• The Spark
  • Posts
  • ⚡️Simon & Schuster sells. What happens now?

⚡️Simon & Schuster sells. What happens now?

PLUS: What is AI doing to film?

Happy Tuesday, creatives!

Today, we’ve got a look at the Simon & Schuster shakeup.

Plus, how Madonna keeps rolling out music despite limits on time spent in-studio.

We aim to answer the question — what is AI doing to film? We get help from a cinema scholar.

New movements in the podcast space are happening too, with word of a new podcast network and new ad earnings reports.

—Clayton

BOOK BUYOUT

Simon & Schuster is gone from Paramount Global’s holdings.

The company is a publishing powerhouse, and it’s just sold for $1.62 billion.

KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.) has purchased the company.

Why get into the book biz?

KKR also has invested in a company called Overdrive, which is a digital reading platform for libraries and schools.

Employees of Simon & Schuster will be getting a stake in the compnay, per the deal.

The strategy is one that the company has used in the past to improve engagement, such as with RBMedia.

“We see a compelling opportunity to help Simon & Schuster become an even stronger partner to literary talent by investing in the expansion of the company’s capabilities and distribution networks across mediums and markets while maintaining its 99 year legacy of editorial independence. We also believe the opportunity to create an ownership culture within one of the world’s top publishers has enormous potential to create value for all of Simon & Schuster’s stakeholders,” said Richard Sarnoff, chairman of media at KKR.

MADONNA NEWS

Madonna has been reinventing her past work.

The pop icon has quietly released not one, not two, but seven remix albums.

And there’s been a diverse range of reworkings — from alternate versions to over 10 distinct remixes.

As she balances her health, family, and touring responsibilities, Madonna finds a viable way to stay connected with her followers.

AI and film

When Disney+ debuted Secret Invasion with opening sequences generated (in part) by AI, it didn’t do much to assuage fears of what AI could do to the film industry.

Read more about what AI could do to cinema from a cinema scholar at the University of Southern California.

PODCAST RELEASES

IN THE BIZ

Podcaster Alex Cooper is launching the Unwell Network, a talent network for Gen Z creators and podcasters. The network is a part of Trending, the media company Cooper launched in June.

Meanwhile, iHeartMedia witnessed an impressive 13% surge in podcasting revenue during the second quarter that ended on June 30, 2023, reaching an impressive $97 million. However, the company's overall revenues continued to be impacted by softness in the advertising market. Earlier this year, iHeartMedia launched Ruby to expand their branded content.

Changing gears, in their Q2 report, Beyond Meat revealed a significant drop in sales by nearly a third, citing weak demand. The decline in consumer spending power due to inflation and higher interest rates has contributed to customers trading down to cheaper protein options and reducing overall protein purchases. Beyond Meat's high pricing further impacted its performance in this environment.

Sparky is our newsboy - delivering the Spark to our readers far and wide. Do Sparky a solid and forward the Spark to a friend!