The Media Weekly: Hollywood descends into scene from Wild Wild West

[Main image: UNIVERSAL STUDIOS SINGAPORE – FEBRUARY 2 2017 : Madagascar at Universal Studios Singapore, Shutterstock, Amnaj Tandee]

For this editor, a lifelong dream was realised on Sunday night, when Will Smith took to the hallowed Academy Award’s stage to collect his long overdue Oscar. But overshadowing the accolade… DRAMA! As Big Will – independently of Dru Hill – went Wild Wild West and delivered a Rock Bottom live on global television…  

Now once upon a time in the west, Mad man lost his damn mind in the west

Was it staged? Had things been simmering? Did Smith only decide to get offensive once he saw Jada get offended? Theeeese are the questions that the world subsequently spent a day asking yesterday, with as yet very few answers. One thing we do know is that the social went Wild for Will, in one way or another… with gags, memes, hot-takes, and themes lighting up the global timelines ⚡️

The question I would ask is: literally HTF did that happen!? Chris Rock and Jada Pinkett-Smith have worked together many times before on the Madagascar films. Big Will’s award was, by all accounts, nailed on in the run up to the event. So why wasn’t so much as a cheeky WhatsApp sent in advance of the ceremony to make sure all was ok? I’m partial to a bald joke myself, but alopecia is nothing to be trifled with, and even in this anti-woke era you’d have to ask the question as to whether that was too far? 

In any case, if you haven’t seen the drama you can do so here, and I remove myself from the theatre of this particular conflict with my favourite bit of content to emanate from the incident: 

One Smith, two Smith, three Smith… Four?

Well we’ve got three at least, as we next turn our attention to Justin and Ben, of Bloomberg and BuzzFeed fame. As well as myself of course, a wordsmith. The two media execs (full names Justin Smith and Ben Smith, though not related) will be launching a new media venture together in a couple months time, and last week got tongues wagging, as the former revealed at a press conference: 

“We’ve chosen a brand that we’re going to be unveiling in a couple of months that is the same word in 25 or 35 different languages. It is very intentionally going to be able to live in Asia or Europe or the Middle East or America.” 

The former Chief Executive of Bloomberg Media also used the platform to express his disdain for foreign correspondents: “The idea that you send some well-educated young graduate from the Ivy League to Mumbai to tell us about what’s going on in Mumbai in 2022 is sort of insane,” he said

So watch it Chris Rock and foreign correspondents… The Smiths are coming to get you!  

? PPA Festival returns

One event at which we would expect to see much media venturing, but almost certainly no on-stage slapping, is the PPA Festival. The UK publisher event is set to return in May, and the association has now announced the preliminary speaker lineup. 

With headliners like GQ’s new Head of Editorial Content Adam Baidawi, and Hattie Brett, Editor of Grazia UK it promises to be a banger, as well as a welcome return to real-life networking. So set your UK media phasers to stunning and join us at Tobacco doc in May – further information here.    

Trust in news and magazines 

Sticking with the publishing side of the industry, it’s clear that news and magazine media is on the up-and-up as we enter the post-pandemic era. This is perhaps unsurprising with all of the high-octane entertainment drama going on right now, but growth is also being fuelled by wider industry trends, such as the move to subscriptions. 

Two recent industry reports from Europe provide some good data on the sector: 

  1. UK digital publishers thriving, say AOP and Deloitte, here
  2. Magazine and news platforms amongst the most trusted forms of media, here

As for FIPP…

If you like your industry events like Cristiano Ronaldo likes his national team home games – in Portugal – then the FIPP World Media Congress is definitely for you! Coming up in June, our ‘Back to Reality’ flagship convening will take place in the historic coastal town of Lisbon-Cascais, Portugal, and we’re currently putting the final touches to the agenda… You can find out more here


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