October 16, 2019

Ann Sarnoff, a Hollywood Outsider, Will Lead Warner Bros. Studio

Founded by four brothers in 1923, Warner Bros. is one of Hollywood’s most storied studios. “Casablanca” and “Gone With the Wind” are among the classics in its library. The company is home to characters like Wonder Woman, Harry Potter, Batman, Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo. Warner Bros. makes 70 television shows, which range from the cerebral (“Westworld”) to the frivolous (“The Bachelor”).

Warner Bros., which also includes substantial video game and consumer products units, had operating income of $547 million in the most recent quarter, a 43 percent increase from a year earlier, because of the box office success of “Aquaman” and growth in profit related to television show production.

The studio is the smallest of the businesses that make up WarnerMedia, which also includes HBO and the Turner cable networks, including CNN. But the studio’s ability to produce high-quality content figures prominently in ATT’s plan to introduce a Netflix-style streaming service early next year.

Like most Hollywood studios, Warner Bros. is trying to adapt to an entertainment business that has been upended by streaming on the television side and the rise of the Walt Disney Company as a colossus on the film front. Network sitcoms like “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory” have long been profit machines for Warner Bros. Television, but the big broadcasters — NBC, CBS, ABC — have suffered extreme audience erosion and are leaning more heavily on their own studios for content.

At the same time, Warner’s dominance at the box office has dissipated. It was No. 1 at the North American box office from 2008 to 2010, but the leader for the last four years has been Disney, which owns the Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox movie factories.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/24/business/media/warner-bros-ann-sarnoff.html?emc=rss&partner=rss

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