STREAMING SATURDAY: Top Talent Headed to Two Streaming Services

Streaming services don’t just compete with content. Two major streaming networks recently added some top talent to their respective rosters.

Some big names recently joined Netflix and Sling TV. There’s no doubt that these streaming giants believe that the addition of new blood will help make their respective companies more competitive. We’re used to reading about additions of original content and TV stations acquired. Perhaps this is why the announcement of Netflix and Sling TV’s newest hires is so noteworthy. In both cases, the new members of the streaming services’ teams are rather well known.

Netflix Hires Former ABC Exec
Netflix announced that Shonda Rhimes recently joined the Netflix team. TV viewers might recognize the name of the woman who created Grey’s AnatomyScandal, and How to Get Away with Murder. Rhimes will produce new TV series and other Netflix projects. Rhimes’ addition to Team Netflix is another step toward the streaming service’s goal to have original programming make up more than half of its content.

No details have been released about what Rhimes’ Shondaland product company will work on at Netflix. She has stated that she plans to build a new home for writers at Netflix, which she described as a place that offers creative freedom and instantaneous global reach. What a tremendous blow this must be for ABC and broadcast networks in general. ABC had its worst ratings year in history in 2016-17.  Perhaps it’s fortunate that the network will retain the overhyped drama of the rapidly aging Shondaland stable that makes up its Thank God it’s Thursday (TGIT) lineup. Perhaps it’s the best ABC can do considering that it has no chance of getting back to its glory days of the 1970s and 1980s.

More Netflix Original Content
Netflix’s dedication to producing original content continues almost on a weekly basis. Throughout the week of August 14, the streaming service will release five new original programs. On Tuesday, August 15, Brad Paisley’s Comedy Rodeo became available for streaming. On August 18, two original series become available – Dinotrux: Season 5 and Glitter Force Doki Doki: Season 1. On that same night, Netflix also released Marvel’s The Defenders: Season 1 and What Happened to Monday. Perennial complainer and Solid Signal fixture Stuart Sweet will have a field day with all this new Netflix content. After all, the company keeps cutting back on the “comfort food” content that he and his elderly generation seem to love so much.

Sling TV Gets New CEO
Sling TV’s new CEO made a bit of a horizontal move into his new position. The streaming provider recently announced that DISH Network President and Chief Operating Officer W. Eric Carlson will become Sling’s CEO effective August 31. DISH owns Sling TV. Carlson replaces current CEO Roger Lynch, who’s leaving to work as CEO of Pandora.

The change in leadership at Sling TV comes at a rather interesting time for the streaming service. Sling currently has more than two million subscribers. This lead is up against some major competition. DIRECTV NOW currently streams for free on ATT devices. Recent public announcements regarding service improvements strongly hint that DIRECTV NOW might soon eclipse Sling TV. Sling also faces increasing competition from PlayStation Vue, Hulu, YouTube, and fuboTV.

What Will it Be Next Week?
With all the constant changes, upgrades, and improvements in streaming services, I can’t help but wonder. Whatever next week’s news is, it’s bound to be good for both the streaming provider making the news and streamers who enjoy the content. I know I’ve said this before but I believe it bears repeating – when the service providers battle it out, streamers like us are the real winners. With that said, I look forward to writing next week’s Streaming Saturday, as well as the week after that, and the week after that. Yes, I’m more than optimistic about the future of streaming services!