One of the biggest pieces of entertainment business news so far this year was the sale of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company to a Blackstone-backed company earlier this month. Hello Sunshine, a Fast Company Most Innovative Company, sold for an eye-watering $900 million.
Some in the industry balked at the price of the 5-year-old company, which only has four films and six television series under its belt. But now data from content analytics firm Diesel Labs shed some light onto why those in the entertainment industry see so much value in Hello Sunshine.
Though Hello Sunshine has only produced six television series to date (three more are in the pipeline), three of those series have been pretty big hits for the streaming services they’ve debuted on: Big Little Lies (HBO Max), The Morning Show (Apple TV+), and Little Fires Everywhere (Hulu). While all have been critically well-received, Diesel Labs’ data shows just why they have so much commercial value to streamers: They’re all top drivers of user engagement for subscribers who are new to the shows’ respective streaming platforms.
As you can see from the chart above, Big Little Lies outperforms subscriber engagement metrics for other popular HBO Max shows, such as Mare of Easttown and The Undoing. The same is true for Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu, which outperforms engagement driven by shows like Mrs. America and Four Weddings. And Hello Sunshine’s engagement metrics for its Apple TV+ show, The Morning Show, is among the top drivers of engagement on that platform, too, only narrowly being beaten out by smash hit Ted Lasso.
Engagement means more subscribers, which means more recurring revenue, which means streamers want more content produced by Hello Sunshine. Given this, that $900 million price tag for Hello Sunshine makes a lot more sense.