Thursday, April 16, 2009

Proposal: A Scripted TV Premium Cable Network

The struggle to sell scripted TV series has become more difficult in the current economy for obvious reasons. And it appears that it is easier to recover the production and delivery cost of an hour of news, sports, and televaudeville (any show other than news and sports that doesn't depend upon professional actors performing scripted scenes for its entertainment content).

From my perspective, this situation is creating an artistic loss. For instance, the allocation by NBC of a Jay Leno televaudeville show in the week day 10 pm slot represents the the loss of financial support for five 26-episode scripted programs per year.

This situation in broadcast TV is only going to get worse, not better. So I would like to offer a solution. We need to create a "scripted TV series" cable premium network. For discussion purposes, I'll call it the "ScriptTV" network.

Over two 26-week seasons per year ScriptTV would during the time period of 5 pm - 2 am Eastern Time run three hours of new one hour or 30-minute scripted episodes of TV shows without advertising. The cycle would look like this:

The economic model for ScriptTV would look something like this:
  • The remaining 15 hours per day would be filled with syndicated reruns of older TV series supported by 360 seconds of advertising per hour of show.
  • The ScriptTV channel would be priced to subscribers by cable and satellite systems at $12-$15 per month; subscribers also would have access to its web site to stream episodes of shows aired in the past 52 weeks.
  • The ScriptTV channel would pay up to 80% of the production costs for each show and receive up to an 80% ownership interest in the show along with the first showing rights worldwide; each show's season would be offered as an exclusive for one year to broadcast and non-premium cable networks to be shown after the season run on ScriptTV; after any network exclusive expires, the show would be offered as a syndicated show and be sold on DVD.
In order to secure subscribers, ScriptTV would adopt the following policies:
  • Of its three hours of nightly original scripted programming, ScriptTV would seek to offer on average one hour per night of family-oriented programming and two-hours of "grownup" oriented programming.
  • Each show's producers/creators would be contracted to create a 26-week story arc with plans for a full-resolution series end; however, ScriptTV would have the option to pick up an additional full season before the airing of the 20th episode which might require alteration plans for the season's last two or three shows.
  • ScriptTV would not cancel any show in mid-season.
  • ScriptTV would regularly poll its subscribers regarding its programming.
HBO has 38 million subscribers. This business model would not need more than 2 million subscribers to succeed.

1 comment:

Dragon said...

For a pay channel I don't the idea of ad's and it will need east SD / HD and west SD / HD feed.

and $15 seems high for one channel can get hbo and others for about the same with 4-5+ channel that are not just east west feeds.