Peak TV is over

January 22nd, 2024

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Party time. Excellent. Happy Monday, FutureParty people. It wouldn’t be a proper start to the workweek without a spreadsheet hitting your inbox. But we promise this one’s worth the click. With this year’s Sundance in full swing, we wanted to share our official party grid for the iconic film fest and give you access to the best events.

If you happen to be in town, check it out. ☝️

In other news… the TV industry contracts, Zuckerberg pivots Meta once again, and Apple goes horizontal.


Top Trends

YouTube → Red Right Hand

Google → SNL

Reddit → Alec Baldwin

TikTok → “GORGEOUS”

Spotify → “Good People”

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ENTERTAINMENT

Cutting shows // Illustration by Kate Walker

Peak TV is officially canceled

The Future. Peak TV is over the hill as the volume of American shows contracts to make streaming a viable long-term business. But with greenlights for international series growing overall, the TV industry may soon be more of a cross-cultural ecosystem, where language barely matters when marketing to audiences.

Are you still watching?
Soon, you may actually be able to keep up with all the shows you want to watch.

  • Ampere Analysis found that the number of scripted American series has dropped by about a third since 2019 — 481 last year, compared to to 633 in 2021 and 2022, for example.

  • Streamers were the most to blame, with every single one but Prime Video slashing renewals (Netflix cut their releases by almost half).

  • Luminate, which looked at both scripted and unscripted American series, found that the number of shows dropped from 21% this year (roughly 2,280 to 1,784), which is even less than the first year of the pandemic (2020 had just over 2,000 shows).

  • Scripted comedy and drama took the biggest hits (30% drop), while animation had the most staying power (only a 7% drop).

Why the downturn? The strikes, of course, played a role, but the culprit is more the Great Netflix Correction, which saw Wall Street suddenly value profits over user growth… which every streamer went into major debt to accrue.

Call it the consequence of sound business principles.

So, now we want to hear from you…

YOUR DAILY POLL

We ask the hard-hitting questions.

What does your TV consumption currently look like?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

89.8% of you voted No in Friday’s poll: Have you seen Anyone But You yet?

“I had never even heard of it until this morning.”

“I just heard about it and will probably watch it.”

“My friend invited us in the group chat, and a few of them went. I didn’t go cuz the trailer seemed super corny! But TikTok worked, I guess.”

“Would like to see it.”

“This is the first I’ve heard of it. But all I watch are rom-coms, so I will definitely be seeing it.”

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

In his image

Meta is an AI company now

The Future. Mark Zuckerberg is making the press rounds touting Meta as an AI company on the Silicon Valley-approved quest to build “artificial general intelligence” (AGI) — humanlike intelligence and reasoning in a machine. In its vision to keep its systems open-source, Meta may give users the ability to create an entire universe of AI-generated “friends” for endless engagement.

Pivot power
Zuckerberg is changing Meta’s business plan again… and putting in the investment to back it up.

  • To achieve AGI, the company has moved its AI research group into the team building generative AI tools for its apps, is paying top dollar for AI talent, and has purchased more AI chips than any other firm.

  • Zuckerberg says that AGI will help keep people glued to Meta’s social platforms, make its hardware devices stand out, and fill its metaverse with an interactive population, according to The Verge.

  • Meta’s (mostly) open-source policy means that it could potentially wield the most influence in the industry by giving its user ecosystem (the largest of any global platform) access to its code.

Admittedly, Zuckerberg doesn’t have a great definition for what AGI actually is — “You can quibble about if general intelligence is akin to human-level intelligence, or is it like human-plus, or is it some far-future super intelligence,” he says — but he does know that it’s a powerful tool for “building the future of connection.”

A future he would have total control over.

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TECHNOLOGY

Turning trends // GIF by Kate Walker

Creators are going horizontal

The Future. Apple is making the iPhone feel more like a classic camera with the addition of a new button built for horizontal photography and videography. That could supercharge a recent fascination with horizontal videos among creators and cement the smartphone as the perfect tool for low-budget filmmaking. Expect social content to look very different when the iPhone 16 is released this fall.

Landscaping
Apple is reportedly leaning into a popular trend in the creator economy with the newest iPhone.

  • The company is testing a horizontal camera button for the iPhone 16.

  • The button will be mechanical (you can push down on it like the volume button) and located on the lower right side of the device.

  • It’ll also respond to touch and pressure, such as zooming when sliding it left or right, focusing when pressed lightly, and activating the shutter when pushed down harder.

The feature comes as creators are increasingly interested in horizontal videos — a change brought about by the recent popularity of longer TikToks (basically anything over a minute). That’s great news for advertisers because of how much better horizontal videos play on TV, which TikTok is becoming more and more compatible with.

Is the era of vertical video coming to an end?

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Highlights

The best curated daily stories from around the web

Media, Music, & Entertainment

  • Hogwarts Legacy was the best-selling game of 2023 — the first time the best-selling game wasn’t a Call of Duty entry or Rockstar Games title since 2008. Read More → fastcompany

  • Sports Illustrated has benched nearly all of its staff, potentially killing the storied sports mag. Read More → frontofficesports

  • Republic Records is collabing with animation studio Invisible Universe to release music from Qai Qai — the viral doll owned by tennis star Serena Williams’ and Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. Read More → thr

Fashion & E-Commerce

  • Tiger Woods, having left Nike, is potentially landing at TaylorMade with a new in-house apparel line called Sunday Red. Read More → hypebeast

  • Neckties are coming back into fashion as luxury houses embrace them on the runway. Read More → bof

  • Adidas is releasing a running shoe that already looks worn and torn. Read More → complex

Tech, Web3, & AI

  • Astrobotic’s Peregrine Lander burned up in Earth’s atmosphere after a system malfunction made landing on the moon impossible… although it did orbit the moon. Read More → nyt

  • OpenAI is partnering with Arizona State University to build a personalized chatbot for the school’s faculty, staff, and researchers. Read More → techcrunch

  • JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon (not a fan of crypto) believes it’s possible that Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto has programmed the currency to be nuked after the total available 21 million Bitcoins have been mined. Read More → forbes

Creator Economy

  • Snap’s Snapchat+ subscription may be giving teenage users too much insight into their friends. Read More → theinformation

  • TikTok is working on an AI feature that’ll allow users to generate songs from text prompts. Read More → techcrunch

  • A tune called “Hoist the Colours” is going viral for freaking out users when paired with videos of terrifying nautical conditions in the North Sea. Read More → theverge

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Today’s email was written by David Vendrell.
Edited by Nick Comney. Copy edited by Kait Cunniff.
Published by Darline Salazar.

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