FX’s John Landgraf Says Apple Won’t Be a Competitor: ‘We Can’t Do What They Do’

TCA 2017: “I’m not interested in making the world’s largest all-you-can-eat buffet with something for everyone,” executive says

FX Networks boss John Landgraf once again tore into Silicon Valley companies and their “winner-take-all” business strategy, blaming companies like Netflix and Amazon for the current glut of television programming and hailing his network’s “quality-control” as the key to its future success.

“In that world, it’s about scale, it’s about data, it’s about finance, it’s about bringing billions upon billions of dollars … to conquer markets,” Landgraf said at the Television Critics Association press tour on Wednesday. He used his speech to address the enormous number of streaming programs debuting this year — even without Apple’s imminent entry to the market.

Landgraf said that TV executives including himself, AMC’s Josh Sapan and HBO’s Richard Plepler, are betting that a different strategy — one that doesn’t involve pumping billions of dollars into creating hundreds of new shows — will pay off in the long run.

“I respect Apple as a company … [but] we can’t do what they do,” Landgraf said. “I don’t think I’d be good at spending $10 billion on content. Because I’m not interested in making the world’s largest all-you-can-eat buffet with something for everyone.”

Comparing network executives to human chess players competing against a “machine” like IBM’s Deep Blue, Landgraf said that he believes consumers will turn to brands they value and respect when faced with an overwhelming number of choices.

“That’s what interests me, a more tightly curated, quality control,” Landgraf said. “I’m just going to have to hope that if we do it well enough and we get it through to the consumer at a price and manner they want, that for enough consumers in America that will still be meaningful against the absolute tsunami of volume that’s going to be coming out of all this capital flowing into content creation.”

“Our strength is not the ability to pump 20 billion dollars into buying hundreds and hundreds of pieces of content,” he said. “Our strength is the quality of our curation.”