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Should TV Networks Put Pilots Online For Judgement Like Amazon Is Doing?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the prime-time-programming-brought-to-you-by-4chan dept.

Television 128

An anonymous reader writes "EW debates how broadcasters might (and might not) benefit from letting the Internet help decide which of their pilots get series orders (like Amazon is doing with their new original content efforts). If NBC had posted its pilots online, would we have been spared 'Animal Practice'? It's an interesting idea, but not without faults: 'According to Nielsen’s research, the vast majority of TV viewing is still on a traditional set. Having pilots judged by online viewers would give networks a skewed sense of what might work in the fall — the entire broadcast schedule might be nothing but sci-fi shows, tween-lit adaptions and whatever Joss Whedon wants to do ... "If something isn’t picked up, for whatever reason, but people really liked it, that could be a problem," one network insider said. "Or if people hated something, and we pick it up — again, for whatever reason — you’re starting off on a bad note." ... Noted a major network programming researcher: "Great pilots don’t always make great television series." Conversely, if you’re a network executive, you usually don’t need millions of people to tell you a show sucks."

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128 comments

Only if... (4, Funny)

Beorytis (1014777) | about a year ago | (#43560537)

...they follow Bennett Haselton's forthcoming advice on how to improve the process.

Re:Only if... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43562001)

Who cares what pilots think, it's the flight engineers whose opinions count!

"traditional set" (3, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about a year ago | (#43560539)

I watch all of my TV on a traditional set.... through a HTPC running XBMC. All my shows grabbed using SickBeard on a server. It's like a massive DVR machine. Also just added NetFlix to the mix for Movies and Arrested Development.

Re:"traditional set" (2)

Formorian (1111751) | about a year ago | (#43560795)

If you're using SB, why not just get Arrested Development and use CouchPotatoe for your movies. Then you can cut Netflix. I mean if you don't care about legitimate ways to get your entertainment.

Not judging as I also have SB installed. As far as well new season of AD only on netflix, I'll just point out the Amazon pilots were up and out online very fast.

Re:"traditional set" (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about a year ago | (#43561225)

Because Netflix took the initiative to do stuff like AD and House of Cards. I figure I'd reward them for it.

I'm explicitly not rewarding my cable company for giving me Showtime/HBO along with 9 channels of QVC, a few religious stations and a ton of other crap I don't want. As h4rr4r has pointed out if they come along with something I might.

Plus most of the TV shows I watch are OTA. I just consider Sickbeard an alternative to MythTV and much easier to use.

Re:"traditional set" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43562849)

I'm explicitly not rewarding my cable company for giving me Showtime/HBO along with 9 channels of QVC

Bullshit, HBO and Showtime are premium channels which are purchased apart from any particular package/plan you signed up for.

And since you seem completely clueless, your cable company has been fighting for years to try and get a la carte deals on channels, and have spent a shitload of money lobbying Congress to try and get them to step in. But the media companies have deeper pockets and more influence, so for the time being if the cable provider wants to carry popular channel A, they have to include less popular channels B,C, & D, on specific service tiers, and unpopular channels E through M on all the packages.

Re:"traditional set" (2)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | about a year ago | (#43562967)

I like how you dis him then say what he was obviously inferring: that he does want à la carte (HBO and Shotime, specifically) and not the garbage channels (9 channels of QVC, a few religious stations and a ton of other crap). Comprehension, much?

Re:"traditional set" (3, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | about a year ago | (#43560811)

All my shows grabbed using SickBeard on a server.

And the networks don't care one bit about your opinion as you provide them no revenue opportunity.

Re:"traditional set" (3, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43560857)

Because they don't offer a product he wants.

If HBO would offer an rss feed to torrents of Game Of Thrones that they approve of, I would pay far out the ass. I will pay slightly less for HBO go without cable, and nothing at all for HBO on cable.

Re:"traditional set" (3, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#43561055)

I'm paying for HBO on cable because I am willing to pay for what they offer, but I still get their stuff via SickBeard and watch it off my NAS because it's way more convenient. Something for them to think about.

Re:"traditional set" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561829)

Something for them to think about.

They dont. In their mind you're a dirty stinkin' pirate. You could also pay for cable, buy the DVD's and Bluray of GOT, they still would sue you for infringment if catch you downloading ANYTHING.

Re:"traditional set" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43562503)

Game Of Thrones is available via Vimeo, if you want to pay far out the ass.

First let me buy your shows without cable (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43560561)

Before you do that, let me buy your shows without cable. For maybe half the cost of the dvd, unless it includes one at the end of the season. 24 hour delay is about the most I could see tolerating for that kind of expense. More delay, would decrease the value of the program to me.

Re:First let me buy your shows without cable (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#43560849)

you can on itunes
but its $1.99 or $2.99 per episode so you might as well pay for cable if the show is not on Hulu

Re:First let me buy your shows without cable (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43560885)

You will note that this does not match my pricing requirements.

I will never pay for cable. I will not pay to watch advertising. Same reason I will watch Hulu free and not ever pay for it. If they dropped the ads for paying customers. I would have signed up already.

Re:First let me buy your shows without cable (2)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#43561095)

Exactly, best case you'll end up paying $50 for a 26 episode season, that you can watch ONCE. Box set would cost the same and you'd own them.

Re:First let me buy your shows without cable (2)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#43561319)

The box set can also be stripped of it's DRM and converted to any format and played on any device or app you want.

Re:First let me buy your shows without cable (1)

Zordak (123132) | about a year ago | (#43561709)

Most shows I just watch on Netflix, without commercials, whenever they're available. I get Dr. Who on iTunes because I don't want to wait for it. For a season of 15 episodes, I'm paying $30. $45 if I want it in HD (which I won't get on DVD). It's a pretty reasonable price. And that's not a one-time rental. I keep the episodes. I have every episode since the 2005 reboot and a good collection of the classics, available to watch whenever I feel like it. It's really not a bad deal.

Pricing models (1)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#43562105)

Exactly, best case you'll end up paying $50 for a 26 episode season, that you can watch ONCE. Box set would cost the same and you'd own them.

Not true... at least, not if someone actually came out with a fair pricing model. I know that Hulu, cable companies, et al are getting tons for advertising, but they're not getting that much per viewing. Advertising is effective, but it isn't that effective. They'd never be able to maintain advertisers if they charged that much. It just wouldn't be worth it to advertise.

No, the reasons for those exorbitant prices (or advertising) are contractual. The studios can't sell boxed sets if the show is easier to get across the Internet. They're pricing themselves out of one revenue source because they're not willing to give up on another that they falsely perceive is more profitable.

Re:First let me buy your shows without cable (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43561627)

You don't pay to watch advertising, you pay to have a signal brought into a home. you pay for the SERVICE. Advertising pays for the shows.
It's always been that way.

Hulu would need to be 100+ dollars a month to drop advertising and have a decent selections of shows. Would you pay that?

Re:First let me buy your shows without cable (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43561657)

I do not pay for a service that has advertising.

I do not care how you want to rationalize it.

Netflix has more selection than Hulu and costs less than $100/month. Advertisers are not paying Hulu anything like $100/month/user.

Re:First let me buy your shows without cable (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | about a year ago | (#43562991)

what about the old stuff that netflix offers the same version of without advertising?

Re:First let me buy your shows without cable (3, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about a year ago | (#43562997)

Bullshit.

When my parents first signed up for cable it cost $5 a month during the mid '80s. There were about 30 stations available. When they canceled their Cable in favor of DirecTV the selections were like 70 and the cost per month had risen to about $70 a month, IIRC. The cost of the cabling was mostly paid for in the '80s and the maintenance should be substantially less than the cost of putting out all the cable, especially given the crap quality.

So, my question is, what precisely is it that caused the cost of the service to increase by over 1000%? Because it sure as hell wasn't the result of them spending more money on service alone.

Don't need people to tell you? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560567)

Conversely, if you’re a network executive, you usually don’t need millions of people to tell you a show sucks."

As history has shown, clearly the Fox executives *do*

Re:Don't need people to tell you? (2)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#43561003)

I would say maybe. The shows that Fox cancel tend to be cult shows. That is, a show with a few, deep, passionate fans. Advertisers tend to care more about how many people watch – they don’t care if the passion is a inch deep if it is a mile wide.

And on a side note, there are issues with customer feedback. Their good at identifying things that are wrong but are bad at identifying things that are good, so it is of limited use. When presented with something new, something that breaks the mold, feedback audiences always giver lower scores then to normal, comfortable stuff. Give them a few episodes and a little white to think – and often you get very different answers.

Re:Don't need people to tell you? (3, Informative)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#43561609)

I would disagree with this. Firefly is the perfect example - the ratings where horrible but the box set sales were phenomenal, I worked at a video store when it was released, it was one of the most profitable TV rentals in the store behind Sopranos. Farscape is another example... executives have no clue what to do with it because "it has puppets so it must be for kids" but then it also has adult plot lines - their answer: bury it. It probably would have done much better on DVD if they hadn't made the stupid choice of putting it on for $130-170 per season. Now it's $60 for the series and getting better reviews than SG1 which ran for 10 seasons + spin offs.

Granted sci-fi isn't for everyone - there are a LOT of stupid people out there who would rather watch reality shows but geeks consume content like no other stereotype I know ;)

The fact is that cult shows are breakout hits waiting to happen - they just need to be given the proper chance/venue/exposure.

Re:Don't need people to tell you? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43561647)

No, Fox has driopped good rated shows. Becasue lower rated. but cheaper shows can make more money.

Re:Don't need people to tell you? (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#43562467)

Don't confuse Fox News with Fox Everthing Else (tho Fox News also addresses a "niche" larger than CNN by far).

Fox did this with Glee -- a summer replacement of 6 episodes they put on Hulu too, which had such monster viewings just on the first episode, it got immediately pulled and programmed for the fall.

It helps their target demographic is late boomers and Gen X nostalgia, what with them entering their prime earning years.

Misleading Title (1)

rolledtaco (2908497) | about a year ago | (#43560601)

I was hoping that this was going to be about putting Airline pilots on trial.. my PDX > DFW flight yesterday almost killed me.

I fail to see the problem with this (1)

nottestuser (166818) | about a year ago | (#43560611)

"the entire broadcast schedule might be nothing but sci-fi shows, tween-lit adaptions and whatever Joss Whedon wants to do"

Can someone point it out?

Re:I fail to see the problem with this (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43560693)

Sadly, I think the exact opposite would happen. "let the mob vote", when enough of the mob notices the process, tends to result in very bland things.. it is design by comity taken to an even greater extreme.... larger number of people with even less domain knowledge.

Re:I fail to see the problem with this (2)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | about a year ago | (#43560769)

You are correct. The problem is that people don't know what they want. But perhaps, if they tried, the networks would find that "Box of Puppies" and "Pictures of Cats with Funny Captions" are their highest rated programs.

Re:I fail to see the problem with this (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43560833)

Would easily be more entertaining than Deadliest Swamp Ice Road Trucker Catch People.

Re:I fail to see the problem with this (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43560995)

It is actually a known problem in game design, often players do not know what they want, and when they get too much say in the game design you end up with 'i-win' buttons and players quickly getting bored.

Re:I fail to see the problem with this (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#43561161)

Aha! All those years of them trying to turn the Web into TV... and we'd turn TV into the Web!

Re:I fail to see the problem with this (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | about a year ago | (#43561475)

The real problem is that the networks are blind to alternate demographic groups. They would rather compete head to head for a slice of 18-35 year-olds who watch TV on Thursday nights than to expand overall viewership. Shows like Battlestar Galactica, Ugly Betty, or The Bible were hits because they reach audiences that don't watch shows like Friends. The networks have a real opportunity to find out nor only what shows people want to watch, but also who wants to watch them. When people vote on pilots, they could also fill out a survey of other shows they watch. If a network knows a show might only get mediocre ratings, but it is liked by 45% of sci-fi geeks who watch no other network television, (and who, by the way, buy a fuck ton of DVDs) it might get picked up. I think it could be a significant draw for advertisers to any network who can deliver an audience that can not otherwise be reached.

The other problem is that networks still haven't figured out that time slots do not matter if they put on good shows. DVRs mean never having to choose favorites.

Re:I fail to see the problem with this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560713)

YES! no. YES!

I'll put up with the tween-lit adaptations if I can get the first and last.

Too Early to tell (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560625)

This could succeed. Or it could fail spectacularly. No one really knows what will happen with this so Amazon is trying to be the first mover. But I guess we'll know soon enough now that someone is trying this approach.

Re:Too Early to tell (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#43561133)

IDK look at other such systems, like say American Idol, the finalists are usually pretty bland pop singers. The outlier unique singers are the first to go.

Consumers want attention (2)

hhawk (26580) | about a year ago | (#43560629)

yes. of course, and if something doesn't get picked up, they can crowd source fund a few episodes.. and they should use more of the British model where a 'season' might be just 3 to 4 episodes.. all done with quality..

They should sign people up for subscriptions and allow them to watch anywhere, any time.. and be part of the process of picking what they wil be watching.. after all if you ask nicely most people will tell you what they think.

They are basically creating content (by buying it or paying for it) and then finding advertisers to fund it.. that's a model that easier to do online than offline, esp. now that people are time shifting, Etc. They need to forget that they are going out Over The Air and start to incorporate everything they can do when they to OTT (over the top)..

what is... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560643)

what is ...tv...

Depends on your target audience (2)

almitydave (2452422) | about a year ago | (#43560645)

The summary makes a good point that the sample audience could have very different tastes than the target audience. I think it's probably a good idea for shows that are intended to be released online, in the same format as the pilot is previewed.

Conversely, if you’re a network executive, you usually don’t need millions of people to tell you a show sucks.

Apparently, you do, based on how many TV shows utterly fail due to poor ratings. But here's the problem: TV (especially sitcoms and reality TV) aren't about making quality entertainment, they're about ratings. Some network exec thought Animal Practice would make money, not necessarily be a quality show. TV is primarily a business, not a medium for artistic expression. Internet TV is not that different, but Amazon's approach could give shows a chance that otherwise would have been nixed by an exec that guessed wrong.

Re:Depends on your target audience (2)

almitydave (2452422) | about a year ago | (#43560691)

Addendum: A broadcast network could do an online pilot followed by online trial run for presumably much lower cost (and not sacrificing a prime time slot for an experiment), and then move to broadcast if it proved popular. I suspect that's an approach they're more likely to follow.

Re:Depends on your target audience (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#43560711)

The problem is 'quality' is subjective. Rating are a reflection on what a whole bunch of people consider good quality, which may or may not match up with what other people think is or isn't.

Re:Depends on your target audience (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43560735)

What you mean is it excludes the old folks who sit at home all day.

Ratings is not the only thing they measure, at some points it better to have lower ratings, make less total revenue, but more profit by having a cheaper show.

They have X hours to fill to make the most profit possible. If Show Z gets 100% of viewers but only breaks since it costs a fortune to make they will cancel it. If can get 50% of their traget audience to watch Dancing with Idols which costs nothing to make they will replace Show Z with that ASAP.

Re:Depends on your target audience (1)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43561531)

Apparently, you do, based on how many TV shows utterly fail due to poor ratings.

Poor ratings are no indication that the show sucked. And the approval of millions of people is no indication of quality.

Re:Depends on your target audience (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43561665)

TV shows are pulled for 2 reasons:

1) They don't make enough money
2) The money they make isn't enough.

Re:Depends on your target audience (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#43561681)

Apparently, you do, based on how many TV shows utterly fail due to poor ratings.

It's worth pointing out that viewership is a generally a zero sum game. Not all shows can have great ratings, and the shows that do have great ratings are doing so by drawing viewers away from the other shows, thus resulting in those other ones having lower ratings.

What they need to be doing is growing their viewership, since then everyone wins by simply having more eyeballs on their content. And while traditional boob tube watching is still the norm, it's on the decline while the likes of Hulu and Netflix are on a steep incline. Putting shows online may help them to find audiences that wouldn't have found them otherwise, which may mean that something that's high quality but not flashy may have the chance to succeed.

Absolutely! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560687)

Four words: Goatse The TV Series

Re:Absolutely! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560887)

Ep 1 guest starring The Lemon Party.
Ep 2 guest starring Tubgirl.

What I want to see (2)

portwojc (201398) | about a year ago | (#43560705)

I want a TV series of just pilots or things that got picked up but were canned and never shown. Stuff like that. If done right it could be entertaining. Give some details on it before it shows. Who knows there could be a winner lurking in there and it would get the attention it deserves.

the problem is (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | about a year ago | (#43560715)

the way they do it now is easily considered to be more fundamentally flawed, and that's by using focus groups. there is no possible way you can with any level of accuracy gauge how well a TV show or movie is going to perform by sampling such a tiny group of people.

Re:the problem is (1)

nabsltd (1313397) | about a year ago | (#43561571)

the way they do it now is easily considered to be more fundamentally flawed, and that's by using focus groups. there is no possible way you can with any level of accuracy gauge how well a TV show or movie is going to perform by sampling such a tiny group of people.

Much of the "focus group" mentality was caused by Friends and ER.

That was the first time after "the big three" had become "the big four" and also had competition from cable TV that not just one but two shows had stormed out of the gates as the #1 show in their category (comedy/drama) and kept that spot for an extended period of time. Although this sort of thing did happen when there was a lot fewer choices, once there was some competition, it always took a few episodes (and sometimes many more, like for Seinfeld and Cheers for shows to catch on.

This is why it is very hard for "cult" shows to survive...the network won't give the audience a chance to build. The exceptions are usually shows that the network has a large amount of stake in the production. And, that also explains why there are some fairly bad shows that don't get cancelled nearly as quickly as they should. If the WB/CW hadn't devolved into the "tween targeting" network, it might have been able to give us more quality shows that need time to catch on. Cable networks are now the only chance for that, and the premium networks (HBO, etc.) seem to rely too much on the fact that they don't have to censor as much to keep some of the audience. Seriously, without the sex and nudity, it's likely that Game of Thrones would be another minor blip in the sci-fi/fantasy genre.

Do it as a microeconomics experiment... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560725)

Free for the first week, $0.50 the next week, $1.00 for the next week, ...

You should get a reasonable price and demand curve...

Re:Do it as a microeconomics experiment... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43560777)

Too high.

Even for shows I watch now I would wait for the DVD before paying those prices.

Make it free, then go up to whatever the advertisers pay per set of eyeballs watching. Each week double the cost until you hit that maximum.

Should McDonalds sell vet services? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560741)

Hey, as long as we're asking "Should [random business] do [something pulled out of the rectal database]."-type questions.

Re:Should McDonalds sell vet services? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43560923)

Yes, they already have a natural use for any failed procedures or pet that simply had to be put down. This would not noticeably impact the quality of their food and would make the veterinary care more affordable to their customers.

Re:Should McDonalds sell vet services? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561357)

This would not noticeably impact the quality of their food

You don't think it would improve at least a little?

Use Standard Channels but for a Large # of Pilots (3, Interesting)

Araes (1177047) | about a year ago | (#43560747)

Internet may give you a skewed audience, but there's nothing saying you couldn't just create a large base set of pilots, show all the pilots during a set of "Preview Weeks!" at the beginning of the year, or over the summer, and then pick up those ones that poll well or reasonably for the fall semester.

Re:Use Standard Channels but for a Large # of Pilo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561153)

Over the summer would be awesome. Less reruns. With modern seasons so short, it would make up the difference. It sucks that 80s tv shows had 26 episodes or something and today we get 18 if we're lucky.

How's that so bad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560789)

"...the entire broadcast schedule might be nothing but sci-fi shows, tween-lit adaptions and whatever Joss Whedon wants to do .."

As horrible as tween-lit adaptions sounds, if it comes as a package with one-third of what's on tv being "whatever Joss Whedon wants to do" I could live with the trade-off. Hell, I might even get cable again for that.

Re:How's that so bad? (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#43561191)

Because despite how we see ourselves, we are not an ideal demographic for shows.
Scifi shows are one of the most expensive genres to make, and the good ones often need talented (expensive) people to make them, and then lack the mass appeal.

It's the same reason why when you hear they are "attracting a larger audience", it means they are dumbing it down.

The average TV watcher probably does not care for more stuff like Firefly, while those that do have moved onto other platforms for their content.

Re:How's that so bad? (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43561685)

OTOH, we are a demographic full of people with extra spending cash.

Re:How's that so bad? (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about a year ago | (#43561797)

those that do have moved onto other platforms for their content

Personally, I'll move to any platform to get more Firefly.

YOu know.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560791)

You know, I'm asking myself more and more - why do I come here to Slashdot.

I locked myself out of my account long ago because I'm an ego maniac karma whore and I though limiting myself to an AC would help.

No.

I come here read or skim over what most of the time amounts to PR bullshit, make a comment - I try to be funny ( funny mods are my favorite) - and well I'm here.

I think I have an addiction because -example here - there really is no value to Slashdot anymore.

Back in the 90s whe we read this site in the snow up hilll - both ways- it WAS a great consolidation of IT news: security, releases, MS BS, interesting Flamwars with the Apple Fanboys and everyone else, MS haters and everyone else, ...

Now, it's PR central with a few IT news items.

And yet I come back.

Is there a 12 step program for Slashdot junkies?

Hi! I'm AC! *Hello AC*

And I'm a Slashdot junkie!

Let me tell you how it's ruined my life ...

I call people Trolls when I don't agree with them.

I say it's FUD when I don't like what they say.

I think the Penguin should be the national bird.

I have petitioned the Vatican a few times about making Linus a Saint. They have a restraining order against me.

I have thrown chairs at Steve Balmer - his picture - and put holes in my walls.

I love and hate Steve Jobs.

I cycle between loving and hating Google 80 times a day.

My life is a mess all because of Slashdot.

Arguing with people in my life, I demand cites - links. And when they can't give it to me, I flame them.

My life is ruined.

I want to sue Slashdot for a patent violation - I don't know what for - but based on my addiction, suing for patents is the bestest thing to to do.

BWeededeee3deeddedeeededeeeed

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560823)

No. The traditional networks should go on doing things as they have. As they lose relevance, audiance share and advertising clout, they should negotiate the best deal they can for their legacy trademarks and sell out to their successors.

There's more to a good series than entertainment (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43560835)

The model is to put something on the air, on the cable or on the net which will cause people to stop doing anything else and to focus their attention on the content. This enables the content providers to add their own other content to mix in with the stream. This enables them to influence our knowledge, perception, thoughts, beliefs and ideals. MOST of the time, the additional content is advertising which does all of the afore mentioned with the purpose of getting people to buy things.

SO. With that said, it is most efficient to create content which most interesting to the people that buy the most and are most easily influenced.

This is why the good shows don't last while crap shows stay on forever and are replicated over and over and over again.

The exception is when "the content is the product" of course, but that's a rather rare in the grand scheme of things.

Re:There's more to a good series than entertainmen (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43561089)

That is becoming less and less rare. Netflix, HBO, Showtime are all now producing content that is the product. Without any advertising other than for more of their own content on the last two.

HELL YES. (2)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#43560839)

nothing but sci-fi shows, and whatever Joss Whedon wants to do.

You're saying that like it's a bad thing. I might end up buying a TV.

Re:HELL YES. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561603)

I'd switch cable providers for this. And we only have one cable provider!

1600 Penn (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a year ago | (#43560895)

If NBC had posted its pilots online, would we have been spared 'Animal Practice'?

Probably not. But I suspect we definitely would have been spared 1600 Penn. Geesh, what a disaster that show was.

Nielsen would have made a good pilot in Airplane. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43560975)

Leslie Nielsen would have made a good pilot in Airplane, but he ended up just playing the doctor. Still funny with NEILSEN in a movie about PILOTS. .....

Joss Whedon (1)

thetagger (1057066) | about a year ago | (#43560977)

and whatever Joss Whedon wants to do

And that is bad how?

skip the pilot, make the show (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561063)

almost always I can't tell how good the season is going to be from only the first show..

Moot To Say The Least (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561075)

With all that being alive has to offer, why would any sentient human being desire to passively sit and view a box that presents animated images?

Such an activity is fit only for the moribund and catatonic.

Pardon me, but I've little precious time to waste on this incredibly inane issue (I'm surprised that I even made this post).

Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561097)

"Conversely, if you’re a network executive, you usually don’t need millions of people to tell you a show sucks."

Firefly.

Done.

No. 2 reasons. (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#43561115)

Answer to any news item headline posted as a question is always no.

Anser to 'do like amazon' is also always no. Whats good for Amazon is has never been good for the rest of us. The company has absolute no redeeming quality that justifies the evil they carry with them. The difference between Amazon and Oracle is that Oracle doesn't hide the fact that you're getting raped. Amazon likes to pretend their your friend and do it without you noticing if they can.

Re:No. 2 reasons. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43561699)

Yes, raped with that free shipping and cheaper prices. Gosh those evil bastard.

WTF dude?

What problem? (1)

dramaley (20773) | about a year ago | (#43561193)

the entire broadcast schedule might be nothing but sci-fi shows, tween-lit adaptions and whatever Joss Whedon wants to do

I'm not so sure about the "tween-lit adaptions", but as for the rest i'm not seeing any problem here, other than that i might want to subscribe to cable again. And is having a compelling enough line-up to make me want to subscribe really a problem?

Self Confirmation Bias (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#43561227)

According to Nielsen’s research, the vast majority of TV viewing is still on a traditional set.

The Nielsen company also indicates that Nielsen ratings remain the premier audience measurement metric in the modern world and will remain so regardless of new, internet-based fads.

Better Idea (2)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about a year ago | (#43561235)

Let the networks die with the rest of the Luddites and their business models. I'll happily continue to consume my niche entertainment streaming a la carte from the likes of Netflix and Amazon. I have no interest in hundreds of channels worth of mass consensus crap. I have even less interest when its for ridiculous sums of money.

Yeah, shows direct to internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43562287)

Put the shows streaming directly on the internet. User IP addresses allow you to target for advertizing. If they're popular, they'll easily pay for themselves. You also get better viewership stats and data, no need for Nielsen or any cable companies as a middleman. Also shows aren't burdened by awful scheduling which may limit viewers, and if you're clever enough you can go international instead of being region-locked and making everyone else wait a few months (or a week for bootleg copies).

But good luck. You're competing against the likes of YouTube and Vimeo. And their "good" channels are getting more pro every year.

No, lots of people have terrible taste. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561267)

Case in point, Two and a Half Men...

Redneck Interwebs (1)

Y2K is bogus (7647) | about a year ago | (#43561281)

Their argument is stupid and pointless.

There are plenty of people who only enjoy watching honey booboo that have the interwebs, unfortunately the rest of us have to suffer the side effects of stupid management.

I'm really baffled how shows like 24 stay on the air for years, and shows like The Agency, Jericho, and Terra Nova get canceled?

I'm sick of the real catty housewives of the next urban location. I'm tired of Dodgy the bountiful hunter, and every lame "re-enacted" reality shows like Operacion Repo.

Funny thing, one of the biggest offenders was called "Real TV", but there was too much reality and they went to "truTV".

Reality happens in real life, there isn't anything "real" on TV, it's either streamed with factual errors and no supporting information, "produced", or "re-enacted", nobody show "reality" because it wouldn't be salacious or dramatic enough.

Re:Redneck Interwebs (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43561743)

Here, let me explain:
  24 - Good

  The Agency, Jericho, and Terra Nova - Crap.

And I mean objectively. The writing the filming the acting.
even though I didn't like 24 for subjective reason,it was much better technically then those other shows.

"I'm sick of the real catty housewives of the next urban location. I'm tired of Dodgy the bountiful hunter, and every lame "re-enacted" reality shows like Operacion Repo."
I agree, but they are cheap to make so they can make a lot of maybe for the studios even with lower ratings. So they keep trying that model.
However there end is near. People are getting tired of many of them.

Re:Redneck Interwebs (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#43561919)

I gave up on reality TV when I realized it wasn't reality. And, I mean NONE of it. Even "that show we think is different" is staged. Normal life has too many mundane moments which is too much of an impetus for a producer to inject drama.

But, I don't think the TV audience cares! There's that Amish Mafia show that is OBVIOUSLY faked, but people watch anyway.

YAY! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561309)

"the entire broadcast schedule might be nothing but sci-fi shows, tween-lit adaptions and whatever Joss Whedon wants to do"

I'll take the tween-lit if I can have the other two!

Skewed sense of what might work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561365)

Having pilots judged by online viewers would give networks a skewed sense of what might work in the fall — the entire broadcast schedule might be nothing but sci-fi shows, tween-lit adaptions and whatever Joss Whedon wants to do ...

So why is this a problem?

Re:Skewed sense of what might work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43561621)

Okay, what the hell is a Joss Whedon, and why should I care?

Probably not. (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#43561413)

Some pilots get shown to execs, green-lighted, and are then shot again to be the first episode the public sees, generally also known as a "pilot." Quality between the two can vary greatly. As much as we like to bash studio execs, they do know they're seeing a potentially "rough" version the first time through and will allow for that. The general public probably won't. Before there's a money commitment, quality will probably be below average. The result would be a lot of shows with mediocre production values getting trashed and nearly nothing getting approved.

What do you mean 'Should'? (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | about a year ago | (#43561567)

Every pilot season the torrent sites are full with new pilots, I was under the impression 'leaking' those was a matter of policy.

And if they're not using the information from those torrents they're bigger idiots than I give them credit for.

Re:What do you mean 'Should'? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year ago | (#43561751)

How would you use the information? How would they gather it?

Re:What do you mean 'Should'? (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | about a year ago | (#43562037)

The number of leechers and seeders is available to everyone, the media already uses that as a measure of popularity.
Other than that I'd imagine they have deals with social networks to check how often their products are mentioned, which adjectives are used in context with them and such.

Will They Survive if they Don't? (1)

AJH16 (940784) | about a year ago | (#43561867)

At the rate things are going, the main reason people still watch TV on cable is sports and the lack of content being broadcast directly on the Internet. NetFlix and Amazon Instant Video are changing the landscape. With two different content providers now producing their own shows, it's only a matter of time before other studios will either have to open up to online distribution or be left behind. When that happens, cable/satellite TV will only have sports left.

yes, well, don't care (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about a year ago | (#43561955)

"Should TV Networks Put Pilots Online For Judgement Like Amazon Is Doing?"

Does it matter? The content selection process is only one of the many things wrong with broadcast TV. They could do this and maybe survive another year or two, but in the medium-long run it will not matter.

Couldn't Hurt: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43562083)

A major network will be looking for a show that can sustain x number of million people per show and they have to build up hype months in advance. Building up hype by releasing the pilots and letting social media take care of some of the work gives you free advertising and another crowd watching sample to analyze.

Wrong question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43562295)

The right question is not whether TV networks should post pilots for the public to judge, it's whether the production companies/studios that make the shows should post them so that public approval gets the show greenlighted by a studio.

Cartoon Network did this a long time ago (2)

guises (2423402) | about a year ago | (#43562323)

I remember the Cartoon Network did a bunch of shorts more than fifteen years ago that people were supposed to vote on (by phone, because that's how we rolled back then). Johnny Bravo was the winner (deserved. I know it got bad later on, but that original short and the start of the series were funny as hell), Cow and Chicken and the Powerpuff Girls also came out of this little experiment. Maybe more, I don't remember.

I thought this was a brilliant way of coming up with new shows and it seemed successful from my perspective, but I don't think they ever did it again.

Why bother? (1)

xyourfacekillerx (939258) | about a year ago | (#43562387)

Intuitively I don't think that would be useful in the long term. I think they would get *some* data from edge cases, as people shift from one demographic to the other, but for the most part, they wouldn't get good data from the demographic as a whole. I mean, I only seek out or tolerate variation to my recreational media sources when that source is no longer an option or I become suddenly disinterested and need a change. Like my music tastes have varied consistent along with my age consistent with most demarcations of marketing demographics used by the industry.

I listened to punk ages 15-18. I listened to youth crew ages 18-22. I listened to metalcore 22-26. Now I listen to emo-rock. A lot of models say these age groups are when genre interests do not change, but that those who go from one group to the other, their genre interests DO change. When I was 20, do you think I would have ever sought out emo-rock? I don't go out of my way to discover new stuff when I'm settled in the middle of my demographic. I've already got my tv line-up figured out for the week. Why go pilot voting? What's my incentive? Why give up my already valuable time? How often do your entertainment needs change?

Besides, TV is not like movies and books. I have never been captivated by a single TV episode, but I have thoroughly rejected a lot of series based on a single episode. I've also thought a series was worthless but after repeated exposure I became a fan. Now, books, I can always tell if I'm going to like something within a few pages. I can always tell with movies whether I've made a mistake.

You might say that the episodic novel strategy on Amazon is similar to TV series' production and distribution, but I disagree. Just think: TV shows utilize multiple directors, writers, producers, plotlines, cast, character, setting (depending on the type of show); it's unpredictable, what draws us to books is cohesive of some element, like a character development or continuing conflict waiting to be resolved. A lot of tv series can make fans based on viewing a randomly selected episode; cohesion may be a necessary element of tv show, but it is not the primary draw.

I'm sure their house mathematicians, psychologists, risk managers, and marketers have already told the execs that it won't work. Hopefully their outside consultants also will agree.

Fuck Nielsen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43562435)

Fuck Nielsen. They have no room to talk about poor sampling!

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