While Sapan admitted that more and more entrants into the small-screen landscape may increase clutter, he believes it also creates noise — the good kind.
“These increasingly selective consumers are very aware, they’re smart and they’re talking more … about what’s good on TV,” he told media analysts and reporters following the release of his company’s strong third quarter earnings.
Plus, Sapan optimistically sees the cream still rising to the top.
“A liability is that you’re up against more entrants and a benefit is that you’ve got a tuned-up consumer population that’s discussing it more in social conversation than they might have been in the past,” he continued.
“That’s a damn rich opportunity,” Sapan theorized — one which he believes his company has been taking advantage of with “Humans,” “Better Call Saul” and “Fear The Walking Dead,” among others.
“There’s as much upside as there is challenge in the current environment,” he summed, admitting that existing franchise spinoffs like “Fear” and “Saul” have a “leg up” on new competition.
FX Networks and FX Production CEO Landgraf famously warned the industry of over-saturation at August’s Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
“This is simply too much television,” he said at the time. “My sense is that 2015 and 2016 will represent a peak in U.S. TV, and afterward we’ll see a decline.”
“In the late stages of a bubble you see this kind of desperate scrum, where we’re playing a game of musical chairs and jockeying for position,” Landgraf continued. The bubble, he predicted, will not “burst” but “deflate” somewhat slowly. “If there are more than 400 shows this year, I don’t think there will be 300 two years from now.”
So there may be no television apocalypse, but there are some concerns about Sapan’s zombie one. The AMC boss also spent some time on the blower Thursday easing analysts’ minds about lowering “Walking Dead” ratings. After all, capturing true monetization is becoming more and more imperfect in the traditional — some might say, antiquated — Nielsen ratings.
“Great content may have more upside than the system may be acknowledging today,” the CEO opined.
AMCX stock is currently trading up a few bucks for the day, though it hasn’t fully recovered from yesterday’s big drop. Today, numbers sank dramatically right around the conclusion of the executives’ prepared conference call remarks — at 11:20 a.m. ET — but it rallied back quickly.