Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel Says “We Completely Support Our Clients” In WGA Strike; Wildcard This Time – Three Pure-Play DTC Companies

As the Writers Guild of America strike moves into its second week, the chief executive of Endeavor, Ari Emanuel, said, “We completely support our clients in this situation. There are real issues that have to be addressed. We support our clients as they navigate these.”

Talking with Wall Street analysts after quarterly earnings, the longtime uber-agent said it was hard to gauge the financial impact on Endeavor – none of the company’s latest financial forecasts included a hit – but that guidance would come next quarter if the strike is still ongoing.

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“The duration is something I can’t tell you, because I’ve been through many strikes. The last one lasted 100 days, the one before that was less. But the issues as it relates to royalties, the size of the writers’ room, AI — there are six or seven issues surrounding it. I can’t tell you if there is going to be an impact [on Endeavor] and what the impact is because I just don’t know the duration of it. We are monitoring it and are in conversation with our clients all the time.”

But, he said, this strike is unlike prior ones.   

“The difference here is, besides those issues, is you have three direct-to-consumer businesses that are pure plays [Netflix, Amazon, Apple]. And then you have three others” in Disney, Comcast and Warner Bros. that have both DTC and linear businesses. “That makes it a little bit more complex besides just the issues,” he said. “But I can give you a better sense of it as it progresses.” Paramount Global would also be in the latter camp.

The playbook will be similar, however, if weeks and months see no new content being written: “More unscripted content and a backlog of content on the scripted side [and they will go through their library of things that have already been shot, and then unscripted, and then depending on the duration, go to international shows — South Korean, German.”

Representation is one of Endeavor’s four segments. Revenue for the March quarter was down 2% to $350 million, mostly on the loss of Endeavor Content, and a decrease at the 160over90 business, partially offset by revenue increases at WME. Operating income fell 17% to $84 million.

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Spencer Baumgarten, 62; Motion Picture Agent At ICM, CAA, Endeavor

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