Peter Duncan, creator/executive producer of Fox’s new “Rake,” said producers still think about a show’s development even after a few weeks on the air. “You don’t really know what you have until around five episodes,” he told the Television Critics Association this week.
Then, he said, producers slowly realize what the actors and the characters can do.
You can then wonder why new network shows continue to struggle ratings-wise. In this fast-moving digital world, there is increasingly less time to change and develop a show in order to succeed.
What does that mean for marketers? Not much. Many still need to follow the viewers by altering media schedules in a continued effort to capitalize on the scale that traditional TV still gives them. But that continues to put strains on media planners and buyers.
Digital media platforms are seemingly moving fast to programmatic buying which can instantly shift media budgets around. Many predict TV may soon follow.
To that end, what happens when the ever-quicker speed of media planning and buying runs into a still slow-moving premium TV content development process?
The positive is that content developers now produce and launch shows over different time periods throughout the year, not just for the fall season. That said, premium producers still need a measured time to write, cast and produce.
A longer time development for network shows also runs right into another trend: Young TV viewers are gravitating towards “snackable” video. Older audiences? They seemingly have more patience in letting a show develop with a “Hey, that’s not so bad. I’ll try another” attitude.
The median age of network TV viewers keeps getting older. For example, Fox’s “American Idol” had a median age of 31.9 n its first season, 2002. Last season, it was 51.2. With no disrespect, that show should now be airing on CBS.
On the one hand, all this may be good news for network television overall. TV audiences will still be around. Younger audiences? TV still works for them as well. But development will need to come at a different pace.