love them.
Hobbs and Shaw cast

Because of a riff with Van Diesel, Dwayne Johnson will not star in the new film and is being replaced by John Cena but the remaining cast, ex Paul Walker, is present.  A F&F spin-off , 'Hobbs and Shaw' staring Johnson and Jason Statham is being released in August. It will also feature Edris Elba and Helen Mirren in leading roles.

I enjoy the F&F films and to be ranked with the likes of the Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises is a wonder unto itself.  Enjoy the ninth edition.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Best Productive Time: Mornings

I hardly ever write personal pieces for this blog, but I'm breaking the rule today and imposing my own bias on you. Come on .... you can take it, and besides, it's for your own good.  

We all want to be productive, I think? Well, most of us anyway. For me, the most productive time - to do almost anything - is in the morning. Sticking to a morning regime will help you stay central and focused. So, each morning:

- Exercise Mentally (and physically too). Do things that get your brain started:
crosswords, brain teasers, blog writing, video game play, etc. Just get things juiced-up.

Don't start your day with this
- Eat Breakfast, but not a huge repast. I don't advocate large breakfasts to start the normal day (perhaps this works for a Sunday brunch). Coffee (a must have for me),
 yogurt, fruit, toast, are good choices. Keep it light.

- Think - what's my main purpose for today. What do I want to accomplish - professionally and personally. Make the to-dos realistic.

- Keep a written calendar and refer/update/change on daily basis. Use the calendars where you see
 the whole month at once. Always use a physical and not virtual calendar. If I write it down its much better for me to remember and much easier to change.

- Go through emails (I use 4 email accounts each related to a different activity or
company: I go to each and respond as required.

- Finally, I post to the two blogs I author.  For me, I'm most creative in the morning particularly when composing.

OMG - I'm Going to Cry
So, that's it. The moral: the morning starts the day. You need time in the morning. It's not a time to be rushed. Get up early enough to allow yourself to 'set' for the day ahead.  I think you'll find that your creative and cognitive thinking is best in
the morning - try it!

Top of the morning to ya,
Jim Lavorato

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Predicted: ATOM Takes Over

Big Winner in Auto-ticketing Arena
As a follow/up to our numerous posts on auto-ticketing, Atom Tickets (as predicted) is becoming the big winner in the ticketing arena and just signed up Cinemark, which will add 4,500 screens to Atom's total of 26,000 screens being serviced.

Atom, which has raised $125m from the likes of Lionsgate, Disney, Fox, and Fidelity rose-up with the demise of 'MoviePass'. But, unlike 'MoviePass', it does not take a piece of the b.o. or concession take (which was the flaw in the 'MoviePass' strategy.

Atom, has morphed into a mobile app where customers can avoid sold-out shows, eliminate paper tickets, pre-order concession, and skip theater wait-lines.

Atom reports that it currently has 6m unique visitors per month to its site - which will be growing with it inked deal with Cinemark.  As we predicted, two years ago, Atom will win out over Fandango
as well. Also, in my estimation 'Rotten Tomatoes' (a sub of Fandango) will die-out as well.

Just saying,

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment

'LAST BLOOD' - The Best?

Rambo is returning in September - in what is to be the last (of 5) installments in the Rambo franchise - which has generated over $728m in B.O. gross. Rambo is returning in "Rambo: Last Blood".
Sly Still Cuts-it As Action Hero

Sly Stallone, who will be 73 at the time of this film's release, was 36 when "First Blood" was released. But even at over seven decades in, Stallone can still cut-it as an action hero and this film
will not disappoint fans. Watch for Rambo-type action with lots of explosions, bombings, the 'knife' and bow w/exploding arrows.

Let's go out on a limb and predict that this will be the highest grossing of all the Rambos and certainly a must watch for me.  Stallone has made a career out of franchise films: the 'Rocky" series, 'Expendibles', and 'Rambo' have all turned out to be B.O. successes.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

.'WICK": What Audiences Want !


Dubbed a 'new noir thriller', this threequel ousted 'Avergers: End Game' from the top of the heap at the box office.

Gating close to $60m in the U.S. and nearly double that worldwide the 'Wick' series is giving moviegoers exactly what they want - high impact, non-stop action with little narrative and plot.  Character development is simple and direct.  This, the 3rd 'Wick' film, has a lot more star power and includes, not only Laurence Fishburne (who starred with Reeves in the Matrix trilogy) but Ian McShane and Lance Reddick return. New comers include: Halle Barry, Angelica Houston, Mark Dacascos, and Asia Dillon among others.

Ad: Go to Cinema Mucho Gusto for more 'cine' stuff
John Wick 4 ?

Although not green-lit, according to both Chad Stahelski, director, and Reeves say a 'Wick 4' will be made if audiences want it and given 3's current B.O. there is a resounding 'yes' from moviegoers.

It will probably be a 2 year gap between the current JW3 and a 4th so a 2021 release is about right. A John Wick series for TV is in the works for Starz called 'The Continental' . Look for it.

Jim Lavorato

Monday, May 13, 2019

Who Should HWD Dems Give $$$ To?

For HWD Democrats it's a question of Young vs. Old, as the lines are being drawn early-on. Although 18 months away, the HWD liberals have already started to put down their bets as to who the Dem. nomination for Pres. will be.
Biden and Buttigieg

At last count there were 22 running for the top office but only four standout as meaningful runners and represent the old guard vs. the new recruits.

Lets take Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg both of which had fundraising blitzes in H'wood last Thursday.

For both, the day was filled with blue-collar rallies and high-roller lunches and dinner parties. Biden has lunch at a King Taco No. 10 restaurant and used the taco pit-stop as a way to demonstrate his 'man-of-the-people' posture coupled with a good photo-op.  Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, attended a breakfast organized by producer Jordan Horowitz and lunched in W. Hollywood at The Abbey, where tickets sold for as little as $25.

Biden is known. He has been around the political scene for decades, has run for the Presidency three times, was a Senator for years, and V.P. under Obama. Buttgieg, a virtual unknown has youth and a fresh look for the Dem. party. On Thursday evening, Mayor Pete was the guest at a dinner party hosted by Gwyneth Paltrow.

Now, I may be wrong but I believe both will be around as the 22 crowd gets twiddled down. Others to watch: Sanders and Harris.

Jim Lavorato
Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

FAT THOR - Best Part of 'End Game'

The best and most entertaining part of 'Avengers: EndGame' was, by far, fat Thor.  You have to give big kudos to Chris Hemsworth for playing the depression riddled superhero who has clearly gone to pot. 
'Fat' Thor in 'EndGame' and finishing dish of guac

Hemsworth, wore a fat suit for the role and relished the 'stretch' that the role required - he played it perfectly.

Munching on guac and as normal
Normally, Hemsworth (a body-builder) is in great shape for his 'super' roles, so playing 'fat' Thor got a lot of jollies for him and the other cast members.

Be it guzzling beer, munching on guac  or spooning cheesewiz the whole idea of depicting a fat Thor was genius and plays directly into the playful camaraderie of the super hero group.

Disney did a great job with 'End Game' and the $3b + box office proves it. Clearly, 'fat' Thor was a highlight for the film.

Jim Lavorato

Friday, May 10, 2019

Disney Dominates and That's Bad For The Cinema

Disney will account for roughly 40% of U.S. box office admissions this year - and that is NOT good for the industry. Yes, Disney makes great films. Yes, Disney has the movie franchises that generate the really big box office bucks (Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, Avatar, to name several). Yes, Disney deserves all the kudos it gets for being a well managed mass media/content company. BUT, is this good for the movie industry?

In looking at the Disney movie roster the theme is all about catering to a younger audience. Fan-based films with high-impact special effects, light plots with cult-driven character development, all bolstered by massive marketing budgets and tie-ins with merchandising and theme park attractions.

Star Wars fans were all aglow recently when Disney announced that it would be producing three more franchise films after 'The Rise of Skywalker' which will be released later this year.


The question: Is it good for the industry to have one studio dominate the box office the way Disney does?  Should the 25 of so films that generate close to 50% of the box office gross bode well for the film community in the long-run?

CMG's take is that it doesn't matter! The top 50 films, out of a universe of 600+ each year, account for about 70% of the entire box office - and this scenario has been going on for years. CMG has termed the other 550+ films (which includes all of the films that win all of the awards) marquee fodder. Fillr'-ins between the releases of the big, currently Disney-dominated, franchise films.

Right or wrong this is the current state of the cinema business and the only competition to Disney are the content streamers. I don't believe Bob Iger worries too much about the other HWD studios, but he does lose sleep over Netflix, Amazon, and Apple.

Jim Lavorato
President, Entertainment Equipment Corp.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Who Really Makes BANK in HWD

'There's no biz like show biz', and that's especially true for the men (no women, as yet) who rule giant media. These media moguls are virtually unknown to the public.

Recognize these guys?
Walking down a crowded street in LA or NYC they would never be noticed, but these are the people that control what we all see, hear, and experience on a day-in-day out basis.

They are oblivious to social concerns and are driven by the bottom-line. What motivates them?  Their compensation and as you'll see it is quite substantial.
Collectively the 8 top media execs made $394m in 2018 or $49m on average. That's the equivalent to 640 years pay for the average U.S. worker.

The question is: Do these guys possess that unique a skill-set to warrant their compensation?
It was once the norm that compensation was based upon the performance of the company, but, alas, that formula didn't always work in favor of the CEOs so its been scrapped. Now execs are paid by crafting deals such as merger and acquisitions: AT&T buys Warners, Disney acquires Fox assets, etc.

What The Guys Banked Last Year 

AT&T  Randall Stevens  $29m + $7.4m bonus

 2018 Shareholder return:  - 22.3%
One of the lowest paid in terms of compensation. But of course shareholders didn't fair to well.

CBS  Joseph Ianniello  $27m + $23m bonus
          2018 Shareholder return:  - 24.9%
Took the reins at CBS after Les Moonves was ousted for sexual harassment charges. Moonves made
$47m for his 8 months of work and is entitled to an additional $120m, which is being arbitrated.

Comcast  Brian Roberts  $35m + $85m in stock options which now total $2b.
2018 Shareholder return:  - 12.7%
No house-hold name, Roberts manages cable giant, Universal studios, and vast media holdings.


Discovery  David Zaslav  $130m salary + bonus
2018 Shareholder return:  + 10.5%
Received incentive bonus to persuade him to stay on as CEO through 2023. One of highest paid.

Disney  Bob Iger $66m + $12m bonus
2018 Shareholder return:  +20.6%
Highly paid. Was to retire two years ago but was coerced to remain as CEO.


Netflix  Reed Hastings  $36m
2018 Shareholder return:  +39.4%
No extra perks but benefits from stock options. As co-founder his ownership stake stands at $3.7b

Fox   Rupert Murdoch  $49m
2018 Shareholder return: 78.3%
Disney deal "delivered incomparable value to shareholders".


Viacom   Bob Bakish  $20m + 9.4m bonus
2018 Shareholder return: 24.5%
One of the lower compensated but still not too shabby.

Who makes the big bucks in HWD? It's the illusive helmers that function below the social radar that their companies control.

Jim Lavorato, President
Entertainment Equipment Corp.