For Future Revenue, Charge Extra For Finales Viewers Most Want To See?
Such shows are rare and include AMC’s just-concluded “Breaking Bad.”
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says “Bad” -- or at least its concluding episodes -- could have yielded a different sort of TV financial model.
Katzenberg had offered a massive $25 million to the producer for each of the series’ last three episodes. The aim was to sell them to consumers online in lucrative six-minute installments.
Viewers already pay to access AMC on their cable systems, with advertising attached. But Katzenberg believed the heightened demand for the show’s final episodes could have resulted in a rare TV gold mine.
Selling such individual episodes in an event package touts the big promise of what an expanding digital TV world is about.
Notwithstanding the producer’s previous ongoing agreement with AMC, Katzenberg’s proposal promised an even bigger payday -- or backlash? What could a media company have charged for those last three episodes? A pay-per-view like $29.95? $49.95? Big-time PPV events – like boxing and wrestling are priced even higher.
Perhaps not all 10 million viewers who actually watched “Breaking Bad’s” final episode would have payed extra to see the last three episodes. But even 5 million consumers at around $30 apiece would have meant a $150 million payday for the rights holders; a higher $50 or $60 pricetag could have doubled that revenue.
The biggest grossing PPV event on cable was the recent Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Saul "Canelo" Alvarez fight. It got $150 million in revenue from 2.2 million consumers paying around $70 each.
We don’t know what Katzenberg’s numbers would have been if “Breaking Bad” included an advertising component. [Reportedly, advertisers paid around $250,000 for a 30-second commercial in AMC’s finale]. Would consumers have gotten those three episodes at a discount if advertising messages were included?
For Katzenberg, “Breaking Bad” could have been "the greatest pay-per-view (event) in scripted television ever." (Hmmm… Do WWE events count as scripted?)
This possibly leads into where TV will evolve: a real-time supply-and-demand marketplace.
Think perhaps of season finales, series finales, or perhaps season premiere episodes. Are they more valuable than other episodes, with ratings expressing this picture more clearly?
If so, that’s a key consumer behavior data point for the industry to strongly consider.