Buyouts, Sell-Offs and Bad Behavior: Processing The Future of Content
What a whacked-out couple of weeks this has been!
When I began writing this editor’s letter about the onslaught of news, I wasn’t even planning to mention Elon Musk’s pursuit of Twitter because a deal looked dead in the water. Then we got whiplashed this past weekend when suddenly the acquisition appeared imminent. Sure enough, it was announced Monday that the Twitter board had accepted his $44 billion takeover offer.
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Now we’re trying to process what exactly that will mean. Here’s our digital editor Todd Spangler’s quick take: “The question is whether Elon Musk looks like a white knight for Twitter — or more like an evil overlord,” says Spangler. “He’s talked about his desire to have Twitter take a more laissez-faire approach to regulating speech on the platform, but what that means in practice for Twitter’s business is unclear. For years, Twitter has faced ongoing concerns from advertisers and users over misinformation and hate speech on the platform. Musk’s personal preference for Twitter to be more lenient in policing tweets could undo the company’s efforts to make it a cleaner, better-lighted place for marketers.” This raises legit concerns that Donald Trump and other Republican operatives would be allowed to return to Twitter after being banned.
“Will Elon turn Twitter into a horrible MAGA swamp?” Spangler wonders.
Twitter isn’t the only subject raising forward looking questions: There’s the sudden death of CNN+, the serious injury inflicted on Netflix stock and the sordid details of the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard trial for starters. We’re all waiting to hear what programming and people will survive the abrupt shutdown of CNN+ after barely more than one month. It wasn’t totally unexpected that Warner Bros. Discovery’s new sheriff David Zaslav would pull the plug, since he objected to the idea when then-Warner Media chief Jason Kilar greenlit it, but he couldn’t do anything before the merger was complete.
What’s next for Netflix after the loss of 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter and its expectation of losing another 2 million around the world in this quarter, which sent its stock plummeting more than 35%? Billionaire investor Bill Ackman’s decision to sell his entire stake after his fund bought more than 3 million shares of Netflix in January is certainly not a vote of confidence in the streamer’s future.
Depp’s defamation trial against ex-wife Heard is playing out in a Virginia courthouse like a horror film with graphic, violent details that make you cringe. Depp has been on the stand for days alleging that Heard repeatedly attacked him and threw a bottle at him that severed the tip of his middle finger. Jurors were shown several text messages in which Depp used violent and obscene language about wanting to kill Heard, and she has accused him of violent attacks against her. This nightmare of a trial will get uglier when Heard testifies.
Speaking of bad conduct, we’re also awaiting specifics about the nature of Bill Murray’s “inappropriate behavior” on the set of “Being Mortal” that caused the production to be halted last week.
I have the distinct feeling that news isn’t going to wane in the coming weeks.
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