TV Execs Predict How Streaming Will Shake Out in 2020: ‘It Will Be Like ‘The Hangover”

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From “Peak TV” to “Peak Streaming” with three more newcomers following Apple and Disney

If you thought that 2019 was a big year for streaming, just wait until you see what 2020 has in store. Following a year that saw Apple and Disney launch their own streaming offerings in an attempt to take some of the growing market that Netflix has made its dominion, this year will see three more major services enter the field. NBCUniversal and WarnerMedia will come to the streaming market with two very different offerings. On April 15, NBCU will launch Peacock, which will be primarily supported by advertising and feature live TV elements. A month later, WarnerMedia will debut HBO Max, which rolls up HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner into one, big-tent offering. But before any of those come will be perhaps the most unique offering: Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi, a mobile-only service that doles out content in quick, short (only a few minutes or more) bites. Quibi (short of “Quick Bites”) will become available on April 6. During the Television Critics Association press tour over the last two weeks, TheWrap polled multiple television executives to get their take on where the streaming industry will find itself at the end of 2020. Below are their answers, edited for clarity: John Landgraf, chairman, FX Networks and FX Productions: I wish I knew. I could make a lot of money if I knew the answer to that question. It’s a lot of major investment in streaming services. Even if we don’t include Pluto or something like that, you just described 8 streaming services [including Hulu, Netflix and Amazon]. That’s a lot of programming. Probably they won’t all work. Probably some of them will. I think it’s going to be an overwhelming amount of content for the consumer. I think it’s arguably more content than the consumer needs. You could produce more content than the consumer needs for quite a long period of time. But eventually, there will be some rationalization between what the consumer can actually watch and consume and what’s being made. Gary Levine, president of entertainment, Showtime Networks: It’ll be “Peak Streaming” instead of “Peak TV.” We try not to worry about the battle of the giants and really want to be your plus one. Wherever you go, add Showtime. We’re happy to be that, and let them battle it out for world domination. Casey Bloys, programming president, HBO: You’re seeing the streaming services align. You’ve got Disney, and Netflix and Amazon and WarnerMedia and Peacock. Consumers will be interacting with them and evaluating their offerings. Their personalities, their value propositions and all the other things will be better known by the end of this year. Katherine Pope, head of originals, Spectrum Originals: We’ll all collectively have a hangover. We have a too-many-shows hangover. Who’s paying the tab? It will be like “The Hangover,” where we’ll have to piece together everything that happened over the last year, and somebody will have to throw the mattress off the roof. It’s all anticipation and it’s all, “OK, we’re going to get this many subscribers by this year, and we’re making this many shows by this time.” I think there will be corrections in what’s going on. It’s just not sustainable. Jennifer Maas contributed to this story.