Super-niche entertainment with microscopic viewer numbers will mean viewer numbers won't matter -- only dollars and cents.
Two kids' entertainment companies, Nickelodeon and Mattel, are cutting back on what we now know shouldn't be part of kids' daily life diet -- high-fat foods and lead-painted toys, respectively.
HBO can surf the waves well with low-rated and critically positive TV shows. Where it wipes out are with those low-rated shows that get mixed reviews. "John from Cincinnati," the dark surfing drama, had the latter going for it -- and less. Throw in the too-high-to-climb perch as a possible successor to "The Sopranos" (which some had called possibly the greatest piece of entertainment in TV history) and all this was too much of a hill for "John" to mount.
Some $100 million has been spent on entertainment piracy. Yet every year more network prime-time pilots can be found illegally on peer-to-peer Web sites. Is that the wrong financial formula? Some critics say sarcastically that the networks are subversively releasing them -- unofficially.
You think of Merv Griffin in the 1980s and 1990s and you think of all that money in syndication -- a business that made him a billionaire. The passing of Griffin reminds us that his legacy of shows -- his own long-running syndicated talk show, and the two still-monsters of syndication, "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" -- always gave hope to the little producers with the big first-run idea.
So now we get it. When people talk of branded entertainment and how organic it can be, they must be talking about fictional scripted TV shows about advertising agencies. Because that's really the only place where talking about a product and its virtues can be truly organic.
Good cable programming gets through to the right viewers usually the first time around -- whether it's Barry Bonds tattooing a record-breaking home run, or there's a reality show about a Los Angeles tattoo parlor owner.
Barry Bonds hit baseball's record 756th home run, and the first commercial after the big event on ESPN was all fowl. It was an ad for KFC -- the one where a young waiter in a restaurant who was just fired makes an impromptu announcement to restaurant patrons that the chicken is better and cheaper at KFC....
It's what reporters and editors have always feared: that anyone could offer expert commentary on just about anything, and still come off looking okay on TV. That's what happened on a recent BBC report.
Oxygen took three weeks to do an eBay auction deal with Intel -- and it only conversed with its media agency by email. Couldn't they have just picked up the phone and made it happen sooner?