FX Chairman John Landgraf spoke at USC’s Institute on Entertainment Law and Business candid about refusing to advertise and competing with Netflix as its parent company prepares to launch its highly anticipated streaming service Disney+.
During the event hosted by USC Gould School of Law and the Beverly Hills Bar Association, Landgraf said that FX is ahead of the game in the cable network space as it has delivered the most reach in the five years. He added, “I would prefer not to share a scarce resource in an environment where we’re fighting for our lives” when it comes to advertising on the streaming competitor.
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He supported his claims with receipts from the past year that showed that of FX’s 13 shows, all of them have been lauded on best-of lists. Meanwhile, HBO released 70 with only 29% on best-of lists while Netflix’s expansive roster of hundreds of new shows have only had 12% get top 10 shine.
With only 13 shows, Landgraf points out that it is really difficult to compete with such giants. “It’s stressful,” he said. “You need to take risks.”
Landgraf said that with all the content, the “American consumer is overwhelmed” by all the choices and that the market is overcapacity. He said that there’s not enough room for competitive streaming services to be broadly distributed because it needs to be profitable and double down on investments.
When it comes to Disney+, he said that Netflix is a formidable competitor considering its vast library, but Disney is breathing down its neck as it has s Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic Lucasfilm, ESPN and more in its corner. Landgraf finds comfort in seeing the creation of competitive streaming services. He added, “It’s not FX’s job to compete with Netflix — it’s the Walt Disney Company’s job to compete with Netflix.”