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FX’s Landgraf Tilts At HBO, Netflix

Outspoken FX Networks CEO John Landgraf had much to say about the media landscape Wednesday, taking to task two other content outlets with which his FX and FXX regularly compete: HBO and Netflix.

Landgraf criticized HBO’s recent decision to place its “True Detective” in the drama category, rather than as a miniseries, and he made known his disapproval of a Netflix practice that attempts to separate popular series available for streaming from the networks that originally broadcast them.

A miniseries, said Landgraf,  should be ” a story that ends,” while a series is ‘a story that continues on.” He labeled HBO’s category choice as “unfair.” Of course, as the executive mentioned, FX has entered its “American Horror Story,”  which continues from season to season albeit with different stories and characters in each cycle, as a miniseries.

The chief reason for his concern, he said, was that limited-run series that snare A-list actors like Woody Harelson and Matthew McConaughey  could crowd out ongoing series.

Landgraf also fired a salvo at Netflix, which he said has attempted in the recent past to remove graphics that would remind subscribers a series like “Sons of Anarchy’ is affiliated with FX.

“We do a fair amount of business with Netflix. One of the things that bothers me about Netflix is they make darn sure when they make an original series like ‘Orange is the New Black’ or ‘House of Cards'” that is identified with the phrase “A Netflix Original Series.” Yet, he added, “they are equally staunch about totally stripping ‘AMC’ off of ‘Mad Men’ or ‘FX’ off of ‘Sons of Anarchy.'”

Landgraf suggested FX Networks would rather see an subscription-video-on-demand partner help promote the linear broadcast of a series, keeping network identifiers intact and perhaps steering subscribers to a new season of the program when it is available. The executive said FX Networks is likely to be more flexible in releasing new episodes of its series to SVOD players who work to promote the series when it is available in linear fashion.


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