WarnerMedia Streaming Service Will Draw “Tens Of Millions” Of Subscribers Thanks To Pay-TV Tie, AT&T Chief Randall Stephenson Predicts

The head of WarnerMedia's parent company offered his streaming outlook during an appearance at J.P. He didn't attach any time horizon to the time to reach tens of millions, and thus far the company has kept details about timing and strategy close to the vest. HBO Now has been available for four years at $15 a month, and will be the bedrock of the forthcoming WarnerMedia service. Disney, pursuing a pure subscription model, has projected signing up 60 to 90 million subscribers around the world by 2024, though its price point for Disney+ is just $7 a month. Morgan's Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference in Boston.
Comcast, whose NBCUniversal is preparing a major ad-supported streaming launch in 2020, and to this point WarnerMedia/AT&T, have described more of a case-by-case evaluation of licensing shows out versus holding back for their own purposes.” /> Disney has begun taking films and TV shows off Netflix and warning investors of the hundreds of millions of dollars the decision will cost. The rights dilemma is a central topic in the industry as media companies come to terms with the model they established, perhaps inadvertently, in recent years by giving rights to Netflix and other streaming services in exchange for hefty license fees.
WarnerMedia's forthcoming streaming service will rack up "tens of millions" of subscribers due to its strong library and partnerships with pay-TV providers, who will offer it free to HBO subscribers, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson predicted.
(Such distribution relationships are woven into HBO's DNA, as the premium network for decades has been sustained by partnerships with cable and satellite operators.) In the conference session, he elaborated on the strategy, explaining that pay-TV providers will not be competition as the service rolls out, but rather closer to business partners. In previous remarks, Stephenson has explained that the streaming service, which will launch in beta in the fourth quarter of 2019 and in a full version in early 2020, will employ a "two-sided model" blending subscription and advertising.
Stephenson described the streaming service as the company's "key video product," being counted on to drive considerable revenue. In order to drive customer acquisition, the company is prepared to bring "a lot of these rights back to ourselves" to Warner Bros. shows like Big Bang Theory and Friends.
And then we want to cont to push digital distribution on top of that as well." "Comcast is going to be an important partner," Stephenson said, using the No. 1 cable provider by way of example. "If you're a Comcast subscriber and you acquire HBO, you will get this capability with your HBO subscription on Comcast.

CBS Ratings Pact With Nielsen Expires, But Negotiations Continue

The home of Big Bang Theory, NCIS and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert has been the most watched broadcast network for the past 10 years running, but it is increasingly eager to mine demographic assets and not just mass appeal. No one has walked away from the negotiating table, sources say, but the CBS priority is said to be a deal that makes financial sense.
With so much viewing occurring on mobile and streaming devices or via other digital means, plus major tech firms like Google and Facebook able to siphon away ad dollars, there is considerable angst about not having all impressions fairly counted. CBS, like other traditional programmers in the rapidly evolving media landscape, has been wary of the cost of retaining Nielsen given what it considers the limitations of its measurement capabilities. The most recent deal was pegged by insiders at about $100 million.
NBCUniversal, Fox, Turner and Viacom have openly criticized Nielsen and rolled out self-generated data offerings as a replacement. While measurement has become a four-letter word for the traditional TV business given the enormous stakes in the $75 billion overall TV ad game, CBS has generally taken a more low-key approach than many rivals.
Radha Subramanyam, EVP and Chief Research and Analytics Officer, is overseeing research as Poltrack nears his exit. The talks with Nielsen are occurring as the company's longtime ratings guru, Chief Research Officer David Poltrack, is preparing to step down in June. Subramanyam is a former executive at Nielsen.
Neither company responded to Deadline's requests for comment on the situation, which first entered the public eye last month as the contract deadline approached.
Since acquiring Rentrak in 2016, comScore has pushed to create a viable rival to Nielsen, which has controlled the ratings market for decades. Sources familiar with the talks say CBS is prepared to explore alternative ratings solutions, including smaller Nielsen rival comScore.
Variety had first word of the contract expiration.” />
CBS and Nielsen are continuing to negotiate a new contract for TV ratings, but the previous one expired at midnight on New Year's Eve, sources tell Deadline.

‘Big Bang Theory’s Jim Parsons Pens Note Of “Intense Gratitude” To Fans, Cast & Crew

I feel grateful to our crew – many, many of those who have been with us since day one – and who are the people who bring a sense of steadiness and dependability, who are so warm and kind and always quick to say hello and smile at us every time we come to the set and who, even though you don’t see them on TV, are in many ways the real and steady heartbeat that keeps this body of work alive and breathing while we, like flailing arms and legs, act like jackasses and fools in attempt to make someone laugh.
I will miss all of you and all of this more than I can say and more than I can know at this time."
A day after word came that the upcoming 12th season would be the last for CBS' top-rated comedy series The Big Bang Theory, star Jim Parsons took to Instagram to pen a lengthy 'thank you' to fans, his fellow cast members, crew and writers.
Parsons posted his note with a photo of himself and his fellow cast members Kaley Cuoco, Johnny Galecki, Kunal Nayyar, Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch, as they began work Wednesday on the first episode of what would be the show's final run.
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The writers thought of this show, the writers created these characters, the writers are the ones who found ways to keep coming up with organic, entertaining ways to keep the life of this show going which is a task much, much more challenging than anyone other than them will ever know or understand. I am grateful to all the writers of our show – those with us now and those that have come and gone, because without them, there would literally be no Big Bang Theory at all, ever. You are my playmates when we don’t feel like playing but have to because it’s our job to get out there and communicate and pretend we’re these other fictional people and we look into each other’s eyes and say these words and end up creating this weird, other reality that has enriched my life more than I will ever fully understand. And while I know that they already know it, it bears repeating again: I am so terribly grateful for the cast in this picture and the cast members who aren’t pictured here – whether they were in one scene or many episodes along the way; you are all my playmates that I have fallen in love with and who have become a part of my life on set and off.
As Deadline reported, the decision to end the series followed Parson's decision not to return after the upcoming season.
You can read Parson's note in full below:
"It is hard (really impossible, actually) to really accept that this is a picture of the first of the final 24 episodes we will shoot for The Big Bang Theory. I feel very fortunate that we have another 23 episodes to shoot this season because I am hopeful that with each and every one, my level of REALLY accepting this fact will sink in. Something else I feel grateful for – and this gratitude needs no time to “sink in” or become more “realized”; this grateful-feeling is always with me but is multiplied in this moment of us announcing our final season – but I feel such intense gratitude for our devoted viewers who are the ACTUAL reason we have been graced with the opportunity to explore these characters for 12 years of our lives.