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As more media companies go direct-to-consumer with subscription (and ad-supported) streaming apps, it poses questions for the content market. What happens with TV networks that depend on acquired programming? Does this create more opportunity for producers to sell original shows to these networks and other distributors — including the DTC streaming services themselves?

The key hits:

  • Cable channels that rely on licensed movies and TV shows are concerned about how the direct-to-consumer streaming video wave — with big media giants such as Disney electing to bring more of their content inside their own services — will impact content decisions.
  • Inevitably, many channels will have to produce and commission more original series.
  • This seems like great news for producers, who will have more buyers to pitch.
  • But the content arms race is unsustainable, and not everyone can afford dramas that cost millions per episode to make.
  • Some argue that this will create more opportunities to sell networks on cheaper formats such as talk shows, food shows and true-crime documentaries.

I moderated a panel last week during which Daniel Tibbets, president and gm of El Rey Network, a cable channel founded by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, brought up a dilemma that he’s facing: As Disney, CBS, WarnerMedia and other big media companies go direct-to-consumer with their own streaming apps, how does that impact TV networks that rely on licensed movies and TV shows to fill their programming calendar?

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