Popular Acquired TV Shows In The Connected TV World Feel Familiar

“The Office” means a lot to NBCUniversal’s streamer Peacock in 2021 -- after the NBCU-produced show's long run on Netflix.

And that begs the question: What’s more important to a streamer: original or acquired programming?

Reelgood, a discovery/guide platform for streaming TV content, says the share of streams for “The Office” rose to a 9.2% share of the top 100 most-watched streaming TV shows in its first week of the year on the new platform. This was more than three times higher than in December, when the show grabbed just under a 3% share on Netflix.

Overall for 2020, “The Office” was the most watched streaming show in the U.S., according to Nielsen -- with 57 billion minutes streamed from a library of 192 episodes. The next-biggest show was “Grey’s Anatomy,” (366 episodes) also on Netflix, with an estimated 39.4 billion minutes streamed. Another Netflix show, “Criminal Minds’ (277 episodes), had 35.4 billion minutes.



By way of comparison, Netflix’s “Ozark” -- an original show -- had the most streaming minutes for an streaming original TV series -- 30.4 billion. Netflix’s “Lucifer” was next at 18.9 billion.

Digging deeper, there might be some trends here -- acquired programming on average seemed to perform better than original fare.

The top 10 original streaming shows (all on Netflix except for Disney+'s “The Mandalorian”) in 2020 averaged 15.8 billion minutes. The top acquired TV show had 26.5 billion -- some 68% better than the original TV shows.

The streaming world looks, roughly, the way the early U.S. syndication period on TV stations performed in early 1990s -- where tried-and-proven TV shows, coming from traditional big broadcast linear TV networks, generally appeared to perform better than new, original shows.

Some of this makes sense: There was a proven performance from the former TV outlet, and much in the way of built-in promotion.

This isn’t to say that syndication didn’t have any original TV show winners in the late 1980s/early '90s -- “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” among others. But it was “The Cosby Show,” “Cheers” and others that gave TV distributors and TV stations steady advertising revenue to grow the market.

Much has changed in our streaming world -- including, but not limited to, the explosion of available TV shows virtually everywhere on multiple platforms. Some of this leveled the playing field.

In part, this is why acquired, recognizable TV content for viewers will continue to be a good bet.

Even then, TV shows usually find their own basic performing levels. After its initial big week on Peacock, “The Office” dropped to lower, more recent Netflix-like levels, earning 3% share of total streams among the top 100 streamed shows.

2 comments about "Popular Acquired TV Shows In The Connected TV World Feel Familiar".
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  1. James Smith from J. R. Smith Group, January 20, 2021 at 11:20 a.m.

    Streaming channels face the same basic issue as pay cable nets, think HBO and Showtime, in the early days.  What content is most important to subscriber retention? Sometimes amount of viewing, average total hours viewing the channel, is not the magic metric. Constant analysis and monitoring of subscriber satisfaction is also required.  Given the crowded streaming space, that's a rather complex task. History seems to support the importance of "signature" product as being important in not only retention, but also in channel differentiation and positioning.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 22, 2021 at 8:50 a.m.

    Wayne, the only way to objectively evaluate the performance of one series relative to another when they offer a huge but varying number of episodes to on-demand viewers is average episode not total series exposures. I believe that most streaming service subs value original fare----wnen it is good---over reruns, no matter what the Nielsen stats say.

    As for "original" series---made for syndication----such as "Wheel OF Fortune", Jeopardy", "Entertainment Tonight", etc. these were designed for a specific daypart----"Prime Access---or, roughly, 7:00-8:00PM, EST. Here, they competed with eachother and off-network fare on independent stations or local news. But the bulk of off-network syndication was aired elsewhere--- in the daytime and fringe evening hours in the pre-cable era and when cable arrived, these shows might appear almost anywhere, including primetime, on various cable channels. While off-network fare has performed well for stations, cable channels and streaming venues, it has not been so much a case of high average airing---or episode---ratings but the ability to generate GRP tonnage, with more youthful audiences---at affordable costs to the sellers. I know of no syndication rerun show that even came close to the average evening ratings it attained in its original network run---but there may be a few  I have forgotten about..

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