Warner’s zero-day theatrical window

Last month I took note of Warner’s experiment to remove the theatrical window for all movies coming out in 2021 (“Are we witnessing the death of the cinema,” newsletter #58). A few weeks ago the first movie in this experiment, The Little Things, came out — and I think Warner is going to view it is a huge success. The movie made $4.8 million at the box office in January, and 1.4 million households streamed it. It’s hard to work out the numbers here (what percentage of that $4.8 million makes it back to Warner? How many people signed up or maintained their subscription for HBO Max because of the movie? What are the margins on HBO Max?), but I don’t think that matters.

Samba TV is a company similar to Nielsen, but they run on your smart TV to track what you watch — and they are currently doing it for 35 million homes around the world. With that demographic data, they can report things like, “households making $50,000 or more over-indexed streaming The Little Things when compared with the U.S. overall, as did Black households (+30%) and households with people under the age of 55.” That already would be way more than Warner would know from box office sales, or even Netflix. Imagine the data that they’re getting because they own the service. That there is gold.

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