Pop-Culture Predictions #2

by 
 | January 28, 2022

Hi, I'm Drew, a big nerd who happens to run a hybrid marketing and production company. I lead content and brand strategy and use data to build insights that inform our clients' business decisions. In this weekly series, I'm going to pick a couple of pop-culture IPs and make a bold prediction based on past experience, real-time data, and a boatload of moxie. Here we go...

Prediction - DC Films & WB will double down on adult oriented streaming Superhero shows and win

The first part of this prediction is a bit of a layup as far as predictions go. Peacemaker has made some waves in viewership according to Parrot Analytics who said the show was the most in-demand original stream TV series in the world as of January 22. In numbers that's 69.5 times more in demand than the average series. (When they say average I'm assuming they're talking about Netflix's "Cooking With Paris" which is a dumpster fire of an idea for a show.) That said, this is a huge win for DC/WB who in the past has struggled to find a tone and premium storytelling that works for their TV universe. Someone smart must have shown them this Venn Diagram for success.

This leads me to the second part of my prediction - If they stick to the above formula and stop making superhero shows for everyone below the age of 21 (Say hi and bye CW's The Flash, Batwoman, Supergirl, The Legends of Tomorrow), I can really see DC carving out a winning set of shows on a premium channel like HBO that knows how to make really really good TV. For context on how good HBO is at making good content; They spend about 1/5th the amount of money on shows than Netflix yet walk home with more Emmy awards than any other platform on average.

Bottom Line: The fans want violent and real superhero shows (exhibit A: The Boys, Invincible), but they want them with their comic book icons like Green Lantern (a series currently in development) and perhaps Justice League Dark (also in development). I'll leave you with a final chart aka nail in the coffin for CW superhero shows and the sub-par "Titans" show compared to the recent Peacemaker in terms of interest online over two years. Hint... "Peacemaker" leaves them in the dust.

Volume of interest over 2 years of The Flash, Supergirl, DC Legends of Tomorrow, Titians, and Peacemaker.

Prediction - Valves Steam Deck will be another Atari Lynx disaster

A quick history lesson for anyone below the age of 40. Back in the 80s, the Atari Corporation was a titian in the gaming industry. Having released the Atari 7800 and 2600 which were both huge hits along with a series of popular gaming hits (hello Tetris) they were raking in $452 million dollars a year and looking to the future of gaming. They needed something big since they knew a little company called Nintendo was releasing the Nintendo Entertainment System and a charismatic plumber. So Atari puts all its efforts into mobile gaming. Like, bet the farm big. Enter the Atari Lynx, a handheld gaming console with 16bit color graphics that would retail for $180 (which is equivalent to about $380 today). I'll make a long story short and just say it didn't work out well for Atari cause Nintendo launched the Gameboy and ate their lunch selling 16 million Gameboys to Atari's 3 million Lynx. Some tend to think that ET killed Atari, it was actually over-investing in the Lynx. They actually made a Lynx II (silly rabbit) hoping for the best I suppose.

Enter Valve and their very impressive Steam Deck that promises to bring PC gaming quality and games to a mobile device. And damn if it doesn't look good. It also looks giant. I saw a guy holding one up to his head and it was no joke was as wide as the guy's shoulders. I suppose he could've been a small dude. Let's talk about price for a second. The el-cheapo model with only 64GB of space (which is like half of a Call of Duty Game these days) is $399. That's about $50 more than the OLED Nintendo Switch (yes, I know different audiences but they are both mobile game consoles). The prices go up from there to $529 and $649 respectively. If this is an IQ test for how to spend my money, I'm having a hard time justifying this investment. Steam clearly has a lot of R&D cash to have developed and built this beauty and pulling numbers from Statisa.com in 2020 they reached 120 million active players (wow!). I'm sure they did the math and thought if we just sold to 15% of those 120 million we'd be doing ok.

Number of monthly active users on steam worldwide from 2017 to 2020.

The difference is hardware is hard and supply chains are harder. There's a reason nobody has entered the arena against Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo (sorry Meta/Oculus) because it's hard to make margins on hardware alone (note the recent purchase of Blizzard Activision to prove my point). If Valve is somewhat successful in selling millions of Steam Decks I wouldn't want to be in the boardroom the moment Microsoft announces their handheld gaming device that plays PC and Xbox games.

Bottom Line: I applaud Valve's effort here but all signs point to this being a flash in the pan of an idea and execution that Valve, if smart, will quietly walk away from over the next few years slowly phasing out the production of these. Otherwise this could be the beginning of the end for Valve as we know it if history repeats itself.

Prediction - The Next James Bond Will Not Be Idris Elba or any A-List Actor

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Idris Elba will not be the next James Bond even though he would've been great. Here are a few reasons why.

  • The average age for an actor starting their Bond career is 38. Elba is 49 and will likely be 51 by the time the first film comes out making him 6 years older than Roger Moore when he started playing Bond.
  • Elba is the face of too many other franchises. (Marvel, The Dark Tower, Luther) None of the previous actors who played James Bond were that well known or apart of fandoms as large as Marvel.
  • Idris Elba wouldn't bring anything new to the character that we haven't seem him already do in other characters like Luther or Pacific Rim, The Wire.
  • Barbrara Broccoli (head Bond franchise honcho) is has stated that she is in no hurry to cast a new Bond shortening Elba's chances.
  • Broccoli has also stated that they will be starting from scratch again similar to what they did when Craig came on leading me to believe that they will cast someone in their late 30's. Again a notch a against Elba.
I see the resemblance.

The script for the next film will more than likely determine the look and feel for the next bond more than anything. If we've seen anything in pop culture that represents the kind of debonair secret agent personality type for today's audiences look no further than the popular Netflix series Lupin and Omar Sy's eccentric but brilliant portrayal of an art thief. He's honestly a mix between Pierce Brosnan's charm and Timothy Dalton's wit. Unfortunately, he's French so MI6 won't be giving him his OO status. I honestly don't have a great prediction on who the next Bond will in fact be. I don't think we've seen him yet. There might be a film this year that comes out with a British star who just commands the screen as Craig did in Layer Cake.

Bottom Line: I am pretty confident that we won't see another Bond film for at least 5 years and it won't star Edris Elba or any current A-List British celebrity. The world needs to get through what it's going through now and I promise you they will wait for a perfect script and perhaps a series of scripts with an arc before launching into a new set of films. Or just go with what Insider.com says (Golding is dreamy).

I'll be back every few weeks with some more predictions. The value of a prediction is not accuracy (though it is better to be right than wrong), but the reasoning and conversation that the prediction catalyzes. Let me know if you think I'm right or wrong in the comments below!

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