Just days after the launch of Apple TV Plus and with new streamers from Disney, Quibi and NBC on the horizon, Iannucci said not all can survive because audiences will simply have too much choice.
Speaking at Digital UK’s Outside The Box conference in London, the director of The Personal History of David Copperfield said it’s a great time to be a creative with an idea, but often bemusing to be a viewer.
“At some point the bubble is going to burst. Once people are asked to pay for Apple, Disney, Netflix and whatever, that’s going to contract,” he told an audience of British TV executives at Picturehouse Central.
By way of an example, Iannucci talked about binge-watching sci-fi drama The Expanse, which Netflix streams outside of North America and New Zealand. He said it is “brilliantly produced,” but he is yet to come across another person who has seen the show, despite it being in its third season.
Iannucci said: “It does make me think that at some point, someone high-up at these streaming services is going to go: ‘Hang on a minute, are we making too much stuff and shall we shut some of it down?'”
He later joked that “some of the people who make the programs haven’t [even] seen them because they’re just too busy,” and added that in a saturated market, the services that survive will be those with “a particularly strong identity.”
But Iannucci, who is working on space comedy Avenue 5 for HBO, remained incredibly upbeat about the creative process of making television. Comparing it to film, where you get “one-shot” at telling a story, Iannucci said TV provides a bigger canvas to paint on. “It’s much more to the benefit of television, that sense of allowing you to play more, to be with characters for a longer period, to plan a life, an arc for them,” he explained.