It's nearly a year ago since Josh Sapan gave a keynote at the MIP Film festival in Cannes. It's only now that another tide of deals is announced, that some people are working out what Josh means by epic TV.
"Pay-TV, whether delivered via cable, satellite or a telco, continues to be the sector to experience the greatest growth in all of television,” said Josh Sapan, president and CEO, AMC Networks, at his MIP keynote address last year.
“Total revenues, including advertising, are projected to grow at a heady pace. And for all the talk about how TV is the least favourite screen among younger audiences, teenagers today are actually watching more, not less TV.”
However, “the Internet has already proven to have tsunami like qualities. The erosion of the newspaper business, and the reduction in the recorded music business to one fifth of what it once was, are clear cautionary tales.
“Cord cutting is a fact and, while the numbers are small, they are growing. Younger people, especially, are increasingly watching TV on internet services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Google, Lovefilm, among others.
”A recent report from the research firm Nielsen confirms that more US homes than ever are now broadcast and broadband only… that means they get their TV content in every way but paid cable and satellite.
There is hope – and it is called ‘iconic content’: “There is a certain type of show that is so durable, enduring, and satisfying that when someone who really likes that show is without it, they miss it, in a big way.
“Unlike most TV series, these types of shows, many of which air on Sundance global, are missed in such a way that they aren't easily substituted by flipping a finger or pressing a thumb. In a world of a gazillion choices, these shows aren't easily replaced by another show on the next channel or on-demand menu.
“Frequently, people have one or two or a few of these “hate to do without” favourite TV shows. These shows stand apart from most television and are the shows that can make pay-TV endure and grow.
“We think that when TV creates shows that are iconic, and when these shows are properly deployed through technology that extends the viewer’s ability to watch it whenever and wherever they want, then TV gains the power to ride the web wave to its advantage. That’s what we’re doing at Sundance global.”