September 23, 2020
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Gone are the days when TV shows are yanked off the air without a conclusion. As fan rescuing campaigns sell TV shows to the streaming giants and general nostalgia keeps viewers coming back to a property or a franchise even after years later. Broadcast Networks have drastically had to change their business models to adapt to the ever changing needs of the binger.

Streaming has had the most significant impact to the television landscape in history since Color TV, perhaps more. But the Television industry hasn’t been destroyed like the doe-eyed new kids on the block wanted us to believe was definitely going to happen. No, upon seeing this new mode of entertainment Cable channels blocked out competitors by ripping up their content distribution deals with them, yanking their content from their sites and secretly built their own streaming platforms. For others looking to get into the streaming game they downright refused to do business with others like Apple TV, because they had something else in mind.

A back-channel alleyway into the 21st century infotainment world that allowed broadcast television to shine through the murky waters of streaming original content. The answer is The Winter Finale and it is a glorious plan for world domination!

Streaming and Binging are so 2014! Mini-series, shortened seasons, trimmed episodes, and reduced/limited series are the new lexicon in Hollywood. In a desperate plea to the streaming Gods, Network Television is drastically reshaping what it means to be cancelled because they can always go back to the property if fans demand it. They don’t want to lose the property either, unless it makes sense.

Consider CBS selling the CW the rights to Supergirl last year. This move would have been unthinkable not five years ago, but thanks to streaming the fluidity of TV has forever changed and it may not work in Netflix’s favor. Netflix has been wanting to invest in more and more original shows as the Networks blocked them out in favor for their own streaming apps. We’ll get back to that in a moment, but there has already been some criticism towards the streaming giant for becoming an original content echo-chamber.

Basically Netflix has become it’s own Television channel. Begging you with ads to watch their original content first before you check out the rest of their relatively crappy TV/movie selections. What used to make Netflix great was the fact that if you watched something they will show you other movies/TV shows you might like. Now, that focus has turned towards original content in order to compete with the likes of HBO. They are doing alright, but Netflix is not the place to go to for movie recommendations anymore.

Amazon on the other hand, has had to rough it for the past few years. It has little in the way of hits despite some intriguing pilots that are shown every year. It’s most ambitious original content of 2016, Good Girls Revolt is officially the first new show to have been cancelled in the Fall 2016 season! Let that sink in. No new broadcast television show has been cancelled yet and the only new show that has been cancelled so far, is one from a streaming network! This is the first time in history that this has happened! That’s why the cancellation of Good Girls Revolt is so big. It shows that streaming isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and that the broadcast industry is potentially impenetrable.

As broadcast TV moves into streaming itself over the internet with mobile apps and online subscription services Netflix’s reign is slipping. It is already struggling to attract new subscribers and growth worldwide, while the broadcast television landscape is rapidly adapting to this new reality.

There is basically unlimited potential here to keep viewers locked into their platforms without having to venture out to find new avenues. CBS is working on it’s All-Access streaming platform that is going to be showing The Good Fight. The spinoff of the critically acclaimed The Good Wife. ABC is working hand in hand with Marvel to come up with creative streaming ways to force the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D upon us seemingly forever. And just in time for the holidays ABC Family, I mean Freeform has all their classic holiday movies available to stream.

In a final blow to the streaming giants, broadcast television is not only working on ways to beat them at their own game, but they are also working on more fluid methods of circumventing them completely! Since, no new shows have been cancelled yet from Broadcast networks, perhaps some of the fall shows that they can’t fit into their schedules if winter shows prove to be more successful will move onto the brand new streaming platforms. The opportunity for this cross-pollination of TV is brilliant. As the line between ratings and subscribers blurs, Broadcast TV is silently killing Netflix at it’s own game.

John J. Falco