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Listen: John Landgraf on Disney-Fox Deal and the Future of Television

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf sees the future of television shaping up as a global business led by a handful of media giants with the resources to operate global streaming giants.

Landgraf, one of the industry’s most astute thinkers, makes his most extensive comments to date about Disney’s acquisition of FX Networks and other 21st Century Fox assets on the latest episode of “Strictly Business,” Variety‘s weekly podcasting featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment.

Listen to this week’s podcast below:

“You can see at least four large media companies that are going to be aggressively pursuing a large streaming platform — Netflix, Amazon, Disney in its future iteration, and AT&T-Time Warner,” Landgraf says during the Q&A held Sept. 6 as part of Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit in Beverly Hills.

“I don’t think those are the last combinations, and I don’t think those are the last entrants. I’m not saying that YouTube isn’t making original series or that Facebook isn’t hedging around the edge of it. And you have to add Apple. But in terms of somebody saying, ‘Okay, we’re going to commit whatever it takes — $5 billion, $10 billion — there are four companies. … It would be surprising to me, for example, if Comcast didn’t eventually take a step toward creating a large streaming platform.”

FX has become known for investing in research to get a handle on just how many scripted series are on the air in the U.S. As of the last count, the number was 487 and climbing. Landgraf acknowledged that his prediction in 2017 that the volume of original series would begin to drop by 2019 was way off.

“As long as this titanic competition between large media companies exists and we don’t see the outlines of the end state, I think you’re going to see that kind of peak spending,” Landgraf said. “But I think our industry is looking at the biggest hangover it has ever had at whatever point you reach the end state.”

Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of entertainment. Listen to the podcast below for the full interview, or check out previous “Strictly Business” episodes featuring AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan, Showtime’s David NevinsSpotify’s Dawn OstroffBankable Productions’ Tyra BanksHBO’s Richard Plepler, and Entertainment Studios’ Byron Allen. A new episode debuts each Tuesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, and SoundCloud.

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