Ava DuVernay’s $100 Million Deal: What It Really Means

We live in interesting times. Here’s an example of a small thing – a creator’s new deal – being  a pivotal example of humongous change. (Yeah, we know a hundred million bucks isn’t exactly chump change, but deal-making is the most basic step in the biz. Know what we mean?)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock (9665735kq)

Ava DuVernay $100 Million Deal: How the Studio ‘Megadeal’ Defies Netflix
by Michael Schneider

The TV arms race continued…with Warner Bros. TV Group announcing a multi-year deal, reportedly worth at least $100 million, with Ava DuVernay and her Forward Movement shingle. They will produce TV projects for every platform — including broadcast, cable, and streaming services — and it’s the latest in the ongoing battle for media supremacy in the OTT age.

Netflix is viewed as the master of this realm, snapping up superstar producers Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, but traditional studios aren’t taking it lying down; there’s too much at stake. Locking up talent, especially writer/producers known for their volume, becomes increasingly critical as the marketplace braces for a flood of new outlets. Streaming outfits Apple, Disney+, and WarnerMedia’s as-yet-unnamed service are all set to go online next year. Meanwhile, networks like HBO and FX have also announced plans to ramp up series orders.

“I think what it means for prolific creators like Shonda and Ryan, that those voices, with the amount of outlets that exist, are going to be able to get a huge premium,” Fox Entertainment president Michael Thorn told IndieWire earlier this year. “For the studios that want to make overall deals as part of their business it’s going to be really competitive. I think obviously the biggest creators are going to be able to command huge, huge deals whether they are at [a studio] or a streaming company.”

Now under AT&T ownership, Warner Bros. TV has shown a willingness to open its pocketbook. In June, it signed a new contract with Greg Berlanti — who currently produces more than a dozen scripted series for the studio — worth around $400 million. It also lured “Jessica Jones” executive producer Melissa Rosenberg away from the Netflix Marvel drama for an eight-figure pact to create and develop new projects….

Read it all at Indiewire