Here’s your Peak TV update if you haven’t been keeping up: in 2016, over 450 scripted shows aired on broadcast, cable, premium, and streaming networks combined. In 2017 that’s projected to go over 500. Netflix isn’t helping. The giant streaming service currently has 30 original series, but their Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos recently said at a conference for UBS Global Media & Communications that Netflix plans to add 20 more shows in 2017.
According to Variety, that number will include both scripted and unscripted. Sarandos said that their upcoming original content will expand 1,000 hours from where it is currently, but “that’s a conservative measure right now.”
Netflix made some waves recently by announcing that it would be spending $6 billion in 2017 to help fund this push for more original content, which is pretty mind-boggling. The company has said its aim is to have 50% of its library be original works. It also recently announced that it would be allowing subscribers to download its TV shows and movies, which is huge.
So what does all of this mean for Peak TV? Conceivably, as more people would rather pay for Netflix than cable or even other streaming services, Netflix could become your only content provider. With a move to include more unscripted shows — especially ones based on international hits like Ultimate Beastmaster — Netflix could be a one-stop shop for entertainment. But as part of the larger ocean of television right now, it just feels like oversaturation. However,
“Unscripted television is a very interesting business,” Sarandos said, saying the company is focusing on shows that are “more likely to travel internationally.” For example, “Ultimate Beastmaster” will feature athletes and announcers from six different countries (the U.S., Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Germany and Japan). “When ‘Beastmaster’ hits in Korea, they’ll never have seen anything like it.”
Overseas licensing is a huge presumed source of income for Netflix. But Sarandos also talked about why Stranger Things was such a unique hit for them because it was developed in-house and produced fully by Netflix.
“I don’t want to get trapped in that model” of producing every original series or film in-house. He cited the Netflix reboot of “Gilmore Girls,” which was licensed from Warner Bros. “Warner Bros. owned the IP. There was no model I could do that myself. We had a unique ability to do it,” Sarandos said. “What we try to do is take very measured swings for the fences, if that’s possible.”
As far as live or sports-related coverage, Sarandos says that’s not of interest at the moment because Netfilx’s platform isn’t set up for that. “Today, don’t look for us to be bidding for league rights,” he said. But in the most Netflix-way possible, added: “league creation might be interesting.”