TV Leaders Share Thoughts During Summer 2016 TCA Tour

As the fall season of television approaches, executives and contributors are embarking on the Television Critics Association (TCA) summer press tour to promote new shows and discuss the state of the industry, providing remarks on broadcast and OTT.

Here’s a look at what many of them have been saying.

NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt championed broadcast TV, observing that the peacock network has “defied a lot of the doom-and-gloom, downward trends we've been hearing about network television."

However at the same time, Greenblatt emphasized an expansion of NBC’s streaming plans, and suggested that it was dabbling with a few concepts.

"We’re in a unique position because our sister company is a cable company and the OTT strategy is a competitive take from what the cable business is," said Greenblatt. "Whatever we do in that space, we want to do something that is not an affront to the cable business or distributors. So we’re trying to craft something that is a good thing for them as well. So we’re not there yet, but hopefully in the very near future we’ll have something to talk about. In the meantime, we’re doing a lot of toe in the water approaches.”

“Anywhere from 30 to 60 percent of viewing is done off the linear network,” Greenblatt later told Broadcasting & Cable.

Fox Television Group chief Dana Walden also lauded network television.

“Our shows become part of the national conversation, they are hitting a nerve. You can’t have that elsewhere, particularly on OTT,” stated Walden.

Walden recognized that the broadcast TV space has been particularly competitive in recent years.

It “has not been the flavor of the month, and for good reason,” Walden said, considering the rise of “shiny new services that wowed you and cable networks that won your attention with fantastic shows that would never have survived on broadcast.”

Writer and executive producer David E. Kelley, known for numerous network dramas, made waves by moving over to Amazon and stating he wouldn’t return to broadcast.

With Amazon television shows, "you're trusting that your audience is going to sit down and maybe watch the whole series in a week. You don’t have to remind them what they saw an hour and a half ago. You can be more efficient in your storytelling and you can just go deeper,” Kelley said.

“We have some pretty deep and dark character arcs within [upcoming show “Goliath”] that really require a lot of patience with the audience, patience that I'm not sure a broadcast regime is going to give you,” Kelley added.

YouTube original content head Susanne Daniels, who previously worked as a programming executive at MTV, touted streaming too.

“We reach over a billion people every single month, including more 18-to-49-year-olds on mobile alone than any broadcast or cable network I’ve ever worked for. This platform has more power to reach an audience and be more influential than traditional television,” Daniels said.

FX Networks CEO John Landgraf revealed research demonstrating a major increase in OTT distribution, and projected the creation and release of approximately 500 original shows across broadcast, premium, basic cable and streaming for 2016.

"This is simply too much television. My sense is that 2015 or 2016 will represent peak TV in America, and that we’ll begin to see declines coming the year after that and beyond,” said Landgraf.

When it comes to broadcast and OTT, this season's TCA seems to indicate that the battle for viewers has never been more intense.

Author: Brian Cameron


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