Warner Bros. chief Kevin Tsujihara, one of the senior WarnerMedia execs whose turf expanded with today’s executive restructuring, sees the revamp only enhancing what has lately been a fairly well-oiled machine.
Integration and synergy will be more of the focus at Warner Bros. than on finding efficiencies through layoffs as will be the case in select other corners of WarnerMedia, he noted in a brief interview with Deadline.
A string of surprise hits throughout 2018, especially second-half titles Aquaman, Crazy Rich Asians and A Star is Born, gave the studio a solid grip on the No. 2 spot in the domestic market-share rankings, with $1.94 billion in box office.
The film studio, he said, will benefit from having more direct access to material from Cartoon Network, Adult Swim and Boomerang, which are among the networks being added to his portfolio.
While there already have been efforts to mine those networks’ IP for features, the overall sensibility in terms of synergy at the old Time Warner lagged behind that of many other media companies. “When it’s part of the same company, it’s different,” he said. Inside those networks, he said, the focus will be on newer horizons like consumer products. “The lion’s share of their profitability comes from affiliate sales and advertising,” Tsujihara said. “So a vertically integrated entity would say, ‘How can we drive more consumer products revenue from these properties?’”
Asked about the delicate task of determining what content is ticketed for the company’s own streaming effort and what content gets licensed to third parties — a hot topic of late — he said the best platform will continue to win. Warner Bros. TV produces plenty of shows for outside streaming services, such as the Golden Globe-winning The Kominsky Method for Netflix, but the company does not plan a Disney-style pivot away from that kind of business, which is a lucrative one.
“At Warner Bros., what we want to do is take the show and put it on the most appropriate platform,” he said. “Our goal is to work with the best writer-producers and the best talent. They’re going to know that their voices are going to be heard.” Different divisions of WarnerMedia, he emphasized, “are all going to have different approaches to creating content for third parties.”