New Definition Of Success? When TV Ratings Won't Be The Tip-Off

CBS CEO Les Moonves says the cost of next year’s prime-time schedule is lower than the current year’s schedule.

CBS must be doing something right here -- though we are not sure it’s including its costs to buy those eight games of “Thursday Night Football” from the NFL (including one Saturday game).

There’s also good news for original summer shows “Under the Dome” and the new action series, “Extant.”“Dome,” which started last year, and “Extant,” new for this summer, have a strong financial foundation with big subscription video-on-demand deals in place.

How strong, you ask? Moonves says even if “Dome” started up last year with a “0.1 rating” on CBS, it would have still been in immediate profitable enterprise. You can see here that, in addition to being a “network,” being a premium TV content producer is a good business.



CBS actually started this process with The CW, the network it co-owns with Warner Bros., a few years before.  For years much was made about how the mini-network was losing money. But with the ground-breaking four0year deal CBS/Warner made with Netflix in October of 2011 -- a deal which could be worth $1 billion when all is said and done -- CW became an instantly profitable enterprise.

For years, most TV production companies that weren’t owned by a network ran on deficits until they could sell a show years later in syndication and international markets.

Now, with CBS,  as well as Fox, ABC, and NBCUniversal owning most of their content, and with the rise of new digital video platforms --  it’s a different story.

All to say, perhaps we won’t need to focus on TV ratings in the near future. In case you didn’t know, that’s the stuff Netflix won’t reveal about “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black” and other shows. Netflix may have a point.

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