Networks Calculating Next Moves With Multiplatform TV

When it comes to navigating the television industry’s transition into a multimedia sphere, TV execs are rewriting the rules for their networks.

ABC Family Channel president Tom Ascheim, USA Network president Chris McCumber and AwesomenessTV Founder and CEO Brian Robbins were among the panelists who discussed making a digital connection with audiences while monetizing their content at Variety‘s annual “Tune In: TV Summit” at the Four Seasons Los Angeles in Beverly Hills.

The term “three-dimensional” chess was repeated several times to describe the new calculations networks are using to optimize viewership at a panel on the state of the multiplatform television industry, moderated by Variety’s managing editor Cynthia Littleton.

“When I look at it now, schedules are three-dimensional,” said McCumber. His own network masterminded a show, “Mr. Robot,” and leaked it online before its television premiere date.

“We decided let’s put it out everywhere humanly possible, but except for on television, and let’s do it five weeks before the premiere,” McCumber said. “Of course we debated, ‘Is it going to hurt that first linear rating?’ We’re looking at how we can utilize all the tools in our arsenal right now in order to get as many people as possible.”

With a new digital window open as far as marketing strategies are concerned, panelists agreed that there are no ground rules.

OWNZONES founder and CEO Dan Goman noted that there is simply a competition for human eyes in this new era, where present-day networks are up against every show that has ever aired.

“Now in this multiplatform world, we have to embrace it, we have to be innovative, we have to take risks,” he said. “We’re competing against countless competitors out there, and we’re competing for a share of mind for that audience. So you have to go out and find that audience now. You can’t wait for them to come to you.”

In another loss for the old world of linear programming, television schedules have become almost obsolete. Robbins said that he experienced this change of television experience first-hand with his children.

“In my own house that bigscreen was not being turned on, and my kids were in this little screen … they have shows that they watch,” Robbins shared: “The Big Bang Theory” and “Family Guy” as favorites. “If I went up to them and said, ‘What network is the ‘Big Bang Theory’ on and what time does it come on?’ They would have looked at me like I was an idiot because they had no idea about the clock.”

The panel also discussed strategies for online syndication of content.

“The irony is that there are more places to show television than ever before, but it’s harder to monetize this,” said CAA’s co-head of television Adam Berkowitz.

Despite digitization, McCumber said networks must own as much of their content as possible.

“Whether it’s a part of it or a piece of it, you do it to monetize it on many different levels with that ownership,” he said. “It is absolutely important and imperative for us moving forward.”

The panel also included ICM Partners’ Ted Chervin.

More TV

  • Harley Quinn DC Universe

    4 Things We Learned at TCA 2019: Day 1

    The 2019 Television Critics Association summer press tour kicked off on Tuesday with presentations from DC Universe, A+E Networks, and Nat Geo. DC Universe, the DC-branded streaming service, brought their adult animated series based on “Harley Quinn,” while A+E brought along a range of projects from across their portfolio. It was also announced that A+E [...]

  • The Boys Amazon Prime

    TV News Roundup: Amazon Drops 'The Boys' Final Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s roundup, USA releases the trailer for the second season of “The Purge” and Amazon drops the final trailer before “The Boys” launches.  RENEWALS Viceland has renewed the pro wrestling docu-series “Dark Side of the Ring” for a second season. The upcoming season will feature 10 hour-long episodes chronicling the lives of wrestlers inside [...]

  • WGA West Logo

    WGA West Unveils Candidates for Election That Reflects Discord Over Agency Campaign

    The WGA West has unveiled the slate of candidates for officer posts and board seats in the election that reflects the divisions among members over the guild’s handling of the campaign to reform its rules governing talent agents. Scribes Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”) and William Schmidt (“Yellowstone”) are set to challenge David Goodman for the president’s [...]

  • The Code CBS

    'The Code' Canceled After One Season on CBS

    Freshman military drama “The Code” is officially done at CBS. The news comes just one day after the show’s season finale, which will now serve as the show’s series finale. “Thank you to all you wonderful people who watched [‘The Code’],” series star Dana Delany wrote on Twitter. “Last night was our finale and sadly, [...]

  • Matt Tolmach'Venom' film premiere, Arrivals, Los

    Amazon to Develop Human IPO Series With Matt Tolmach Producing

    Amazon is developing a series inspired by the true story of a man who sold shares of himself to investors, Variety has learned. In a competitive situation, Amazon has landed the project, titled “JNNA.” It is described as a half-hour comedy about the next big investment craze — humans. It is inspired by Mike Merrill, [...]

  • Olympics

    NBCUniversal Projects More Than $1.2 Billion in Ad Sales for 2020 Olympics

    NBCUniversal projected it would sell more than $1.2 billion in advertising for its 17 days of broadcasts of the 2020 Olympics from Tokyo, citing the event as a rare opportunity for Madison Avenue to reach big audiences without the worry of politics getting in the way of a commercial message. The Olympics is “one of [...]

  • R Kelly Sexual Assult Accusations Mugshot

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Follow Up, Jeffrey Epstein Docuseries in the Works at Lifetime

    Lifetime is working on a follow up to the hit docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly” and a new docuseries about Jeffrey Epstein. Rob Sharenow, president of programming for A+E Networks, made the announcements at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Tuesday. “The Aftermath” will be a four-part series featuring interviews with new survivors, psychologists, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content