Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Wednesday, June 17th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by coffee and Chex Mix.
My apologies for a lack of a newsletter yesterday. It was my son Sam's 15th birthday. And as much as I love television and the media...well, you know.
SPEAKING OF TEENS
One of the great things about having a teenager in the house is that I get a better sense of how teens consume media. At 15, my son is firmly part of the YouTube generation. He sees it as another network and he probably watches it more than any other network or streamer.
One interesting habit I've noticed is that he uses YouTube in the same way older people use the radio-as background noise. He'll click on a video and let it play in the background while he's doing something else, occasionally glancing up if he hears something that sounds interesting. It's common for people to listen to long podcasts that way, but these are videos with a visual element. In my son's case, his current choices are Fortnight play videos and sports highlight videos (Top 20 Craziest Soccer Goals). I don't have any major insight about this, other than it's another example of how customers use a service in the way that works best for them, no matter what the original intent of the media company.
TIKTOK'S RACISM PROBLEM
Mobile video service TikTok has its share of problems. Some of it comes with being a service that is at least for the moment, stuck in the cultural zeitgeist. But there are also questions about its Chinese owners and it's ability to properly and quickly remove videos that infringe on copyrights.
But TikTok is now facing criticism over a group of videos in which users are pointing to their ovens and describing them as "Jewish Bunk Beds." Most of the videos I've seen seem to be coming from teens or men in their early 20s. I'm sympathetic to the challenges of policing user-generated content, especially on a service where millions of videos are uploaded.
My problem with this this is that when there is this kind of issue, it needs to be addressed quickly. And I have heard from a number of readers who tell me that when they complain, the videos aren't removed. And that often there doesn't seem to be any response from TikTok when videos are reported for content problems such as racism. And the videos for the most part still seem to be available.
If you want some examples, look at this video. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. Are you beginning to see a trend?
I've reached out to TikTok and I'll let you know if I get a response.
DATA WITHOUT CONTEXT ISN'T MUCH HELP
Joe Mandese over at Mediapost has coverage of a new report from the equity research team at Needham & Co. that argues if Amazon's streaming and media advertising divisions were broken out separately, they would be worth as much as $500 billion
If its media advertising and subscription-based media assets were broken out as a separate business, Amazon's media properties -- Prime, Twitch, Music, etc. -- would be valued as a half-trillion-dollar company, according to an analysis published by the equity research team at Needham & Co.
The analysis, part of an in-depth review of the company's market value for Needham's initiation of coverage of Amazon stock, includes a "hidden value multiplier calculated by Needham to be 1.5 times its current enterprise value, bringing Amazon's total media asset value to $500.200 billion, or 38% of the current enterprise value of Amazon.
I agree that Twitch is an undervalued asset, although I'm more than skeptical of their "hidden value multiplier" valuation. And I think reasonable person can make the case that Twitch's revenue trajectory hasn't been impacted all that much by its acquisition by Amazon. But at first glance, my biggest issue is their valuation of the Prime Video part of the business. First of all, we have no idea how many Prime members actually use the video part of their subscription on a regular basis. And given their spotty catalog and insanely awkward UI, I am extremely skeptical that the video service could stand on its own. Yes, there are a few good original shows. But be honest and ask yourself how successful Amazon Prime Video would be as a stand-alone in a streaming world that includes not just Netflix and Hulu, but CBS All-Access, Peacock and HBO Max.
In other words, the worth of the Prime Video business is because it's part of a bundle. It's value as a separate business certainly wouldn't be larger.
AND ONE LAST THING...
Just a brief mention of this piece from yesterday's Hollywood Reporter, which quoted Fox Corp. COO John Nallen as saying that the company's streaming service Fox Nation was "moving in the right direction," albeit with a caveat:
Speaking at the Credit Suisse 22nd Annual Virtual Communications Conference in a session that was webcast, he said that more than originally expected, subscribers to the firm's Fox Nation streaming service are also looking to it "as an adjacency on entertainment and lifestyle content," including movies and documentaries, rather than simply a news and opinion offering, Nallen said. "As a result, we are looking to acquire ... product that fits in entertainment and lifestyle to supplement what we have there and provide a more robust library."
So what he is really saying is that Fox Nation's focus on second-tier conservative political pundits isn't working. I'm completely shocked (I'm not) that it's hard to build a streaming business around names like Diamond and Silk.
Here is a rundown of the very sparse number of new shows premiering today....
1) Love, Victor Series Premiere (Hulu)
Set in the world of the 2018 groundbreaking film "Love, Simon" which was inspired by Becky Albertalli's acclaimed novel, "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda," the series follows Victor, a new student at Creekwood High School on his own journey of self-discovery, facing challenges at home, adjusting to a new city and exploring his sexual orientation. When it all seems too much, he reaches out to Simon to help him navigate the ups and downs of high school.
2) Mr. Iglesias Part Two (Netflix)
The series about a funny and quirky high school teacher trying to make a difference in the lives of some smart but underperforming students returns with new episodes.
3) Prehistoric Road Trip Series Premiere (PBS)
This four-part series takes viewers on an epic adventure through dinosaur country to search for mysterious creatures and bizarre ecosystems that have shaped Earth as we know it. With the intrepid Emily Graslie as host and guide, the series travels thousands of miles to visit some of the most active and dynamic fossil sites in the world. Revealing the amazing wonders preserved beneath our feet, the three-part series combines science, culture, and history for an unforgettable expedition through hundreds of millions of years.
4) The Un-Adventurers Series Premiere (Tastemade)
Inspired by the over 35 million Americans who have never left the state where they were born, each episode celebrates the stories of four real life "Un-Adventurers" as they embark on once in a lifetime road trips across the country. Each participant has faced personal challenges that made travel unachievable, and was nominated by a friend or family member to finally receive an opportunity for self-discovery and exploration.
And here is a related interview with Tastemade Executive Producer Jay Holzer, talking about the show and the challenges of creating content during a pandemic.
For a rundown of all the new episodes of television premiering tonight, click here.
TOO MUCH TV REALLY IS A THING
This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.
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