We speak of those cancelled broadcast and cable network shows looking for a new home.
This time of year, shows on the bubble might be wondering if a traditional TV network will keep their project alive for another season. If that doesn’t happen, then a lifeline will go out to new subscription video on demand platforms: Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.
Measurements of traditional first-year network shows depend on a lot of factors -- lead-in, lead-out programming, special associations with other programming, perhaps filling a need for a specific genre.
But on new digital platforms, other factors come to the surface. And factor in this: There are no “advertising” issues for those big pay OTT services. So major viewing isn’t the only thing to consider.
Some recent big moves over the last year or so: “Designated Survivor” going to Netflix after two seasons at ABC; “Lucifer” going to Netflix after three seasons at Fox. Before, in 2015, we had Hulu picking up the comedy “The Mindy Project” from Fox after three seasons.
Why are these moves made? Much of it comes down to intangibles.
Recently, Netflix talked this up when it came to “Longmire,” the drama that went to Netflix in 2015 after three seasons at A&E Network.
“We've maintained that show for a couple of years the best we could on a smallish audience. People are very passionate about that show,” says Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix. “It brought a lot of brand love to Netflix.”
All about “passion” and “brand love”? How does one measure that? Social media posts? The number of views immediately after the release of original episodes?
One way to draw viewers is having award-winning content.
“We need the really high-quality award-winning shows to attract other shows. Creators and producers want to be on the winning network,” say Sarandos. “So there's a bunch of different reasons why you'd add value other than just pure viewing.”
Netflix has a lot of server data at its disposal to figure this out. Then it can take action, like sending out an email to its subscribers suggesting new TV shows and/or movies. How many traditional TV networks can do that?