Warner Bros. Discovery Warner is negotiating to sell about half of the studio’s film and TV music publishing assets for around $500 million, three sources confirm. Variation. The news was first reported by hits.
While it’s unclear exactly what assets are on the table, one source says the rights to “a little less than half” of the catalog, priced at around $500 million, are likely to go to a large company. It is believed that the catalog contains music from such films as “Purple Rain”, “Evita”, “Sweeney Todd”, “Rent” several “.Batman” movies and many more titles, as well as songs from movies such as “As Time Goes By”White House”- iconic titles to be sure, but again, it’s unclear exactly what rights are at play. Top attorney Allen Grubman is said to be overseeing the deal with Warner Discovery CEO David Zaslav.
But some observers are skeptical of the deal, saying many of the company’s assets are more than half a century old and are “declining” in value and difficult to exploit. These are said to consist largely of movie themes and cues—with relatively few traditional songs—that seem to have little familiarity or resonance, either in the present or the future. The catalog is currently under a multi-year management agreement with Universal Music Publishing.
Representatives of Warner Discovery, Sony, and Universal either declined or did not respond. Variationcomments requests.
If the reports are true, the deal will be welcome for the company and its investors at a turbulent time, which includes a crippling writer’s strike in Hollywood and 100 layoffs at Discovery and Turner brands (more expected in the coming months). Not to mention Zaslav’s last days. to shoot personally Chris Licht named CEO of CNN only a year later and the network’s controversial town hall with former president Donald Trump.
Unexpected gain from such a sale – a still booming market for music catalogs – helps the company pay off $49.5 billion in debt.
The report also comes in the midst of a drastically changing environment for the television industry as a whole. Local cable channels, including Discovery, TNT, TBS, TLC, HGTV, Food Network, and CNN, were once industry envy in terms of viewership and profitability. But the rapidly changing pay-TV market and the rise of on-demand streaming have upended the reliable cable TV earnings power that made the old Time Warner a powerhouse in the 1990s and early 2000s.