Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Kissing Booth | Lefsetz Letter

Used to be it was records that percolated in the marketplace and steadily grew off the radar, now it’s television shows, specifically “The Kissing Booth” on Netflix. Heard of it? I HADN’T!!

I get this e-mail from this Wall Street analyst Rich Greenfield, he’s younger than his picture depicts, and today he’s going on about this Netflix movie “The Kissing Booth,” which is #9 most popular on IMDB:

Most Popular Movies

Distribution is king. The platform is the medium. Netflix serves up what it believes you’ll like based on viewing habits and then…

You spread the word.

We haven’t seen anything like this since the late sixties, when the youthquake diverged from the mainstream and ultimately took over the culture. But then these youth grew up, the so-called baby boomers, and ruled, and now they think they know everything, BUT THEY DON’T!

I read three newspapers cover to cover every day. Never mind checking their apps multiple times a day. And I’ve never ever heard of this movie.

But I do have to read every Sunday about weekend theatrical grosses, WHICH ARE COMPLETELY OUT OF TOUCH! Turns out some of the potential audience is going out, but most are staying home in front of the flat screen, watching flicks that totally elude the mainstream.

Also on IMDB “Kissing Booth” star Jacob Elordi is the #3 most popular actor/actress and Joey King is #7, and I’ve never heard of them!

Males/Females (Sorted by Popularity Ascending)

Furthermore, with 125 million subscribers, and about 300 million viewers, some Netflix shows have reached 40-50 million viewers. This dwarfs theatrical, this even dwarfs cable. What is going on here?

First and foremost, Netflix allows you to share your account. It’s the opposite of the music business with CD copy protection and demonization of listeners.

And despite Spotify customizing playlists, nothing seems to organically grow from them. What I mean is we all have different Discover Weekly playlists, so nothing blossoms. Although Spotify does track skip and save rates and if you gain traction you can move up the playlist hierarchy and become a hit, but it seems like it’s all hip-hop, nothing left field has broken through, why, is there just too much product? Or must Spotify dig in deeper and make tracks from other genres hits?

But one thing we know for sure is the public has detached from the gatekeepers. People are not doing what we expect them to, never mind what we tell them to do.

We haven’t seen this paradigm since the ’80s, when “Eddie and the Cruisers” was on HBO and the soundtrack went nuclear. Turns out more people saw it on cable than ever went to the theatre.

Now more people are seeing it on Netflix.

And Netflix is based on data. Not only whether you start a series, but whether you stop it, and when. Does HBO have any of this data?


P.S. “The Kissing Booth” has a lousy critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes, of 17%%%! Although the audience score is 72%. Proving that critics are out of touch with the audience, the public doesn’t care about critics and online ratings are less important than buzz. The Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes is higher, 72%. You might ask why not in the nineties, if the movie is so popular. That’s because it’s a phenomenon and everybody’s aware of it, watches it and wants to weigh in. Not everyone agrees, but everyone in the demo is watching!

P.P.S. Are you about the money or the cultural impact? If it’s about the latter, you’re better off on television, most specifically Netflix. The small screen is no longer a second-class citizen, that’s the BIG SCREEN! And never forget, it’s about audience, the more people you reach, the bigger and more lucrative your career is in the long run.


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