🥫 Hollywood’s stockpile savings

Thursday, September 7, 2023 by Snacks
Enough is Kenough (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Enough is Kenough (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Enough is Kenough (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Enough is Kenough (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Sponsored by
Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
34,443 (-0.57%)
S&P 500
4,465 (-0.70%)
13,872 (-1.06%)
$25,713 (-0.27%)

Hey Snackers,

Your state government has a bridge to sell you. Lots of historic bridges are being replaced under the $1T infrastructure bill, so states are offloading them to anyone in the market. And while most are free, shipping’s on you (or your friend with a truck).

US indexes fell yesterday, dragged down by giants like Apple and Nvidia. Meanwhile, new data showed the services sector (a key contributor to inflation) grew last month — a sign the economy is still runnin’ hot.


1. Months of Hollywood strikes lead to pain — and some gain — for studios like Warner

Trouble in Tinseltown… Warner Bros. Discovery cut its annual profit forecast as the Hollywood strikes continue with no end in sight. Writers have been on strike for four months, and actors have been picketing since July. Now HBO owner Warner is targeting full-year adjusted earnings of about $11B, down by $500M, if the strikes continue through this year. Although Warner is still benefiting from the smash success of “Barbie,” the Looney Tunes legend had hoped a deal would be reached by early this month. 

  • No deal: Studios finally offered up a new deal for writers last month, featuring better pay and more transparency around streaming, but reps for the Writers Guild were unimpressed.

  • No action: Production of hit TV series like “The Last of Us” has been on ice and blockbuster releases like “Dune: Part Two” have been delayed.

  • No season: If a deal doesn’t happen soon, the 2023-24 television season and big flicks could be delayed or canceled. The Emmys have already been postponed. 

INT. EMPTY SET — DAY… The strikes have cost California’s economy $5B and last month alone led to the loss of 17K jobs. But while studios expect revenue hits from the strikes, some are reporting cost savings (no production = no production costs). Netflix is now projecting $5B in free cash flow because of the strikes — up by $1.5B from its previous estimate. Disney expects to spend $3B less on content this year, partly because of the strikes. Even Warner raised its annual cash-flow outlook after the strikes “saved” it $100M last quarter.


You can’t survive on stockpiles forever… Studios, and especially streamers, are still chugging along thanks to a pantry full of older content (past “Suits” episodes, which are currently in Netflix’s Top 10, are like shelf-stable canned peas). They’re saving $$, but eventually consumers will start demanding fresh food (aka: new content). Investors want to see actual growth — not just savings that result from production companies not producing anything.

Sponsored by Ladder
Article image

Term vs. whole: Which life insurance is best for you?

Life insurance is a way to protect those who depend on you financially. For many people, term life insurance makes the most sense. It’s simpler and less expensive than whole life insurance (often by 10x), and should you pass away, it can cover things like day-to-day bills, mortgage payments, and more.

Term life insurance through Ladder:

  • Is a 100% digital application

  • Provides coverage up to $3M with no medical exam, only health questions are asked

  • Is affordable; For example, a healthy 35-year-old man can get $1M in coverage for $35/mo for a 10-year term*

  • Is flexible; Adjust your coverage anytime as your needs change. 

Check your price estimate in seconds here.


2. Gas prices pop after Saudi Arabia and Russia extend cuts in oil production

Pumped up… Gas prices hit their highest seasonal level in over a decade after Saudi Arabia and Russia said they’d continue to curb oil production through December. They’ll trim production by a combined 1.3M barrels/day, or ~1% of global supply. Major oil-price benchmarks jumped to their highest levels of the year, while the average price at US pumps rose to $3.81/gallon, the second-highest level since 1994. The TL;DR: it’s not a great time to go on a road trip.

  • Running on E: The US keeps a stockpile of oil to ease rising prices when supply is tight, but after President Biden tapped a record amount last year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the reserve is sitting at a 40-year low.

Tapping liquid gold… Both Saudi Arabia and Russia are members of OPEC+, a group of oil-producing nations that pledged earlier this year to prop up oil prices by curbing supply. Saudi Arabia started cutting in July as it tries to fund an economic overhaul. Meanwhile, Russia’s seeking $$ to fund its war on Ukraine. The US and UK banned Russian oil and gas imports, while the EU has been reducing its reliance on Russia. To make up for it, Russia has been selling discounted gas to China and India, which now depends on Russia as its No. 1 source of crude. But demand from China (fossil fuel’s biggest customer) has weakened as its economy struggles.


The soft landing could get bumpy… Inflation has been steadily cooling, raising hopes for an end to rate hikes and no recession. But since oil prices affect so many industries (think: shipping your Amazon order of TP), some worry rising prices will stoke inflation — and not just at the pump.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Zelda: GameStop beat quarterly sales growth estimates, helped by demand for new releases like Nintendo’s latest “Legend of Zelda.” But the chain is still losing $$ as console makers embrace streaming. 

  • Chomp: Apple locked in a deal of 17+ years to use Arm’s chip tech, a key part of iPhones, iPads, and Macs. The chip designer is aiming for a $52B IPO, which would be the largest in the US so far this year. 

  • Kidman: AMC said it’ll sell up to 40M new shares, sending the stock down 25%. The movie chain struggled after Covid emptied theaters, and it issued preferred “APE” shares to raise cash, diluting its common stock.

  • Goal: 110K+ people in the US signed up for the MLS Season Pass on Lionel Messi’s first day playing for Inter Miami. The big bump was a win for Apple TV+, which has exclusive MLS distribution rights. 

  • BTF: Grayscale’s pushing the SEC to approve its app for a bitcoin spot ETF, after a court said the regulator had wrongly rejected it. The SEC’s kicked the can on a # of spot BTC ETF applications to next month.

Snack Fact of the Day

June to August marked the hottest season ever recorded on Earth


  • Earnings expected from DocuSign, Planet Labs, Restoration Hardware, and Zumiez 

Authors of this Snacks own bitcoin and shares of: Amazon, Apple, Disney, Nvidia, and Planet Labs

*Advertiser's disclosure: Price based on a 35-year-old male, preferred plus, $1M policy, 10-year term.

Ladder Insurance Services, LLC (CA license # OK22568; AR license # 3000140372) distributes term life insurance products issued by multiple insurers – for further details see ladderlife.com. All insurance products are governed by the terms set forth in the applicable insurance policy. Each insurer has financial responsibility for its own products. This email may be considered advertising under applicable law. ©2017-2023 and TM, NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Forbes Advisor. 230901-3095201

Subscribe to Snacks