In the wake of current TV streaming giants like Netflix making huge deals, as well as new streaming platforms like Disney+ and Peacock being announced, some cable networks are feeling the pressure and may be struggling to keep up. At USC’s Institute on Entertainment Law and Business, FX Chairman John Landgraf spoke on the changing landscape of broadcast television, the network’s competition with Netflix, and some of the details of FX’s parent company, Disney, launching its new streaming platform in November.
Landgraf spent part of his talk explaining that he believes FX to be ahead of the game in terms of cable television. His primary claim was that of FX’s 13 shows from this past year, including Pose and Fosse/Verdon, have all been featured at some point on TV critics’ “Best Of” lists. In comparison, Landgraf pointed out that only 29% of HBO shows and 12% of Netflix shows have been featured in similar “Best Of” lists. Landgraf also pointed out that since FX only has 13 featured shows, the pressure for each of the shows to perform well is significantly increased, especially when compared to the thousands of shows available on Netflix. “It’s stressful,” Landgraf said. “You need to take risks.”
During his talk, Landgraf also commented on FX’s recent refusal to air advertisements for Netflix on the network so as to minimize competition with Disney+. A report from Variety earlier this month confirmed that Disney would be removing all Netflix ads from its TV networks, including ABC and Freeform as well as FX. The report goes on to comment that this decision from Disney “spotlights the increasingly complex ties between traditional media companies and their new-tech rivals.” Landgraf explained that the refusal to air Netflix ads on FX is a purposeful business strategy for Disney+, commenting, “I would prefer not to share a scarce resource in an environment where we’re fighting for our lives.”