We’ll bleed from the ears if Wall Street’s bull-market shills amp up the hype any louder. Consider this brazen bit of flackery masquerading as news Monday at YahooFinance.com: “A Morgan Stanley…analyst sees huge upside for Apple stock based on the tech power’s ability to roll out new services in 2019, which includes its streaming TV platform that aims to take on Amazon and Netflix.” Ahhh, just what TV-watchers so urgently need: a brand-new player to offer us yet more shows, each accompanied by enough in-our-faces marketing to convince us it is worthy of our time.
Let me save you a dozen precious hours, lest you be fooled into thinking the latest overhyped offering from Netflix, Russian Doll, is the “brilliant black comedy” proclaimed by one giddy reviewer. Brilliant it ain’t. But don’t trust my taste. Try watching the first episode and judge for yourself.
A Bidding War
Nor does throwing huge sums of money at “content” guarantee brilliance, let alone create shows that are entertaining and that attract large audiences. And therein lies the problem for the biggest players in the streaming world. Netflix paid comedian Chris Rock a reported $40 million for two TV specials. What will it cost Amazon, Disney and HBO to one-up them? And even if they succeed, can they make enough money at it to pay the talent and retain sufficient profits to justify the rich earnings multiples that entertainment companies currently command? It’s doubtful. Netflix’s competitors, far from licking their chops, are undoubtedly fearful of escalating a bidding war that is already coked-up on hubris. If the top is not already in, it soon will be.