Much like the film industry, the rise of streaming services have had an indelible effect on the television side of entertainment, as well. With companies like Apple, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and many, many more snatching up TV series left and right, along with signing exclusive deals with creators, the future of network and cable TV is in flux. One of the rare TV CEOs talking about this change is FX’s John Landgraf. And in a new interview, he breaks down what he sees is the future of the streaming wars, and the winners might not be the companies you are predicting.
Speaking at Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit in Beverly Hills last week, the cable network CEO broke down where he sees the future of the current streaming war. “You can see at least four large media companies that are going to be aggressively pursuing a large streaming platform — Netflix, Amazon, Disney in its future iteration, and AT&T-Time Warner,” Landgraf says.
Surprisingly, there’s no Hulu, no CBS All Access, and no Crackle (kidding). But honestly, there are some big names left off that list, in addition to what was just named, including Apple, Facebook, and Google (YouTube Premium). As Landgraf continues, he explains why the four he mentions are the ones to really look out for, and why the other companies don’t have the ability to compete on the same level.
“I don’t think those are the last combinations, and I don’t think those are the last entrants. I’m not saying that YouTube isn’t making original series or that Facebook isn’t hedging around the edge of it. And you have to add Apple. But in terms of somebody saying, ‘Okay, we’re going to commit whatever it takes — $5 billion, $10 billion — there are four companies. … It would be surprising to me, for example, if Comcast didn’t eventually take a step toward creating a large streaming platform,” explains the executive.
Landgraf has previously warned about the overabundance of TV, and how it could have a lasting, damaging effect on the medium. However, even worse than that, he sees that the incredible spending going on currently, and continuing to happen in the future as these companies really compete, could lead to more disastrous consequences.
“But I think our industry is looking at the biggest hangover it has ever had at whatever point you reach the end state,” says Landgraf, referring to whatever point happens when companies can no longer spend what they do now.
Interestingly enough, Landgraf doesn’t mention his own network or its place in the scheme of things. FX is heavily promoting its FX Plus subscription service, attempting to compete with the likes of HBO. However, with the impending merger with Disney, the Fox-based cable company’s future remains a little unclear.