Binge Times has its moments, as when the authors describe John Stankey, the AT&T lifer who engineered the Time Warner purchase and is now AT&T’s chief executive ... The story of Netflix barging into Hollywood’s china shop is one that cries out for a big, sweeping treatment that leverages the clash of outsize personalities. Unfortunately, Binge Times lurches from one company to another and one time period to another in a way that’s confusing, disjointed and strangely inert ... While the book can be good at pointing out less-than-obvious motivations—the role of executive bonuses in driving bad business decisions, for example—the authors show some peculiar lapses in judgment.
This excellent book takes readers deep behind the scenes at Netflix and its challengers, showing us the people who had the ideas, made the decisions, and, in some cases, took the blame. In their writing, in their perceptive analyses, and in their vivid portrayal of a large cast of characters, Hayes and Chmielewski’s book easily rivals such business-book staples as Barbarians at the Gate, The Informant, and Too Big to Fail. The authors take a complex subject and make it not only understandable but riveting.
The book provides an early history of how traditional media companies attempted to take on Netflix and Amazon only to hit technological and cultural snags. The book places the launch of streaming services within the larger context of the mergers and acquisitions that have been happening within the entertainment industry. Hayes and Chmielewski’s coverage of AT&T’s streaming strategy, which ends with a jumble of HBO-branded services, provides an incisive case study. This book provides insight into the rationale and corporate strategy that caused five major services launches within a seven-month span ... This will appeal to readers of business and media books as it reports on the difficult launches of several streaming services. Recommended.
... smart, comprehensive ... Things get bogged down a bit with the long-winded and fawning appreciation of Netflix, but the copious research and astute analysis are worth the price of admission. This fascinating study will enthrall those interested in the business side of entertainment.