Living in the era of peak TV, there’s more content to choose from than ever before. With broadcast TV, cable, and streaming services all competing for the audience’s attention, some studios are finding new and innovative ways to do so.
At the ATX Television Festival’s Emerging Studios panel Friday, four executives gathered to share their thoughts on how the peak TV era is changing the medium from their perspective. Blumhouse’s Marci Wiseman, Annapurna’s Ali Krug, Miramax’s Lauren Whitney, and eOne’s Pancho Mansfield were all on hand to discuss television’s current Renaissance, as well as the challenges and opportunities it’s providing.
“In a universe where channels are meaningless to the viewer, the opportunity for independent studios is to be brand-focused,” Wiseman explained. She’s been using Blumhouse’s notoriety for making horror films that are low in budget but high in creative freedom to draw in talent as they continue to move into TV’s rapidly evolving landscape.
Specifically, she described Blumhouse’s upcoming anthology series that will premiere this October on Hulu. The episodes will be released monthly, starting with a “super-sized” 90-minute premiere, and will be thematically tied to one another.
This genre-oriented project is allowing this talent specific parameters to work within, while still being a part of this larger anthology sandbox.
“There can be innovation in being an emerging studio that isn’t just out-bidding the big boys,” Wiseman added.
Of course, as the creativity in television continues to grow, so do the budgets for these shows.
“I think the cost of television is growing at an exponential rate,” said Whitney, recalling that when news first broke of “Game of Thrones” budget per-episode, “people flipped out.”
“But if we made a list of how many shows that are being made for north of $10 million per episode, there are a lot of them, and that’s a new moment. It’s fun that there seems to be absolutely no constraints on where this can go,” she continued.
Of course, there’s more to peak TV than blockbuster-sized budgets, as the medium is seeing more innovative storytelling from a more diverse group of voices.
“There are still scrappy productions out there,” said Mansfield. “It’s wonderful that you have the luxury to make things with the best quality that you can.”