The verbal sparring between FX Networks president John Landgraf and Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos continued to heat up Thursday when Sarandos acted as a panelist for the Hollywood Radio and Television Society luncheon. Sarandos shot back at Landgraf’s stand on the issue of cable programming by noting that the there’s only too much original content if people aren’t watching it anymore. And, people are still watching.
I take some objection to what John Landgraf said about there being 'Too much TV. There's no such thing as 'too much TV,' unless we're all spending more and not watching more. That's not the case. The number of television [hours] we're watching is growing dramatically.
According to THR Ted Sarandos and Netflix are adamant in taking the exact opposite position of John Landgraf and FX. The two companies and their executives are having some pretty fundamental disagreements on where the true future of television lies.
Most people would agree that Ted Sarandos is right. The television options right now are a lot better than anything we’ve had in the past, and Netflix has played a large role in that. There was a time, not long ago, that watching any TV show was basically an event, because your options on seeing your favorites were limited to watching as it aired, or using a VCR to record one show at a time, meaning you’d probably miss out on something.
Netflix has fired back at a time when the streaming service has continued to gain ground in original programming. Shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards have been making critical waves for a few years now, while newer shows like Daredevil are gaining raves, and the rest of the upcoming slate of new Marvel based shows have some high expectations.
This battle has been going on for a few months, when John Landgraf blasted Netflix’s original programming for being sort of shoddy, especially compared with the original shows of FX and other critically acclaimed cable shows. It’s not surprising, then, that a bigwig at the maligned network would take this opinion, well, pretty personally, and make a concerted effort to speak out against what he must see as an unnecessary slight.
It’s been clear for quite some time that Netflix (and other streaming services) is a force to be reckoned with, even though recent new subscriptions to Netflix have slowed a bit. But, why deal with some stranger coming to your house at a random time during a six-hour window (in which you don’t dare leave and miss them), when you can pay for a streaming only plan for Netflix (currently $7.99), stream HBO Now ($14.99) and Showtime on Hulu (about $17 total) and watch many of your favorite shows within a day of them airing or live through your streaming device?
This all boils down to one thing: busy people can’t resist the idea of convenience. It’s hard to tell now exactly how much of traditional TV and cable programming may eventually fall away because of the streaming revolution, but for right now, at least, it would seem Ted Sarandos is right. People are watching, so there’s no reason for anyone to stop coming up with new shows.