Ryan Michael Downey
Fall Shows Promise to Disappoint
ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS have released dozens of shows and spent millions of dollars on programming that will crash and burn. Projects that looked so promising throughout the summer will be labeled busts and would be careers will be over before they can start. Network executives will say that they are disappointed and critics will play I told you so. It is often difficult for network television and even cable television producers to know exactly what an audience will embrace even though sometimes like in the case of “Work It” it should have been obvious from the start.
New Kids on The Block
Outside of the established giants of broadcasting and the cable networks there are some new networks producing shows that are really taking off. Those networks are Netflix and Amazon and to a lesser extent Hulu. Three Emmy wins for Netflix’s House of Cards including best director for a dramatic series may signal a seed change in the television industry. They are starting to make a transition from simply being excellent streaming services to becoming the first true Internet Networks. The world wide web is the new superhighway of communication and with the advent of streaming through game consoles, set top devices or DMR’s, phones, tablets laptops and even HTPCs, computers connected to TVs steaming is becoming a major TV viewing option.
Networks??? These aren’t networks they are services right? Let us take a second to look at what a network does. TNT is popular cable network. TNT features some great original content, syndicated series as well as live NBA basketball games. Here are the shows listed on TNT’s schedule for Thursday September 17: Angel, Smallville, Charmed, Supernatural, Bones Castle, Rizzoli & Isles, CSI NY, Cold Justice, the Mentalist, the Closer, and Cold Case. Of those programs only two are original series Cold Justice and Rizzoli & Isles.
TNT like any other network decides which television programs will be broadcast as well as the order in which they will appear.
Netflix has original shows including House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black and Hemlock Grove among others. If these shows were to be strictly scheduled throughout a week while being sandwiched between 7-9 other shows in syndication it would be seen no different than AMC or A&E. The difference is the viewer has all the control to dip into Netflix’s library and create their own syndicated content.
No, Netflix does not offer every movie ever made or every TV in the history of the medium but does it offer more than 10 to choose from per week like a typical network does? Amazon in similar fashion has been producing its own content and will roll out Alpha House, Betas, Annebots, Creative Galaxy and Tumbleaf and like Netflix has redistribution rights to thousands of television shows and movies. Hulu through its pay service Hulu Plus has a multitude of exclusive series from overseas to pair with its own foray into original programming which includes shows like the quirky Western, Quick Draw and the Awsomes, Web series like Booth at the end and its forte next day availability of shows from every single major broadcast network besides CBS and many next day availability of even numerous cable shows not to mention full show runs of many.
The TV We Were Promised
These are not just networks, they may be the most customer friendly networks in the history of television. They provide the kind of TV experience that proponents of the Internet were promising at a time when an MP3 took 20 minutes to download. In a time when apps like Watch ESPN and HBO Go are blurring the lines between what we perceive as traditional television services and apps Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are positioning themselves as the new Big Three a distinction that CBS, NBC and ABC held before the emergence of Fox as a major player in the industry. Time will tell how the more traditional model will be effected but on demand services/Networks look to be the future.
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