This Time, Producers--Not Viewers--Took TV Outlets' Center Stage.

Author:Reynolds, Mike

Between July 24 and Aug 8, some 600 people from the U.S.--including creatives, actors, journalists, as well as executives from commercial, public TV networks, cable, and streaming services--took to the stage (or appeared via satellite) to participate in 129 sessions of the 42nd annual summer Television Critics Association Press Tour. The TCA Tour was held at the Beverly Hills Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Immigration, equality, and sexual misconduct were some of the topics discussed, but the main thing on the minds of journalists (who organized the Tour) was when new TV programs being developed would initially--or subsequently--be seen.

Would traditional networks consider a first run on their streaming channels? Would special content be produced for that streaming channel and join that entity's existing library of content? Would streamers debut on the small screen? In cinemas? In different countries?

The difference between traditional networks sticking with shows (Grey's Anatomy being a prime example with 15 seasons having already aired and the 350th episode arriving in September) and streamers cancelling a series after one or two seasons was another frequent topic. Raising a smile, let alone a laugh from critics can be difficult, but ABC CEO Karey Burke managed it with her summary of the situation: "Sometimes [streaming shows] get a billboard on Sunset and sometimes they disappear into the sunset."

That said, she did admit to reaping the benefits of streaming, courtesy of Hulu, which "delivers millions of additional viewers with every episode of our biggest hits. Hulu gives us a bigger audience and it also gives us a younger one. The median age of viewers watching ABC content on Hulu is 33, decades younger than the median age of broadcast."

However, she added, still flying the flag for traditional viewing, "Broadcast matters because our programming endures." Still, she later admitted that "creators are thrilled that they now have this varied partnership of platforms at their fingertips."

It seems that most participants felt similarly -more opportunities from streaming services, in addition to the move to streaming by traditional TV entities, means there will be greater opportunities for more content creation than ever before. That said, one can certainly foresee some outlets choosing to stick mainly with their existing tried-and-true suppliers, while supplementing them with a few newcomers, and being more open to undiscovered...

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