Talk about your targeting and your segmentation -- and then listen to Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix: It isn’t always about creating TV shows with scale.
During the Television Critics Association meeting, he talked about “building” Netflix TV shows for different level of audiences -- some totaling two million, others, 20 million.
Do traditional TV networks look at programs in the same way? Perhaps a CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, or TV might think, “We have this drama that’ll play on Fridays and perhaps pull in four million viewers initially. That’ll work fine.”
Much in the same way, Frank Cicha, senior vp of programming at the Fox Television Stations, said he believes new daytime syndication shows can be viable if they get at least a Nielsen 1.0 local TV rating in the 25-54 demographic. Does that send a signal that first-run TV syndicators needs to address?
All to say that TV producers have a bottom line -- a reality line -- of financial sustainability of TV shows. TV marketers probably care less about this stuff than a decade or two ago, especially now in focusing on data around mercurial audiences/consumers -- not the data of a TV show.
Now, you have to wonder about Netflix, in a non-linear world. If that two million viewer series (an “Arrested Development” revival episode perhaps?) attracts four million or six million viewers, does that mean Netflix is offering high fives all around --- or are they scratching their collective heads about why its “predictive” metrics were so wrong?
But wait. John Landgraf, chairman of FX Networks, also speaking at the TCA, said, “Content creation is in an economic bubble.”
He added: "There's something a little wonky, and if you really dug under the economics of every business making scripted television shows and every show itself, they wouldn't all be profitable. There are more shows being made than can be sustained economically."
Netflix says it has the answers. But how? Does this center around the financial sustainability of its $8.99 month from subscribers?
Maybe the science of estimating any metric of a TV show will always have wonky factors to consider.