Remember O.J Simpson promoting in 1978: “Nobody Does It Better Than Hertz”? In 2020 Hertz Filing For Bankruptcy

The Naked Gun: From The Files of Police Squad ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Most reading know what happened to O.J Simpson, the fallen football hero and actor. Also, many recognize the big yellow and black Hertz, the rental car company. The business and the man they called Juice once were linked.

O.J Simpson wasn’t always a villain, he was at one time an extremely talented football player, who parlayed his charm and grace into advertising and acting roles in movies like The Towering Inferno (yes, The Juice was in that 70s disaster flick).

He’s perhaps better known for his role in the murder trial in the 90s for his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman than his role as Norbert in The Naked Gun movie series, a charge of which he beat with a Dream Team group of lawyers lead by the now deceased Johnny Cochran and F. Lee Bailey.

More recently Simpson is remembered for the botched memorabilia robbery in Vegas that led to more legal trouble. He was convicted and sentenced to a Nevada prison. He did his time, and was eventually released from prison not too long ago.

But let’s go back in time to when O.J Simpson was not a social leper and convicted felon. If only to reminisce about the company Hertz’ before their current financial struggles.

Certainly at least some reading remember O.J Simpson in the mid to late 70s running around airports and other areas promoting Hertz rent-a-car? If not, YouTube has our fix:

Look, I dig watching these nostalgic commercials. O.J Simpson looks good in these commercials and so does Hertz. Here’s another Hertz commercial with Simpson in 1993, a couple short years before his infamous murder trial:

The slogan for Hertz is particularly interesting in the first commercial: “Nobody does it better than Hertz” — considering they have now filed for bankruptcy in 2020.

Not here to celebrate people losing their jobs or the downfall of Hertz (although the CEO of Hertz making $9 million is disappointing), rather I found the article quoted below an interesting parallel to the movie business. I’ve bolded the important part.

It’s easy to blame the company’s misfortunes, as well as the other corporate casualties, on the pandemic. The reality is a different story. The failures of Hertz and the others have more to do with their own arrogant inertia and inability to recognize the fast-changing trends and a refusal to adapt their business models accordingly. 

Hertz Files For Bankruptcy After 16,000 Employees Were Let Go And CEO Made Over $9 Million

If we look at Hertz’ failure, parallels to the movie business are clear. An inability to recognize changing trends — streaming becoming something more and more people want to do and how can this be embraced better?

Luckily, AMC and Cinemark never had O.J Simpson as spokesperson, but one thing these businesses can do is not fight with studios in public. Get together behind closed doors and hammer out deals that make movie theaters better partners. Work together and recognize every business loses when customers aren’t listened to.

As the article states, rental car companies have fallen on hard times not only because of the pandemic, but because customers would rather take an Uber or Lyft than deal with the red tape and hassle of renting a car.

We rented a car in Vegas recently — not from Hertz — and it was a fairly quick and painless process, but we still had to wait in line, go through an unnecessary upsell process for overpriced add-ons we didn’t need, despite reserving a car in advance. The process should have been even further streamlined. We get off the plane, go to the rental car parking lot, show ID, pick out our car, inspect it for damage and leave. Done. Why the additional need to go to some stuffy counter and talk to someone so they could sell us more coverages or a “better” vehicle? Yes, of course, because all customers want to be sold something else after they’ve already made a decision to buy from you. Not.

The movie business when it reopens needs to learn lessons from other companies like Hertz that are going out of business. Listen to your customers.

Hertz’s slogan in the 70s should have been: “Nobody does it better than YOU, our customers!” That sort of thinking is the ticket to longevity in business.

To those running AMC or Cinemark: embrace both humility and change. Hertz has been in business over 100 years. They didn’t change. Movie theater chains need to change.

UPDATE 5/24/2020 9:45am PT: OJ Simpson on Twitter says he is “available” to Hertz.

Sigh.

How Much Streaming Services Are Spending On Original Content in 2020

Next week HBO Max is being released, how much are they spending on original content in 2020?

Netflix, as of this writing in May 2020, has the most subscribers at 183 million. They are also spending the most on original content, and it shows in the battle for who has the most new to offer every week.

Netflix has something new — movie, TV show, documentary, mini-series, etc — every other day, it seems. It’s challenging keeping up with everything new they’re putting out, even when trying to cover them.

What is everybody else in the streaming wars game up to as far as budgeting for original content? Forbes to the rescue.

Piggybacking on a Bloomberg study, Forbes have further broken down how much the major streaming services are spending.

Coronavirus shutdowns and stay-at-home orders have sparked a new boom in the streaming world as established companies rev up content and new players, like HBO Max and Quibi, look to make a splash.

Streaming Wars Continue: Here’s How Much Netflix, Amazon, Disney+ And Their Rivals Are Spending On New Content

Here’s the numbers in list format from most spent, to least, in 2020 as well as current number of subscribers:

  1. Netflix – $16 billion – 183 million subscribers
  2. Amazon – $7 billion – 150+ million subscribers
  3. AppleTV+ – $6 billion – 33 million subscribers
  4. Hulu – $3 billion – 28 million subscribers
  5. Disney+ – $1.5-1.75 billion – 50+ million subscribers
  6. HBO Max – $1.25 – $1.5 billion – 35 million subscribers
  7. Quibi – $1 billion – 1.3 million subscribers
  8. Peacock – $800 million – $1 billion – ??? subscribers
  9. CBS All Access – $800 million – ??? subscribers

Apple is perhaps the biggest surprise on the list. Clearly, they have the $$$ to compete with others, and are focusing on a bunch of original content. To be spending almost as much as Amazon seems ambitious, but if the content they’re spending on is good (listen up, Quibi), it will work in luring in more subscribers.

Missing from this list is niche player Shudder, owned by AMC, but my guess would be they’re budget is in the small millions. Another standout niche streamer is DC Universe, but you can sort of count part of DC Universe budget as HBO Max, since the parent company for both is AT & T / Warner Bros, and again, just a guess, but probably a tiny fraction (way less than $100 million) of the HBO Max pie.

Those bolded in the list are the services we’re signed up for as of this writing. We just signed up for HBO Max through the HBO Now, so we’re ready for the May 27 launch at a reduced price of $11.99/month for 12 months, should we stay with them that long. We have been long time subscribers to Netflix and Amazon (via Amazon Prime annual). Disney+ we signed up for a year at launch and will likely renew in November 2020 when it comes up again, mostly for our grandchildren and their excellent library of (mostly) animated movies for children. Peacock we receive as part of being Xfinity high speed internet customers. We don’t subscribe as of this writing to any of the others listed, although we do subscribe, binge watch what’s available, and then cancel from all other channels, including the premium add-on channels like Showtime, Starz, Cinemax, Epix and so on. We do not subscribe to any TV streaming channels like YouTube TV, Sling TV, etc.

In November 2019, before Disney+ launched, I asked: How Many Movie/TV Streaming Subscriptions Do You Have? We’re subscribed to the same services, Lifetime has been dropped, but added DC Universe (originals: Harley Quinn, Stargirl), Peacock and HBO Now (soon to be HBO Max next Wednesday 5/27/2020).

Six months plus later, seems like a good time to revisit this inquiry.

What streaming services are you subscribed to?

Why are you subscribed to them? What do you like and dislike about them? Any streamers you’re planning to add or remove?

Florida Landlord Sues AMC for Rent – 7.5 million – Meanwhile, they won’t open until there are “new” movies to show?

AMC On Demand is available … not sure how much $$ it is generating?

It’s not news that landlords are feeling the sting from tenants that can’t pay rent, but I’m a bit flummoxed by this lawsuit. $7.5 million for the entire balance of the lease? That’s what a Florida landlord is asking AMC to pay.

Palm Springs Mile Associates, Ltd., filed suit in federal court in Miami, alleging that AMC had failed to pay the $52,153.87 monthly rent on the AMC Hialeah 12. The suit contends that the breach of contract has triggered a requirement for immediate payment of the balance of the lease. The suit seeks in excess of $7.5 million in damages.

AMC Theatres Sued by Florida Landlord for Not Paying Rent – Variety

Let’s talk about that rent for a minute. $52,153.87 per month. If we divide that by 12 screens that works out to a cost of $4,346 per screen, if we then divide that by 30 days, that works out to 362 movie tickets sold per screen per day just to pay the rent.

This doesn’t take into account that the theaters don’t get to keep 100% of the ticket price. In fact, they get far less from the new movies when first released. This also doesn’t cover any labor costs.

This makes me feel less annoyed that popcorn is sold at an extreme markup (see: 788% Profit on Movie Theater Popcorn). Clearly, without the concessions these movie theaters would go broke.

Why aren’t movie theaters selling and delivering popcorn? There’s Doordash, Ubereats, etc. I’d think this would give at least some revenue to theaters from their businesses that literally are making $0 while shuttered. Some independent theaters are doing this but not the big three. They just shuttered and furloughed a bunch of their employees. They didn’t even try.

On that front, I can see why landlords would feel a little put off. No attempt to use any of that real estate to generate any kind of revenue makes little sense. The flip side of that is that rent seems ridiculous to me. Maybe it’s in a prime location, I don’t know the details, maybe it is well worth that price, but that is some real difficult math to wrap your head around for a viable business model at the least.

Put all this together and add to it the news that AMC is now holding out on reopening because there are no new movies to show? That just adds to the legal quagmire for this struggling industry giant.

AMC, open the theaters when it is safe to do so, there are plenty of movies to show — classic movies, if need be. Using the excuses not to reopen because now there are no new movies to show? That will likely not hold up in neither the court of public opinion or court that decides financial judgments against your business.