1. The Network Fall Schedules Are Out This Week
TV’s fall schedules were released this week, and as this article from Deadline reveals, there are a few things worth taking note of.
Why It Matters
To begin with, there are multiple shows from streaming networks debuting this fall, everything from Hulu to Netflix to YouTube.
Then there’s the fact that the broadcast networks have a sizable line-up of shows that have been returning for many, many seasons, that, with a few exceptions, never get talked about by the people who talk about TV.
ETA: This piece from Axios, which looks at both the interest in, and press coverage of, the HBO Blue Team hit, Succession, and the WWE Red Team hit, WWE Raw, puts some numbers to this thesis.
Which would be well and good, only those shows tend to pull in audiences that are above and beyond those of the streaming and premium cable shows that are getting all that buzz.
This is not a new issue—much was made back in the day about the amount of press AMC’s Mad Men got, despite the fact that the show often did not break the one million viewer mark. (The broadcast networks were not happy.)
Today, however, we are at the point where we practically have a two-tier system of television, where the elite live in their (largely ad-free) bubble of Flixes and premium cable networks while the (far more numerous) hoi polloi tune in to the collection of reality TV, drama and sitcoms that the broadcast networks churn out nightly.
This gap cleaves along the lines of social class and education, which further plays out in the “TV Is Dead” storyline which is mostly propagated by the types of people who don’t know anyone who watches Blue Bloods (about to start Season 10 on CBS) or Superstore (Season 5 on NBC) and who thus assume that no one else watches linear broadcast anymore.
Because, you know, no one they know does.
This is of course, magical thinking and something I called “NASCAR Blindness” in a piece written some 11 years ago about how the ad industry often ignores entire audiences if they are not primarily affluent and coastal.
What the Deadline article does show us is that TV is in a period of massive transition, as viewers struggle to make sense of the unprecedented number of choices they now have, a number that promises to grow exponentially over the next year or so, as five new multibillion dollar services come on the scene.
That boom (you may have heard us call it the “Flixcopalypse” once or twice, lol) is really going to shake things up as viewers flit between all the available options as they figure out where they fit in this new universe and where their various “tribes” can be found.
What You Need To Do About It
If you’ve been talking smack about how TV is dead, maybe check the ratings on some of the shows on that list. You’ll find that there are tens of millions of people under the age of 60 still watching linear TV on the broadcast networks and that those broadcast networks are still making money hand over fist from the advertising they’re selling on their shows.
(To save you from having to Google it: “[In 2019] the networks secured between $9.6 billion and $10.8 billion for primetime, according to Variety estimates, compared with $9.1 billion and $10.06 billion in last year’s haggle”)
So there’s that.
If you’re interested in expanding your horizons beyond what you usually watch—check out some of the shows on that Deadline list. It’s pretty all-encompassing, from CBS and NBC all the way to Facebook Live and YouTube.
If you’re a broadcast network, we’ve got a report on addressable TV advertising coming out next month. Given that your world is (slowly but surely) changing, you might want to check it out. And remember, we do boot camps and educational seminars too.
2. Tubi Goes To Oz
Tubi, the leading independent FAST (Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV Service) is going to launch in Australia on September 1st, bringing its lightly ad-supported blend of library TV programming and movies to the land down under. Where women glow and men plunder.
Why It Matters
When they are done glowing and plundering, it’s likely that Australian viewers will find themselves as enamored of Tubi’s offerings (7,000 episodes and movies to start) as American viewers are.
As we’ve noted before, it’s comfort food TV and doesn’t require the level of commitment that starting a new series on Netflix does.
It’s also notable in that Tubi is beginning its international expansion relatively quickly in its life cycle, which shows how much the industry has come to realize that TV is truly an international business and establishing a presence outside of the U.S. is critical.
Australia is a good choice because it already has a well developed streaming scene and Telstra, the island continent’s leading MVPD, will distribute Tubi via its white labeled Roku boxes.
What You Need To Do About It
If you’re the trade press, you probably want to mention that Tubi’s “20 million viewers” number is self-reported. Not that we think they’re likely that far off, but still….
If you’re one of the other FASTS, you’ll also want to think about international expansion.
If you’re Apple, you have even more reason to buy Tubi right now. Because really, no one is going to subscribe to your service long-term if it doesn’t come with a sizable library of TV and movie content.
If you’re Australian, definitely check Tubi out. Chances are there’s something on there you’ve been meaning to rewatch. And the commercials will likely be much better targeted.