Actor Mandy Moore, who was featured in the NBCUniversal drama hit of a few years ago, “This is Us,” said she once got checks for 81 cents and one penny for residuals for this show’s episodes airing on a streaming platform.
Lisa Edelstein, lead actor in Bravo's “A Girlfriend's Guide To Divorce,” recently, got a streaming TV check for 97 cents for two episodes. This is a show she wrote and starred in.
Think about this -- as every legacy TV streaming platform keeps showing net losses on a yearly basis for all their direct-to-consumer businesses.
Yes, all are making progress -- even seeing WBD's “Max” peeking through the clouds to eke out a small quarterly profit.
But the overall math still seems to be an issue. Consumers are paying 25% more year-over-year for a streaming service on average.
This is why Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, told The Ankler: “By some basic metrics, there seems to be something that's broken in the market."
If big TV-based network media companies are having trouble making money, and if actors and writers say they are not getting a decent wage via streaming exposure, there is something amiss.
And here's something else that has been alluded to: The supply, the demand and the quality of that content.
Let's focus on the latter. Khan says: “Critics seem to say that the quality of content being produced is actually in decline.”
What about all those stories and reviews filled with praise and promise for so-called "Peak TV" -- a term coined from FX Networks executives for over a decade? Perhaps all that was just hype.
Some of this makes sense. The rush to produce premium, network-quality TV and movies yields a lot of "spillage," along with "quality."
Recently, Zachary Levi, star of the movie “Shazam” franchise -- including the most recent “Shazam: Fury Of The Gods” -- said as much at Fan Expo Chicago.
“I personally feel like the amount of content that comes out of Hollywood... is garbage — they don’t care enough to actually make it great for you guys,” Levi said, reportedly to big consumer applause. “They don't.”
Levi did pull back on those remarks a bit recently. Still, this has resonated with other performers to a great extent -- perhaps not the mega superstars, but still well-known movie and TV performers.
Initially, rising streaming businesses must have been cheered by all writers and actors alike that a new venue for their wares would mean improving their financial health.
But then came the real details.
Who, for example, really has the industry leverage here? Just a few might be the answer.
Is it probable to assume lax antitrust efforts over the last couple of decades around media consolidation gave more leverage to a handful of legacy media companies.
While streaming seemed to be good for the TV and movie business directly -- and for consumers with the friendly term “direct-to-consumer” attached -- it still comes through the hands of just a few mega-media owners, only resulting in some near-term feel-good promotion of those new digital platforms.
Blame those public companies continuing to cater to the demands of fickle and hard-pressed shareholders only looking at the next quarterly earning results hopefully resulting in an uptick of media stock prices.
An 87-cent paycheck says a lot.