Big TV players and big deals are turning the wheels on TV in 2018. Many viewers are being given reasons to believe that this year could be the best ever for quality television content. Exaggeration, even hyperbole? But, then again….
$100 billion – Netflix has accomplished the heady goal of surpassing a market value of 100bn dollars. By the end of 2017, Netflix had added 119.56 million subscribers globally. And that was after a subscription price hike. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield says, “Netflix is pouring more and more money into making content, and it is directly translating into more subscribers.” Netflix has announced that it’s going to add at least 15 new original TV series to its offerings in 2018.
$1 billion – what Amazon is reportedly sinking into its original Lord of the Rings series for TV. The record-setting deal to acquire the rights to JRR Tolkien’s near-legendary books was made for a TV series that will only be available on Amazon Prime. The series will, apparently, consist of all-original material depicting the time and events in between The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring.
$600 million – the approximate sum raised last year by entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg so that he could work on putting together the mobile device service NewTV. It’s a subsidiary of his media investment vehicle WndrCo, via which the money was directly raised. Katzenberg will be NewTV’s chairman of the board, while Meg Whitman, until recently CEO of Hewlett Packard, will now become the chief executive. Katzenberg’s stated desire is to deliver the “highest quality Hollywood production values and storytelling to mobile, in bite-sized formats of ten minutes or less”.
“400 scripted series—that’s a massive number,” says Alon Shtruzman, CEO of Keshet International. He’s talking about how many new, high-end, scripted TV series were produced in the United States last year, with Amazon and Netflix combining to invest $10 billion (USD) in producing them. The reason? American TV audiences, demanding ever-higher quality, have become far more open to foreign series and stories, in spite of America’s TV series-making self-sufficiency. Expect this trend to continue upward.
Yes, at the time of this writing we’re waiting to see just how many gems the US going international with scripted TV may bring uncover, and how Amazon will treat the writing and production of Lord of the Rings, among other questions. But for those who crave high-end TV, 2018 gives us hope for one of TV’s most golden years ever…
Top photo: © monsitj / Getty Images