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Is This The End of the TV Industry?

If you dabble in the screenwriting or TV writing space on TikTok or Instagram, you've likely seen lots of doomsayers of late.

People are proclaiming this is the end of TV as we know it. They're claiming that nobody is working and that the situation in Hollywood will never recover.

TikTok and Instagram deals in loud absolutes. Here's the real deal...

We have not reached the end of the TV industry. What we have reached is THE GREAT RESET of the TV industry.

This is a huge recalibration period and, unfortunately, for those who are trying to make a living out of the industry, that means no work... FOR NOW.

How did we get here?

It all started with the streaming wars. In order to put up a defense against Netflix, the first and most dominant streamer on the market, everybody started spending like crazy.

Each streamer - Prime, Netflix, Max, Hulu, etc. - started buying up as many TV shows and movies as they could in order to try to win the majority of the market.

BUT this spending was not like regular TV/film industry spending. They were not making a product to sell tickets or to engage advertisers.

They were spending huge amounts of money to get subscribers... an unproven model.

And when that money did not come flowing in, being far outnumbered by the spending, Wall Street got scared, and demanded something change.

So, the open faucets of spending started to dry up. Then the 2023 WGA strikes happened, giving the companies a chance to shore up their finances by not spending anything.

Why hasn't the industry gotten back to normal after the strikes?

This is the question giving lots of people pause. The strikes are over. There is a dearth of new TV shows and movies on every streamer. And yet... nobody's making anything new.

The studios and streamers are not buying a lot of new stuff. There's barely anything shooting.

Even more worrying for people is the fact that shows are now being licensed between studios and streamers.

So, instead of making a new show, Prime, for example, is licensing an old HBO show and trying to keep their viewers engaged with (heavily within quotes) "new material."

Here's why I'm not worried...

TV shows still capture the zeitgeist. Huge movies still travel internationally and are talked about the world over. And with that buzzworthiness comes a shit ton of money.

Hollywood, despite feigning to be an artistically-inclined industry, is as capitalistic as it gets. They are not going to leave money on the table.

However, they still have not figured out how to maximize their money. And because of severe budget cutting, they are very trepidatious to make any big moves.

That's why this is not the end... it is a reset. Because, not only are they trying to figure out what people will watch, they are trying to figure out if their viewers' means of watching is even profitable.

Good news for TV/Film industry newcomers

The storm will pass, but many many people will not be able to ride it out. Therefore, in the coming months and years, there will be more opportunity for new people who want to make their mark.

The old guard has been hanging around for a long time. This reset will push out those near retirement, and many more that are struggling.

This is an unfortunate truth, but it's also an opportunity. The industry is changing course and it's important to see where the momentum is heading and ride that wave.


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I'm Anton, a TV writer and author of Breaking Into TV Writing, a book about the business of TV writing and how to get your foot in the door.


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