WarnerMedia Release 'WW84' Streaming Figs; DTCs Partner With Walmart

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A Streaming Wonder

Like the summer, the holiday season has become a time for Hollywood blockbuster releases. Except this year, it’s due to the fact that … you know … films originally allotted for theatrical distribution are also being streamed. The two biggest examples are “Wonder Woman 84” from Warner Bros. on HBO Max (as well as in select theaters) and Disney Pixar’s “Soul” on Disney Plus. So, how did the dual releases go? “WW84” generated $16.7 million domestically, according to Variety, which is pretty good considering that only 35% of US cinemas are open, but nowhere near numbers from The Before Times. The prequel “Wonder Woman” movie in 2017 brought in $100 million during its opening weekend. A decline from $100 million to $16.7 million might normally be an embarrassment, but it’s the best opening week performance in the era of COVID. There’s less clarity about how “WW84” performed on HBO Max, but WarnerMedia did say that almost half of direct subscribers to the streaming service tuned in on Friday on top of millions who watched via cable, wireless or some other platform. HBO Max has about 12.6 million active users. As for “Soul,” Disney hasn’t revealed its watch numbers yet. 

Walmart Leading The Way

Walmart was never considered a partner to DTC brands before the pandemic hit and fueled an ecommerce boom. The DTC playbook predominantly focused on growing direct digital sales and getting customers to buy from their own websites. Large retail partnerships were good for distribution but meant less first-party data and fewer ways to control the customer experience. However, as Digiday reports, that perception has changed over the last year and more brands are turning to Walmart – both its stores and growing ecommerce marketplace – as an important tool for growth. As Walmart’s latest young brand partners can attest, being overly selective about retail channels is no longer an option. With every brand and retailer online, having a big-box giant partner is paying dividends. “It’s about a new audience’s ability to get access to our product,” said Jeff Brown, president of DTC plus-size mattress brand Big Fig, who added the straightforward onboarding to Walmart’s system is appealing to a young brand. “It’s not a big revenue driver at this point in time, but we’re pleased with sales and happy with gaining a new customer base.”

Peeling Back The Layers

The unredacted draft version of the recent Texas-led antitrust lawsuit against Google is the gift that keeps on giving. The Wall Street Journal reviewed part of an unredacted draft version of the suit with previously unreported details on contract terms. The Journal’s latest report sheds more light on the so-called “Jedi Blue” contract, which included Facebook paying Google a favorable 5% to 10% transaction fee; Google helping Facebook recognize mobile and web users; Facebook bids showing ads to 90% of recognized users; and Facebook locked into spending $500 million annually starting in the fourth year, among other tidbits. Read on

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