Streamers are canceling popular shows left and right, but why?
Tell me if this has happened to you recently. You logged onto HBO Max or Netflix or another streamer to watch a show only to find out that either your favorite show was canceled or maybe it was removed entirely from the platform.
This is happening more and more as huge conglomerates take over parts of Hollywood and work to cut costs. If you haven't heard, there have been massive layoffs at almost every studio and production company. Now, they're effectively laying off TV shows by canceling them to save on budgets and removing them from platforms to save themselves from having to pay residuals in the future.
It is a brutal time to be any kind of creator in Hollywood.
Why Are Streamers Cancelling So Many Shows?
The root of all this evil is money.
Hour-long prestige dramas are very expensive to make. Even if they're popular, they only get more expensive. These execs running streamers are not really thinking about quality, they're thinking about how much money these titles bring it.
Think about Stranger Things - it's crazy expensive, but it brings so many people to Netflix that it is cost-effective to continue to make.
In contrast, a show like Westworld was equally expensive. In the first few seasons, it was hugely popular. Then, numbers dropped off a little, it became hard for accountants to justify paying a lot of money to keep making them, regardless of quality.
So it was gone.
This not just happening in America. BBC shows are feeling the same constraints. They were selling shows to streaming platforms, but those are not great bets for them to make. Why invest millions when you may find a streamer unwilling to pay for your content after all that cash is gone?
We're coming into another problem.
The DGA, WGA, and SAG are all negotiating new contracts this year. Each guild is focused on getting fair pay from streamers, who have been screwing (this is my opinion) creatives out of backend and fair upfront contracts.
Hopefully, the human beings in these guilds can come to terms with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and get the money they deserve. The downside of this is that these big conglomerates are going to use paying people fairly as an excuse to cut more shows.
We're in a bit of a stalemate here. It's very expensive to make TV, and it's expensive to pay people residuals for that television. We used to think about this stuff as art we made for the masses. But now, these firms are looking at shows as products. Sometimes, a product becomes too expensive to make, so they take it off the shelves.
There's not a great solution here.
I understand the money cancellations, I do. I hate it, but I get it. I think the real crime is screwing people with payments and then taking their shows off the air and making them leave the platform so they effectively do not exist.
That's not just harsh. It's cruel and vulgar.
I have no idea how we can fight a battle where that does not happen. It might be up to the guilds to tell them there is no way that should be on the table as an option. But time,e will tell how they'll be able to negotiate that.
Let me know what you think in the comments.