Content Partners’ Steve Blume on Talent Agency Consolidation and AVOD Gains Ground
Welcome to our latest edition of Expert Voices, where we spoke with Steve Blume, co-founder of Content Partners, LLC, an entertainment-based investment fund and asset management company.
Why it matters: Blume has more more than three decades of experience on the financial side of Hollywood, including stints as CFO at Brillstein-Grey and Solomon International Enterprises.
What three trends have you found most fascinating this year?
- Growth in international programming: With no shelf space restrictions, these companies try different things. … Outside of the big hit American programs, I think a lot of markets would rather see their own stuff than Hollywood stuff. So I think it’s really refreshing and exciting to see some of that international programming now translate to the United States.
- Consolidation of talent agencies: That’s what’s on everyone’s mind: what’s going on in agencies and how they’ve turned into these giant conglomerates, where it’s not just about talent anymore. Now it’s about brands and building businesses, and having your lead actor in a movie kind of be secondary to what they’re doing. … It’s hard to believe William Morris and ICM are both gone.
- AVOD is gaining ground in the streaming war: You are already starting to see an increase in AVOD and FAST channels. …I’m starting to see better income in this area through my library. It’s a nice, nice hike there.
What do you watch the rest of the year?
- CAA-ICM integration: It will be fascinating to see what happens with CAA and how they go public. And ICM has huge debt, and they have a weird mix of other assets.
- Personal Studio Transactions: It used to be that you had a studio and they would release a movie and then they would sell it to HBO. And so you would have a market rate with HBO – it would be an arm’s length negotiation – and then maybe five years later they would put it on their own channel. But there was enough of a market where you as a participant could reasonably figure out what it was worth in the secondary market. But now they put it on their own systems as first run [syndication]. How much do they pay for this? … Studios aren’t going to overpay when they pay themselves. “Top Gun” is a prime example. When he goes to Paramount+, how much will Paramount+ pay Paramount? It’s probably going to be a big fight. How much will Tom Cruise earn?