It’s a new year and entertainment services are fully embracing the original programming model after decades of regurgitating old shows to keep viewers entertained. But as service fees increase and the ability of the average viewer to choose how they consume content quite a few services realize that old is well … old! You know that ‘classic TV’ isn’t what it used to be when TV Land’s most popular sitcoms are originals starring familiar faces that hit the sweet spot of nostalgia and targeted demographics. What is a surprise for the average viewer is that it’s not just network or channels that need to generate loyal fans but also the companies behind the ‘cable’ box. They have to ensure that they sustain current subscribers and sign up new ones to keep their bottom line. So they are creating their own exclusive shows to keep you tuned in and subscribed!
The original programming club that has been dominated by HBO, Cinemax, TNT, Bravo and other premium channels that kept viewers engaged and willing to pay for access is now including service providers like Netflix, DirecTV and Hulu. It’s a business model to keep their ability to negotiate fees, to increase market share, attract the loyalty of the next generation of entertainment consumers that currently use alternative platforms. It’s a gamble but a necessary one with the change in the entertainment landscape.
Everything from the monthly fees that increase all the time to pay for expensive channels that people may not be watching (ESPN I’m talking to you!) to the generation of tech savvy kids prefer streaming using their laptops, smart pads and game consoles are passing the traditional cable service. Adding original programming is a way to get loyalty and more importantly fees from customers. I’m very curious on how the shows will stack up to the major networks or even some of the great independent series that you can find online with YouTube, yahoo and other services.
DirectTV is launching their new series Rogue on April 3rd starring Thandie Newton. It’s got the cross appeal of revenge, action and a beautiful woman cast as the lead. Netflix is using the cult hit Arrested Development to leverage a rabid fan base and star power with for the new series House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. Hulu has been offering original programming but is now attracting more high profile contributors. Their new animated series the Awesomes has the creative co-creators of Seth Meyers (SNL) and Michael Shoemaker (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon) a comedy about a superhero team that’s left with the less powerful members leave. As well as a
second projection made with the BBC called The Wrong Mans. It’s got the behind the scenes geek cred of James Corden (Doctor Who, Gullliver’s Travels, Gavin & Stacey) and Mathew Baynton (Peep Show, Spy, Gavin & Stacey) and is about two office working cogs who find a phone at a terrible car accident and become embroiled in a life or death conspiracy.