Mari Silbey joins ZNF…
TV technology keeps getting better, and yet so far it hasn’t solved the problem of good shows that get cancelled long before they should. Rumor has it that Studio 60 may not be getting the viewers it needs to stick around. Will shows like this with a bad time slot and a decent chance for a cult following eventually get made solely for a DVD or an on-demand audience?
At the Fourth Annual TV DVD Conference earlier this month, analysts touted statistics on the success of TV series on DVD. Sales are paced at 20% over last year’s numbers and the TV DVD segment is expected to reach $3 billion in sales in 2006. Of course the DVD audience is currently buying up shows that have already been tested, but how long will it be before a DVD or on-demand audience proves profitable enough for big-money original productions?
From a business perspective, there are huge ramifications for the current television business model. Dick Wolf of Law and Order fame has an interview in today’s Wall Street Journal (free content) where he points to the viability of syndicated television when digital TV downloads become more popular. I see a likely inverse correlation between the continued success of syndication and the growth of original on-demand content.
Dave and I were also talking about the television industry in general. It seems the industry complains that no one’s watching TV, and then they go right ahead and yank shows before knowing if we’ll stick around to watch them. I, for one, don’t want to start a show if it’s only been signed for half a season. There’s nothing quite like getting invested in a series and then having it disappear. (Kidnapped, Firefly, Sports Night ) Good shows need another avenue for distribution.