10 anonymous media execs predict 2022’s marketplace-shaking activities

Chairman of Disney Michael Iger arrives for the Allen & Business Sunlight Valley Conference on July 06, 2021 in Solar Valley, Idaho.

Kevin Dietsch | Getty Visuals

New yr prediction parts are a journalism conventional. But alternatively of supplying my possess projections, I asked 10 media executives, the guarantee of anonymity, to give me their very best guesses on what’s likely to occur in 2022.

The policies were simple: The prediction could be everything connected to the media and entertainment enterprise, but it had to be important and could not be noticeable.

Here is what they told me.

I am going to revisit the predictions at this time up coming calendar year to see how they turned out, and then poll 10 new executives for their 2023 predictions.

Executive No.1: Roku purchases Lionsgate’s studio

Just one govt stated Roku will invest in Lionsgate’s film and Television manufacturing studio.

Roku has been beefing up its first content material in the Roku Channel, acquiring Quibi’s content material library and “This Outdated Home” in 2021. Founder and CEO Anthony Wood informed CNBC in June he is devoting most of his time charting out a articles system for the corporation.

“This reminds me so a great deal of Netflix in its early days,” media analyst Michael Nathanson explained to CNBC before this 12 months. “I employed to interview [Netflix Co-CEO] Ted Sarandos at conferences 10 decades in the past, and he’d say, ‘Oh, we are joyful with just 1 or two primary shows.’ Meanwhile, they’d be laddering up into much better material.”

Lionsgate has previously signaled to the financial commitment earth it programs to both spin off or market Starz, the top quality streaming support and cable community it owns. That would go away the relaxation of the enterprise — Lionsgate’s film and Television set output studio — primed to find a buyer as nicely.

Though classic information providers these types of as Comcast’s NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, Netflix and Disney are all hunting to insert more information to their streaming companies, Roku is a wild-card customer that has the market valuation — almost $30 billion — to make a transfer.

Still, Roku shares have fallen by extra than 50% considering that achieving an all-time substantial in late July. Buying Lionsgate’s studio may well get investors to consider its written content ambitions extra significantly.

Executive No. 2: Bob Iger returns to Disney as CEO

It hasn’t even been two yrs since Bob Chapek took about as Disney’s CEO. But a single government instructed CNBC there are previously inside wagers at Disney about Iger returning.

Iger, 70, frequently prolonged his contract following arranging to retire in 2015, 2016 and 2018 right before abruptly stepping down in 2020. He is nonetheless Disney’s government chairman right up until the conclusion of the yr.

It is unclear if Iger wants to return. He’s by now operating on a second e book, according to The Hollywood Reporter, after publishing 1 in 2019.

But Disney shares have stumbled this year, down virtually 20% year to day. Iger owns a lot of these shares. The board and Iger may perhaps get restless if Disney+ growth stagnates and the company continues to have turf tensions involving executives.

Executives No. 3 and 4: ViacomCBS will merge or sell

Shari Redstone, president of Nationwide Amusements and Vice Chairman, CBS and Viacom, speaks at the WSJTECH dwell convention in Laguna Seaside, California, Oct 21, 2019.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Govt No. 5: The ‘free radicals’ will offer

It was back in 2015 when billionaire media mogul John Malone coined the phrase “absolutely free radicals” to outline pure-play information corporations that will not have the scale to compete for leading-notch motion pictures and Television demonstrates towards media behemoths this kind of as Netflix, Disney, Amazon and Apple.

Some of these free radicals have by now consolidated. Viacom and CBS have merged. WarnerMedia and Discovery agreed to merge. Amazon is awaiting regulatory approval to buy MGM Studios.

But some others, this sort of as Lionsgate, AMC Networks and Fox, carry on to exist. This govt predicts none will be solo right after 2022, either promoting to much larger competitors or merging with just about every other.

Executive No. 6: Vice will sell by itself in parts

Shane Smith, co-founder of Vice.

CNBC

Government No. 7: Vox Media will go community

Government No. 8: A significant sports betting organization will go bankrupt or promote for ‘peanuts’

Govt No. 9: Apple will buy a movie and Tv studio

Apple’s streaming video clip ambitions have been muted, specified the firm’s tremendous dimension. “Ted Lasso” is a strike for Apple Television+, but the support has operated mostly on the periphery of the streaming wars.

Which is likely to improve, mentioned this government, in 2022, and it will be pushed by the acquisition of a information studio. A clean group of individuals who can create strike shows will not just make Apple a much more severe player churning out primary content material. It will also give Apple a library of Television and motion picture shows it can offer to buyers. That is anything Apple will not very own however, but it truly is almost certainly critical to critical extensive-expression streaming ambitions.

Ted Lasso on Apple Television set+

Source: Apple Inc.

Executive No. 10: No cost promotion-supported streaming solutions will consolidate