TV boss likens fight against Netflix and rival streamers to 'Kasparov vs Deep Blue'

One of television’s most senior executives has likened traditional broadcasting's battle with streaming services such as Amazon and Netflix to "humans holding their own against...machines".

FX CEO John Landgraf used a talk at the Television Critic’s Association to underline his belief that Silicon Valley’s tech giants is akin to the machines against humanity, as well as likening the approach to "getting shot in the face with money".

It’s fair to say that the streaming giants – particularly Amazon and Netflix – have been hugely disruptive to traditional broadcasters, although the majority have moved to embrace the technology that enables viewers to consume their wares in any way they can. 

In the face...

But Landgraf, pointing out that Apple is likely to become another key player in the coming years, was clear that this was a battle for the ages. 

“We collectively are Garry Kasparov and we’re playing Deep Blue, and I want the humans to be able to hold their own against the emerging strength of the machines,” he said, drawing a parallel with the chess grandmaster’s famous battles with the IBM’s computer more than 20 years ago. 

“All I can tell you is that we can’t do what they do. Nobody is going to hand us a check with an extra $10 billion to go spend on content.” 

What’s abundantly clear from Landgraf’s candid commentary is that the tech push into streaming is having a huge impact on the way in which the television industry is thinking. 

But the television old guard involved mean this isn’t so much David versus Goliath, as Goliath versus his younger, stronger and bigger brother.