Is this “premium” content, and, if not, does that matter?
Nielsen Gracenote says U.S. consumers had access to 646,152 unique program titles across linear and streaming services in 2019.
For years, FX Networks warned us about what is now over 500 “premium” scripted TV shows on linear/streaming TV platforms -- so-called “Peak TV” -- and their weak financial models.
The rub here: It is impossible that all these shows can survive and gain any significant marketing voice amid a glut of media content messaging. Turns out, FX didn’t look at the bigger picture.
For its part, Nielsen Gracenote didn’t segment this tabulation into specific genres -- only where they came from. For example, just 9% of those 650,000 titles were available exclusively on subscription video on demand (SVOD) services.
The biggest piece? That comes on “transactional” video-on-demand services at 66%. Free ad-supported video-on-demand was at 44%; linear TV (non-exclusive) at 31%; and video-on-demand (non exclusive) at 24%.
How does one market 650,000 titles? You don’t.
For the most part, you let subscription video on demand services mine viewers historical viewing data to determine what they might want to see in future, offering up suggestions, with qualifiers like: “Because you watched “The Big Bang Theory,” you might like this.”
If awareness marketing might be challenging for 650,000 titles, the good news for producers is that new video platforms are craving original video content -- and offering big prices. That said, perhaps not everything is “premium.”
To be sure, those 650,000 program titles would include library TV show reruns -- everything from “I Love Lucy” and “Gunsmoke” to “Cheers” and “ER.” Also on the list,, many non-scripted cable TV shows over the years, as well as more recent digital-first video series that may have come and gone.
All that means is the vast number of the 650,000 titles aren’t competing directly with Netflix’s “The Crown,” Amazon’s “The Man in the High Castle,” CBS’ “All Rise,” ABC’s “Stumptown,” ESPN’s “SportsCenter” or Food Network’s “Beat Bobby Flay.”
Increased time spent with the media may help -- but not much. Nielsen says total media consumption is now at 12 hours a day for everything -- TV, TV-connected devices, radio, computers, smartphones and tablets.
This amounts to one hour and 24 minutes more than Q3 2018. That means we have room for three more half-hour traditional TV network comedies, or one and a half hours of a TV network drama per day.
Is there room for that niche YouTube or Facebook short, original non-scripted video series now? Seems so. Though it may earn tiny viewing numbers, they must have some value to interested parties -- viewers, TV producers/content providers, and/or advertisers.
To riff on legendary theater director-acting teacher Konstantin Stanislavski: “There are no small parts, only small actors.” Same for TV/video shows?