Don't believe the headlines: TV viewing is up. You just need to expand your vision to a wider panoramic viewing. Turner Broadcasting says when you look at premium video on all screens -- traditional linear TV, subscription VOD services, laptops, and mobile -- TV programming viewership is up. Not by crazy amounts -- but higher nevertheless.
Broadcast and cable TV syndication should be affected in a growing digital, a la carte TV world. Todd Juenger of Bernstein Research believes we should be thinking about this more. He writes: "In a Netflix world, nobody watches reruns anymore, and cable networks are replacing reruns with original programming."
Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment Group, said the quickly canceled drama "Wicked City" was "off-brand." Speaking at the Television Critics Association meeting, Lee didn't go into details. But can anyone tell -- clearly -- what ABC's brand is -- or even other broadcast networks'? It's getting harder to figure out.
Digital video will displace "TV" by the end of the decade. Robert Kyncl, chief business officer of YouTube, said as muchat the recent Consumer Electronics Show. As far as TV Watch can tell, Kyncl didn't use air quotes around the word "TV' -- but he might as well have.
Viacom and now Turner are set to significantly reduce their advertising loads on some key networks -- cutting back on the on-air commercial clutter that has gotten out of hand. Consumers will be cheering. But what about those TV executives who need to maintain overall advertising revenue those networks bring in? One veteran senior advertising cable executive told MediaPost plainly: "They are going to take a hit. But they have to do it."
What do TV networks and programmers really want next for their viewers? Not just to be closer to the action, but perhaps to be in the story itself. That's where virtual reality comes in. A number of TV/entertainment companies -- including 20th Century Fox, Syfy, and Discovery Network -- don't want to miss this next step. At this year's CES, there's lots of talk about this.
Even if you can't identify any "super" viewership at TV shows these days, networks will continue to offer messaging about their potential power -- in more subtle ways. This Monday night, at 8 p.m., three TV shows -- with perhaps a smirk from some executives -- competed against each other: NBC's debut "Superstore," CBS' "Supergirl," and Fox's "Superhuman."
The Consumer Electronics Show this year brings new expectations for TV networks and producers, though perhaps the products are just improved versions of what's already out there: drones, connected TV, wearables, the Internet of things and virtual reality apps. Can TV programmers and networks incorporate new versions of these technologies into their day-to-day content in a meaningful way?
Times are already testy for ESPN, what with a surprising drop in network subscriber numbers -- down some 3.2 million this past year. Now it has the misery of dropoffs in college football playoff viewing numbers.