I've completely lost track of what and who I'm supposed to give a shit about in House Of The Dragon...
In destroying content libraries, Warner/HBO is using a publishing trick.
Because of the way intellectual property is valued and taxed across much of the English-speaking world, insufficiently profitable property is more profitable out-of-print than bringing in cash.
I could do this too. Here's a vastly simplified example.
Let's take my Prohibition Orcs. What's the value of PO? Well, there's the film rights, the TV rights, audiobook rights, branded fedoras... This is such an innovative property, for a few grand I can easily hire an outside evaluator to tell me it should be worth, say, fifty million.
I claim PO on my taxes as worth fifty million dollars.
PO fails to live up to that. Nobody even buys the branded liquor rights, even though that's a no-brainer.
So I take the product off the market, and write off a fifty million dollar loss.
"It can't be this blatant," people think. But it can. Every IP-related industry lobbied for these laws. This is part of why tech is so profitable, because surely the new game is worth top dollar.
The catch is, only a certain kind of person can do this and sleep well at night.
The tax system is Dungeons & Dragons, except the dragons wrote the rules.
This, by the way, is why publishers won't bring back so much of the out-of-print blacklist. Internally, they value all those vanished first novels at a bajillion dollars, and resurrecting them would require un-writing-off those losses.
Under current tax code, creators are more valuable dead than alive.
Some publishers/distributors play the game fair, and have deep backlists. But if it's a big conglomerate, like HBO or Randy Penguin? It's sociopathy all the way down. Remember, it's not about making money; it's about the quarterly statement, and massive deductions are a win there.
This prick only got three fucking years?! Throw away the key!!!!