A solution to the "Save my Show!" problem

Posted:
in AppleOutsider edited January 2014
So it seems that we now have this phenomena where at the end of every TV season shows with devoted fan bases are "on the bubble." Jericho, Chuck, Terminator SCC, etc...



This usually results in diehard fans mounting various campaigns, thus giving the shows some free publicity and wasting a lot of peoples time. Nevertheless, many shows still get cancelled even though they may have more watchers than 95% of shows on other channels.



Why? I'm not sure. Maybe the networks are stuck in the mindset back when there were only four stations and if they weren't getting 33% + 1 of the viewing public they were losing. This ignores the fact that total viewership is greater due to increased media penetration (more TVs, internet, worldwide audiences, etc).



The Solution-



It used to be that movie production companies owned movie theaters. That is if you wanted to watch a 20th Century Fox film then you had to go to a Fox theater. Independent production companies were thus prevented from competing unless they built their own theater chains. The result was legislation that broke the connection between production and presentation.



If we required production companies to be independent of networks then we would have show mobility. Shows like TSCC would be snatched up by the Sci-Fi network in a flash if Fox decided not to renew the contract.



This does happen sometimes now, but it requires paying off the network that currently owns the show and most of the time a network would prefer to kill a show then let it take some of the audience it cultivated over to another network.



How do we make this happen? Legislation seems the obvious route, but the mere threat of legislation might encourage networks and producers to create a labeling system. I'm not sure if people would be more inclined to watch a show that has been labeled as "independent" or not. I doubt it. You'd think the actors, producers, and writers could come together on such a thing.



P.S. - Anti-TV elitists need not reply.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    taskisstaskiss Posts: 1,212member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Nordstrodamus View Post


    Legislation seems the obvious route, but the mere threat of legislation might encourage networks and producers to create a labeling system.



    I don't think the government needs to be involved in any way, shape or form with television show line-ups and scheduling.



    Just have folks vote with their bucks - do an "adopt a show" where you pay a buck or so for every new episode to be produced and delivered to your apple tv or whatever.
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Taskiss View Post


    I don't think the government needs to be involved in any way, shape or form with television show line-ups and scheduling.



    Just have folks vote with their bucks - do an "adopt a show" where you pay a buck or so for every new episode to be produced and delivered to your apple tv or whatever.



    My proposal doesn't involve the government in TV show line-ups or scheduling in any way. It simply separates the creators of content from the distributors of content.



    I like your idea about people voting with their bucks and my proposal enables them to do so. If a network decides not to renew a show, but they are denied the power to cancel it then the producers can take it to another network or offer it through some a la carte medium like appleTV.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Nordstrodamus View Post


    So it seems that we now have this phenomena where at the end of every TV season shows with devoted fan bases are "on the bubble." Jericho, Chuck, Terminator SCC, etc...



    This usually results in diehard fans mounting various campaigns, thus giving the shows some free publicity and wasting a lot of peoples time. Nevertheless, many shows still get cancelled even though they may have more watchers than 95% of shows on other channels.



    Why? I'm not sure. Maybe the networks are stuck in the mindset back when there were only four stations and if they weren't getting 33% + 1 of the viewing public they were losing. This ignores the fact that total viewership is greater due to increased media penetration (more TVs, internet, worldwide audiences, etc).



    The Solution-



    It used to be that movie production companies owned movie theaters. That is if you wanted to watch a 20th Century Fox film then you had to go to a Fox theater. Independent production companies were thus prevented from competing unless they built their own theater chains. The result was legislation that broke the connection between production and presentation.



    If we required production companies to be independent of networks then we would have show mobility. Shows like TSCC would be snatched up by the Sci-Fi network in a flash if Fox decided not to renew the contract.



    This does happen sometimes now, but it requires paying off the network that currently owns the show and most of the time a network would prefer to kill a show then let it take some of the audience it cultivated over to another network.



    How do we make this happen? Legislation seems the obvious route, but the mere threat of legislation might encourage networks and producers to create a labeling system. I'm not sure if people would be more inclined to watch a show that has been labeled as "independent" or not. I doubt it. You'd think the actors, producers, and writers could come together on such a thing.



    P.S. - Anti-TV elitists need not reply.





    Ummmm, it already is that way, by law. The studios only "own" a small fraction of the shows they air now.



    But now the forced-to-be independent producers want some security so they get contracts from the studios which lock the franchises up and sign away the freedom to move to alternate networks without great trouble. And since that right is signed away voluntarily, it is awful difficult to say a new new law will change anything, or should even be contemplated.
  • Reply 4 of 17
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,830member
    Are people really asking for Chuck to be saved?
  • Reply 5 of 17
    e1618978e1618978 Posts: 6,075member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    Are people really asking for Chuck to be saved?



    You must not be a computer nerd that can imagine himself in Chuck's place.



    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2088803/mediaindex
  • Reply 6 of 17
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,830member
    Well yes - she's the best reason to watch the show. But she'd likely get picked up on another show anyway.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    Ummmm, it already is that way, by law. The studios only "own" a small fraction of the shows they air now.



    But now the forced-to-be independent producers want some security so they get contracts from the studios which lock the franchises up and sign away the freedom to move to alternate networks without great trouble. And since that right is signed away voluntarily, it is awful difficult to say a new new law will change anything, or should even be contemplated.



    Ummmmmmm, what you are saying makes no sense. You present the idea that two things are already legally mandated - that networks cannot own shows and that producers are forced to be independent. Then you go on to say that studios end up owning shows because producers give up their independence by signing over the rights. That is akin to saying people are not allowed to own slaves unless a person voluntarily becomes a slave.



    If you have some sort of knee-jerk libertarian reaction to the idea of legislation, that's fine, just say so. But you cannot suggest that my proposal is in effect when it is not. As far as the whole, anti-regulatory free market thing goes- I have yet to run across a cohesive argument for how a laissez faire system could be applied to the television networks in a positive way. So as long as some laws will be in effect to guarantee that the use of public airwaves serves the greater good I will happily propose another.
  • Reply 8 of 17
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Not quite. Networks cannot own the production of the majority of their shows. I don't remember the specific threshold offhand.



    An independent producer making a show in an independent production facility (or even contracting out network soundstage space), and then licensing the show long term to a particular broadcaster is not contradictory. It is how people on both sides of the issue, that have been in business for decades, deal with a particular law that separated the process from being all in-house. Nothing contradictory there at all, amusing it is though. So if the law can be so easily circumvented through completely legal means what makes you think a different law to do the same thing will have any other effect?



    Your slave example is over the top and reactionary. Think professional athlete contract and you are back in business.



    So do you want to turn down the rhetoric now? Leftist buzzword bingo is just so over.



    If you want to keep watching a show that has non-standard viewer habits, either watch it in it's on-air time slot changing the viewer habits, or get Nielson to count DVR viewings in their ratings. The latter is far less invasive and likely far more effective than any additional production restriction laws. When the arm is bleeding, don't put the tourniquet on the leg.
  • Reply 9 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    Not quite. Networks cannot own the production of the majority of their shows. I don't remember the specific threshold offhand.

    ...

    So if the law can be so easily circumvented through completely legal means what makes you think a different law to do the same thing will have any other effect?



    I am the first to say that enforceability should be considered before principle when sculpting legislation. But in this case I do not see the terrible difficulty in simply forbidding the contractual agreements you cite in accordance with legislation mandating the separate ownership of content and distribution as we did with movie production and presentation.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    Your slave example is over the top and reactionary. Think professional athlete contract and you are back in business.



    Obviously, I certainly don't mean to say the content distributer-provider relationship is morally equivalent to slavery. I was simply pointing out that an immoral relationship cannot be justified simply because it is voluntary.



    I don't follow sports much, but I do not ever recall a professional athlete being cancelled. If there is a situation where a perfectly functional athlete is simply forbidden to play for his/her team and not allowed to make a living then I would be against that as well You'll have to elaborate on the analogy.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    So do you want to turn down the rhetoric now? Leftist buzzword bingo is just so over.



    Ok, I'm going to assume that you are intentionally being ironic so we can move on.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    If you want to keep watching a show that has non-standard viewer habits, either watch it in it's on-air time slot changing the viewer habits, or get Nielson to count DVR viewings in their ratings. The latter is far less invasive and likely far more effective than any additional production restriction laws. When the arm is bleeding, don't put the tourniquet on the leg.



    I don't know where this is coming from. I only propose that we sever the hold networks have over the fate of shows that could still earn a respectable viewership elsewhere. The means by which viewership is quantified is irrelevant to my proposal. If a show like TSCC can find enough revenue through advertising, subscription, DVD, or pay-per-view models to stay in operation then it should be allowed to do so if a network decides not to renew it's contract.
  • Reply 10 of 17
    taskisstaskiss Posts: 1,212member
    "Life" got pulled.

    /mourn
  • Reply 11 of 17
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Nordstrodamus View Post


    <lotso stuff, see two posts up>





    You want to eliminate contracts and the hold studios have over long-term production. How will a show ever get on the air then! We already know studios can only own a minority percentage of their shows and the rest are independently produced. If there can't be a contract how do you get the show on the air.



    If you want to prevent multi-year contracts, how many producers and executive producers will finance anything other than derivative drivel? Multi-year contracts allow producers to take a bit more risk in a show because they get more up front to cover the start-up costs. No multi-year deals and I predict production values and show content drops off very noticeably. Not what any of us wants.



    Pro-football players get cut all the time, they get non-guaranteed contracts that prevent them from going to a different team, but their team mostly has the right to terminate the contract whenever they want. Pretty much the same deal as the studios. Not all pro sports have non-guaranteed contracts, but they are moving that way due to economics of players who don't continue to produce, but suck significant portions of the payroll. Which sounds just like tired shows on the network.



    Ratings, ratings, ratings. DVR viewings of shows do not count. BSG, TSCC and Chuck all have estimated DVR time-shifted viewership three plus times greater than those who watch the show in the scheduled time slot. Those viewers do not count towards advertising rates so a show gets cancelled because it only gets credited with 25% of it's viewership because the viewership is mainly technically savvy geeks who like to go out some evenings instead of sit at home watching the TV every night. Webcasts also aren't considered in a shows financial viability, they are strictly free money for the networks.



    Fix the above antiquated ratings determination situation and the rest of the issue goes away because the shows would all be considered very poplar and rake in advertising revenues. Letting a show move to another network won't change the fact that by the old rules they have crappy ratings, no matter how popular they are in reality. Often the shows can move already, but what network, other than third tier cable portals who won't pay for production costs, want sloppy seconds of a Nielson-labeled dog? [It doesn't matter how wrong that label is]



    Quote:

    If a show like TSCC can find enough revenue through advertising, subscription, DVD, or pay-per-view models to stay in operation then it should be allowed to do so if a network decides not to renew it's contract.



    It could under todays laws. But the producers (Warner Bros - NOT FOX) won't take the financial risk, probably because they already know those secondary revenue streams cannot cover production costs.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    You want to eliminate contracts and the hold studios have over long-term production. How will a show ever get on the air then! ... If there can't be a contract how do you get the show on the air.



    I'm not proposing eliminating contracts or multi-year agreements or exclusivity. A network can contract with a producer to have exclusive rights to air a particular show for how many years they want to so long as they are, in fact, airing the show. If the network elects not to air the show then the producers should be free to seek other customers.



    Both the market and the increasing progress in digital technology promise to keep production value rising. There would be good reason to believe that production value could rise if investors see a larger marketplace by being free to take there show elsewhere. As I mentioned, TSCC would thrive on SciFi if it were allowed.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Hiro View Post


    Pro-football players get cut all the time, they get non-guaranteed contracts that prevent them from going to a different team, but their team mostly has the right to terminate the contract whenever they want. Pretty much the same deal as the studios. Not all pro sports have non-guaranteed contracts, but they are moving that way due to economics of players who don't continue to produce, but suck significant portions of the payroll. Which sounds just like tired shows on the network.



    Again, I don't follow sports much, but I do not recall a perfectly healthy, good athlete simply not being forbidden from working. Do bad players get cut? Yes. Do good players get traded? Yes. If we are comparing this to the TSCC situation then you must be suggesting that good players are routinely benched permanently so the team can try a new, possibly better player. Even if that is the case, I'm sure the permanently benched player would have to be earning a salary. The team can't just cancel them.



    I get what you are saying about how more accurate ratings systems would save good shows, but I'm not sure this would be the case. It would appear that the difference in cost between continuing the production of a moderately popular show or trying any new bullshit in the hope that it will be a super popular show is nill. This reality means that networks will never give a shit about any particular production unless it is wildly popular. This effort to appeal to everyone is what has given us such drivel, imo.



    To give a unique show a chance to develop and solidify it's audience it needs to be free to find different outlets.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    hirohiro Posts: 2,663member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Nordstrodamus View Post


    Both the market and the increasing progress in digital technology promise to keep production value rising. There would be good reason to believe that production value could rise if investors see a larger marketplace by being free to take there show elsewhere. As I mentioned, TSCC would thrive on SciFi if it were allowed.



    Doubtful. BSG almost got cancelled twice because non DVR viewership was so low. I don't think there are many people who think TSCC has more viewers than BSG.



    Quote:

    Again, I don't follow sports much, but I do not recall a perfectly healthy, good athlete simply not being forbidden from working. Do bad players get cut? Yes. Do good players get traded? Yes. If we are comparing this to the TSCC situation then you must be suggesting that good players are routinely benched permanently so the team can try a new, possibly better player. Even if that is the case, I'm sure the permanently benched player would have to be earning a salary. The team can't just cancel them.



    The athletes don't get benched they get cut, without pay. Then other teams get a shot at signing them. But is the athlete was cut for poor performance he's done for the duration unless he goes to Canada. A show that's cancelled because it cannot pay for it's own production costs doesn't get a second chance on another network, why would the second network, on the Cable minor-leagues, think it can generate more revenue than a Big 3 network.



    Nearly all the cable network programs have very low production costs, that's how they make it. BSG broke that mold and only survived because Air One in the UK chipped in the first two seasons. Just long enough to get viewership numbers to barely sustainable.





    Quote:

    I get what you are saying about how more accurate ratings systems would save good shows, but I'm not sure this would be the case. It would appear that the difference in cost between continuing the production of a moderately popular show or trying any new bullshit in the hope that it will be a super popular show is nill. This reality means that networks will never give a shit about any particular production unless it is wildly popular. This effort to appeal to everyone is what has given us such drivel, imo.



    To give a unique show a chance to develop and solidify it's audience it needs to be free to find different outlets.



    No, networks don't want to lose money. Very few shows are wildly popular. Networks make big money by having a couple hits and avoiding long term money losers. If a show can pay for itself in ad revenue it will have a long and distinguished run. I think that's the part you really don't get. As much as a lot of geeks (I are 1) think BSG, Chuck and TSCC are really popular, by the rest of societies measure they aren't. TSCC is losing money, the only thing that will save it is if Fox thinks there is some change they can make which will cause it to make money, with enough certainty that it isn't seen to be a significant gamble.
  • Reply 14 of 17
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,917member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post


    Are people really asking for Chuck to be saved?



    I found that I liked Chuck quite a bit. I didn't plan on it, but it grew on me. I thought the season (series?) finale was tremendously entertaining and even--dare I say it?--moving. I would love to see it back, but I'm not going to Subway for it...

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Taskiss View Post


    "Life" got pulled.

    /mourn



    I found Life entertaining the first season. For some reason I never hooked into this season. I don't know if the time changed or what, it just didn't happen. sorry...
  • Reply 15 of 17
    floorjackfloorjack Posts: 2,726member
    I think the real solution is a healthy dose of "get a life" combined with a pinch of "who the fuck cares".
  • Reply 16 of 17
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,917member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FloorJack View Post


    I think the real solution is a healthy dose of "get a life" combined with a pinch of "who the fuck cares".



    ...says the guy who is trolling through random threads in a technology fan site.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    relicrelic Posts: 4,735member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    I found that I liked Chuck quite a bit. I didn't plan on it, but it grew on me. I thought the season (series?) finale was tremendously entertaining and even--dare I say it?--moving. I would love to see it back, but I'm not going to Subway for it...



    I found Life entertaining the first season. For some reason I never hooked into this season. I don't know if the time changed or what, it just didn't happen. sorry...



    You said it, I rarely watch TV and if I do it's from ovguide.com. Hey, I live in Switzerland no other option, anyway from a recomendation from my brother I watched both seasons over the weekend. My wife was in London with parents, OK! What a cool show, after reading this forum I'm really bumbed out now that there won't be anymore, damn I just got into it.



    You killed Kenny, you bastards!
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