My wife: “What network is ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ on?” I didn’t answer. Instead, I asked: “What broadcast network did ‘The Mindy Project” air on?” She said: “NBC!”
It’s a confusing media world for sure.
“Mindy” was on Fox; now at Hulu; “Nine-Nine” is going into its third season on Fox, one of the few shows to grow its audience -- 4.87 million in its second season from 4.80 million viewers. So, who cares what network it’s on? Branding, schmanding!
On the flip side, there are easy network brand associations: For many in my household, it can be easy to identify the content on networks like Food and Hallmark, but tough to identify specific shows.
Over the weekend, I stumbled upon the team-time trial race at the World Road Cycling Championships in Richmond, Virginia -- not on NBCSN, the sports network-- but on CNBC, NBC’s business news network. I guess this make sense: This time of year I’m “cycling” in and out of stock investments in my portfolio.
Seeing content in places you don’t expect? Not a trend.
Still, NBC regularly uses many of its dozen or so cable networks when it has way too many Olympic events to cover. Turner airs plenty of NCAA Men’s basketball tournament games on its networks. Viacom recently aired the MTV “Video Music Awards” this year on many more of its cable networks.
Much of this makes economic sense, with networks looking to monetize increasingly expensive programming assets.
So with the start of the new season, does it matter that the average TV viewer might not associate new shows with their networks, like “Supergirl” and “The Muppets”? (“Supergirl” will be on CBS; “The Muppets,” ABC”).
Yes, you might say broadcasters can have a strong identify: CBS has lots of crime procedurals; ABC has racy and sharp dramas.
Yet in the future, established TV network brands might want to be a lot of more than they are.