Netflix and other such services have made binge-watching very popular. Taking inspiration, U.S. networks are also changing the way they develop and release new shows and even commercials, says a report from Reuters. With such changes, the networks aim to adapt to new TV viewing habits and profit from binge-watching.
Netflix forcing TV networks to change
TV networks hope these changes will help them offset declining audiences and slow down or even end the trend known as “cord cutting.” The need for this arose because Internet video streaming is gaining huge popularity among Americans, who are increasingly opting to go without traditional cable or satellite television service.
Viacom’s TV Land network is developing more serialized programming in which the plot unfolds with each episode, and they also made changes to the storyline of a new show to encourage binging. In January, Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting launched its new comedy Angie Tribeca, for which it aired the entire 10-episode season in a 25-hour “binge-a-thon” on TBS.
Acknowledging the role of Netflix and other streaming services, David Levy, president of Turner said, “The streaming platforms have created a more competitive environment and we all need to deliver better.”
To keep binging viewers engaged, TV executives also want to change commercials, for which they are working with advertisers, the report said. Making brands part of the show is included in the experiments. Meanwhile, CBS is studying if it is possible to serialize commercials to tell a story.
Binge-watching on the rise
Such changes reflect that TV networks have now realized that fewer people, particularly younger viewers, watch shows when they are aired. Rather, they binge-watch Netflix shows like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black.
According to media research firm comScore, 46% of Millennials (people in the age group of 18 to 34) watch shows after they are aired, while 42% of viewers binge-watch multiple episodes of a show once or twice a month.
Binge-watching is on the rise, and this has given TV networks a chance to hook viewers through cliffhangers. They follow the strategy of making batches of current episodes available on demand through cable boxes or online apps and later sell them to the likes of Netflix.
20th Century Fox TV’s president of creative affairs, Jonnie Davis, refer to bingers as “super fans.”
“These are the people who go to work the next day and want to talk about the show.”