Like many, many other people, I had hoped that the end to the WGA strike would lead to a quick negotiation with SAG-AFTRA in its wake. Unfortunately, the AMPTP has evidently walked away from the negotiating table because learning nothing is… a power move? I’m not sure.
Anyway, I am already speculating on what the future will bring, because even though we’ve heard a lot about how streaming isn’t the most lucrative business model ever (mainly from the business leaders who heavily pursued it) we all know streaming will be a part of the future, because, if nothing else, it does help continue the demise of physical media, which seems to be what corporations prefer to reduce the cost of delivering film and TV… maybe (COGS).
So I checked out Josef Adalian’s piece for Vulture from earlier this summer in June (that’s after the WGA started striking, but before SAG-AFTRA started). Whether you like the rankings of the streaming services or not, it does appear to gauge a “conventional industry wisdom” about where the services stand, what they must do to stand out, and some of the actions they might take to get there.
So, while I think Paramount+ has a decent amount of series and franchises to attract people (not just Star Trek), especially with integrating Showtime and its shows, I know the executives and others don’t seem to feel comfortable unless they’re the unequivocal 800-pound gorilla.
In other words: looks for moves to cut programs, merge things, or otherwise shake things up informed by impressions like these.
And I’m certain there will be cutting of programs. “Peak TV” (what I often cover here on the blog as “Future TV“) meant that, at its height, there were over 500 scripted shows being made in a year. That is unsustainable… and it appeared to be all part of a show-creation arms race to keep up with Netflix’s mammoth spending spree on original content. We already had signs a contraction was going on before the strikes and now the number of shows will definitely contract… and you know the strikes will be blamed for the phenomenon. Because if you’re the studio execs who greenlit all those TV shows and films… and bought into the arms race approach, why not put the blame on people who, unlike studio executives, generally only get paid if they’re working on a TV show or film?
Darn people wanting to be employed and whatnot! Don’t they know they need to stop employers from giving them work?
But anyway, that probable blame game and many other interesting reflections on the industry are covered in one of the latest episodes of Scriptnotes, with screenwriters John August and Craig Mazin, which I’m finally catching up on.
Now back to pondering.