Warner Bros. Beats Netflix in $100 Million Signing of Ava DuVernay

By CultureBanx Team

  • Ava DuVernay inks $100M deal with Warner Bros. TV

  • Shows with a predominantly black cast are drawing substantial non-black viewership

The Powerhouse behind “Queen Sugar,” “A Wrinkle in Time” and “13th” Ava DuVernay, has signed a multiyear and multi-genre deal with Warner Bros. Television. As first reported by Deadline the agreement is said to be worth $100 million. The Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated director is taking her talent to a traditional studio, in the wake of content creators running to streaming platforms like Netflix (NFLX -0.91%) and Amazon (AMZN +0.99%).

Why This Matters: This is a sweet deal for DuVernay because it allows her to sell shows to everyone instead of being locked into one platform, which is exactly what would happen if she signed with Netflix or Amazon Studios. At the beginning of 2018, DuVernay became the first woman of color to lead a $100 million-plus movie with Disney’s “A Wrinkle In Time,” and this new partnership plays into her big screen ambitions with Warner Bros. Pictures in the future.

Netflix already has a deep roster of major black content creators on their team from the Obamas, to Shonda Rhimes and even Kenya Barrish, just to name a few. The video streaming leader is also spending more than $8 billion on original content this year. Amazon actually followed Netflix and made a beeline towards this demographic by inking a deal with Jordan Peele, and is on track to shell out around $4 billion plus on original programming.

Streaming services which have a much broader reach than traditional TV have a lot to gain by betting on black content. Cowen analysts wrote that Netflix’s investment in high quality episodic content across all genres and feature films likely ensures the company will retain the top spot in the living room over time, in their view.

This is a sweet deal for DuVernay because it allows her to sell shows to everyone instead of being locked into one platform

It makes perfect sense for all of these platforms to be inking deals with black creators. Take a look at traditional TV viewership, Nielsen found shows with a predominantly black cast or a main storyline focused on a black character are drawing substantial non-black viewership.

What’s Next: DuVernay has a busy show schedule ahead of this new deal taking off. Her Netflix miniseries Central Park Five and a comedy based on the life of former NFL star and activist Colin Kaepernick are in the works. The Warner Bros. deal will go into effect in January 2019 through her company Forward Movement.

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