How Streaming Giants Are Spending Money for TV Push

Illustration by: Mattias Adolfsson

A look at the landscape as the number of scripted shows balloons beyond the more than 500 already in the marketplace.

If there was any doubt about whether the industry has reached the outer limits of the age of Peak TV, it has been put to rest by a series of aggressive summer moves by stalwarts and digital newcomers.

First, there was Apple’s surprise play to snag Sony TV top brass Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg as it prepares a $1 billion programming war chest. Then, Disney dealt a blow to Netflix, unveiling plans to remove its movies from the streamer and build a competitor. Netflix and Ted Sarandos, in turn, poached Shonda Rhimes from Disney-owned ABC with an overall deal estimated at about $100 million. 

Facebook rolled out its ambitious new video platform, Watch, after striking content deals with dozens of publishers and production companies. Meanwhile, YouTube has upped its investment (scoring projects like Cobra Kai) to broaden its subscription audience.

With new platforms vying for an audience, the number of scripted TV shows may balloon well beyond the more than 500 already in the marketplace. Notes BTIG media analyst Rich Greenfield, “Every digital platform is looking to control more of your daily time.”

A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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