OTT at the Winter 2016 TCA

Television Critics Association
The Television Critics Association 2016 winter press tour occurred over the past two weeks in Pasadena, Calif.

Executives from broadcast and cable networks, as well as streaming services, revealed plans for new shows, renewals, cancellations and premiere dates, with actors and celebrities making appearances as well.

Even amongst non-OTT companies, though, many had their eye on the rise of the Over-the-Top industry.

The CW president Mark Pedowitz emphasized viewers watching content anywhere.

"The CW has always been: great, watch us on linear, watch us on live plus same day, but just watch us. Our point of view is, if you missed it, come see it on [video on demand], come see it on DVR, come see it on digital. Just come see it and talk about it," said Pedowitz. "I just want the consumer and the audience to feel that they can find the show wherever they can find it."

Judd Apatow, who created an upcoming comedy series for Netflix called “Love,” praised working with the company.

“These services are unlike networks,” Apatow said during the Netflix panel. “They’re much more interested in doing things that have never been done before.”

And NBCUniversal research President Alan Wurtzel expressed concern about the success of OTT companies.

"Every single day in my company, and I know in other companies, there's a question of: 'Did we do something ... to build a monster that will come back to kill us?'" Wurtzel said.

Meanwhile, Showtime CEO David Nevins unveiled a new term: “cord cobblers” – those who utilize multiple streaming services.

"2016 is going to be the year of customized viewing," said Nevins. "Today's audiences are cord cobblers, individuals and households who creatively manage their content consumption with an assortment of subscriptions that work uniquely for their needs."

"We are absolutely clear that every decision we make must ultimately come back to driving quality programming and a great consumer experience,” added Nevins, who also mentioned the premium cable network’s streaming service “transform[ed] our company and significantly diversif[ied] our distribution.”

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf discussed the ongoing alteration of the TV production business model.

“The process of making television can be much more fluid and can continue to evolve in the sense that it follows the voice, the timing, the needs and the schedule of the creative people,” Landgraf said, “rather than them having to mold themselves into a pre-determined business structure in which they have to be creative on demand. … To me, that’s a recipe for mediocrity.”

Overall, Netflix revealed six new original series and five season premiere dates. In the last year, its share price rose 121 percent. What further actions by the streamer will keep networks on their toes?

Author: Brian Cameron

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