According to a prominent royal expert, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are under money pressures and must quickly show their value to Hollywood.
After negotiating a multi-million pound contract with Netflix last year, as well as a lucrative arrangement with Spotify, royal analyst Daniela Elser claimed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex “have a lot to prove” and are “fighting against the clock.” Ms Elser went on to say that if Harry and Meghan don’t want to be dismissed as a marketing gimmick, they’ll have to “prove they’re worth the investment.”
This is because their $133 million (£96.1 million) Netflix contract is expected to be worth just $3.7 million (£2.68 million) each year as a retainer, plus bonuses for new programs.
While the Times originally claimed that the Sussexes would be producing “documentaries, docu-series, feature films, scripted shows and children’s programming,” what seemed to be a torrent of serious material has amounted to little more than a trickle.
Elser said that the pair, who retired from royal responsibilities and now live in California, “haven’t exactly set Hollywood on fire” thus far.
Writing for news.com.au, she said: “The problem with this paradigm is that their entire money-making ability is pegged to their ability to generate good PR.
“Should interest in them wane, or public fatigue for the never-out-of-the-news duo set in, then their value could plummet.
“While Harry and Megan’s financial future might outwardly seem rosy thanks to their Netflix deal (and their estimated $33.5million Spotify deal) look closer and things aren’t quite so shiny.
“The Times has reported that, according to industry insiders, it is likely that their Netflix deal would be structured such that they receive a retainer of somewhere between $1.85million and $3.7million annually, and would then earn more as they release shows.
“Given their costs for security and their home in Montecito have been estimated at around $5.9million, they would need their productions to be smash hits.”
It comes after Meghan Markle’s new Netflix children’s show, Pearl, was revealed by Archewell Productions. Pearl is a series about great women throughout history, and the Duchess will be helping to create it.
The pair recruited Oscar-nominated producer Ben Browning to head up Archewell’s video content production arm in March, and it was reported the following month that their first project will be a docuseries on Harry’s sports event for wounded veterans, the Invictus Games.
However, not everyone is on board, with Variety’s chief media analyst Andrew Wallenstein dismissing the ideas as “not remotely what their tabloid-driven audience wants.
He added: “It’s an exercise in their image rehabilitation, funded by Netflix.”
Elser continued: “While on one hand TV and feature-length projects take years to get to the screen, on the other, what has Netflix really gotten so far for their estimated $133 million investment in the Duke and Duchess? Sure, their signing was a huge publicity coup but so far all the streaming giant has gotten for their nine-figure financial commitment is essentially the world’s most expensive press release.”