How do you watch TV? When ?
Watching TV used to be simple. On Thursday, it was "The Cosby Show" on NBC at 7:00 (CT) - every Thursday of the TV season - with few exceptions. Plus reruns in the summer. It was simple for TV viewers, families and even mediaplanners.
Then came the VCR and DVR/PVR, videocassettes and DVDs. People were able to watch a full season of "Desperate Housewiwes" in a single weekend. With no commercial breaks. Finally, one could skip the credits. No schedule: TV on "OUR" demand.
Non linear TV. Freedom to watch. If you pay, of course.
This month Netflix and Hulu, two major video services, are streaming series they just produced (scripted originals). They made two different choices, two release policies.
- Hulu makes its programs (like "Battleground") available on a weekly basis. Every Tuesday, starting on Valentine's Day. It follows the network model for TV series: Hulu belongs to the studio networks (ABC, Fox, NBC)... People will wait for the next episode and talk about it, "like" and tweet during the week. Hulu counts on social media like Facebook and Twitter to build reputation, awareness and buzz (word of mouth, sharing, recommendation, etc.). It is like a branding strategy.
- Netflix makes all 8 episodes of "Lilyhammer" available at once. It is trying to (re)build its subscribership.
- Amazon seems to also plan on producing programs...
Two ways to spend TV time. Two ways to publish
- During the nineteenth century, novel publishers used the same strategy: a chapter every week to start with (serialized novels) and then, at the end, all at once, an entire book. Thus were published Dickens, Balzac, Tolstoy, etc.
- Often now, a series gives birth to a movie at the end of its television life ("24", "Gunsmoke", "Mission Impossible", etc.).