"Wasn’t streaming supposed to be a wild new frontier of no-rules TV? Taboos broken, formats melted and recombined, artists let off the leash?" asks Joy Press. "The reality is more complicated. Since streamers came to dominate the landscape, the assumption has been that broadcast TV is seriously endangered—that it’s struggling to reach new generations of viewers, partly because of its risk-averse rules and its devotion to broad, inoffensive content. That existential threat is real. But some see a worrisome irony emerging: The streamers are acting more and more like the cautious industry they revolutionized. Streamers are pursuing what they call 'elevated broadcast,' making sitcoms, dramas, procedurals, and reality TV central to their platforms. Some also appear to be pulling back from the challenging content that attracted audiences in hopes of scooping up every viewer the networks have left. Insiders say streaming executives are becoming less adventurous—or more populist, depending on your point of view—because they’re spooked by the overcrowded market and uncertain about how to keep expanding (and retaining) their subscriber bases." Press says streamers seem to be intent on finding shows with broad appeal, adding: "Netflix now abounds in escapist fare à la Emily in Paris and Love Is Blind. Amazon, famously the home of Transparent and Fleabag, dedicates an immense amount of money to epics like The Wheel of Time and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Paramount+ is building a universe around Taylor Sheridan, creator of the Western megahit Yellowstone. And Peacock is betting on pop culture reboots to reel in both the nostalgic older audience and younger viewers who respond to tried-and-true templates."
TOPICS: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Peacock