TV industry must focus on monetising, enhancing content

In a multiplatform world, where the consumer is king, keeping viewers satisfied while finding a way to monetise content is the biggest challenge facing programmers today. That was the verdict from the ‘State of the TV Industry’ panel at the 2011 TV Summit hosted by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Foundation and Variety.

“How do we embrace the digital world, where people want to watch content sitting in front of a scheduled night on TV, while at the same time getting value for it? Networks value programming on ratings and ad dollars. The fact that they don’t have a way to do that online is problematic,” said Michael Lombardo, president of programming at HBO.

Lombardo was joined by Jay Sures, managing partner at UTA, and David Madden, president of Fox TV Studios, for the panel. Sures emphasised that ad-supported online platforms such as Hulu continued to be obstacles to finding a successful model for monetising programming.

“I think Hulu can be valuable in first year or six months of a show because it give viewers the opportunity to see a show,” he said. “But to then keep it on there and not get the show calculated in ratings, I don’t think that’s fair for the studio, content creators and everyone else involved in show. That’s the fine line we’re walking: the consumer wants content 24 hours a day, but they have to understand that somebody has to pay for it.”

“The consumer is very clear they’re going to watch what they want, when they want to,” Lombardo said. “The challenge is to have every show be passionate among some demo. There’s no longer room for shows that fit comfortably from a scheduling standpoint between other shows that do that. But if the content is good, people will find it.”

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