The migration of TV to platforms like the Internet represents a "massive transition in technology, user interfaces and the nature" of the television industry, says FX CEO John Landgraf. "As long as we and others are able to innovate and invest, it's great for the consumer” since competition will result in "the best possible work."
Landgraf: Legacy Television Will Survive OTT
Although it seems like radical changes in the business are underway — and, to a large extent, they are — the head of FX Networks says he believes traditional broadcasting and cable brands will survive even once the industry revolution has occurred.
“We all know it’s an absolutely fascinating, exhilaratingly scary time,” John Landgraf, the CEO of FX Networks and FX Productions, said Wednesday. The migration of TV to platforms like the Internet represents a “massive transition in technology, user interfaces and the nature” of the broadcasting and cable industry, he said.
However, Landgraf, the keynote speaker at the CCW-SATCON conference in New York, says how broadcasters manage that transition over the next, say, 30 or 40 years, will be key to their success.
“The questions is which companies today are thriving will still be thriving in the next couple of decades,” he said. Yet Landgraf, who believes in 40 years the majority of programming will be delivered over the Internet, is not pessimistic.
“Nobody has a crystal ball,” he said. “But those who thought television would [cause] the demise of radio may be surprised that radio is still a major medium.”
While broadcasters and cable are facing more competition — he estimates there are currently about 60 outlets producing 400 scripted shows — and complexities than ever before, Landgraf said “in many ways it’s the best of times the television business has ever seen because it’s a seller’s market.”
“It’s such a competitive environment that we have to take massive creative risks,” he said. “As long as we and others are able to innovate and invest, it’s great for the consumer and it’s great for me,” he said, adding that competition fuels his search for “the best possible work.”
Landgraf said he also believes that the current period of investment and expansion will be followed by consolidation, so that instead of hundreds of TV outlets providing, say, one good show, fewer of them will offer a wider range of desirable content.
He said he believes that will ultimately bode well for known outlets as consumers will seek out brands that are “meaningful mediators” to help them navigate the transition.
“When you leave all this technological change behind … can you still basically maintain through an editorial voice … marketing … a brand that is still meaningful enough for the customers that they will seek it out? I am relatively optimistic that the answer to that is yes.”
Read more CCW-SATCON coverage here.