Is there a major difference in fandoms out there, say, between the folks who love Harry Potter and those who demand The Snyder Cut of Justice League? Does Warner Bros. giving in to fan demand, at times toxic, set a precedent for future fandoms going foward? Tony Goncalves, the CEO of AT&T’s Otter Media division that oversees HBO Max, doesn’t seem to think so.
Goncalves spoke withBut if you’re confused by the mega-corporation’s hierarchy and how Goncalves fits into it, here’s a brief explainer from Goncalves himself:
I report into WarnerMedia Entertainment, which is Bob Greenblatt’s division inside of WarnerMedia. I’m overseeing the portfolio of Otter Media companies as well as the development and launch and the business operations of HBO Max.
Essentially, Patel asks if HBO Max is going to wait until The Snyder Cut launches to force Roku to “cave” and allow the app:
I don’t know if caving is actually the way to think about it. I think the consumer wins at the end of the day, and I think we’ve put together a product offering that has multiple Snyder cuts. It’s got—
Alexander cuts in to clarify whether Goncalve means there are multiple Snyder Cuts. There aren’t, at least as far as we know. He was simply using “The Snyder Cut” as a shorthand for a passionate fandom:
The reference to the Snyder Cut is that it’s a passionate fandom. There’s a passionate fandom around Friends. There’s a passionate fandom around Harry Potter. There’s a passionate fandom around… I mean, you name it on that platform. The DC library. There’s a passionate fandom around Crunchyroll, passionate fandom around Studio Ghibli.
Alexander rightfully takes Goncalves to task here, laying out the many ways that the passionate fandom of The Snyder Cut carried out toxic and targeted practices, and asking if it sets a precedent for future fandoms to do the same. Goncalves responds:
Look, definitely not a precedent.
And you’re right. There’s different types of fandoms. There’s the fandom you just described, and there’s other fandoms. My reference to the fandoms is the fact that we’re in a space where consumers are loud. Consumers guide, and we absolutely have to listen as industry. I had a boss that once said, “Industry and consumers aren’t always aligned, but consumers do tend to win.” It’s a fine balance. And I think when it comes to video, when it comes to entertainment, when it comes to content, consumers have never had more choice, and they’ve never had more of a voice. But that doesn’t mean that we will go and invest our dollars in every single fandom that exists.
But I think the reference to the Snyder Cut and the Friends fandom is the fact that consumers are speaking, and we have to listen. It doesn’t mean that we’re going to go redo every movie ever made. But I think that we definitely have to have our ear to the ground. And I think we do.
I just go back to look at the buzz that the Harry Potter library brought us yesterday. It was a wonderful surprise and delight. It’s because consumers are passionate about these franchises.
Goncalves largely sidesteps the darker side of The Snyder Cut fandom here to basically say, “The customer is always right.” Sounds like a precedent to me.