Commentary

So What's A Hit TV Show?

There really needs to be a new definition of a hit show -- primarily because they don’t really exist anymore. Perhaps an “ok” show is... okay.

Some cable network executives say that increasingly, the goal isn’t to get hit shows, but just ones that perhaps work fairly well, with a modicum of profitability -- no more; no less.

The problem comes with an explosion of programming, not just on cable and international channels, but all sorts of digital video sites including the ever-growing subscription video on demand services Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Prime Video.

 “If your business strategy is predicated on having hits and hits alone, it’s going to be very fragile,” John Landgraf, chief executive officer of FX Networks and FX Productions, toldVariety. “We started FX Productions because we couldn’t figure out how to pay for as many shows as we wanted.”

And cable networks apparently face a bigger problem, since viewing still isn’t time-shifted as much as shows on broadcast networks are -- a trend due in large part to many reality TV shows, no doubt.

Now you know why TV networks, more than cable networks groups, have been pushing so hard to get paid by advertisers for more time-shifting of their commercials -- to seven days, up from three days.

Going forward, expect broadcast networks to push for even more time-shifting, monetizing their TV shows well beyond seven days in the coming years.

Still,  getting those TV successes is on everyone’s mind. At a Bank of American Media Conference on Tuesday, Brian Roberts, chairman/chief executive officer of Comcast Corp., said the company's stable of networks hasn't produced a "breakout" hit.

Ah. There is the greed of it all -- looking for a “breakout” hit. Most would settle for “just” a hit -- or maybe even less.

2 comments about "So What's A Hit TV Show?".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, September 17, 2014 at 3:27 p.m.

    It's somewhat of a mystery how networks can monetize a time-shifted program when the viewers skip past the commercials. It must be a nuanced definition of viewing,

  2. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, September 17, 2014 at 6:35 p.m.

    "Hit shows don't really exist anymore?" Wayne, get a grip.
    If there were no hit shows, you'd have nothing to write about!
    Or maybe you are writing about nothing. And speaking of nothing...I guess Brian Roberts believes confession is good for the soul of business. Or maybe he was just trying to spell "excuses."
    Who knows? Who cares? I've got TV Hits To Watch Tonight! Can't read anymore "TV Watch: Full Frontal TV Lobotomy" today or tonight.

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