Somewhat surprising to some, Netflix might get there ahead of others. (It's just not exactly sure when.)
Speaking at a industry event at the Paley Center for Media's International Council Summit in New York, Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, said a total original service is coming:
"There is a lot of viewing that comes from licensed content from other people, because there is a lot of it. And for a while, it was all we had," he said. Big, long-running shows “Friends” and “The Office” have hundreds of episodes. But having all originals? That is coming. "I think one way or the other, we end up there."
Concerning the crazy race to spend multi-billions on all video streaming services, you can imagine all companies will get to the same spot. (Profitability is another story.)
Perhaps making this easier for Netflix is the obvious. It goes to consumers directly -- through an app and a seemingly unlimited number of distribution points. Traditional pay TV distributors -- cable, satellite, and telco -- have had only so much bandwidth for TV channels, and in turn, for programming. (More of that is expected with future 5G technology.)
All this would fly in the face of conventional wisdom -- that too many original TV shows (perhaps 500 or so) could hurt the business. The argument here is that not all can succeed. Many will fail and lose billions of dollars in a glutted marketplace filled with too much promotional noise.
Still, Netflix’s growth doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Company executives say it could have 1,500 hours of original TV shows and movies on its platform this year. Last year, Ampere Analysis said 51% of all streaming U.S. releases available were Netflix originals.
Production/programming “churn” may be somewhat of a wrinkle here. This is where Netflix has shortened the lifespan of new, original TV programming to perhaps a two- or three-year frame.
We don’t know how this compares to traditional broadcast networks, which can also include expensive one-off pilots that go nowhere.
At some point, the cost of TV shows would need to drop -- or consumer pricing climb -- to make this financial equation work.
Sony Playstation Vue recently pulled its effort to maintain a live, linear TV network service. Did rising costs around original programming -- through an increasing number of on-demand services, or in taking on existing platforms -- cause this?
All this yields the possibility of a coming shakeout. Who will be next?