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TV-Network Programmers Are Feeling Streaming Envy

In case you wondered whether TV networks envy streaming services that put out a  whole season of a show at once and train subscribers to watch as many episodes as it  takes to become a fan — well, they do.

Pearlena Igbokwe, executive vice president of drama development for NBC Entertainment  and a former Showtime show developer, said she’s “always just shocked” at  how viewers will say a show on Netflix starts slowly for four episodes but just hang  in until episode five when it really gets going. NBC has to shoot for “eye-popping” every  episode, she said, “because every week you need to earn the viewer’s attention.”

Igbokwe shared insights at The Content Show on how programs get selected and  marketed. As did Kim  Rosenblum, executive  vice president of digital,  creative and marketing  at TV Land.

NBC borrowed a  page from Netflix and  Amazon with Aquarius,  the 1960s-era drama  starring David Duchovny,  by putting the entire  first season online  after airing the premiere  episode. Besides  earning publicity by being the first network to try that gambit, NBC drew some younger  viewers used to watching shows online, Igbokwe said. The hope is that in season  two, more will come to the linear channel for their Aquarius fi x. “You’ve got to just  try everything,” she said.

TV Land now thinks beyond promoting episode premieres — and even beyond the  first season — with original shows like the Sutton Foster-starred comedy Younger,  Rosenblum said. “You almost have to look at season one like a marketing eff ort,” she said.

In the first season, TV Land will tip the scale more toward letting viewers sample a  show in other ways than just watching it on the network, she said. “We’re much more  willing to put content out, or make deals that aren’t as favorable to us, in season one  because we know we need season one to market what’s going to be season two, and  then we’re going to hold back a little bit more.”

And you must find fans to help promote the show and build a fear of missing out.  After an episode airs, Rosenblum said, TV Land will search for viewer comments on  all social platforms and start to “talk to them directly to try to snowball it, to try to  get those people to talk about it, to bring up the next week and the next week.”

The key to success always comes back to great storytelling, Igbokwe said. This year  — during which, she said, she’s heard about 400 show pitches, of which perhaps four  will make it to a series order — too many movies or old series were dredged up. Beverly  Hills Cop, Lethal Weapon, Fantasy Island were all pitched as TV shows.

“You know what works? A really good idea, like naked tattooed lady comes out of a bag  in Times Square,” she said, meaning NBC’s new drama series Blindspot, which has earned a  full-season order and has been  adding about 5 million viewers  per episode when three days of  recorded views are added in.

Have My Fridge  Talk to Your  Trash Compactor

The Internet of Things could meet  the copyright of things in a new  study being called for by a bipartisan  pair of Senate leaders.

Senate Judiciary Committee  chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)  and ranking member Patrick  Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday (Oct. 22)  called on the Copyright Office  to undertake a “comprehensive  study” on the role of copyright law  in determining how software-enabled products — from  smart phones to refrigerators to tractors — can be used.

The office will have plenty of time to get its  “things” in order. The senators have given the office until Dec. 15, 2016, but they want progress reports  in the interim.

Software-enabled devices implicate important  policy issues, including privacy, intellectual  property, consumer protection, cybersecurity,  public safety,

competition and the evolution of  the digital marketplace, according to a copy of a  letter the senators wrote to Maria Pallante, the  Register of Copyrights, dated Oct. 22.

The senators said the law should work to promote  the public interest in all of those areas,  balancing the interests of consumers, creators  and tech companies.

While they conceded some of those policy issues may  be outside the office’s purview, they said there is clearly a  need to understand the copyright implications.

Specifically, they want the report to include the provisions  of law implicated by the “ubiquity of copyrighted software  in everyday products;” whether and to what extent current  copyright law “frustrates the design, distribution and use  of such products or innovation in new products”; whether  and to what extent business models could be undermined  or helped by changes in copyright law; and key issues of how  copyright law intersects with other laws.

The office is also free to add to that list, should seek  stakeholder input in the report and should make recommendations  where appropriate, the senators said.

Adobe has predicted that by 2020, “the amount of Internet- connected things will reach 50 billion, with $19  trillion in profits and cost savings coming from IoT over  the next decade.”
— John Eggerton