Apatow questions “content” era, Hollywood’s corporate attitude

Apatow questions “content” era, Hollywood’s corporate attitude

Judd Apatow has taken issue with the constant push for “content” and the repetitive cycle of shows bouncing from service to service.


We live in an era where we all know exactly what “content” means – or, rather, what it has transformed into. But is it something that is harmful to the industry as a whole or do the benefits outweigh that? Well, Judd Apatow has a few things to share…

Apatow gave his thoughts on the relation between the penny-pinching ways of studios and the seemingly constant passing back and forth of programs due to contracts that limit when a movie/TV show is available to stream on any given platform. “It’s a scary thing as a creator of television, because of all the streamers going, ‘Wait a second. We don’t need to spend $200 million on a new show. We can just bring back Barnaby Jones.’ They’re going to do it, then you’ll get fewer new shows. They realize, Oh wait, Netflix can just buy shows from HBO, and I would assume they’re cheaper than making new ones. Then at some point, Netflix will sell its shows to HBO, and it’ll just be passing around all the episodes of Ballers for the rest of our lives.”

To this point, Netflix does greenlight a lot of shows, throwing some serious cash at those they have faith in, like Stranger Things, One Piece and The Sandman, which has an estimated budget of $15 million per episode. At the same time, so many are prematurely put on the chopping block even if they are hits with audiences, discarded to the point that they just feel like padding until the next piece of “content” arrives. Further to Apatow’s point, HBO’s Sex and the City will be arriving on Netflix next month, which one could interpret as a way to feature “content” without having to produce a similar series of their own.

Apatow added that entities and doings such as these studios can only be harmful to creativity and the industry as a whole. “I don’t know if they’re obsessed with quality filmmaking in the way other owners of these entities have been in the past. That’s why they started calling it “content.” All of a sudden, they diminished it as much as it possibly could be. I don’t think it would be that weird if you read something in the paper that Pornhub bought Paramount+.”

So, is The King of Staten Island – released VOD and not theatrically – considered “content”? (Granted, this move came as a direct result of theater shutdowns.) Was Apatow’s The Bubble part of the problem when he released it exclusively on Netflix? Will he put This is 50 on a streaming service even though This Is 40 made $90 million worldwide?

Are you in agreement with Judd Apatow that studios are too obsessed with “content” rather than quality filmmaking? Are studios’ collaborative dealings harmful to the industry? Share your thoughts below.

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