Chief Financial Officer Gunnar Wiedenfels said at an investor conference on Tuesday that Warner Bros. Discovery is happy with its Emmy award, even if it takes more time to combine its two major streaming services into a best of the two.
Speaking before the Goldman Sachs Communacopia+ Technology Conference in San Francisco, he was asked about the Emmy Awards Monday night. Wiedenfels praised the company’s creative team with 48 industry-leading awards, led by HBO. He called it “awesome backdrop” and “such great evidence” for how management viewed the consolidated company as a company with great future prospects. Ted Lasso and Abbott Elementary School were also major Emmy-winning successes for the corporation, even as Warners produced them for Apple and ABC, rather than distributing them themselves, he noted.
The merger offers “huge opportunity,” Wiedenfels said, referring to Dragon’s House as an early example of how an expanding company can draw audiences to relevant content. The CFO mentioned that the first episode of the HBO show has now hit “the 30 million viewer mark north,” which is the most successful debut in HBO history.
“Unfortunately, neither is perfect right now,” he said of the group’s two streaming services, with HBO Max having “offering that great content,” “many must-have features.” more”, while Discovery+ has a User Experience “cleaner”. “We had to rebuild by taking the best parts of both platforms and rebuilding a new modern structure,” he said. The argument behind that is that the two streamers are “the perfect complement,” says Wiedenfels.
He also signaled again that while Discovery content traditionally doesn’t have this “extreme buzz” to draw hundreds of thousands or millions of people to a single streaming platform, popularity often Its regularity could help ease the frenzy of users when HBO doesn’t have hit shows coming out. because it has “one of the lowest churn rates in the industry” and a long watch time. “There is a lot of value in the fact that we have HGTV, Food, Magnolia, Discovery and obviously on the other side HBO” as “established, very, very strong brands” that are expected to be “one factor in content discovery he also said the approach we will be taking” for the hybrid streaming product. That’s seen as a likely signal that the combined streamer will promote the company’s main content brands, similar to how Disney+ showcases Marvel, Pixar, and other Walt Disney franchises.
WBD’s chief financial officer was also asked if the group considered its video game business, other units or real estate assets as non-core assets that could be sold. “We will obviously be looking at things from a business operating perspective,” he explains. “We like to take the time to discuss strategy thoroughly, so there’s nothing for sale here right now.” He added that real estate is “part of our integration review process and we’ll figure out what the right strategy and right footprint are.”
Wiedenfels has set a target of additional cost savings of $3 billion from the merger, with the chief executive on Tuesday reiterating that $2 billion – $3 billion will be collected by 2023. For example, $6 billion dollars plus direct costs to consumers with no possible content, he said, would be reduced by combining the two companies.
But Wiedenfels was not asked or commented on a report that layoffs at Warner Bros.’s advertising business. Discovery is scheduled to begin on Tuesday. One Axios The report says advertising sales staff can decline by about 30% over time, including layoffs and the natural decline of employees who leave and are not replaced, with reductions expected for both two parties of the combined company, Discovery and WarnerMedia.
When asked if Warner Bros. Will Discovery still spot trends related to WarnerMedia in the past, similar to its recent warning that key business trends fall behind initial expectations prior to the merger, Wiedenfels said. he didn’t find any other surprises, adding “to be honest, we’ve found enough. “
The CFO reiterated on Tuesday that the company’s streaming business in the United States will break even by 2024.
Wiedenfels told a Bank of America investor conference on September 8 that, while the company has made difficult choices regarding its strategy and content investments, it remains committed to invest and develop their own content business. Surprise stand of Bat girl However, he argued there was “a little bit blown out of proportion”. “Obviously the process of fixing the course, making changes quickly when we disagree with WarnerMedia’s path, that took a lot of courage and early implementation,” Wiedenfels said. . Bat girl specifically: “I don’t think that’s unusual. We are a creative industry, and one of the elements of creativity is having an appreciation and perspective on the potential of a piece of intellectual property. “
Wiedenfels at the Bank of America conference also emphasized that the company’s creative leaders, such as film heads Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, made content requests, but that “my team didn’t make it.” help them by providing financial data points where possible, and a framework for assessing potential from a financial perspective. “
Warner Bros. board of directors. Discovery has emphasized that while cutting back on content gets a lot of attention, the company expects most of the cost savings to come from other areas. The Group recorded $825 million for content in the second quarter, excluding Bat girl.