Strategy Roundup 8/13/21

Marty X. Mercado

Messi = Money

The sporting world was in a standstill as Lionel Messi and Barcelona announced that they will be parting ways after over 20 years together. Messi completed his “free” transfer to French giants Paris Saint-Germain, joining fellow superstars in Brazil’s Neymar and French phenom Kylian Mbappé, as well as new arrivals in Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos, European Cup Winning Italian Gianluigi Donnarumma, Morrocan star Achraf Hakimi, and Liverpool hero Gini Wijnaldum.

The arrivals harken back to the Real Madrid Galacticos era, and while time will tell on whether results on the pitch reflect the successes of the original or the struggles of the current iteration, one thing that is sure to skyrocket is PSG’s commercial revenue. Already known as one of the richest clubs in world football, Messi’s arrival already has early signals of financial success as their club store sold out of 150,000 jerseys in less than 10 minutes and an array of new sponsors are lining up to form partnerships with the club. It is estimated that the Messi effect will increase PSG’s fanbase by 20%.

The new streaming war

The pandemic has changed the way people watch movies. More importantly, it has changed how movies are distributed. With movie theaters inaccessible for the better part of 18 months, streaming services like Disney+ and HBO Max have become the homes of new releases. Even with theaters re-opening, the streaming giants have continued to make new releases available to the chagrin of studios and actors themselves. This has ushered in a new type of streaming wars as movie studios try to rewind the clock to the pre-pandemic model of delayed streaming releases while streaming services push forward with the new model.

This will continue to be a back-and-forth fight as new films are produced and released and contracts are negotiated. Different models have been experimented with from Disney+’s pay-for-access to HBO Max’s free with subscription model. The Green Knight will introduce a new model as it tries a one-night-only PPV streaming release. Time will tell which model will prevail, so hang on to your AMC stonks!

Ariana Grande does a Fortnite concert

Similar to the movie industry, live music has taken a hit because of the pandemic. People are chomping at the bit for live concerts on both the artist and fan sides (see: Lollapalooza), but uncertainty over vaccine policies have made the live experience a subject for debate.

Over the past year, music fans have been treated to “at home” streaming concerts, and innovations on delivering at-home experiences have not seemed to stop. Dua Lipa’s Sudio 2054 was a hit, drawing over 5 million viewers was the first major success, coinciding with a 70% increase in Future Nostalgia tour sales shortly after the online show. This time, Ariana Grande did a fully immersive virtual concert on Fortnite complete with unique maps, in-concert challenges, custom skins, and of course, Ariana’s music. It is looking more and more like digital concerts are becoming not just a substitute for live tours, but an increasingly viable complement to them to build buzz and provide more access to shows. Why limit yourself to a 50,000 seater stadium when you can get millions of paid viewers? Seems like this is the beginning of a new era of live music.

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