Big-budget blockbusters arrive amid ‘Peak TV’ fears

Harvest of pricey fantasy adaptations from Amazon and HBO Max served at subsidized prices. Financial Times: Since 2016, American television veteran John Landgraf has been predicting the arrival of “peak TV” – the time when the number of new scripted shows will reach an all-time high. The streaming boom has proven him wrong every time, but he made the prediction again this month, telling guests at the Television Critics Association press tour that 2022 would mark “the peak of the age of television”. Landgraf, president of Disney’s FX network, admitted he could be wrong this time too. But there’s no doubt that this fall will present audiences with a flood of some of the most expensive TV shows ever made. On September 2, Amazon Prime will release its adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, with an estimated budget of $465 million for the first season, almost enough to do Top Gun: Maverick three times.

HBO Max’s House of the Dragon – the Game of Thrones prequel – reportedly cost $200 million for the 10-episode season. At Disney Plus, Star Wars: Andor will lead a wide range of new programming that includes a remake of Pinocchio, She Hulk and a spin-off from the Cars franchise. These shows are offered to consumers at subsidized prices by streaming platforms that are posting record losses. The one profitable exception is Netflix, but the industry pioneer’s market value has plunged nearly $200 billion in the past year due to slowing subscriber growth. Its stock price languishes at its lowest level in four years. The next crop of new programming was given the green light in more exciting times, when Wall Street cheered as streaming services pledged lavish sums to compete. But confidence in the streaming business model – and investors’ tolerance for overspending – has waned as Netflix’s once meteoric subscription growth has reversed.

[…] On top of that, there are growing concerns that inflation will affect discretionary spending, including streaming services. “Everybody [in Hollywood] throws big bucks after big things,” said Niels Juul, who was executive producer of Martin Scorsese’s Netflix movie The Irishman. ” But [subscribers] are inundated now to the point where they look at their monthly bills and say, “Something has to go – I’ve got $140 worth of subscriptions here!” “Even so, Tom Harrington of Enders Analysis said consumers still get a better deal than the streaming companies themselves. – what happens next?’ From the consumer’s point of view, this is very good. But for a video operator, it’s clearly unsustainable.”

Carol N. Valencia