The tides shift constantly on the roiling sea of television programming these days, with young turks such as Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix (who recently assigned an incomprehensible $6 billion price tag to their original content in 2016; for scale, the GNP of Bermuda is $4.3 billion) threatening the stability of the old guard. The networks are in danger of getting left behind entirely as edgy, acclaimed fare migrates to the more permissive realm of the Internet, and premium cable providers have been left in a strange position. The likes of HBO, Showtime, Starz, and their ilk have kept agile by offering web-streaming services to view their televised programming, but overall drift to the cheaper online-only competitors has still forced drastic measures from some.
In particular, HBO, as a new report from Variety suggests. An item from earlier today cited Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes as promising a 50% increase in original programming from HBO in the year to come. Valuating their budget for programming at a measly $2 billion (that’s not even half a Bermuda!), Bewkes informed the crowd at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference that HBO would produce 600 hours’ worth of original material. Reinforcing their lean, mean, trend-relevant machine outlook, Bewkes detailed plans for a news series from Vice Media and a show from Daily Show alum Jon Stewart that are both “aimed at millennials,” which is like a regular TV show but with vaping.
At this point, one thing is clear: they’re trying to kill us. Netflix is dumping, like, ten hours of new stuff on viewers every weekend, and now apparently there’s going to be a new HBO original movie every other day in perpetuity. Won’t they run out of twentieth-century historical figures to make middlebrow biopics out of? And what will happen to us, the poor folks at home? We can’t just not watch everything, God knows I don’t have that level of self-control, so the only option is to quit working and enter a dangerously symbiotic lotus-eating cycle with online programming.