Showtime, CBS pinpoint original content demand as creating 'great TV'

Is there really "too much television?" Or are we in one of the great eras of filmed entertainment -- not just for linear, traditional TV but OTT video as well? FX Networks' John Landgraf believes the former, but other television executives, like Showtime President David Nevins, are leaning toward the latter.

"There is simply too much television," Landgraf said at the Television Critics Association conference in Los Angeles earlier this week. But at the same conference on Tuesday, Nevins directly referenced Landgraf's comment when answering a question about a possible saturation of content in the media and entertainment market.

"There is never enough great TV," Nevins said, according to a Multichannel News report. "There may be too much good TV. But I can't imagine anyone saying there is too much great TV." Still, he said, "There is a lot of stupid money going in a lot of directions."

And CBS chimed in on the TV debate as well, noting that the number of eyeballs watching screens isn't going down. It's just that the screens are changing. David Poltrack, chief research officer for CBS Corp., said at a TCA panel that more people are watching the network's programming today than they were a decade ago.  However, live viewing has changing dramatically: from 100 percent a decade previous, to just 61 percent of the audience.

Much of that audience, particularly the hard-to-pin-down millennial demographic between ages 18 and 34, has simply moved over to new devices, like tablets and smartphones -- and measurement has not yet caught up to the shift, he said.

But back to that debate about great television. Showtime's Nevins enthused about the network's upcoming original content, including a reboot of Twin Peaks. And he dropped few hints about Showtime Anytime, the company's new over-the-top streaming service, saying that it has "a lot of room for expansion" with "encouraging" early demand.

Landgraf, on the other hand, warned that the industry has likely reached "peak TV" in terms of original programming, and that the current volume of more than 400 series is unsustainable. There aren't enough subscription or advertising dollars to support it, he told TCA attendees. The amount of content being created will decline after 2016 or 2017, he said.

For more:
- see this Multichannel News article

Related articles:
FX's Landgraf: 'Peak TV' has arrived as pay-TV and OTT swamped with original content
CBS' research guru David Poltrack: More people are watching TV than a decade ago
HBO Now rolls to Verizon broadband customers with 30-day free trial as HBO signs on to Verizon mobile OTT service
Arris report says U.S. OTT users declined 2% over the last year