with hollywood labor disputes grindAnd with virtually all production shut down, anxiety began to stir at Zain Habbu’s home in Chevy Chase, MD.
She and her husband had recently finished the latest season of HBO’s “The Righteous Gemstones,” but now they were concerned that new episodes of favorite shows like “The Handmaid’s Tale” would be significantly delayed.
What were they going to see?
Ms. Habbu, 49, quickly realized she had options. She can rewatch classics like “30 Rock” and “Arrested Development” with her 17-year-old son. She can join him in watching the show he’s loving, like all 62 episodes of “Breaking Bad.” He’s never seen a “Mission Impossible” movie, and he’s barely made a mark in Oscar-nominated films for the past four or five years.
At the same time, the pause in new scripted content provides many viewers with a moment to catch up after the breakneck pace of the so-called peak TV era, when dozens of shows premiered each month.
“I have a Netflix queue that’s so deep and so long that it would take me months or a year or two to finish it,” said Dan Leonhart, a 44-year-old engineer who lives in Copenhagen. “And that’s just Netflix! I also have a Max subscription.
The slowdown will represent a big change from recent years, when audiences were inundated with a firestorm of content — last year saw a record 599 new television scripted premieres.
On an almost daily basis, viewers found themselves clicking past new shows on their TVs, often ones they’d never heard of, trying to figure out from the one-sentence description “what’s on Netflix.” Whether it’s a series like “Altered Carbon” or “The Path”. His time on Hulu was worthwhile.
For streaming services, the strategy was straightforward: The more shows they produced, the more likely they were to attract subscribers. The number of people watching any one show was not as important as the number of people paying for the service.
So the promise of a constant flow of new content became a hallmark of the streaming era. A major question as the labor impasse continues is whether viewers will begin to unsubscribe from streaming services en masse if fewer new shows and movies are available.
However, for many people, the slower output is fine, giving them time to pick their way through a streaming library, one missed TV series and movie at a time.
Emily Nidetz, 41, who lives in Madison, Wisconsin, said she is relieved that production on the reality series has not been affected and there is still plenty of sports to watch. And although she’s concerned about the slowdown on the prestige show, she said she can always stop by the Facebook community page for The Ringer’s podcast “The Watch” to get some ideas.
“If you go to the Facebook page and write, ‘Hey, I really liked ‘The Bear,’ tell me what to watch,’ there will be about 400 replies,” she said.
Tasha Quinn, a 36-year-old therapist from Chicago, said there was a moment last year when she was so overwhelmed by the new chain conveyor belt that she finally had to take a break. HBO’s “House of the Dragon” was the breaking point.
He said, “I finished it in two episodes, but didn’t finish it.” “There was a lot of hype, and a lot of other things were coming out at the same time. I was like, no, I’m too overwhelmed, I’m too excited, I’ll just go back to my comfort show. I’m going to watch ‘The Office’.
Ms. Quinn said the labor disputes briefly worried her about delaying new episodes of dystopian workplace drama “Severance” on AppleTV+ — but then she thought about it right away.
“I can take my time without talking to everyone about what’s going to happen next,” she said, adding that she is currently wrapping up the shoot of “Awariyath”.
The length of labor disputes will determine the length of the disruption. The actors have been on strike since July 14. The writers have been protesting for more than 100 days. The writers and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which bargains on behalf of the studios, held formal talks Friday for the first time since early May. No dialogue involving the actors is scheduled.
Third-party researchers believe most streaming services should be well insulated if the strike lasts for another month or two – although the longer production shutdowns increase the risk. The amount of content in their streaming library was one of the reasons the studio initially said they might face a strike, at least in the short term, as it was a clear message to writers and actors currently without pay. staying. (For example, “Suits,” a USA Network show that aired in 2019, recently went off the air.) increased in popularity on Netflix.)
Leaders of the Writers Guild of America, the union representing thousands of striking screenwriters, recently said it was “disinformation” that the strike “will have no impact because streaming services have libraries and some products in the pipeline.”
“Closing their business for three months is not a viable business strategy for these companies – and it doesn’t matter how hard they try and pretend it is,” he said in a note to members.
Many viewers say they support the striking writers and actors. Ms. Habbu said she believes she is not being properly compensated, and “it’s a huge disappointment.”
Nevertheless, when asked if she would cut down on any of her streaming subscriptions, she responded emphatically. “Don’t be ridiculous,” she said. “Cancellation is never an option.”
Mel Russo, a 56-year-old yoga teacher who lives in Brooklyn, said the Max service alone “could keep you busy for the next 10 years, to be honest.”
“I think what’s happening is disgusting,” he said. “But as a viewer and lover of entertainment, I am not too stressed about it.”
Streaming services seem eager to take advantage of this. Last month, Netflix started a new banner out“10 Years of Netflix Series”, which presents viewers with dozens of older titles from its library.
Eric Martinez, a 25-year-old video producer living in the San Francisco Bay Area, was a huge fan of the HBO series “Euphoria.” But that show will return for its third season in 2025 at the earliest, so he began looking for a replacement.
On his Amazon Prime page, Mr. Martinez has been seeing a tile for the show “The Boys” for some time. The superhero series was one that he thought had no interest in him. But with time at hand, he finally made up his mind. He said, “I’m enjoying it and I’m glad I started it.”
There is no need for new old shows to be watched by all the viewers.
Brenda Stewart, 71, of Nebraskan, said she and her husband often turned on their Roku and watched reruns of old series including “CSI” and “Murder, She Wrote.” She is also a big fan of re-watching movies like “The Lion King” and other Disney classics.
Ms. Stewart, who has six grandchildren, said it was not unusual for “the blue” episodes to play on repeat in her house when the kids were over. And, sometimes, it’s not especially for the little ones.
“It’s a cartoon series for kids, but I won’t lie — it’s for adults too,” she laughed. “There are things that make me laugh.”