/// Production Companies Can Influence TV Networks

February 18, 2014  |  Media Week

Good news! Fox’s kicky comedy New Girl is now on Netflix and Hulu . Bad news! If you want to catch up, it’s time to get cable. Like many of its peers, Fox has adopted the “trailing five” model for its big shows on Hulu, notably the Zooey Deschanel vehicle (past seasons of which recently debuted on Netflix). Briefly, that means that if you want to catch up on New Girl from the beginning, you need to subscribe to a cable/satellite/telco TV service in order to watch every episode—otherwise, you can only access the most recent five episodes on a nonauthenticated service (eight for The Simpsons). Neither the networks nor producers wanted to talk on the record about this, but the ideal setup is mostly gleaned from historical data. “The Turner networks, a few months ago, acknowledged that making kids’ content available to Netflix maybe hurt their ratings,” said Brian Wieser, senior research analyst with Pivotal. Yet serialized dramas frequently gain viewership with a large digital presence—Breaking Bad, for example, got a major helping hand from Netflix. But production companies and the networks aren’t always going to agree on terms for digital rights. Serial sci-fi drama Almost Human, for example, is produced by Warner Bros. Television, though it’s broadcast on Fox—WBTV only makes five episodes available at a time. Revolution—another Warner Bros. show—trails five as well. It’s hard to imagine these shows wouldn’t benefit from a greater digital presence, but the value proposition for Hulu is strong, too.

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Production Companies Can Influence TV Networks


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