When the levee breaks on this golden age of TV, what does that look like?

I don’t disagree, I do the same thing, but its interesting behavior in terms of what we’re willing to pay and how it is at odds with the cost of producing the content (producing the data stream to your seat). I don’t know what your flight cost, but in the context of your trip, $1 is basically free. It obviously has some non-zero value since 60% of people will use it when it is available. Not paying $1 seems inconsistent with our other entertainment expenditures.

This is a well established result in behavioural economics, though, across many products. Adding a cost to something, no matter how nominal, drastically reduces demand compared to something that’s free.

Yes, and I’m pointing out the free alternative is piracy. The thread is about the problem with declining revenues for tv production and how it’s a potential quagmire. I’m agreeing with the premise, and don’t have any answers.

The problem for The Expanse and SyFy, to take this example, is that what they’ve done now is to “train” their audience to seek out the show by free means, and possibly by free and non-commercially interrupted means. The people who watched the first four episodes of the show online for free simply don’t translate to measurable Nielsen viewership on SyFy, and for that particular network, that is the only useful measure of success or failure.

This is based on the assumption that there is no value to Syfy derived from on line viewing. That is not true. They had over 4 million views of the pilot on their web site. Those hits generate ad revenue and the streams contain commercials. Not everyone pirates their feeds and in fact millions do not. People in general are not as tech savvy as the average person here, hell theres still millions of people who use VCRs in the US. Success is not just determined by Neilsen ratings any longer. Syfy renewed the Expanse in spite of lower viewership because of the streaming numbers, not in spite of them. This is the beginning of the format shift. The times they are a changin’

Sadly no, it’s very true. Refer up thread. Online content generates fractions of fractions of what linear TV content generates in ad revenues. For someone who watches an hour of The Expanse online, they’re generating .03 to SyFy, and they may be watching more than a single episode for that hour. For a person who watches an hour of The Expanse on linear TV, they’re generating .30 per hour for the network.

To clarify, I even emailed my friend in the ratings biz and was told that yes, applying the Youtube revenue generation per hour of content rate to other ad-supported online platforms was a fair comp. That paltry rate is based on many factors, including ad blocking software which most ad companies figure everyone is running.

How does SyFy know if a person is watching an hour of their cable channel? I figure they are generating revenue from me just by being on my cable package, but I doubt that amortizes to 30 cents per hour (or per month even). Or is that ad rate revenue based on estimated ratings, without the base carrier fee payment taken into account?

It’s interesting to read these discussions here; I’ve been reading these topics, hotly debated, on the Satellite TV forums (like DBS Talk) for a long time.

Everyone wants a la carte programming. We have Directv, and I counted once and the number of channels we watch/record from are probably about 20 or so from the package of 200 we sub to. But you can’t get those 20 without the 200 package. As others have said, everyone subsidizes everyone else. On the DBS Talk forums you hear the same old same old back and forth, “I never watch sports and I would be perfectly happy with a lower bill and no ESPN” and others saying “If ESPN wasn’t offered on Directv, I’d immediately switch over to Dish.” These guys compete hard with each other for subscribers and have done the math on how much it would hurt them if they didn’t carry ESPN and the other providers did.

Which leads to the thorn in so many subscribers’s sides: contract disputes. It seems like once every 3 months you see the banners: “Directv has refused to negotiate in good faith and thus they will be pulling your Fox channel at midnight tomorrow night. No more NFL, no more (insert popular show here) etc. At midnight this channel will go black - call Directv at 1-800-xxx-xxxx and show your outrage. For details go to www.directvhatesAmericaandkillspuppies.com” Of course, Directv has counter ads: “Your local affiliate refuses to accept a 100% increase in fees and thus THEY will be refusing to allow us to show their programming at midnight tonight” with the phone numbers and www.yourlocalaffiliatekicksorphansoutonthestreet.com.

We had that yesterday on our screens: the local ABC affiliate was in a fight with a cable company, so they had their banners going all week and phone numbers of Directv and Dish and another cable company. Supposed to go black at midnight last night. I assume it was resolved; they usually are at the last second, but it is not uncommon for people in an area to have their channels go black for a while. AMC had a major dispute with Dish a few years ago and was off their lineup for a while. This seems to be a common occurance these days. Local affilate owners demand large increases from the satellite and cable guys. And adding to the issue, more and more you see business owners who have purchased huge blocks of television affliates across the country, so they threaten to pull a huge number of network channels across multiple states off of a provider unless the provider provides pretty huge increases. (Different topic, but I am strongly against the FCC giving individuals ownership of such a huge number of network channels.)

In all cases, the viewers are held hostage.

Also - I’m as guilty as anyone at recording shows and watching while skipping over commercials. It is very rare for us to watch commercials as a result. Sometimes at Christmas time we’ll watch the commercials (there actually are some clever, funny commercials out there!) But I fear the day is coming in which we’ll get ads splashed across the bottom of a show during a show as a way to get around this. They already bug the crap out of me, to be watching, say, an episode of Law and Order:SVU and the bottom third is covered up, in the middle of an episode, with an ad for Despicable Me or Dr. Ken,etc. I hate that. Hell, I hated it when networks started putting watermarks on every show. But I’m sure advertisers are putting pressure on the networks, saying hey, why should we pay so much for advertising when so many people never see it? Heck, Dish’s Hopper has a feature where it automatically skips the commercials on all the Primetime network programming. So next thing you know we are going to have an episode of American Crime in an intense moment, and the bottom third of the screen will pop up an ad for Viagra or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I don’t mind in show commercials, and I even enjoy how some shows kinda poke inside fun at them - Royal Pains on USA is a good example of this, they have a car “ad” most shows where someone jumps in a car, and they say something like “Where do we need to go?” and then they speak the address and their Toyota or whatever it is blatantly pops up its voice control GPS. And they have wink-wink moments with it, which is fun. And actually, sometimes the ad is effective in showing a feature that makes you say, hey, that’s actually cool, next car I’d like to have that. I MUCH MUCH prefer that over ANYTHING spashed over the bottom 1/3 of the screen during the show.

OK - rambling as I sit too late being lazy watching college football on New Years Day. ;) I have more to say on commercials but I’ll stop here. ;)

It’s an ad rate calculation. It’s how much Samsung (or any advertiser, used them as an example) will pay for a 30 second spot on the SyFy network x frequency versus what they’ll pay for a 30 second spot x frequency on the website.

Ah, thanks.

So, remember how much ESPN paid for the exclusive on the BCS Playoff Games? Well, in their infinite wisdom, they decided to play the games on December 31, aka, New Year’s Eve. Of course, you could see all the reasons why this was a terrible idea. Not only was it technically a work day, but most people already have parties to attend for some reason. So the ratings lemming’d off a cliff and fell 33% from last year.

And the really insane thing is that TPTB decided that delaying the games to January 2 was a stupid idea, because Americans don’t expect to watch college football games on a Saturday.

Yeah, last year the playoff games had incredible ratings; I read somewhere they were the highest ever ratings for a cable network. I’m guessing based on that they decided they could play the games any time they liked and it would work.

Wrong. I love the playoff approach (but still think it needs to be 8 teams) and I still recorded them to watch the next day (which required a LOT of being careful to avoid seeing the scores before I watched them!)

Updates from the front!

@mulvihill79 4m4 minutes ago
% Change, Dec 2014 - Dec 2015, Nielsen data:
Total Use of TV: +0.3%
Live, Linear TV Viewing: -2%
DVR TV Viewing: +3%
Pay TV HHs: -1%

@mulvihill79 3m3 minutes ago
For as much talk as there is about pace of change in TV biz, none of the broadest indicators of TV consumption moved by >3%

Also, since this person’s main focus is sports-based televised entertainment…

@mulvihill79 17h17 hours ago
Really satisfied that @NFLonFOX viewership finished the year (very slightly) up. Our second best season in 22 years of doing this.

@mulvihill79 16h16 hours ago
FOX’s 4:25 games, aka America’s Game of the Week, finish as TV’s most-watched show in any daypart for the 7th straight year.

@mulvihill79 16h16 hours ago
11-year high for FOX NFL Sunday pregame and CBS had good pregame news as well. Impressively resilient shows in changing media environment.

‏@mulvihill79 16h16 hours ago
Pretty striking that 10-year trend of @NFLonFOX viewership is +32%. Not much in current landscape that can boast that kind of growth.

For as much talk as there is about pace of change in TV biz, none of the broadest indicators of TV consumption moved by >3%

3% seems like quite a lot, if it’s a consistent trend.

Does Nielsen “DVR” include cable/satellite VOD?

I’m in the Uk and have a mix of stuff but is no longer cheap.

I have Sky as my cable subscription and it costs £90 a month including landline and unlimited calls. This includes Sky Movies, Sky Sports and the main channels which show all the tv shows. Now we also have an option to subscribe to BT Sports which the Hi Def package costs £23 extra a month for Premier League games + other sports I don’t really watch so I don’t have it it’s too much. They say having a choice is better but in this instance I just can’t warrant the cost.

I also have an Amazon Prime subscription which was £50 for the year and includes all the delivery stuff which is great, there is even a drop off point round the corner meaning I don’t even need to be in to get it just walk round and collect it when it arrives.

I also pay £15 a month for the BBC TV License which is mandatory in the UK.

I really like the Netflix stuff but there isn’t enough stuff to warrant paying for it, I use my Brothers account to watch what I want.

I also download stuff, mainly if I have missed a series or show which is not available on demand or catch up anywhere, for example Agents of Shield wasn’t on Sky though it had been so have no issue downloading it as I forgot to to record some episodes so will.

Music I buy through iTunes or using Prime for my needs as again I don’t listen to much, in fact even less now I listen to Audiobooks.

I have an Audible account for Audiobooks which has kept pace with my needs but looks like I may outpace the books with my 5 times a week Gym workout now.

The reality is I cannot afford or even justify multiple accounts and the costs of these. While Sky is not cheap it does have 90% of needs under one roof a bit like Steam and am comfortable using them however if they lose too much sport I will probably dump them as well but certainly will not be having 2 or 3 sport subscriptions or multiple show providers either.

To add apart from sport we aren’t even live tv watchers, pretty much everything is recorded to Tivo or on demand /catch up as the days of sitting down at 8pm to watch a show are long gone.

18-30 month trend, so no not quite a lot.

Significant? Absolutely. But if you’re a network exec, have to think it could be worse.

I also pay £15 a month for the BBC TV License which is mandatory in the UK.

? It’s only £12 a month.

The reality is I cannot afford or even justify multiple accounts and the costs of these. While Sky is not cheap it does have 90% of needs under one roof a bit like Steam and am comfortable using them however if they lose too much sport I will probably dump them as well but certainly will not be having 2 or 3 sport subscriptions or multiple show providers either.

Depending on how important sports are to you, you may want to just downsize to NowTV. The Entertainment service has most of the good stuff from Sky proper, including the HBO imports, and it’s way way cheaper. Personally I don’t care enough about British sports, at least the stuff that gets televised, to pay for it. I subscribe to US streaming sports services instead and rely on OTA highlights for football.

ESPN owns the rights, but didn’t pick when the games would be played. That was determined by the bowl committee, and was really dictated by the refusal of the Rose Bowl to move off their traditional Jan 1st afternoon time slot.

The games should have been played on the 2nd.

Or on the 1st and sandwich the Rose Bowl. They don’t have to be back 2 back

Pinewood has set up a TV production/financing shop.

Some fascinating input on numbers from my buddy Mike this morning. I’ll try to sum up.

In September of 2013, Nielsen elected to keep track of homes that had switched from cable/satellite to simply having broadband internet. But, weirdly, they elected to still count these homes in their “pay TV” umbrella when reporting figures. Which kinda makes no sense.

In April of 2015, Nielsen realized this, and began reporting “broadband only” as a separate category. By re-classifying like that, they instantly created easy Buzzfeed/Reddit headlines about “EVERYONE is cord cutting!” Every home that changed from cable/satellite from September of 2013 through April of 2015 was instantly lumped back into the correct category for “Broadband only”. It made it look like a precipitous switchover. Which wasn’t quite the case.

Apparently Nielsen just went back and released the actual numbers of dropoff from that period of time. They’re interesting.

From December of 2013 through December of 2014, 1.7 million homes went broadband only.
From December of 2014 through December of 2015, 1.2 million.

@mulvihill79 3h3 hours ago
Once broadband only homes are properly excluded from the Pay TV universe we find that cord-cutting actually SLOWED in 2015

@mulvihill79 3h3 hours ago
Doesn’t mean that 3.5 mill homes didn’t leave pay TV over 2.5 years. They did. But rate at which they left was misunderstood & that matters

@mulvihill79 3h3 hours ago
Point is that when you read that people are “increasingly” cutting the cord, well, maybe they aren’t.

Kind of interesting, but if you think about it, it’s not that surprising. The majority of cord-cutters seem to either be switching to Netflix/Amazon/Hulu or OTA or both. Those options have all existed for several years now, so it seems entirely reasonable to expect the cord-cutting movement to slow down as those who want to do so switch. There are certainly more options and reasons to switch coming out all the time (increasing subscriber TV prices, retransmission fights, and new services), but we’re going to get to a point where the subscriber population is going to be mostly people like my parents, who are content to pay just about whatever they have to in order to keep access to their 500 channels.

What I think would be more interesting is to take a look at the subscriber vs. the non-subscriber numbers, which would include the cord-nevers. The cord-nevers are just going to keep growing as more kids come out of college, and so we should see the non-subscriber numbers continue to build and grow. Sure some of those kids are going to sign up for cable/satellite, but if my understanding of the kids today is correct, most of them are content to watch nothing but online content.