ECONOMICS

Binge Times: Inside Hollywood’s Furious Billion-Dollar Battle To Take Down Netflix

Morrow Apr. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9780062980007. $28.99. BUS
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The COVID pandemic will continue to reshape the entertainment industry for the better part of this decade, but for television and movies, the first lockdowns in 2020 both helped and hurt the launch of seven major streaming services. In this timely look at the industry’s pivot toward streaming services, Hayes (Anytime Playdate) and Reuters entertainment business correspondent Chmielewski trace the decisions and deals that went into the creation of Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, Apple TV+, and Quibi from inside their corporate headquarters. The book provides an early history of how traditional media companies attempted to take on Netflix and Amazon only to hit technological and cultural snags. The book places the launch of streaming services within the larger context of the mergers and acquisitions that have been happening within the entertainment industry. Hayes and Chmielewski’s coverage of AT&T’s streaming strategy, which ends with a jumble of HBO-branded services, provides an incisive case study. This book provides insight into the rationale and corporate strategy that caused five major services launches within a seven-month span.
VERDICT This will appeal to readers of business and media books as it reports on the difficult launches of several streaming services. Recommended.
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