I spent the past week at the Television Critics Association winter meetings. We heard about a lot of new programs – mostly bad, and most that will be gone in time for the networks to announce their 2017-18 schedules in May.
What has become the most dominant trend in recent years has been the expanding world of television. Viewing options have grown from basic channels to cable to premium programming to streaming services. That’s why there are more than 430 scripted programs on the air.
Leading the way are the TV options of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon that have been expanding each year.
Online offerings add to the crush and are growing. Take, for example, CBS All Access. What started as a way to view current and old CBS programming now has more than 1 million subscribers and is presenting original programs such as “The Good Fight,” a sequel to “The Good Wife.”
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And, the audience for the online service is very attractive to advertisers. Marc DeBevoise, president and chief operating officer of CBS Interactive, explains the average age of subscribers is in the low 40s. Millennials make up more than 30 percent of the viewers.
That’s because the programming is not confined to a TV set.
You can find us essentially everywhere now.
Marc DeBevoise, president and chief operating officer of CBS Interactive
“We’re now on every major connected device and OTT (over-the-top, a term used to describe media transmitted via internet) platform, so you can find us essentially everywhere now,” DeBevoise says.
Producers like the streaming services because they are not under the same constraints as networks. Episodes can be as long as necessary instead of the usual 41 minutes for a one-hour network program.
There’s also room to use language that is more adult, and nudity is acceptable.
Michelle King, one of the producers of “The Good Fight,” says, “You’re not going to hear them sound drastically different, but they’re going to use the swear words you would have expected them to use in ‘The Good Wife.’ ”
‘Carpool’ on Apple
Another example: A new series based on the “Carpool Karaoke” segments from CBS’ “The Late, Late Show with James Corden” will be available through the Apple Music subscription website. Episodes will feature celebrities driving other celebrities around as they sing their way through the journey.
Executive producer Eric Pankowski shopped the series to the typical TV sites. “There’s all the usual suspects to go to, but we’d also heard that Apple wanted to get into the video business a little bit. And because of the show and its celebration of music, it seemed to make perfect sense to go to Apple.
“We did, and the truth is that they grabbed it with both hands right off the jump.”
It makes sense: “Carpool Karaoke” bits can generate upward of 10 million YouTube views. Now, the producers can make money off the comedy idea.
These services are going to be competing with all of the other alternative viewing options. Hulu, for example, is using reruns and original programming, such as the upcoming “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Hulu’s senior vice president and head of content, Craig Erwich, said subscribers tell him they like having options of old and new programming in one place to be viewed on when they want.
“As more choice comes in, we’re here, curating a home for the best content, from thought-provoking originals to acquisitions of some of the most successful series to have aired on television, to big films, all on one platform,” Erwich says.
Another trend: Recycling old movies and TV shows. CBS is adding a series based on the film “Training Day;” already, Fox has a series based on “Lethal Weapon.”
“Charmed” and “Dynasty” remakes are in the works for the CW. And Showtime is reviving “Twin Peaks.”
It’s all part of the continually expanding world of TV viewing. Look for my coverage of these services and programs over the next six months.