In an effort to better acquaint you, the reader, with the VQR staff, members of our team will share excerpts from our personal reading—The Best 200 Words I Read All Week. From fact to fiction, from comedic to tragic, we hope you find as much to admire in these selections as we do.
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“The day weighed down upon him, but the day was feather-soft, the day was sweating bottles of water, the day was loud like cigars and smelled of truck horns, the day was a golden giant flying among the skyscrapers delivering fire to a beautiful Latina—Oye mama! Oye mama-sa!—hot day, long day, sweet day, music day, and the day turned to a guitar and the guitar strings turned to worms and the worms turned into cucumbers and the cucumbers turned into his mother’s fingers, and she gave them to him peeled white with salt and pepper and a little vinegar, and the taste was childhood, and the taste was still new, and the sun was high in the sky, and it was 1946 and he was fourteen, and he was in the tobacco field, and deep in the lugs, and the day was hot, but he was happy—BACCOOO! BACCOOO! AIN’T NO BACCO IN HEAVEN I KNOW!—and he heard his grandfather’s voice, and his grandfather was singing, and he heard his grandfather’s voice and his grandfather was singing.”
Reader Rob Shapiro
Excerpt from If I Had Two Wings by Randall Kenan
By 2012, however, Time Warner’s investors were demanding to know why the company wasn’t selling its reruns to Netflix, according to one former Time Warner executive. “We sat out for a few years, and all of Wall Street said, ‘What the hell are you guys doing? You’re leaving value on the table for your shareholders!’” the former executive said. “So we relented. That was the beginning of the end.”
Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting did its first deal with Netflix that year. Another transaction the following year brought in more than $250,000 per episode for reruns of shows like Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, according to the former executive. Time Warner figured Netflix’s money would make up for any lost advertising revenue from viewers who watched on Netflix instead of a cable box.
By 2015, Wall Street had changed its tune. With about 40 million U.S. subscribers, Netflix was becoming a clearer threat. Analysts started pushing media companies to reclaim those old episodes from Netflix to make cable TV more attractive, which could slow the rise of cord-cutting. That year, Todd Juenger, an influential analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co, estimated that big media companies, including Viacom, Fox, and CBS, would have been worth a total $45 billion more if they hadn’t done business with Netflix in the first place.
“It was a big flip-flop from Wall Street,” the former Time Warner executive said.
Art Director Jenn Boggs
Excerpt from “Who Killed the Great American Cable-TV Bundle?” in Bloomberg