Networks' Top Goal: Ad Dollars Trump Studio-Produced Shows

The-black-List-AWith Netflix and Amazon writing hefty checks, it bears watching whether networks will increasingly pick up shows their affiliated studios produce. After all, that’s the way for the parent company to monetize the shows across the spectrum, starting with ad dollars and moving toward a growing back end: subscription video on demand (SVOD).

But glancing at the new scripted shows the Big Four networks have placed on the schedule or ordered for the 2013/14 season, there appears to be no reason to believe that choosing series with SVOD gold in mind is taking much increased prominence.

ABC leads the pack, with its studio producing or co-producing 67% of its new shows. Fox is next at 55%, with NBC and CBS both at 50%. And networks seem content to give prime real estate to shows produced outside their broader walls.

ABC has given new comedy “Super Fun Night,” which it doesn’t produce, the coveted Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. slot behind “Modern Family.” NBC has given the premiere spot following “The Voice” on Monday to Sony drama “The Blacklist.” CBS has comedy “Moms,” from Chuck Lorre and Warner Bros., in the prime position following “2 Broke Girls.”

On one level, it shows the importance networks still place on ad dollars. The calculus seems to still hold that even with SVOD opportunities and more options for international sales, finding a true hit from whatever source remains the top goal. Of course, that has a high-tide-can-lift-all-boats impact in that high ratings for a non-owned show can attract viewers to in-house properties.

This is good news for Warner Bros. and Sony, which don’t own major networks. ABC, NBC and Fox have at least one show from each on their schedules for next season.



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