Summer Reality and Repeats! What Are the Broadcast Networks Thinking?

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How much money would you fork over for ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC (and their Canadian counterparts CTV, City and Global) if they went streaming only? It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as I fall more and more in love with Netflix. $4.99 per month? $7.99 per month? $9.99 per month? Wait, don’t answer that. Or at least before you do, why not take a look at what some of the aformentioned networks are airing tonight. And herein lies the problem.

Your standard summer fare of reality television and repeats used to suffice because, let’s face it, there were no other viewing options. Thankfully, Netflix (and to a lesser extent, their Canadian counterparts, Shomi and CraveTV) are changing the game. So much so that if the broadcast networks insist on continuing down this traditional road of linear scheduling, they might as well schedule themselves an appointment with irrelevancy.

There is a reason Netflix stock opened this morning at north of $600 (Dramatically pause for a moment to remember that time when I almost bought Netflix at a mere $50 per share!). For a mere $7.99 per month (Canadian), TV Addicts such as myself have a plethora of awesome options available at the click of a button. GRACE AND FRANKIE, BLOODLINES, HOUSE OF CARDS, the return of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK and the upcoming WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER and SENSE8 to name a few. Contrast that to some of the new offerings that the broadcast nets have up their sleeve this summer.

FOX: WAYWARD PINES
CBS: ZOO, UNDER THE DOME, EXTANT
NBC: AQUARIUS, HANNIBAL, WELCOME TO SWEDEN
THE CW: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
ABC: THE WHISPERS, THE ASTRONAUT WIVES CLUB, MISTRESSES, ROOKIE BLUE

Would any of these channel’s summer offering warrant $7.99 per month (Or, since these shows aren’t streaming in full, a three month commitment of $24 each!) Unless you’re a Kristin Kreuk superfan, I think you know the answer to that.

But wait, there’s more!

Rather then end my little rant on a downer-of-a-note that does little but to knock the broadcast nets when they’re already down, I thought I’d take the opportunity to offer up a solution they might consider offering in an effort to keep viewers tuned into their channel between now and September. It’s simple really. Offer a streaming only Netflix-style summer subscription (say, $7.99 per month) that will both allow viewers to binge-watch their limited summer offerings, but also afford viewers the opportunity to catch up on the previous seasons of returning hit shows. Such a move would not only keep viewers engaged with a channel/brand during the summer when most tune out, but will allow networks to dip their toe in the pay-per-channel future that is most certainly coming sooner rather than later.

Rant over.

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