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What’s the Future of Television?
It’s a golden age for TV viewers, with new ways to watch and an avalanche of acclaimed programs. But with traditional TV losing viewers to streaming services, the industry is still figuring out what its new economic model will look like. Yale Insights talked to two TV veterans at the cable network Freeform about how they see the future.
- Tom Ascheim President, Freeform
- Karey Burke Executive Vice President, Programming and Development, Freeform
In 2011, 18-24-year-old Americans were watching about 24 hours a week of traditional television—meaning broadcast or cable TV, whether live or time-shifted with a DVR. By 2016, that number had dropped to about 15 hours a week, according to a report from MarketingCharts.com . In fact, a Deloitte survey found that younger people are now spending more time watching streaming video than TV. The drop is less precipitous for older Americans. But with streaming services now in more than 50% of households, the trajectory for television is clear.
The target audience for the cable network Freeform—formerly known as ABC Family—is viewers aged 14 to 34, so the network is even more susceptible than most to a youth exodus from TV. But that audience also presents additional opportunities. According to a Freeform press release, the network’s programming was the topic of more than 300 million social media posts this past summer, more than any other TV network. In July, during the latest season of the network’s hit show Pretty Little Liars , the Freeform app streamed the most video of any TV network app.
Yale Insights talked to Tom Ascheim ’90, the president of Freeform, and Karey Burke, the network’s executive vice president for programming and development, about what it means to be a TV network in an age of digital disruption.
Q: This is widely regarded as a golden age of television for viewers, with lots of amazing shows to choose from. Is it a good time to be working in television?
Tom Ascheim: It’s a great time to be working in television because there are so many places to get our content in ways there never have been before. It’s also a challenging time to work in television, because the business of finding ways to monetize that content is harder. But it’s not boring, and that makes our day jobs a whole lot more interesting.
Karey Burke: We have to look at the change as exciting. Challenging, yes, but exciting. If you don’t find it exciting, you’re in the wrong business, because it will change again and again, and that’s the nature of modern communication.
Q: How would you summarize the change that we’re going through?
Ascheim: I will summarize it with a really boring statistic. There’s a statistic in television called PUT, which means people using television. It is a remarkably stable statistic—for 30 or 40 years, it never moved. Occasionally, it grew a teeny bit as we added more television channels.
Starting about 2011, it slid, especially for people who were younger, but for everybody. And about half the audience that used to be in the regular measured television universe was gone by 2015. But they’re watching somewhere else. You know, they’re watching Netflix and YouTube. They’re watching in their own way.
People like choice and control. And I think the biggest shift for all of us is that we used to be in control, and now the consumer is in control. And the judo of our lives is finding a way to still give them the stuff that they want to watch, but do it in the way that they want to consume it. It’s a new muscle, but it’s an important one. As Karey said, it’s exciting to try to figure out new challenges, but it’s definitely stimulating.
Q: ABC Family became Freeform earlier this year. What does the name change reflect? What’s the importance of an identity for a cable network?
Ascheim: ABC Family was around for a long time as a cable channel. It started as something actually aimed at families, which is why the name made a lot of sense, and it was the Family Channel, and Fox Family, and ABC Family. And about a dozen years ago, the people who ran ABC Family discovered there was a gap in the market for young adults, people from high school to 30 or so. And there was a show called Secret Life of the American Teenager that was really popular, and slowly, over time, ABC Family became enormously popular with young people. It became the number one network with young people. It was a great thing.
In television brands, you want harmony between the name of your channel, the content you make, and the audience you serve. And we had two out of three. We had a really happy audience that really loved our shows, but when you’re, as we colloquially say, between your first kiss and your first kid on the journey from childhood to adulthood, it’s a time in your life you’re least involved with family. We had a moniker that yelled “safe,” and it’s the time in your life when you’re interested in pushing boundaries and finding things that are interesting and new and perhaps not so safe.
So we wanted a name that opened up our enterprise to people who might have been a little bit turned off by what “family” might promise. We want more consistency with what we make and what we do. It lets Karey have more freedom to make shows that serve the audience in the way they want to be served. And hopefully, we get that harmony. We’ll see what happens.
Burke: It also speaks to literally freedom of form in terms of how we deliver shows. We just launched yesterday our first original short form series on our app. Because the content can’t be separated into discrete boxes for YouTube and SnapChat Discover channels and the other places that our audience is receiving content. So it allows us to experiment with how we deliver, and not just what we’re delivering.
Q: Early in the history of cable, there were a lot of niche channels, but over time a lot of those channels moved toward more similar programming, particularly reality programming. Is it economically viable to be niche?
Ascheim: I think that when cable was very new it was important to really signal loudly why the vertical channels that were launched were different. And so MTV, Music Television, was actually about music. And Discovery was all documentaries. It was very clear, and I think consumers really understood what was different. It was a radical notion a long time ago that we would have 24 hours of news or 24 hours of children’s programming or 24 hours of anything. It felt truly odd.
That had to be proven by doing, and I think people said, oh, this actually works out pretty well. I can find news whenever I want it, or children’s programming, or whatever it is. And then time went by, and the economics of trying to find the most successful shows and the most popular shows started to mush some of the definitions, particularly non-scripted television, of what success was. And I think everyone started chasing some similar stuff. Brand identities got fuzzy, and I think ratings stalled for a bunch of people.
What’s interesting right now is when you talk to people who work at a lot of the cable channels that got mushy, they’re going back to their roots. History is talking all about putting the history back into the History Channel. And A&E is trying to find the part of their soul that is related to the arts. And Discovery has really recommitted to groundbreaking documentaries.
So I think there was a natural formation and over-explosion as people segmented it back to something that feels differentiated again, because without differentiation in a very, very crowded marketplace, it’s hard to make your business go. So it feels like a life cycle issue.
Burke: A lot of niche channels are thriving and surviving. Adult Swim. HGTV is still doing extremely well. And I think, yes, the trend towards generalization hurt companies, and we saw some channels fall away, and now they’re either claiming or reclaiming stronger points of view in order to break out in this era of peak TV, as we call it. So I think we’ll continue to see that movement back towards differentiation.
Q: Do you have a process, Karey, where you are balancing whether a program fits into your niche and its raw ability to attract people?
Burke: Yes, we have filters that we innately look for in the programs that we buy. We spend a lot of time asking ourselves what makes a show Freeform. What differentiates us? And then we really look for shows to develop that fit within the parameters of that.
That said, there’s a wide range within that definition of the kinds of things we believe we can do. A multi-camera comedy and a scripted genre drama we find have can have similar themes about the challenges young people face, and becoming an adult, and finding kinship and friendship and relationships in the modern age for young adults. All those themes seem to be present in all the shows we gravitate towards.
And then we occasionally find one that is deeply tempting, that feels like it is outside, but a big swing for us, and we’ll occasionally reach for that, and have been sometimes successful. But mostly we’re more successful when we know what we’re looking for, and we find it and we nurture it and stay with it, and stay within our lane.
Ascheim: You know, people like to find themselves on TV. That’s why it is great to see a more diverse set of faces all over television. As the population changes, people are looking for themselves. Our audience is high school to 30, so we almost always have protagonists who are from that age group. But then you can tell almost any kind of story. You can use any kind of format. And we have lots of other people around that protagonist, but the center of the show is always someone who’s in our age cohort.
Q: There’s a limited number of channels that a cable system can carry. What are the effects of that limited space on the economics of TV? Is there an effect on the programming because you have this limited number of lanes?
Ascheim: If you’re a lucky person who has one of the lanes, it’s been a good place to live for a long time, because there’s a barrier to entry for people who want to bring content to the audience. And so for a long time, cable channels, and broadcast channels, have been able to be a gateway between people who make programming and the audience.
I think as places like Netflix and YouTube develop, some of those lanes are getting a little mushier, and it’s easier for people to find audiences different ways. And I think that’s part of the competitive dynamic that’s really shifted.
If you were a person who wanted to launch a cable channel, that was very hard. That was an economically unpalatable option for a lot of people, and took tremendous resources, because there’s a certain amount of bandwidth that’s available, and at some point marginally adding another channel becomes expensive for the operator, and not necessarily attracting any more consumers. So they make it difficult.
If you’re an entrenched cable channel, that was a good place to be. It’s a little less of a barrier to entry than it used to be, and I think that’s part of what we’re playing with as we think about developing non-linear places for people to watch our shows, too.
Q: TV can be delivered in a lot of different ways. Is there a tipping point where the cable system is no longer the default, and then things change even more?
Burke: I think we’re at that tipping point.
Ascheim: I’m not sure we quite know what the real tipping point is. It’s very clear that people are having more options than they used to have, and how they bundle their content. There’s an interesting statistic about Netflix: about 85% of the programming that people watch on Netflix at the moment is not Netflix shows. It’s other people’s shows—our shows and all of our competitors’ shows. People like a good bundle. It’s one of the efficient ways to get lots of content that you love.
I think what’s in debate for consumers at the moment is not I hate cable or I must have SVOD services—that is, subscription video on demand like Netflix and Hulu and Amazon—because somehow they’re just the best thing ever. It’s that they’re very effective and they’re very cheap, relatively speaking.
And I think over time, the cable universe is going to look a little more like Netflix. SVOD services are starting to get launched from places like Comcast, and so they’re merging a little bit more than they were a year ago. I think as we look out at our future, we imagine some of the features that are in SVOD services are going to be in our expanded sense of what a network means.
We are launching a show this January where we’re making all the episodes available the day we launch it, so it’s binge-able, so that the control goes back to the consumer, not just to us [ Beyond launched on January 2 on Freeform]. Assuming that works, we’ll be doing a lot more of that, because we want to meet people where they are.
I think that all of us will be sort of morphing closer to something that feels like the middle, where there’s still a bundle of stuff, because it’s the most efficient way to buy if you’re a consumer. It might be a little smaller, and it’s going to have some more features. But I think it will still contain an awful lot of the content they already love.
Interviewed and edited by Ben Mattison.
Build for the Future
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Future of Television
The TV landscape is changing rapidly. Through a unique forum that brings together experts from across the television industry, we help players explore new trends—and seize new opportunities.
The television industry is not the industry it was a decade—or even a year—ago. The TV market is seeing rapid, continual shifts, and success means understanding, anticipating, and leveraging all of them.
We created the Global Institute for the Future of Television (GIFT) to provide the insight that shapes strategies and leaders. Through research, discussion, and deep dives on the latest trends, our experts identify new ways to succeed.
How We Help Shape the Future of Television
Winning in today’s market requires more than great content. It calls for a deep understanding of viewers: what they want to watch, how they want to watch it, and what keeps them from turning the dial—or deleting the app. It requires new approaches to producing content, new go-to-market strategies , and new ways to interact with customers. It demands skillful—and continuous—adaptation, as well as innovation in future television technology.
Our Global Institute for the Future of Television helps on all of these fronts by unleashing the power of analysis, technology , and networking:
- Unique thought leadership. Whether it’s the latest subscription models or the future of television advertising, we develop sharp insights that help companies navigate, and build upon, emerging trends.
- Cutting-edge research. Through surveys and studies, our television consultants take the pulse of consumers to understand how preferences and behavior are changing the dynamics—and the playing field—of today’s video and TV market.
- Tools and enablers . We help companies zero in on the human and technical capabilities—such as business model innovation , customer insights , and data and analytics —that can take them, and the television and video industries, in bold new directions.
- A venue for discussion—and ideas . Through small group events and panel discussions, we foster dialogue and new ideas, giving leaders an opportunity to share experiences and best practices.
Our Impact on the Television and Video Industries
Tapping the expertise of our television consultants, our analyses aren’t just timely—they help companies stay ahead of the times. Our recent work includes:
The future of streaming. We surveyed 3,000 consumers, identifying three major steaming battlegrounds—each with different competitive dynamics. For mass-appeal subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services—the players with more than 50 million subscribers—success depends on wooing customers from other large services, leveraging content but also secondary drivers like bundling and an easy enrollment process. Niche SVOD players have opportunities to flourish, too, but at relatively low subscriber levels. And for mass-appeal advertising-based services, we found that a “free with ads” model is more effective than incremental content investments in wooing those users who have resisted the future of streaming.
Churn and retention during COVID-19. To understand COVID’s impact on the video industry, we surveyed 6,000 over-the-top users. While video consumption increased, the rise was skewed towards streaming services, which has important implications for the future of cable television and advertising. Overall, 47% of households spent more time watching linear TV. But 54% of households increased their time on OTT services. We also saw a greater churn risk for services that users acquired during the pandemic—with that risk highest for niche SVOD. Matching the right subscriber with the right churn-reduction measure will require a deep understanding of customer segments. Our analysis explored emerging behaviors—and how best to respond.
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The Binge Purge
Tv’s streaming model is broken. it’s also not going away. for hollywood, figuring that out will be a horror show..
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If you call a slew of Hollywood’s most powerful showrunners, studio chiefs, agents, and operators and ask them to describe the state of the television business, they will say things like:
“This is the single worst time to be making anything in the history of the medium. It’s just as dark as it’s ever been.” “It’s such a fucking disaster, isn’t it?” “It’s like the entire system has snapped.” “These companies took what was an extraordinarily successful economic model and they destroyed it in favor of a model that may or may not work — but almost certainly won’t work as well as the old model.” “Everything became big tech — the Amazon model of ‘We don’t actually have to make money; we just have to show shareholder growth.’ Everyone said, ‘Great. That seems like the thing to do.’ Which essentially was like, ‘Let’s all commit ritual suicide. Let’s take one of the truly successful money-printing inventions in the history of the modern world — which was the carriage system with cable television — and let’s just end it and reinvent ourselves as tech companies, where we pour billions down the drain in pursuit of a return that is completely speculative, still, this many years into it.’” “The reason nobody really wants to open the books on this is because if Wall Street got a look, they’d have a collective stroke.” “Where’s my Alias ? Where’s my West Wing ? Where’s my 24 ? Where’s my Ally McBeal, Once and Again, and Brothers & Sisters ? I have a friend who works at Netflix, and for years I’ve been asking, ‘When are all of you streamers going to get your prestige heads out of your asses?’” “We’ve invited all these fancy artists into the medium, and they look at it like art, not a job.” “People are getting fucked. By the way, there’s a real social-progressive way to look at that, which nobody talks about, which is that the people who’ve gotten pushed out of the Hollywood economy generally are older white men. Because now they’re competing with younger people and women and people of color that they never had to compete with before. And it hurts.” “The industry went a little crazy, and there’s going to be some pain in it righting itself, but I actually think it’s going to get to what hopefully will be more normal and livable, the place where we should have been the whole time.” “I think we may be in the world’s biggest Ponzi scheme.”
It’s been a little more than a year since the Great Netflix Freak-out, when the streaming pioneer’s first-ever loss of subscribers and ensuing stock drop sparked overdramatic proclamations that TV as we’d come to know it was finished. In that time, it’s become clear that the business model dominating modern Hollywood is deeply broken but also that it probably isn’t going anywhere — at least not yet.
Across the town, there’s despair and creative destruction and all sorts of countervailing indicators. Certain shows that were enthusiastically green-lit two years ago probably wouldn’t be made now. Yet there are still streamers burning mountains of cash to entertain audiences that already have too much to watch. Netflix has tightened the screws and recovered somewhat, but the inarguable consensus is that there is still a great deal of pain to come as the industry cuts back, consolidates, and fumbles toward a more functional economic framework. The high-stakes Writers Guild of America strike has focused attention on Hollywood’s labor unrest, but the really systemic issue is streaming’s busted math. There may be no problem more foundational than the way the system monetizes its biggest hits: It doesn’t.
In This Issue
Drew barrymore lights up daytime.
- Drew Barrymore Is Figuring It Out Live
- Who’s Winning the Streaming Wars Now?
- The Simpsons Is Good Again
- In Taylor Sheridan’s America, the Cowboy Is Colonized Too
- In Conversation: Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson
Just ask Shawn Ryan. In April, the veteran TV producer’s latest show, the spy thriller The Night Agent, became the fifth-most-watched English-language original series in Netflix’s history, generating 627 million viewing hours in its first four weeks. As it climbed to the heights of such platform-defining smashes as Stranger Things and Bridgerton, Ryan wondered how The Night Agent ’s success might be reflected in his compensation.
“I had done the calculations. Half a billion hours is the equivalent of over 61 million people watching all ten episodes in 18 days. Those shows that air after the Super Bowl — it’s like having five or ten of them. So I asked my lawyer, ‘What does that mean?’” recalls Ryan. As it turns out, not much. “In my case, it means that I got paid what I got paid. I’ll get a little bonus when season two gets picked up and a nominal royalty fee for each additional episode that gets made. But if you think I’m going out and buying a private jet, you’re way, way off.”
Ryan says he’ll probably make less money from The Night Agent than he did from The Shield, the cop drama he created in 2002, even though the latter ran on the then-nascent cable channel FX and never delivered Super Bowl numbers. “The promise was that if you made the company billions, you were going to get a lot of millions,” he says. “That promise has gone away.”
Nobody is crying for Ryan, of course, and he wouldn’t want them to. (“I’m not complaining!” he says. “I’m not unaware of my position relative to most people financially.”) But he has a point. Once, in a more rational time, there was a direct relationship between the number of people who watched a show and the number of jets its creator could buy. More viewers meant higher ad rates, and the biggest hits could be sold to syndication and international markets. The people behind those hits got a cut, which is why the duo who invented Friends probably haven’t flown commercial since the 1990s. Streaming shows, in contrast, have fewer ads (or none at all) and are typically confined to their original platforms forever. For the people who make TV, the connection between ratings and reward has been severed.
So who is getting rich off hits like The Night Agent ? Not streaming services, no matter how many global viewing hours they accumulate. Many streamers have spent themselves into billions of dollars of debt building their content libraries, and subscription fees haven’t grown fast enough to close the gap. If platforms like Netflix make any money at all, it is only a fraction of what entertainment companies used to make back when more than 105 million U.S. households spent an average of $75 per month on cable.
“The entire industry,” says the director Steven Soderbergh, who has been navigating structural changes in Hollywood since 1989’s Sex, Lies, and Videotape, “has moved from a world of Newtonian economics into a world of quantum economics, where two things that seem to be in opposition can be true at the same time: You can have a massive hit on your platform, but it’s not actually doing anything to increase your platform’s revenue. It’s absolutely conceivable that the streaming subscription model is the crypto of the entertainment business.”
Like cryptocurrency, which has created massive on-paper fortunes built atop 1 + 1 = 3 arithmetic, streaming TV has always seemed too good to be true but seduced a lot of smart people anyway. Over the past decade, Hollywood completely reorganized itself around the digital model, as once-mighty networks and studios turned themselves into apps and abandoned reliable income streams hoping larger ones would materialize. They tripled their output, overpaid Oscar winners to debase themselves in miniseries, and hired all of your friends to work in writers’ rooms. Viewers across every niche and taste cluster were inundated with more bespoke programming than they could ever realistically consume.
We knew it couldn’t last, and it didn’t. Amid much lip service to fiscal responsibility, streamers have signaled plans to make fewer shows — a dramatic shift considering that the number of original scripted series had exploded from 210 in 2009 to 599 in 2022. We’ll still have enough to watch, at least for a while; billions will still be spent, and Ted Sarandos alone claims to have enough Netflix content stockpiled to last through the strike and beyond.
But for a certain type of viewer — imagine someone in her 30s or 40s who has never in her adult life had to worry about where her next critically acclaimed dramedy would come from — something already feels like it’s ending. Peak TV, as one of the industry’s most powerful tastemakers wearily puts it, “was a brief but intense mania that led to too much television.”
If you’re wondering whom to blame for TV’s predicament, that’s easy: It was Netflix. “Netflix completely revolutionized a 100-year-old industry,” says Mike Schur, who created The Good Place. “Everything changed, and everything changed the way they changed it.” In 2013, Netflix released the entire first season of House of Cards on the same day, overthrowing the time-honored orderliness of weekly schedules and giving viewers a brand-new way to spend 13 consecutive hours. Then the company embarked on what was probably the biggest spending spree in entertainment history. Wall Street treated Netflix not like the next HBO but more like the next Tesla, ignoring the profit factor to focus on growth.
“We all saw Netflix’s market cap go from $20 billion to $60 billion to $100 billion,” says someone who was then an executive at a legacy TV company. “The unspoken thing was that this will all be accretive to valuation: ‘I may not be running a profitable business, but boy, is it going to add stock value!’” He eventually went to work for a streamer.
Everyone bowed to what felt like the inevitable — even the most storied brand in entertainment. In 2017, Disney CEO Bob Iger told investors that he would pull his company’s movies and shows from Netflix, ending a lucrative licensing deal, to start its own streaming service. AT&T (which then owned HBO and Warner Bros.) and Comcast (which owns NBCUniversal) did the same. They willingly sacrificed hundreds of millions in revenue at the same time they were burning billions to make shows for their new apps. Apple got in, too, and Amazon dramatically upped its commitment to Prime Video when Jeff Bezos paid a quarter of a billion dollars for the rights to adapt The Lord of the Rings. (Actually making the show would cost even more.) “The entire industry was spending money with no regard to making money,” says an executive who helped launch a Netflix rival.
It’s easy to see this now as self-immolation, but at the time, investors rewarded the spending as an investment in the future and a hedge against the trend of cord-cutting. Disney’s share price — which had been trading in the $100 range when the company announced its streaming strategy — flirted with $150 in the weeks after Disney+’s launch. COVID further juiced the value of companies whose primary market is serving shut-ins. Netflix added 36.6 million subscribers in 2020 — its biggest annual gain ever — and Disney+ did even better, finishing its first full year of operations with 86.8 million customers. Iger retired on the last day of 2021. All that was missing was a MISSION: ACCOMPLISHED banner.
The first sign of trouble came the very next month with a ten-word aside in a Netflix shareholder letter: “This added competition may be affecting our marginal growth some.” Investors began to bail. In April 2022, when the company announced that it had lost subscribers — the first decline since it had started making its own content — more than $50 billion evaporated in a single day . A stock that had been approaching $700 would soon fall below $200. Netflix began to look more like one of the fusty incumbents it had attempted to vanquish. It changed policies on commercials (good) and password sharing (bad) and eliminated hundreds of jobs.
For the company’s rivals, Netflix’s woes begot a mix of Schadenfreude and relief: Maybe sanity had prevailed. But what at first looked like a Netflix correction was in fact a streaming correction. Investors started punishing Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, and other Netflix wannabes. “Wall Street woke up and said, ‘Actually, profitability is the only metric,’” says a senior executive at a major streamer. “The idea that you could have the optics of success, where you could add 5 million subscribers and you gained 10 percent in value? It was over.” Iger unretired to retake the CEO job at Disney.
Layoffs and budget cuts spread across Hollywood. After years of green-lighting shows with impunity, platforms invented cruel and unusual ways to cancel them. HBO Max, Disney+, Paramount+, and Hulu purged entire series from their libraries for the tax savings. Some slashed shows that had already wrapped production on full, unaired seasons; Nasim Pedrad’s Chad got pulled just hours before its premiere. Not even projects with big names were safe. In June 2022, HBO nixed J. J. Abrams’s $200 million sci-fi drama Demimonde even though it had been in development for four years and had just cast its lead actor . “The Demimonde thing shook everybody up,” says one showrunner. “If HBO can say ‘no’ to J. J. Abrams, they could say ‘no’ to anybody.”
A few weeks later, Peacock pulled the plug on Schur’s TV adaptation of Field of Dreams even though it was deep into preproduction . “They just changed their mind,” says Schur. “They didn’t want to spend the money anymore.” He notes that the project will have one lasting artifact, perhaps the ultimate monument to Peak TV’s unfulfilled potential: “We built a baseball stadium in a cornfield in Iowa that’s still sitting there as we speak.” They built it, and nobody came.
By now, the grievances of the Writers Guild are well known, especially if you live near a picket line. Its members are upset that residuals are declining, that writing staffs are shrinking, that studios may replace them with ChatGPT, and that while streamers cry poverty, they’re paying their top executives nine figures. Many of these concerns are driven by a sense that the past decade was an elaborate bait and switch.
Early on, the streaming age seemed to herald exciting possibilities for writers. As the number of series ballooned, so did the number of writing jobs, allowing more people than ever, from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences, to partake in the great American fantasy of making TV. As other creative industries disintegrated, Hollywood promised not just an escape hatch but a ladder to career advancement, as former nobodies like Severance creator Dan Erickson saw their pilot scripts pulled from slush piles and given full-season orders. Novelists and playwrights descended on L.A., and there were so many writers’ rooms to fill that a few shows even hired (God help them) journalists.
The development surge was also great for established writers — at least at first, as the new economics of streaming made it easier than ever to cash in fast. Under the old TV model, if a show was a success, its creator stood to get rich on the back-end profits. With all of linear TV’s revenue streams combined (ads plus syndication plus overseas rights), a studio might bring in $3 for every $1 in costs on a hit. The problem for writers was that most shows flopped, so there was no back end to get a piece of. Streamers offered something different. Their model, called “cost plus,” might pay $1.30 to $1.50 up front, making every show a winner — just not a very big one.
To make up for the lost back end, streamers floated performance-based incentives. Schur describes a scenario in which a platform might promise a showrunner a $100,000 bonus for season one, $250,000 for season two, $500,000 for season three, and $1.7 million for season four. “So you’re like, Holy shit. This is great! ” he says. There was a catch. Many seemingly successful series began to vanish after just a couple of seasons. “What no one saw coming was they’d just kill the show before they ever had to pay that money out,” Schur says. “They kind of tricked everybody. Now if you get to 20 episodes, it’s a miracle.”
“In the disorganization and the chaos of the free-for-all,” says Julie Plec, the creator of The Vampire Diaries, “the foundational pieces of the business that made it work for everyone disappeared. We thought we were paying attention, and yet it still happened because nobody really knew anything about how any of this was working. We just all as a group sat there and watched all of the things that we had worked so hard to achieve — we watched them get taken away right from under our noses.”
Streaming bosses (and even some agents) think such complaints are overhyped. The cost-plus model offers creators pretty good, low-risk income. But on the whole, creative types aren’t looking for predictability. “Most writers are gamblers,” says someone who has created megahits in both linear and streaming TV , “and are willing to bet on their own talents. They would be much happier getting a bigger payday with big success and a more modest payday if their show didn’t work. But now everybody’s basically playing a baseball game where people can only hit singles. The ball over the fence is still only a single.”
Much has been made recently about overall deals, under which writer-producers are paid — sometimes extravagantly — for the exclusive rights to their creative labor. Netflix famously used them to poach Shonda Rhimes (in a series of pacts reportedly worth $300 million to $400 million), Ryan Murphy ($300 million), and Kenya Barris ($100 million) from its rivals. These deals are also where creators of successful shows might get some indirect recompense. (Ryan expects he’ll see a bump in his next contract, post– The Night Agent. ) But most are modest, makeshift solutions designed to pay talent for the work that falls through the cracks in the streaming era.
“We talk about showrunning as if it’s a real job,” says Briarpatch creator Andy Greenwald. “But it’s not. It’s a made-up title, and it’s not a paid position. The industry used overall deals to pay showrunners correctly for the blood, sweat, and tears they pour into a show that otherwise isn’t covered. Without an overall deal, there’s a world where if I’m making an eight-episode season of a TV show, I could be paid less than a co-EP in the writers’ room because everything else that I do — from hiring the writers, to being on set and producing, to being in post for months, then doing press — is not compensated.”
Lately, aside from the case of a few superstars, the market for these long-term pacts has dampened. “Overall deals are very hard to come by right now,” says a partner at a big talent agency. While anticipation of a strike was a factor, many expect streaming’s new profit-first economics to lower the appetite for such agreements in the future, too.
Things are naturally worse for those on the industry’s lower rungs. Writers on the staffs of hit shows used to be comfortable between jobs because they earned residuals from reruns. But those checks have shrunk for streaming shows made under the cost-plus model. And now that TV seasons are typically only six-to-ten episodes long instead of the traditional 22, even writers of successful series might find themselves out of work for much of the year. Some have taken jobs in retail or driving Lyfts .
One high-level agent says that studios regard the WGA’s demands — for higher minimum pay and staffing requirements, among other things — as simply incompatible with the way TV is now made: “The Writers Guild, delusionally, is harkening back to a day when there were 25 episodes of Nash Bridges a year and repeats and residuals. Back-end payments existed because Europeans were willing to watch our garbage, and Americans were willing to watch repeats of that garbage on cable at 11 at night. The real issue is that the medium changed. Instead of getting a job as a staff writer on CSI: Miami for 46 weeks a year, now it’s a 25-week job working on Wednesday, which is a better show. That’s just progress.”
But this so-called progress may have long-term consequences. Fewer weeks of employment mean that many entry-level writers are not receiving the training they need to advance through the ranks. Staff writers are now rarely invited to sets or editing rooms to learn the skills that would someday help them create their own series.
“Television has turned into a hyperspecialized Model T assembly line where everyone does one particular tiny job,” says Schur. “You focus really hard on screwing this bolt into this piece of metal, and that’s all you do. And as a result, nobody’s learning how to make a whole car. The battle now is to figure out which patches we can put on the process so that in five or ten years, people will still know how to make TV.”
“Staffing sucks right now,” says Greenwald. “I know that there are outliers and examples that are good, but broadly, I’m hearing horror stories.” Novice workers can spend “months on a show, and the show might just get tossed. It just might never air. What kind of career are you building with that handful of ashes?”
What was Peak TV, if we’re being honest about the stuff that piled up in our queues? The last decade surely produced some of the finest television ever, spanning high-toned dramas and offbeat comedies, several of them masterpieces unlikely to have been made under any other circumstances. But there were some stinkers, too.
“There is not a linear relationship between the amount of art you make in a given year and the amount of great art that will result,” says Soderbergh, whose new series, Full Circle, arrives on Max next month. “Let’s say there are 60 shows made at one platform in a year, and six of them are great. If they make 120 the following year, that doesn’t mean they’ll get 12 great shows. The number of people that really know how to make something great is small, and those people are busy. There aren’t a lot of secret genius showrunners out there.”
Despite the genius shortage, streaming services tended to disproportionately favor an elevated form of TV-making that was frequently genius dependent: the prestige show. Maybe because there was no straightforward way to profit from their popular hits, platforms chased buzz instead, programming for critics and Emmy voters. But as competition among apps accelerated, this strategy produced so many darkly serious, cinematically embellished shows that the bad ones crowded out the good ones and not even tastemakers had time to watch them all.
“In the Watchmen writers’ room, we would play this game called Is It a Show? ” says Damon Lindelof, who co-created Lost and The Leftovers. “Somebody would name a title, logline, and one of the actors, and we’d have to guess whether it was real. But the joke was it was always a show. Some were in their second or third seasons, and none of us — supposedly television professionals — had ever heard of them.”
If you feel like playing along at home, consider that for every recent coastally adored breakthrough like The Bear or Beef, there were unloved misfires such as 1899, American Gigolo, Archive 81, As We See It, Becoming Elizabeth, Dear Edward, The First Lady, Let the Right One In, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Night Sky, On the Verge, Paper Girls, Reboot, and Shantaram, which all died in their first seasons in 2022 and 2023, plus others that may have escaped the embarrassment of cancellation only by disguising themselves as limited series.
“We’re all stuck in our bubbles of awareness,” says Lindelof. “Everybody I know is watching Swarm, but then my mom and my in-laws and my young and cool brother-in-law don’t even realize it exists. So then you ask yourself, Why do I know that this show exists? TV has become very artisanal.”
It may not have helped that some streaming services thought their recommendation algorithms could replace old-fashioned marketing, which made it easy for even great shows to come and go without causing a ripple. In an attempt to make their wares stand out among the glut, some platforms simply spent more money on them with mixed results. Over time, the expensive signifiers of prestige TV — the movie stars, the set pieces, the cinematography — became so familiar and easy to appropriate that it could take viewers six or seven hours to realize the show they were watching was a fugazi. “Premium and streaming have been chasing more of a film attitude than a TV attitude, which is making shows more expensive but oftentimes not as good as they used to be,” says Ryan. “You’re seeing ideas that should’ve been movies being elongated into eight episodes, and they don’t have the narrative engines to sustain them for that long.”
“People sometimes equate cost to quality, and that’s just utter bullshit,” says a senior executive at a major streaming platform. “They think they have to spend $20 million an episode, and they don’t.”
“TV doesn’t have to be Sundance in 2008. People like their stories, and they like tuning in to see what happens next, and there’s no shame in that,” says Greenwald, who in addition to making television also co-hosts the TV podcast The Watch. “Maybe I’m the problem, calling things ‘genius’ when only 600,000 people watched them. There’s this weird stratification where shows are for either the one percent or the 99 percent. We’re either doing Barry Jenkins’s Underground Railroad at Amazon or we’re doing — what’s an example of the trashiest thing that we could think of at this moment?”
This bifurcated development system has left a hole where the more populist shows that once ruled prime time used to fit. “It’s hard to develop hit sitcoms when the people selling, pitching, buying, and programming them don’t seem to like them. They don’t seem to like what the audience likes,” says the top agent. “I mean, I’m sorry, but people seem to really like Two and a Half Men, and none of my writers want to write that. They all want to write Barry. And you know who watches Barry ? Nobody.”
Streaming TV’s first decade has been compared to film’s New Hollywood of the 1970s, when studios briefly ceded control to forward-thinking young hippies, resulting in some of the greatest works in the history of the medium. But as streaming reboots itself under a mandate of financial discipline, it’s hard not to worry that its next phase might look more like the movie industry of the 1980s, when creativity was suffocated under corporate micromanaging and the rise of tentpole franchises.
As miserable as the past year has been, the next one will probably be worse. Many expect Hollywood’s labor strife to last through the summer with a chance of a double-guild strike if actors walk out when their contract expires at the end of June. (The Directors Guild of America reached its own tentative deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers over the weekend.) A prolonged shutdown could lead to more Demimonde -style executions with streamers canceling any projects and overall deals they consider inessential. And once a new contract is hammered out, the business will likely pick up where it left off, planning for a future with fewer shows, smaller budgets, and safer ideas.
There are already discouraging signs. Recently, TV studios have embraced preexisting intellectual property with a cravenness that would shame even the movie industry of the 2010s. Warner Bros. has announced plans to adapt the dregs of the Harry Potter books into a decade-long TV show. Lionsgate says it’s doing the same with the Twilight books. Showtime is developing three Dexter spinoffs, four Billions offshoots, and sequels to Weeds and Nurse Jackie.
Unless a pitch has major IP or a major star attached, “no one in the last year really has been like, ‘Yes, absolutely: Full season, go crazy,’ in the way that they did a few years ago,” says Schur. “Now almost everything is in this liminal space between ‘yes’ and ‘no.’”
One of the best things about the boom was that it created space for stories and voices that had usually been marginalized. But as Hollywood reverts to what it thinks are sure things, many fear that TV may lose some of that diversity. “I recently spoke to the writers of a show that would’ve featured a trans lead,” Nori Reed, a comic and writer, says in an email. “After years of development at a major studio, they were told they had to change the trans character to cis if they wanted the show to be produced. Another friend was developing a show at another major studio that featured a central trans story line. Their show was canceled. When their manager tried to shop it to other studios, they were told that nobody wants to produce trans-focused shows any longer, citing the need for ‘global appeal.’”
One prominent studio founder recalls selling a hot identity-driven title back when the industry was green-lighting everything: “We had every network giving us a series commitment. We had Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Showtime. Everybody was like, ‘What do we need to do to get this show?’ And that was off a pitch, not even a script.” But recently, when shopping a similar show, the reception was entirely different. “People are very mindful, and the barrier to get something made is very studied. It’s very sort of labored over before anyone’s willing to take the shot of actually making something,” the founder says. This time, nobody bid.
One veteran executive of color says studios and platforms have been slashing development deals even though such pacts have helped the industry make “really big strides in changing its voice” by giving so many new creators a shot. “You don’t get Quinta Brunson and Abbott Elementary unless you invest in her,” she says. “The women and people of color and the new younger voices all went away when they scaled back on development deals.”
Some of this frugality may have an ulterior motive. Insiders say the belt-tightening is partially motivated by the anticipation of more corporate shuffling. Although Warner Bros. Discovery just rebranded HBO Max as simply Max, many foresee another revamp in a few years if the company gets broken up or sold. Conventional wisdom says that Paramount+ and Peacock may struggle to survive the next round of mergers; the same goes for smaller companies such as Lionsgate and AMC Networks. There has already been some soft consolidation: Showtime will be folded into Paramount+ this summer, while Iger last month said he plans to let subscribers watch Hulu content inside the Disney+ app soon. “It’s sort of the slow avalanche you see coming. I don’t think that all of these streaming platforms can or will exist,” says an executive who works at one of those services.
Even though neither Amazon nor Apple has shown any sign of retreat, the fact that their TV shows and movies are mere side hustles to trillion-dollar tech operations means that either company could suddenly rethink its commitment to streaming. “If Amazon said tomorrow they were just gonna do sports and sell digital copies of shows but not make any more originals, my guess is their stock price might go up, and I don’t think they would lose a single Prime subscriber,” says one streaming executive, who says the same applies to Apple. “Anytime something’s not a core business, it’s up for speculation.”
Many in the industry have conjectured that the streaming ecosystem may eventually shrink to four major platforms. If that’s the case, then we’d have sacrificed cable only to replace it with a broadcast-style monopoly. A world with fewer apps could have immediate downsides for both consumers and creators. A number of streamers have raised their prices recently, and less competition would embolden them to do so again. More significantly, anyone making shows would likely lose negotiating power.
One analog for Netflix’s impact is Uber — another investor-funded agent of chaos that upended an industry without plans for a sustainable future. Uber maimed the taxi systems in various cities; when its own finances became questionable, those old fleets didn’t magically reconstitute. But just as users have gotten hooked on the ease of ordering a car via app, there’s no going back to cable TV and carriage fees, either.
Instead, streamers are experimenting with other business models. Netflix claims its Basic With Ads tier brings in more revenue per user than its standard commercial-free plan. The rise of FAST (for Free, Ad-supported Streaming Television) channels such as Tubi and Pluto TV has helped spur an industrywide shift back to content windows; some of the shows that disappeared from HBO Max ( Westworld, FBoy Island ) are now available to potentially larger audiences on FAST services. And six years after Iger convinced most of Hollywood to lock up their library titles on their own platforms, Disney and others have said they’re open to licensing some shows again — even to their old nemesis Netflix.
Such developments hint at a future in which popular shows could generate multiple revenue streams again rather than just hiding on a single platform in hopes that subscribers notice it. One studio executive says she’s already had casual conversations with streamers about taking smaller up-front guarantees in exchange for a deal structure that allows for a larger back end if a project is a success. “Maybe you can change the license period so it’s not always ten or 15 years, or you can change how much of that is exclusive,” she says. In that scenario, it’s possible to imagine a show that breaks out on one service generating millions in new revenue when its episodes become available to license to others.
This shift might also realign the incentives of the TV business to favor shows with wider appeal. Maybe it already has. “Everybody is looking for high-quality, broad-audience shows again,” says one veteran writer. “If you could bring back the heyday of Brandon Tartikoff–Warren Littlefield NBC with shows like The West Wing, ER, Friends, and Seinfeld — maybe with some nudity and F-bombs — every streamer would be very happy right now.”
One recent wake-up call for the industry was the Amazon Freevee series Jury Duty, which blurred the lines between sitcom and reality show and, per industry sources, is on track to be one of the biggest half-hours in the history of either Prime Video or Freevee. “That show costs $2 million an episode,” says one top packaging agent familiar with TV budgets. “Well, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power costs $50 million . You tell me where they’re going to go next.” (An Amazon spokesman says the Rings figure is “way off.”)
Of course, none of that will provide much comfort to the fans and creators of so many artisanal and expensive shows that have defined television for the past decade, who worry that that sort of TV will become rarer in a more financially conservative business. “The solutions weirdly all revert back to what used to be on some level. And that is not good because certainly it felt pretty fucking broken at that time, too,” says Plec. “It’s not like just returning to the old status quo is the answer. We’re at the center of the tornado right now, and it seems like it’s whipping all around us, and I don’t think anybody really understands how to make it stop.”
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Broadcast TV Needs a New Business Model
- Rita McGrath
Networks will disrupt themselves in order to compete.
Broadcasters have had it tough in business model terms. The rise of cable and the proliferation of content have shaken off their grip on consumers’ attention and schedules. The vastly expanding worlds of alternatives for entertainment and education have put them in a position of struggling to hang on to audiences. And all this has basically ended the dominance of “appointment TV,” when you would know that a certain show was on at a certain time and clear your calendar to watch it. With the exception of “big event TV,” which includes programs such as the Super Bowl or the American Idol finals, viewers can increasingly customize what they are watching to their own interests and on their own schedules. The future of broadcast is indeed unclear.
- Rita McGrath is a Professor at Columbia Business School and a globally recognized expert on strategy in uncertain and volatile environments. She is the author of The End of Competitive Advantage (Harvard Business Review Press), and most recently, Seeing Around Corners (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
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Jeff Sagansky Slams Streaming-Driven TV Business Model: “We Are In A Golden Age Of Content Production And The Dark Age Of Creative Profit Sharing”
By Nellie Andreeva
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Jeff Sagansky , a media investor and producer and former top entertainment executive, is sounding the alarm on the adverse impact the now prevalent “cost plus” business model has had on profit participation. The setup, originally introduced by Netflix and subsequently adopted by most major streamers and TV studios, reverses a decades-long practice of above-the-line talent on hit series being handsomely rewarded with a cut of the profits that continues to generate income for decades after the show’s creation.
In a blistering speech as part of a NATPE event Wednesday, Sagansky paints a bleak picture of what is to come if no one stands up to the new paradigm, including cratering buyout premiums and disappearing big overall deals, and issues a rallying cry for producers, writers, actors and agents to go to the Justice Department and Congress “to argue against this anti-competitive behavior” in an effort to “level the playing field” in a way the government did in 1970 with the passing of the fin-syn rules. They will have to do that without their main ally as “the producer-studio bond…has been irrevocably broken.”
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While there has been growing frustration in the creative community who have been privately bemoaning the demise of traditional backend deals, this is the first time I have seen a prominent industry figure publicly — and very bluntly — speak up against the new talent compensation scheme, calling this a “rotten time to be a producer in terms of being paid fairly for the work you are doing” and hinting at a possible collusion among the studios and streamers in imposing the model.
In the address, Sagansky, former President of CBS Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment and former CEO of TriStar Pictures and Paxson Communications, referred to the “brutally unfair” and “ridiculous” deals writers, directors, producers and actors “are being forced to sign.” Employed by Netflix, Amazon, Disney and Warner Bros., among others, the deals allow for shows created today to live on 50 years from now, “be licensed and relicensed and seen in every corner of the world in a way that the digital revolution is now making possible” but the creators and producers of those shows “get paid just once upfront – 10 or 20% more than your usual producer fee and would never again get paid for all those billions of views, all that relicensing revenue, all that advertising revenue that was embedded.”
Noting the explosion of original programming over the past decade to an estimated $220 billion of global content spend and 560 scripted series in 2021 on US-based platforms alone, “this should be the greatest time in the history of our business to be a producer,” Sagansky said. But “in my 47 years in our business I don’t think there is a more rotten time to be a producer in terms of being paid fairly for the work you are doing,” he said, adding that the comments extend to all above the line talent.
He later went further, stating that “We are in a golden age of content production and the dark age of creative profit sharing.”
Calling the current situation a case of history repeating itself, Sagansky explained how we got here. In the US TV business’ early going in the 1950s and 1960s, the copyrights of TV shows were owned by the studios and producers but the networks — only 3 at the time, ABC, CBS and NBC — were commanding 90% of the ancillary economics.
“Out of desperation, the producers and studios jointly went to Congress, the Justice Department and the FCC to address this coercive anti-competitive behavior on the part of the networks, and they succeeded big time” Sagansky said. In 1970, the FCC passed the Financial Interest and Syndication (fin-syn) Rule that largely prohibited networks from airing programming that they had a financial interest in.
Sagansky spoke of “the incredible creativity and success that came out the fin-syn rule” as studios were licensing the first window of their shows to the networks but owing the second window and international in perpetuity.
“The next forty years after 1970 was truly the golden age of producer ownership,” he said.
In addition to the fin-syn rule, which spurred the creation of indie powerhouses such as MTM, Viacom and the companies of Aaron Spelling, Stephen J. Cannell and Norman Lear, several other factors made show ownership “increasingly valuable”, Sagansky noted, including the rise of cable in the 1980s, which became a major off-network programming buyer, the opening up of the international TV market following the TV privatization in Europe and Asia in the 1990s and the DVD boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with shows raking in as much as $600K per episode in DVD sales.
By 2010, successful series were making $1.5 million and more in profit per episode — and producers, writers, directors and actors were all participating in the fruits of their labor,” Sagansky said.
“Then a neutron bomb was dropped on the business starting in 2010 when Netflix introduced streaming,” Sagansky said. “Suddenly the calculus of the TV business changed very quickly.”
Helped by net neutrality and the initial willingness of TV studios to license their content to Netflix for modest fees, streaming quickly took hold but traditional media companies soon switched course and focused on their own direct-to-consumer platforms in the face of a dwindling linear TV universe as a result of an accelerating cord-cutting.
Of Hollywood’s original seven studios — now six — all but Sony are tied to a streaming platform owned by Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount and NBCUniversal.
“These studios are part of big walled gardens where the main master they serve are their streaming arms,” Sagansky said. “And somehow they all have quickly adopted the Netflix production model which demands to own 100% of whatever is produced by Netflix Studios ‘buying out in perpetuity in most cases the producers’ backend up front’.”
The proliferation of the so-called “cost plus” model beyond original Silicon Valley-based streamers Netflix and Amazon happened very quickly and stealthily over a couple of years, largely while the Writers Guild and the major talent agencies were at odds over packaging and writers were not represented by agents, industry observers note.
While in the old linear world shows would get their original network airings before returning to the studio’s vault to await second window and international runs, now series get uploaded on servers pretty much for the rest of eternity, with streamers able to track who is watching them when, where and for how long. (Rather controversially, that data is largely kept away from creators.) The paradigm is raising questions by Sagansky that echo anti-trust concerns.
“We have never had this level of information and data since the media business was started. So is it remotely equitable that the producer gets bought out in perpetuity only because these streamers/studios have colluded to prevent you from enjoying the backend?,” he said. “Did the Producers Guild or Directors Guild or Writers Guild or SAG-AFTRA ever negotiate with these media behemoths the end to more than 50 years of backend ownership? These are some of the biggest media companies in the world — they can’t afford to share in the profits of all these shows that they have no role in creating?”
He made another comment evoking monopoly terminology when explaining why the new model that de facto eliminates backend took hold.
“First, these streaming services all want to be global in scope, so the streamers want worldwide rights, and secondly, as broadcast and cable retreats in importance, streaming commands the great bulk of program dollars and in an oligopoly, when the principal players all demand and enforce the same model, it is impossible for a producer to break the coercive behavior.”
While in the early days of streaming, there were “huge buyout premiums that may have in some cases come close to approximating the backends for some hit shows, my prediction — and we are seeing it now — is that these buyout premiums are coming down dramatically, and I further predict that these big deals given to the brand name producers will also disappear as the streamers consolidate and the competitive environment coalesces around 3 or 4 big services,” Sagansky said.
This is exactly what happened 50 years ago with one big difference, he noted.
“Whereas 50 years ago you had the producers and studios fighting together, today those studios all serve these streaming giants,” he said. “The producer-studio bond that has served a shared purpose for the last 50 or 60 years has been irrevocably broken. The studios are happy to relegate the creative community to serfdom — give me the best you have and be gone. We don’t want you to share in the benefits of what you have created.”
With prospects for creative talent being so dire, Sagansky sees one path forward and it is getting the government involved.
“The creative community — the producers writers, actors and directors — and dare I say the talent agencies — have to go to the Justice Department and Congress to argue against this anti-competitive behavior,” he said. “Not an early task getting all these disparate groups together but this may be the only way to level the playing field.”
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The future of traditional TV looks bleak, and it shouldn’t worry us
Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management, Lancaster University
Martin Friesl does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Lancaster University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation UK.
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The review of the BBC’s charter overseen by culture secretary John Whittingdale doesn’t just have important implications for one of the UK’s most iconic institutions, it is also a symptom of a broader phenomenon: the disruption of television by on-demand content. The future for broadcasters might look bleak, but there are also some likely winners. Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Apple TV spring immediately to mind, but there is also room in the market for investigative news media such as The Guardian, The Times, or The Economist.
The big challenge for TV broadcasters is the fierce competition for people’s time from an ever-increasing group of content, media and entertainment providers. Competitive strategy scholars would describe the problem as follows: the level of competition in an industry is determined by the degree of substitution for a particular product of service. In other words, the more alternatives to fulfil a particular need, the more competitive the industry.
For Harvard’s Clayton Christensen such substitution is particularly likely if a common technology platform emerges. In this case, the improvement in broadband coverage and the affordability of Smart TVs have made web content a serious rival for traditional television.
Business model broken
The value proposition of traditional television has been to cater for a very diverse audience, produce unique content and provide high-quality journalism. This has all been paid for by TV license fees or advertising revenues. However, this business model seems to be broken, for a number of reasons.
First, the underlying logic of service provision is still the “TV programme” with pre-defined broadcasting time slots, and now accompanied by restricted availability after broadcasting via platforms such as the BBC’s iPlayer or Channel 4’s All 4 streaming service.
Second, TV stations aim to be “everything for everybody”. While this has made sense in the past, it is questionable whether this still appeals to the media and technology savvy viewers of today. Finally, the legitimacy of the TV licence as a quasi–tax is increasingly open to challenge, while the advertising model looks fragile too as people are only prepared to pay for what they use.
Who are the likely winners?
It looks grim, but there is also a big chance in all of this.
The internet and online streaming as a common technology platform allows content providers to focus on what they are really good at, be it sports, drama, shows or news coverage. This is a clear opportunity for TV broadcasters. It reduces the pressure of that suffocating “everything for everybody” idea and opens the door for increased specialisation. Look at it this way, and the demise of traditional television starts to be a potential source of exciting and innovative programmes and formats.
Success is going to be a question of scale; the availability of up to date, high quality content on-demand. Much has been written about how streaming services like Amazon Prime and Netflix are likely winners in the battle for primacy in home entertainment. These companies are already fighting their own battles for dominance by expanding their libraries of on-demand films, documentaries and TV shows at a breathtaking speed.
The move by streaming services into original content also offers a direct challenge which bites into the core model for traditional broadcasters. One key example is Netflix’s “House of Cards” , an international hit. Amazon Prime also just announced that they are going to add a music streaming service as part of their already existing streaming service; another example for the importance of scale.
There is space for others, however. News media such as traditional broadsheet newspapers are in a strong position to benefit in future. Earmarked for a slow death even before the big broadcasters, these stately institutions have endured their fair share of suffering due to shrinking circulations. But some of them, such as the British paper and website The Guardian or German weekly Der Spiegel have developed innovative web platforms which not only provide traditional news content but timely video content. Der Spiegel even has its own TV channel broadcast via the internet.
News was always one of the crucial propositions of the major broadcasters; yet, as we move deeper into an on-demand world, newspapers and news magazines are in a very strong position to be the news or documentary providers of choice.
Brand recognition is an asset of course, and their success will particularly depend on their ability to leverage the authenticity and subject expertise these organisations clearly have accumulated. Using business news as an example, both the Financial Times and The Economist appear well-positioned, and have already proven an ability to develop innovative content in a fast paced and highly competitive environment. These are important skills to have in order to thrive in a “post-television” industry whose shape is yet to be determined.
As this evolution continues, traditional broadcasters need to engage in serious soul searching. In a world that is increasingly fractured and where TV programmes are substituted by content provided in YouTube channels, by pioneering newspapers or a growing band of specialist publishers , they need to find an answer to the question: What is unique to what we have to offer?
One thing seems to be clear: this soul-searching will reveal some unloved truths, it will be painful and, ultimately, it will lead to significant changes to how TV broadcasters around the world operate. So, the pressure is on for John Whittingdale and his panel of experts. In their bid to set the foundations for the BBC to navigate a chaotic next ten years, there are plenty of dangers, but also a chance to create media history.
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Is TV's Traditional Business Model Broken?
The broadcast networks are in New York this week pitching their fall TV shows to advertisers. David Greene talks with reporter Kim Masters, of The Hollywood Reporter , about the new shows and indications the industry is in decline. Masters also hosts The Business on member station KCRW.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
The big broadcast networks are in New York City this week. They're pitching new fall TV shows to advertisers. We're talking about big money here - the networks are expected to sell about $9 billion worth of commercial time. That sizable payday, though, has been overshadowed by concerns over what's considered to be an industry in decline.
Reporter Kim Masters is in New York, covering the network presentations for the Hollywood Reporter. Hey, Kim.
KIM MASTERS, BYLINE: Hey, David.
GREENE: So, you know, we're hearing more and more about this idea that the traditional business model for TV is kind of on its way out. I mean, what are networks like ABC, CBS, NBC up against here?
MASTERS: Well, they're up against the fact that every single one of them has seen their ratings decline over the past year and in some cases, pretty precipitously. CBS has done the best, but the rest of them are really hurting. And you've seen Fox, which has had a long, dominant run with "American Idol" - see that show in freefall. So there's a feeling that there's all this encroachment from a lot of different material from a lot of different places: the Internet, big screen, small screens, portable screens, cable hits like "Walking Dead" or "Duck Dynasty" that are outrating their shows. At one point, NBC was trailing Univision.
MASTERS: I mean, the dominance of the four broadcast - big broadcast networks is definitely under challenge.
GREENE: Let me get this straight. I mean, it sounds like it used to be these networks came, and they just tried to get advertisers for their shows. Now, there's an additional challenge, which is to get advertisers just to come to television at all, with all these other options out there.
MASTERS: Well, that's overstating the case a bit because all networks have made a strong point, you know, there still is not enough clarity. There's a lot of cacophony in this other entertainment - YouTube channels, whatever - and the broadcast networks still aggregate eyeballs, still have the biggest audiences, still have live sports that is dominant, such as the Super Bowl, which you watch in real time. You don't skip the ads. Really, the advertisers are going to have to come to the networks.
GREENE: Well, let's get to the fun, here. We've got some tape lined up here of a couple of the new shows that are getting some attention.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "AGENTS OF SHIELD)
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE MICHAEL J. FOX SHOW")
GREENE: I think some of music is sometimes part of the fun in hearing these types of clips. So what were we listening to there?
MASTERS: Well, you might have recognized the voice of Michael J. Fox. He's got a new show named after himself on NBC, what's old is new again, obviously, a beloved star. He's sort of playing a version of himself, a guy, a newsman with Parkinson's, and there are a number - they showed some clips at the NBC presentation. There are - you know, there are Parkinson's jokes. Only Michael J. Fox could make those jokes, but they played pretty well in the room, and we'll see whether that sustains a TV show.
Before that, you heard an ABC show, "Agents of Shield." That's from Marvel, which brought you "Iron Man," which is in the theaters right now, and "The Avengers." You know, this is the thing that Disney, ABC's parent, does brilliantly. They have these brands, and they put them across all kinds of platforms - you know, ABC, movies. You name it, they sell it.
And "Agents of Shield," probably has the most buzz. I mean, there's just built-in recognition for that, and I think ABC is pretty thrilled to have that on the schedule.
GREENE: Comic book blockbuster from the big screen comes to the small screen, in a way.
GREENE: And I heard that fans of the show "24" have something to be excited about. They're bringing that massively popular show back.
MASTERS: FOX will bring that back, supposedly in the spring of 2014. It will not be like a regular TV show. It's going to run about a dozen episodes. And a number of the networks are experimenting with sort of a return of - I guess you could call it an expanded mini-series. I mean, FOX is also doing an O.J. Simpson story, and a reboot of "Shogun," which you may remember from long ago.
GREENE: Of course.
MASTERS: That's something they're experimenting with, and they're doing it because they want to keep a lot of fresh programming going year-round, instead of having the set fall and spring season where people sort of drift away a little bit. They're really pushing to have fresh, original programming going all the time.
GREENE: Another way that the model is changing.
MASTERS: Another way to compete.
GREENE: As the model sort of changes in this industry, I mean, is there one network best-positioned for success right now?
MASTERS: Yes, clearly, it's CBS. Les Moonves is the head of CBS. Every year, they have a breakfast with the press. And all these other networks have presented and emphasized their programming is available on multiple platforms, and they'll sell ads to advertisers on all these different platforms. And Les Moonves stood up in front of the room and said: Anybody who spends 20 minutes in an upfront presentation talking about multiple platforms doesn't have much else to sell.
And he made the point that "Big Bang" is not only number one in broadcast, but number one on cable in repeats. So he's saying if you have the goods, broadcast is still dominant, and he is a guy who sells hard, and is going to ask for a big increase in ad rates because of that.
GREENE: OK. So CBS still believes get it right on broadcast, and all these other platforms will kind of, you know, work themselves out in your favor.
GREENE: Sounds like a fun thing to cover. Enjoy it in New York.
MASTERS: Thank you, David.
GREENE: Kim Masters. She hosts "The Business" on member station KCRW.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.
The future of TV distribution
The future of tv distribution.
Distribution is dead. Long live distribution! Bastardizing the traditional proclamation shouted on the accession of a new monarch seems appropriate for change in a business that earns its keep selling the movies, TV shows and content so often referred to as ‘King’ in the entertainment industry.
The global changes to the content value chain, kicked off by the launch of streaming and accelerated by world events beyond anyone’s control, mean we have reached a pivot point in the business, one in which traditional ways of doing things—ways that have served the industry well for the best part of 100 years—are starting to look unfit for purpose. The business of distribution has borne much of the brunt; sitting as it does between the creation of content and the ‘technicality’ of getting that content in front of its audience.
So what’s changed and where does that leave us?
Firstly, in any period of flux the changes that we talk about are always a continuum. Change is not black and white, it is not one thing instantaneously becoming another but instead happens gradually in shades of grey. It is still entirely possible to go not making money as if nothing has changed. That’s especially true for smaller businesses or those focused on a specific niche. But the industry changes that are impacting distribution so acutely are here and, rest assured, aren’t going away. That means even smaller businesses need to start thinking globally, in every sense of the word, and thinking about how they can future proof their business and capitalise on the inevitable opportunities that disruption always brings.
Streaming TV kicked off the current cycle that has led us to the position we find the industry in today. That’s not by virtue of it being a new technology for delivering television—that falls under the heading of the ‘technicality’ of getting content to the audience; it does not itself change the business model of selling content. But the global nature of streaming platforms most definitely does. Until global streaming, rights had traded largely within distinct geographic limitations. The need for global rights changed all that. And it was the challenges of negotiating global deals that made production more attractive for global streamers and kicked off the current content boom.
On the face of it, a content production boom should be great for the distribution business, but two other things happened that shifted the agenda again. Streaming TV kicked off an audience shift away from the platforms and channels that had traditionally taken that content to the end viewer. And that change led the major content producers to chase the growth that was rapidly disappearing from their traditional windows of exploitation and led them down the path of direct-to-consumer.
Then came COVID. COVID did many things to the business of entertainment, but the most important impact was that it accelerated change. It accelerated streaming uptake and usage; it accelerated audience behavioural change and it accelerated the need for studios and other major content producers to follow the money, push ahead even harder with plans for direct and experiment with content windowing—even to the extent of looking at by-passing the theatrical window during lockdown. The result: faster change.
The impact for the distribution business is fundamental: getting hold of content to sell is a lot harder. Major producers are holding back content for their own direct platforms, even from their own internal distribution entities; medium-sized and smaller producers are often looking first to a one-stop deal with global streamers before resorting to piece meal international sales.
So, how do you future proof a distribution business?
The flippant answer is: ‘become a producer’, but, actually, in that quip lies some truth. Larger distributors have already pursued the strategy of investing in production companies in order to secure content access. The most successful have effectively become studios, involved in every aspect of production development, financing, creation and distribution. Buying up producers is not a route open to smaller companies. But thinking of ways to get involved directly at an earlier stage of content creation is.
There are other lessons that can be learned from the larger players. If securing content rights is the challenge, what better way to get in on the party than by tying up rights before anyone has even thought of making a TV show from an asset? Control of character and story intellectual property is hotting up to become the next major battleground for big producers and distributors looking to future proof. That comes in all forms, from blogs to podcasts to comics, games and even music catalogues. It’s a big-player strategy that can also be adapted to a smaller scale by looking to individual and smaller one-off sources of IP as well as relationships more directly with creators.
Streaming revolution and new TV distribution opportunities
Understanding that the streaming revolution is entering another phase of change as we speak can also help in looking for new distribution opportunity. Market change was led by global streaming subscription players like Netflix. But today it is regional broadcasters (often through collaboration) and niche content players that are pushing out beyond their usual footprint and into international streaming markets. Further, streamers are increasingly seeing the importance of embracing multiple business models across free ad-supported and subscription as well as looking at ways to broaden content appeal. For distributors that means looking beyond the usual client list and seeking new opportunity with the next wave of international platform builders.
The distribution business isn’t going anywhere, but it is moving into new realms. Aligning for the future is not just about understanding why and where, but about scaling strategies that service a market agenda now driven by global operators, global content and a fundamental shift in the value of exploitation windows and the way content is monetized. Some of those strategies are already commonplace, but now assume greater importance; others involve new ways of thinking. None are beyond reach.
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Media Management pp 137–148 Cite as
Business Models and Value Creation in the TV Market
- Bernd W. Wirtz 2
- First Online: 12 September 2020
Part of the Springer Texts in Business and Economics book series (STBE)
In past decades, the television has progressed to become one of the most important and most high-powered media (Wirtz and Schwarz 2001). The US-American TV market has assumed a leading position through the development of television into its modern journalistic, social, and economic meaning. Hence, the United States is considered the most important television market worldwide. Before the background of the advancing globalization and the converging industrial sectors, the television plays a central role, in particular in competition of the market-dominating multinational media groups (Wirtz and Elsäßer 2016).
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Wirtz, B.W. (2020). Business Models and Value Creation in the TV Market. In: Media Management. Springer Texts in Business and Economics. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-47913-8_8
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The Business Model in Film and Television Industries
In the history of the entertainment & media industry, we have witnessed the continuous evolution and affirmation of different business models. In this article, we’ll focus on the business models in the audiovisual content sector, film and television.
We will explore the most common models, but let’s keep in mind that the range of business models is much broader, and it’s not rare that different business models are intertwined .
More than that, further business models are conceptually possible, waiting to be “invented” one day . Nobody knows if innovative players could leverage new models and undermine the incumbents (the current industry leaders), even disrupting the whole audiovisual sector.
There would be nothing strange: as we will see, continuous innovation of the business models is exactly what we have been witnessing for over a century!
The Business Model Canvas
Talking about business models, we’ll use a strategic template, the Business Model Canvas , developed by Swiss business consultant Alex Osterwalder and Belgian business professor Yves Pigneur.
The Business Model Canvas describes the architecture of the business (how a company creates and delivers value while generating profits) with a simple structure composed of nine building blocks.
The template became popular, a sort of common standard in business design, thanks to the success of Osterwalder and Pigenur’s best-selling book “ Business Model Generation: a Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers ” published in 2010.
The business model in the film industry
The first paid public screening, organized by the Lumière brothers in Paris, happened in Paris on December 28, 1895: for one franc, customers of the Grand Café on Boulevard des Capucines could attend the screening of 10 short films in the space of 25 minutes.
Since then, a business model was gradually established and has never substantially changed, at least in its fundamentals.
From a certain point of view, a film’s supply chain is similar to some traditional consumer product’s supply chain : a producer creates products that are delivered to distributors that in turn resell the products to a retailer, and finally consumers purchase the products in the stores, the key touchpoint.
So, there is a producer who invests his own capital for the production (and at the same time looks for additional sources of financing), chooses the director and creates the audiovisual content: a new film.
Then there is a distributor , who acts as an intermediary between the producer and the cinemas. And finally, cinema (or a chain of cinemas) in which the content experience takes place.
It is clear that the producer’s business model is quite distinct from that of the distributor, and in turn distinct from that of the cinema operator. Let’s see and compare them.
(A) Film producer: the business model
The producer gives life to the film and assigns the film distribution rights to a distributor against a fee whose calculation is ruled in the contract.
In this example as well as in the following ones, we’ll include in the template only the key elements so that we can have a broad view of the full pattern and focus on the ‘essence’ of the models.
(B) Film distributor: the business model
The distributor makes the content, and therefore the film, available to cinemas (its customer segment), obtaining a share of the box office made. Actually, the distributor’s Value Proposition also includes ensuring cinemas’ owners that the film will be supported by marketing investments to maximize the box office.
(C) Cinema: the business model
The last player in the supply chain is the cinema (or movie theatre). Cinemas are the places where content consumption takes place, and their business model is so intuitive that it does not need comments.
We have seen different models, but in the reality, they often overlap and intertwine within the same company. An example is film majors (such as Disney, Warner etc.) that act at the same time as a producer and distributor.
The business model in television
The first experiments – carried out by the Siemens brothers – date back to 1877, even before the birth of the film industry. But the first broadcast on a television equipped with a cathode ray tube – the one that will spread to millions of families around the world – will happen only in 1927.
In the following decades, television will surpass any other mass-media in terms of penetration as well as impact on popular culture.
The new appliance will give new impetus to the audiovisual content entertainment industry, and in parallel with its continuous technological innovation, there will be continuous innovation of broadcasters’ business model.
Linear TV is the simplest mode of television service, the first historically appeared. There is a broadcaster with a schedule of programs transmitted through different possible technical solutions: with an analog or digital signal, which is propagated via terrestrial or by cable.
We can’t talk about one business model for linear television. The key distinction is between commercial television, public service (such as BBC in UK or Rai in Italy) and satellite television, which correspond to different business models.
(a) Commercial television
The business model of commercial TV is the classic example of multisided platform : there is a customer segment that does not generate revenue, the non-paying “viewers”, which however become a key resource – the audience – which allows to sell advertising space to a second customer segment, advertising investors.
It is true that the audience does not generate, in this model, revenue, but in reality, there is a price that is paid for the content experience: not in monetary terms but in terms of time and attention ( always remember that “if the product is free, the product is you!” ).
The audience becomes the key resource for the Value Proposition that is sold to advertising investors through an ad agency.
(b) Public service television
The business model in the case of public service (BBC in the UK, Rai in Italy, etc.) is quite complex because the company addresses three different customer segments:
(1) the ad investors, selling them ad space and generating sales revenue.
(2) the audience , getting no monetary revenue but getting their time and attention, which will be “sold” as part of the Value Proposition to the ad investors.
(3) the State , getting a large share of the subscription television licence fee collected by the State and paid by the citizens.
(c) Satellite television
We are still in the scheme of the multisided market , as in the case of commercial TV, but there is something different: this time users pay a subscription.
The great advantage of satellite TV, in comparison to commercial television, is this double stream of revenue: from users (subscribers) and from advertisers. On the other side, there is a price for such advantage: the investments and maintenance costs required by the satellite infrastructure.
Here is the Business Model Canvas of satellite TV (again, we focus only on the most relevant “building blocks”):
(d) TV on demand
The term says it: the user decides what content to watch. There is no longer a schedule predefined by the broadcaster. The user can create his own schedule, watching the content he wants, whenever he wants, and today – we add – where he wants, from the device the user prefers: a television, a tablet, a laptop, or a smartphone.
TV on demand obviously requires a certain type of technological infrastructure, and it is no coincidence that it has only established itself with the spread of broadband internet. The leading platforms belong to global media companies : Disney +, Netflix, Prime Video (Amazon), Apple TV +, etc.
This most common business model is known by the acronym SVOD , or Subscription Video On Demand , but although it is the most frequent (think of Netflix) it is not the only one possible when it comes to video on demand.
The Business Model Canvas is rather simple: basically, the customer pays a subscription fee to get access to the content (movies and TV series).
Just to mention a couple of them:
AVOD: Advertising Video On Demand , in which the only revenue is advertising, while for the user access to content is free and no subscription is required
TVOD: Transactional Video On Demand , in which the user pays a price for the purchase of the single audio-video content.
Actually, the reality in the market is going to change and become more complex, as few TV streaming platforms are oriented to put into practice hybrid models to increase revenue streams. Disney+ and Netflix are going to propose paid subscriptions at lower prices but with the insertion of advertisements.
Let’s not be surprised if in the future the world of audio-video will propose even new forms of content monetization, around which business models never thought of before will emerge. An example? The blockchain as a distribution channel of content through NFTs , a scenario deepened in an article in which the first experiences in the industry are told.
Will blockchain and NFT disrupt the media & entertainment sector?
The Lord of The Rings NFT: should you buy it?
What is Transmedia Storytelling?
The Definitive Voice of Entertainment News
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Business model unraveling for tv networks.
For more than 60 years, TV stations have broadcast news, sports and entertainment for free and made their money by showing commercials. That might not work much longer.
By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
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NEW YORK — For more than 60 years, TV stations have broadcast news, sports and entertainment for free and made their money by showing commercials. That might not work much longer.
The business model is unraveling at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and the local stations that carry the networks’ programming. Cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars. The recession has squeezed advertising further, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their push for new revenue to pay for programming.
That will play out in living rooms across the country. The changes could mean higher cable or satellite TV bills, as the networks and local stations squeeze more fees from pay-TV providers such as Comcast and DirecTV for the right to show broadcast TV channels in their lineups. The networks might even ditch free broadcast signals in the next few years. Instead, they could operate as cable channels — a move that could spell the end of free TV as Americans have known it since the 1940s.
“Good programming is expensive,” Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox, told a shareholder meeting this fall. “It can no longer be supported solely by advertising revenues.”
Fox is pursuing its strategy in public, warning that its broadcasts — including college football bowl games — could go dark Friday for subscribers of Time Warner Cable, unless the pay-TV operator gives Fox higher fees. For its part, Time Warner Cable is asking customers whether it should “roll over” or “get tough” in negotiations.
The future of free TV also could be altered as the biggest pay-TV provider, Comcast Corp., prepares to take control of NBC. Comcast has not signaled plans to end NBC’s free broadcasts. But Jeff Zucker, who runs NBC and its sister cable channels such as CNBC and Bravo, told investors this month that “the cable model is just superior to the broadcast model.”
The traditional broadcast model works like this: CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox distribute shows through a network of local stations. The networks own a few stations in big markets, but most are “affiliates,” owned by separate companies.
Traditionally the networks paid affiliates to broadcast their shows, though those fees have dwindled to near nothing as local stations have seen their audience shrink. What hasn’t changed is where the money mainly comes from: advertising.
Cable channels make most of their money by charging pay-TV providers a monthly fee per subscriber for their programming. On average, the pay-TV providers pay about 26 cents for each channel they carry, according to research firm SNL Kagan. A channel as highly rated as ESPN can get close to $4, while some, such as MTV2, go for just a few pennies.
With both advertising and fees, ESPN has seen its revenue grow to $6.3 billion this year from $1.8 billion a decade ago, according to SNL Kagan estimates. It has been able to bid for premium events that networks had traditionally aired, such as football games. Cable channels also have been able to fund high-quality shows, such as AMC’s “Mad Men,” rather than recycling movies and TV series.
That, plus a growing number of channels, has given cable a bigger share of the ad pie. In 1998, cable channels drew roughly $9.1 billion, or 24% of total TV ad spending, according to the Television Bureau of Advertising. By 2008, they were getting $21.6 billion, or 39%.
Having two revenue streams — advertising and fees from pay-TV providers — has insulated cable channels from the recession. In contrast, over-the-air stations have been forced to cut staff, and at least two broadcast groups sought bankruptcy protection this year.
Fox illustrates the trend: Its broadcast operations reported a 54% drop in operating income for the quarter that ended in September. Its cable channels, which include Fox News and FX, grew their operating income 41%.
Analyst Tom Love of ZenithOptimedia said he expects the big networks will end the year with a 9% drop in ad revenue, followed by an 8% drop in 2010 and zero growth in 2011.
A small chunk of the ad revenue is being recouped online, where the networks sell episodes for a few dollars each or run ads alongside shows on sites such as Hulu. Media economist Jack Myers projects online video advertising will grow into a $2 billion business by 2012, from just $350 million to $400 million this year.
But that is not significant enough to make up for the lost ad revenue on the airwaves. Advertisers spent $34 billion on broadcast commercials in 2008, down by $2.4 billion from two years earlier, according to the Television Bureau of Advertising.
So rather than wait for the Internet to become a bigger source of income, the networks and local stations are mimicking what cable channels do: They’re charging pay-TV companies a monthly fee per subscriber to carry their programming.
Since 1994, the Federal Communications Commission has let networks and their affiliates seek payments for including their programming in the pay-TV lineup. Not everyone demanded payments at first. Instead they relied on the broader audience that cable and satellite gave them to increase what they could charge advertisers.
The big networks also were content to let their broadcast stations essentially be subsidized by higher fees for the cable channels that fell under the same corporate umbrella. A pay-TV company negotiating with the Walt Disney Co., which owns ABC, is likely paying more for the ABC Family channel than it otherwise would, with the extra assumed to help Disney cover its costs for the ABC network broadcasts.
But over time — such contracts generally run about three years — more networks began demanding payments for the stations they own. And affiliates already receiving the fees have bargained for more money.
Some talks have been tense. In 2007, Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates 32 network-affiliated stations around the country, pulled its signals for nearly a month from Mediacom Communications Corp., which provides cable TV to about 1.3 million subscribers, mainly in small cities.
The American Cable Association says its members — mainly small cable TV providers — have seen their costs for carrying local TV stations more than triple over the past three years. The group’s head, Matt Polka, says those fees have gone “straight to consumers’ pocketbooks” in the form of higher cable bills.
Gannett Co., for instance, which operates 23 stations, has taken in $56 million in fees from pay-TV operators this year after negotiating a new batch of agreements, up from $18 million in 2008. Dave Lougee, president of Gannett’s broadcast arm, defends the fees, saying “broadcasters were late to the game in really starting to go after the fair market value of their signals.”
Analysts estimate CBS managed to get as much as 50 cents per subscriber in its most recent talks with pay-TV providers that carry CBS-owned stations. CBS Corp. chief Leslie Moonves said such fees should add “hundreds of millions of dollars to revenues annually.”
That could be just the beginning. CBS and Fox are also asking for a portion of the fees that their affiliates get, arguing that the networks’ shows are what give local stations the leverage to ask for fees.
Over time, the networks might be able to get even more money by abandoning the affiliate structure and undoing a key element of free TV.
Here’s why: Pay-TV providers are paying the networks only for the stations the networks own. That amounts to a little less than a third of the TV audience, which means local affiliates recoup two-thirds of the fees. If a network operated purely as a cable channel and cut the affiliates out, the network could get the fees for the entire pay-TV audience.
If forced to go independent, affiliates would have to air their own programming, including local news and syndicated shows.
Fitch Ratings analyst Jamie Rizzo predicts that at least one of the four broadcast networks “could explore” becoming a cable channel as early as 2011.
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Need to know: how are tv audiences measured, 6 minute read | november 2023.
To measure TV audiences, you need three key ingredients: a data source (a combination of panel and big data capable of properly representing viewing audiences); technology (to capture and correctly identify viewing data); and metrics (to make sense of that viewing data for all stakeholders).
This article focuses on the last two ingredients: What specific technology is the industry using to capture viewing data, and what metrics are media companies and advertisers using to conduct their business?
But first, let’s review a few key tenets of TV measurement.
Tenets of modern TV measurement
Detecting what people are watching and who is watching are two separate things. Brands want to reach individual consumers, not households, and media companies want to personalize their offerings to individuals, too. While big data 1 collection is deeply automated, it has drawbacks, including failing to register who’s in front of the screen. That’s one of the main reasons why combining big data with data from people-based panels has become such an industry priority. 2
In the pure linear-TV world, audiences used to tune in based on an established schedule. Media companies filled programming schedules and sold advertising spots solely based on the audience that was expected to show up during that time slot. Today, audiences are watching on their own time, and, with the rise of both on-demand streaming and scheduled free, ad-supported streaming (FAST) channels, the notion of schedule-based viewing is evolving.
At Nielsen, we developed technology to encode inaudible watermarks 3 into a TV broadcaster’s audio signal and decode them in our panel homes, whether live or time-shifted. And for cases where watermarks couldn’t be detected, we included software in our meters capable of composing audio ‘fingerprints’ on the fly for comparison against a reference library. We’ve enhanced those technologies over time but they still form the backbone of our metering infrastructure today. In fact, we’ve upgraded both watermarking and fingerprinting capabilities to increase ad detection frequency and start reporting on subminute events.
Counting every viewer
To assign viewing to the right person, we currently use within our panel what we call a ‘ people meter ,’ which can take the form of a set-top device with a remote control or a wearable device, like a clip, pendant or wristband. Our first people meter dates back to 1987, and the technology is crucial in an industry where the ultimate focus is on the individual, not the household.
The benefit of having high-quality individual viewer data is two-fold: It provides demographic audience estimates 4 and it allows us to estimate co-viewing in big datasets.
Two different audience data uses
Now that we’ve examined some of the key technologies used to capture the what and who of TV viewing, what do we do with it?
There are two main users for that data: media buyers (i.e. agencies and advertisers) and media sellers (i.e. publishers and platforms), and each constituency looks at TV measurement from a slightly different angle.
For media companies, the most iconic measure of a TV show’s success — and how the inventory should be priced — has been the rating. It’s synonymous with our company name and a big part of its appeal comes from its simplicity: It’s just the percentage of the (TV-owning) population that watched a particular program or commercial. There are many variations: A rating may be based on live viewing only, live + same day playback, live + 3 days, live + 7 days, or even live + 35 days. And there are ratings for households as well as for specific demographic groups.
Many of these figures are published daily by the trade press, and we publish a few topline rankings ourselves every week. With more and more people watching TV content in streaming-first homes, 5 we are starting to size up success in terms of impressions to account for all possible viewing platforms. 6
For brands and their media agencies, the objective is to reach a set number of viewers within a particular demographic profile, with the right creative and the right frequency to stimulate interest for their product or service. Frequency control isn’t always easy to achieve, especially when a campaign runs across multiple platforms, and TV advertisers often end up buying gross rating points (GRPs) where reach and frequency are multiplied but frequency remains largely uncontrolled for individual viewers. Ultimately though, advertisers are most concerned with ad impressions. Programs, networks and platforms are vehicles to reach their target audiences as efficiently as possible.
While media companies have an incentive to define TV viewership broadly, advertisers have an incentive to define it narrowly and only pay for impressions that hit their targets. So, how do they meet in the middle?
Current and future measurement state
To transact today, media buyers and sellers rely on average commercial minute ratings that measure the average viewership of all of the commercials that air within a program. The most widely used of those metrics is called ‘C3,’ and it takes into account all live + 3 days’ worth of a program’s playback, typically for all adults 18-49 (viewed as a key buying group), but sometimes for other key demos as well. A similar metric (C7) can be used when 7 days’ worth of playback is deemed to be preferable.
Two important developments are underway. One relates to the source of the data and the other to the way those metrics themselves are calculated.
A new data source:
The industry is in the process of transitioning to a panel + big data measurement paradigm where the scale of modern big datasets is brought to bear to increase program coverage, and panel data is used to fill the gaps and model demographic behavior. In September of 2023, Nielsen introduced C3 and C7 ratings with Big Data for buying and selling. We’ll continue to produce this alongside our currency panel-only measurement.
A new way to measure commercials:
Nielsen meters have been updated to detect watermark codes at the subminute level. This means we can start crediting individual commercials with their own rating instead, even if they last 15 seconds or less. Ultimately, this will help the industry transact with more flexibility and granularity.
These changes will require careful planning and continued testing, but they hold the promise of bringing TV measurement closer to the way that digital advertising is measured today, with media companies able to place a premium on effective ad package positions and advertisers able to measure the performance of individual commercials—and ultimately better manage their media spend.
Nielsen’s Need to Know reviews the fundamentals of audience measurement and demystifies the media industry’s hottest topics.
1 I.e., Return path data (RPD) from set-top boxes and automatic content recognition (ACR) data from smart TVs. See Need to know – the pros and cons of big data in audience measurement for more details. 2 For more details on the promises of panel + big data measurement, read Need to know – what’s a panel, and why does it matter? 3 Watermarks are source codes that are embedded into content 4 TV News Check: Nielsen remains the currency of the TV realm (May 10, 2023) 5 Nielsen: Connectivity is driving how Americans are engaging with TV (2023) 6 Broadcasting & Cable: Impressions 2.0: the great equalizer (Feb 8, 2022)
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Why Disney Wants to Sell ABC – and Who Would Buy It | Analysis
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CEO Bob Iger’s comments have not only defined the fate of its linear TV assets, but set expectations for the company under his extended reign
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With his public comments that Disney’s linear television business is no longer at the company’s core, CEO Bob Iger signaled that the media conglomerate is ready to let go of distribution assets previously at the center of its mission. As streaming redefines the future of entertainment, Iger’s decision previews how the industry overall might have to shrink their television assets to make room for future growth.
It’s been a long time coming. The decline of the linear TV business model has been apparent for years. But even so, the idea that ABC, one of the Big Three broadcast networks — not to mention well-known cable brands like Disney Channel, National Geographic and FX — are no longer vital assets to Disney marks a step toward a bleak future for legacy television that perhaps the industry hasn’t wanted to actually say out loud.
“What will happen is that these businesses will be slashed to fractions of their current size,” a former Disney executive told TheWrap. “The broadcast networks are still the only way to reach 125 million to 130 million American homes… so they will always be there. But it’s just going to be a lot smaller, and that means fewer jobs and lower wages.”
A Disney spokesperson declined to comment for this story.
Why selling ABC would be good for Disney
Analyst estimates vary widely in terms of how much Disney could collect from a sale, ranging from $8 billion to $23 billion, depending on which networks were included in a potential deal and how the value of each broadcast and cable channel was calculated. In his comments, Iger emphasized that ESPN was not among the assets on the chopping block, though he said he would seek strategic partners to help move the sports network into a fully direct-to-consumer business in the near future.
Wells Fargo stock analyst Steven Cahall, whose analysis of a potential sale also included the company’s Star India assets , wrote in a July 13 note that these assets are dragging down Disney’s bottom line. Divesting the linear networks could boost Disney’s stock price by up to $10, Cahall calculated. He added that Disney’s strong operating income from its theme parks division allows it to afford letting go of the TV business’ cash flow, an option other major media companies don’t have, given their current dependence on cable earnings.
Cahall also noted that money from the potential sale could help fund the cost of Disney’s payout for Comcast’s minority stake of Hulu, which is expected to happen sometime in 2024.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day and [Disney’s] problems won’t be solved in Iger’s first year,” Cahall wrote. “But [last week’s] interview does suggest action is underway.”
Who would buy ABC?
Three former network TV executives pointed to Sinclair Broadcast Group, Nexstar Media Group — which recently purchased The CW, and is in the process of revamping the network’s operations toward profitability — and private equity firm Apollo Global Management as potential buyers in separate conversations with TheWrap.
“Some of these folks who own a lot of television stations might think I’ll take a network now,” one of those individuals said. “And they’re committed to that business. They could run it efficiently.”
The person continued, “Private equity firms might look at this and go, ‘Well, look, these businesses are still meaningful and if we slashed the costs, we could run a profitable business for some period of time and turn it into something that’s not going to grow but at least it’ll be more profitable.”
Other companies flagged by the executives as potential buyers of the assets include broadcast and media company Tegna, Allen Media Broadcasting, Hearst and private equity firms TPG and Silver Lake.
What these potential new owners have in common is they would approach running the business from a cost-cutting perspective.
“None of these places are looking at this saying, ‘The future of this business is bright,’” the insider said. “Those days are over, and that’s what Bob is saying.”
A spokesperson for Sinclair Broadcast Group declined to comment on this story. Representatives for Nexstar and Apollo didn’t respond to TheWrap’s requests for comment.
Iger’s hints at Disney’s future
While questioning the CEO’s decision to blurt out such a major business shift in an interview pegged to the renewal of his contract through 2026, one former executive called the soundbite an example of Iger’s “famous honesty and bluntness” — and a message to Wall Street, potential buyers and employees that Disney is gearing up for major changes in the coming years.
The individual explained, “He’s signaling to Wall Street, ‘We’re realistic about our problems.’ He’s signaling to potential buyers, ‘Hey, you want to come buy a distressed asset? You can come buy our networks,’ and he’s signaling to the employees of the company, ‘Brace yourselves. There’s a rough landing ahead. It’s going to be tough. It’s going to be bumpy.’”
Since then, Iger addressed the future, among other topics, during an off-site meeting with the senior leaders of Disney’s television business hosted by Dana Walden on Tuesday. During which, he tried to ease fears sparked by the CNBC interview and reportedly emphasized the value of the Disney’s TV divisions, along with his commitment to ABC News with the intention of moving those efforts into the company’s streaming endeavors.
The individual said, “He’s not just standing there saying, ‘Hip hip hooray! I’m doing two more years as [CEO].’ He’s saying, in his way, very realistic and sober, ‘I’m doing this because there are very big challenges that Disney faces. This is going to be a very tough time in which we’re going to have to do some very tough things. This company that I just built for the last 15 years is now going to have to get smaller in order to continue to grow.’”
Lucas Manfredi and Sharon Waxman contributed to this story.
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How The Collapse Of The Cable Business Model Will Bring A New Era Of Television
Ever since the commercial Internet emerged, content has been at the center. Bill Gates, quite famously, declared that content is king and called it the “killer app” of the Internet age. Inspired, media executives and internet entrepreneurs alike sought to marry content and distribution to create the perfect business model.
The problem is, as I’ve noted before, that content is crap . Nobody walks out of a great movie and says, “Wow! That was some great content.” Nobody listens to content on their way to work in the morning. We never call anything that’s any good “content,” the term is a mere fantasy in the minds of business planners.
That, in essence, is why despite the predictions of digital pundits, the TV remains a great business. Through a series of disruptions—cable, DVD and now streaming video—programing continues to evolve. Now, with the cable business model starting to unravel , we can expect an explosion of creative energy that will usher in a new golden age of TV.
The Unraveling Of The Cable Business Model
At one time, TV was a fairly simple business. There were a limited amount of networks (three in the US, less elsewhere) which could reach a truly massive audience. That transformed entertainment into a big, powerful industry, with a handful of executives deciding what families would watch every night.
The arrival of cable TV was a major disruption. Offering better signal reception and expanded viewing choices, it not only fragmented audiences, but also introduced a new center of power. Now it was the cable operators who controlled distribution, deciding which channels they would carry and where those channels would be placed in the lineup.
Today, TV is undergoing a new transformation. Powered by broadband Internet, the industry is now able to bypass cable operators altogether and sell direct to the consumer through OTT (over the top) packages. The impact on the business is already becoming clear, especially in the case of ESPN , as fees from cable operators start to dwindle.
But what’s really interesting is how the upheaval will transform the programming itself, bringing us shows that are far more complex and interesting than anything we’ve seen before.
- The Business Model Is The Message
For example, when broadcast TV dominated, channels earned money on mass advertising and syndication, so hit shows had to appeal to broad audiences and stories had to be contained within a single narrative. The rise of cable, in turn, made niche programming viable, while the rise of DVD sales and repeat viewing allowed for more complex storytelling.
If you think back to old favorites like Kojak and Dragne t , they had limited characters and a single storyline. Viewers could just jump right in and watch. Compare that to hit shows today, like The Sopranos and Game Of Thrones , where there are dozens of characters, multiple storylines in each episode and some of the threads continue for years.
Blowing Up Old Models, Creating New Ones
Clearly, we are entering a new age of television and it is coming fast. Video streaming, which used to be a quirky mix of offbeat videos and short clips of regular shows shared on mobile devices, is rapidly moving to the big screen in the form of streaming apps, fully supported by major media companies.
Keith Zubchevich, Chief Strategy Officer of Conviva , a company that develops technology solutions to optimize viewing experience for video streaming, told me that “One of the things that I’m amazed at is how fast programmers like HBO, CBS and Showtime are moving ahead of their own plans.” It’s a totally new paradigm and nobody’s quite sure what it will bring.
Todd VanDerWerff, a culture editor at Vox, recently wrote that “binge-watching fundamentally changes the basic unit of cinematic storytelling” from the episode or film to the season. Scott Rosenbaum , a writer and producer, feels that the emphasis on ever smaller audiences allows for more extensive character development and backstory.
Jen Hoelzer , a writer and consultant who has worked on HBO’s Veep , says that “It’s not that one format is going dominate at the expense of others, but that we have expanding options to tell and experience stories. It’s exciting from a creative point of view. Instead of figuring out how to fit a story in a specific format you can’t tell it how it was meant to be told.”
“It’s becoming a new golden age for writers,” she continues. “So many more outlets to sell stories and to tell different kinds of stories.” It is that increasing diversity of storytelling, marketed to an increasing diversity of audiences, that is making this new era of TV far more interesting and exciting than anything that has come before.
The New Gatekeepers
After beating out House of Cards for the best drama Emmy, Breaking Bad showrunner Vince Gilligan , credited Netflix for its success. He said :
“I think Netflix kept us on the air. Not only are we standing up here (with the Emmy), I don’t think our show would have even lasted beyond season two. … It’s a new era in television, and we’ve been very fortunate to reap the benefits.”
The offbeat show had not had a successful first season, but did attract a cult following. In an earlier era, an audience that small wouldn’t have been viable, but in the age of Netflix, the avid fanbase convinced friends to binge-watch the show. They got hooked too and persuaded others to do the same. Before you knew it, Breaking Bad was a hit.
In today’s world, that’s how disruption happens and not just in Hollywood. A small, but enthusiastic group of people can not only share a passion, but advocate for it through their social networks and draw others in. Before you know it a cascade begins to ensue. Nobody wants to be the only one in their office or Facebook group who is left out of the conversation.
The new world of streaming TV will magnify this process. In the old broadcast and syndication model, someone could latch on to a new series that they missed at launch, but would usually jump in somewhere in the middle. Now, they can start from the beginning, internalize the back story, get hooked and rave about it to their friends.
It is those small, passionate groups that are emerging as the new gatekeepers and, as Rosenbaum points out, they thrive on authenticity, rather than market research. That’s why hit shows today look so different than in previous generations. Rather than simple, broad appeal, it is complexity, backstory and character development that rule the day.
This is creating a shift in power from marketing driven studio executives to showrunners and writers— those formerly dismissed as “content creators” to be acquired, distributed and leveraged. Gone are the days when there iss a clear formula to follow. The next big hit will not be found in a particular genre or format, but lays dormant in the next big passion waiting to be awakened.
Related posts: How I Cut The Cable (And How You Can Too!) The Business Model Is The Message The Future Of TV Is Here. Can Cable Survive? What is a Business Model? How To Innovate Your Media Business Model
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The premise that “the collapse of the cable model will bring a new era of television” pre-supposes the notion that the cable model will indeed collapse. No one can predict that with any certainty. While cord shaving is occurring and while more and more programming is moving on-line, it is naive to think that the MSO’s like Comcast, Time Warner and others are not adjusting their historic models accordingly. In fact, looking closely at those two companies public records show a growth in their digital products and their interactive connections with consumer homes. It is more likely that the traditional cable model will morph into an on-line model delivering the content. “Collapse” is a big headline and while the future may indeed be one where consumers have free choice to “ala carte” their video choices, the collapse of the model will more likely be an “adjustment” as we’ve been witnessing over the last 24-36 months.
While I agree that cable operators are adjusting their business models they are doing so because their traditional business model has begun to collapse. And the issue isn’t just cord cutting, but the threat of cord cutting, as well as premium channels like HBO and Showtime going over the top which is affecting pricing power. So while I agree that the cable business won’t disappear overnight, some serious adjustments will need to be made to preserve profitability.
Thanks Greg, but like another post I am not convinced of a “collapse” in the cable system. More likely is a major shift on the content provider side. Everyone still needs access and that cable is already there ready to put broadband data and most any kind of program linear of SVOD in peoples’ homes. What is clear is that the current cable content structure is one of high priced programming channels balanced by low cost channels to make a bundle that appears palatable. With low cost alternatives such as Netflix upsetting the value optics to a rising number of consumers we see the beginning of low cost bundles mated with other services to create more choice. Will this end up as ala carte? Perhaps and perhaps not. The rumors of Apple’s service and that of DISH now may give us some insight. Into this new market comes Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and others who in order to differentiate have found original programming as a method to stand out. However, just like other content some will be popular and some not, often without regard to its purported “quality”. As long as marketers have need and reason to support the production and distribution of this original content this will be a great time for creators, but then again it is doubtful we will see many consumers who sign up for all of this. As these new alignments scale it is unclear how many of these new series and shows will thrive. So, it seems more like this is an opening for content creators to stand out from the established markets as they alter. How all of this content is discovered, curated and distributed is still to be seen and like TV, then cable this too will have strong effect on what comes in a newly aligned system. Considering that time watching is still only going up, and that the large TV remains the preferred viewing platform we may be surprised indeed by what happens.
Sorry for the late reply.
I agree that there will be no collapse of the cable system. They have billions of dollars worth of critical infrastructure on their books. However, it seems clear to me that there is a very rapid collapse of the business model that they have relied on for the past few decades. The arrival of viable OTT platforms is breaking down the established fabric of the industry incredibly fast (read the article in the ESPN link).
This doesn’t only apply to Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, but also (and this is the real change), HBO, Showtime, CBS and Sling, which are less like augmentations and more like direct competitors to traditional cable TV. As I hear it, these OTT services are doing very well and will encourage more programmers to do the same. Once cable providers lose their status as gatekeepers (and that has already happened to some extent) the business model is no longer viable.
I don’t, however, believe that the cable industry will collapse. In fact, it might even do better. Ever since the showdown with CBS, cable companies bargaining power has been severely curtailed and the margins in cable TV, so I’m told, are not that great. Broadband service might very well be a better business. They can also use their technology and service assets to enter new businesses (as Comcast has done with home security).
So like all disruptions, this one will create new opportunities. Some firms will do better than others, but I don’t think it will break cleanly across traditional industry lines. Netflix, for example, might find that it is hindered by increased competition, while some cable firms might find that they do much better in an OTT world.
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Timing Is (Almost) Everything
Upfronts and sweeps, the cost and pricing of tv ads, going digital.
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What Are the Types of TV Advertising?
How much does tv advertising cost, what are the advantages of tv advertising, what does digital media offer that tv advertising does not, the bottom line.
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How the TV Advertising Industry Works
It’s not that television advertising is nearing extinction, but the TV ad business model is in a time of transition. Yes, groups will still gather around to watch ads during the Super Bowl, but things have definitely changed since the advertising heyday portrayed in the show Mad Men , when one TV commercial could change the world—or at least turn around a company’s sales numbers.
TV advertising is still one of the most effective ways to create awareness about a product or brand, but ad spending is moving to the digital realm and media companies are working to find solutions. Here’s a rundown of how TV advertising works, and how it’s changing.
- TV advertising remains one of the most effective ways to create product or brand awareness, but ad spending is shifting to digital.
- Over the years, the TV advertising model has been forced to change repeatedly with the advent of DVRs, TiVo, on-demand, and streaming services.
- According to estimates, networks like NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS, and CW will earn between $8 billion and $10 billion in ad revenue for primetime viewing in 2021-2022.
- Streaming and on-demand companies like Netflix and Hulu, which insert few or no commercials, represent real competition for the networks.
- Ads are getting shorter to compete with viral videos and shortening attention spans in key demographics.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans overall spent an average of 3.05 hours per day watching TV in 2020. That's actually up a bit, from 2.74 in 2019.
Of course, today's advertisers do not have a one-in-three shot of capturing the attention of each of those viewers, as they did when three major networks ruled the airwaves. Today's cable-connected viewers may have 10,000 channels to choose from, including pay channels that are commercial-free.
In the U.S., TV advertising consistently delivers companies the highest rate of investment of all media advertisements. Each channel has certain time constraints regarding the length of ads they can show and additional constraints regarding the subject matter. For example, during a morning kids' show, viewers won't see ads for beer. However, TV advertising is not nearly as precise as digital marketing based on user algorithms.
Effective TV Advertising
For businesses with a limited ad budget, it's important to choose the right time at the right price to air the ad. A successful advertising campaign results from many correct decisions, including how often the ad is shown, how many people are watching the ad each time it airs, and the level of engagement that the ad produces.
For example, many TV advertisers are turning to second-screen advertising . The aim of these ads is to drive viewers to their mobile devices (those "second screens") to engage with the company on its website during the live program.
Brands and media companies also work to match the demographics of the viewers—such as their age and gender—to each show to market their product to these specific audiences. The popularity of the program and the number of times the advertiser agrees to air the ad all have an impact on the total cost of running the ad.
Because it’s one of the most-watched events of the year in the United States, for the most part, the priciest ads are shown during the Super Bowl. In 2022, the average 30-second Super Bowl ad cost advertisers around $6.5 million.
Even though the TV ad model is in flux due to the shift to online programming and streaming services like Netflix Inc. ( NFLX ) and Hulu , advertising during live event programs like the Super Bowl, the Olympics, or a show like Saturday Night Live ’s 40th-anniversary celebration is still robust.
If it’s a show that people want to watch in real-time, advertising real estate is competitive. The term "primetime” used to mean the peak times of day when viewership was at its height, but with binge-watching, DVRs, and streaming, that has changed.
If you’ve read about the television industry , you’ve likely heard about the upfront season. It’s the advance-selling season in the spring when marketers can buy television commercial airtime (and digital ads) several months before the fall season begins.
The first upfront presentation took place in 1962, and every year since the major networks have unveiled their upcoming shows in hopes of booking the ad space.
There’s also the TV “sweeps” periods, which happen at set times during the year when shows have special guests or must-see events (such as Cam and Mitchell's wedding on the ABC sitcom, Modern Family or the much-hyped death of a major character on the drama, The Good Wife ).
In turn, Nielsen Holdings N.V. ( NLSN ) data and ratings from that period are used to determine advertising rates for local stations.
For years, advertisers and networks have used Nielsen ratings and the pricing metric CPM (or cost-per-thousand, a barometer of the cost of reaching 1,000 viewers). These days, that measurement is becoming less important as technology changes how and when people watch programs.
If advertisers focus on targeting very select types of audiences, they can stop focusing on the exact time a show airs. It’s about finding the right audience rather than assuming a certain time period is a golden ticket.
According to Variety , networks like NBC, ABC, Fox, CBS, and CW are estimated to have secured between $8 billion and $10 billion in advertising revenue for their primetime viewing for 2021-2022.
For decades, shows that aired between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. were the prime targets. It’s still a coveted time slot, but the push to digital is making it less desirable.
Over the years, the TV advertising model has changed with the advent of DVRs, TiVo, on-demand, and streaming services. Suddenly viewers can choose whether or not they want to watch an ad, while millions of people fast-forward through commercials and binge-watch their favorite programs with limited or no commercial interruptions.
Total TV ad spending in the U.S. shrunk 4% to $60.575 billion in 2021 from $63.4 billion in 2020.
Impact of Digital
It can be difficult to determine how much money in ad revenue has migrated away from primetime networks in favor of the increasingly popular digital and streaming services.
Also, the COVID-19 pandemic and its continued after-effects forced networks to change their scheduling, affecting advertising revenue in those years. For example, the Tokyo Olympics, which was scheduled for the summer of 2020, was postponed to the summer of 2021.
Undoubtedly, the influx of streaming services that are ad-supported offers advertisers more options for investing their money, creating competition for primetime networks. These streaming services include Peacock, Hulu, Paramount Plus, and HBO Max.
On-Demand and Streaming
Netflix is a leader in on-demand streaming services offering TV shows, movies, and original content. It offers zero commercials for a monthly fee, depending on the package. Amazon Prime Video is another streaming service designed for customers who have an Amazon Prime account and is growing rapidly. In fact, Amazon Prime was the fastest-growing streaming service in the UK during the last quarter of 2021.
Hulu is the third major on-demand streaming service, which is owned by Disney, offering TV shows, movies, on-demand, and live TV. Disney+ is another fast-growing streaming platform and the success of the Marvel and Star Wars franchises helped propel the platform past 100 million subscribers in 2021.
Since many streaming services like Netflix don’t rely on advertising dollars, companies and traditional networks are trying to find new and better ways to reach their target audiences.
However, some of the networks are part of multimedia giants, which also offer streaming services. For example, Disney owns the ABC network, meaning it earns revenue from its streaming services with Hulu, Disney's movie business, and ad revenue from ABC's primetime network.
As a result of the consolidation within the media industry, it's not always clear how the migration of ad revenue from primetime networks hurts the networks if both are owned by the same media conglomerate. However, it is clear that premium subscriptions will allow for subscribers to stream without ads, and streaming platforms have already begun embracing this model (YouTube Premium).
Questions & Answers
Some different types of TV advertising are the "Comparison and Unique Personality Property," where the advertiser shows why their product is different, or unique. The "Show Need" advertisement shows the need for a product and the solution. Most medical and pharmaceutical advertisements follow this model. Some other examples include how using a product will cause something interesting to happen (Benefit Causes Story) and using celebrities to drive product interest (called Celebrity Associated Imagery). Some examples of this are Samuel L. Jackson's Capital One spots and William Shatner's many Priceline ads.
TV advertising pricing depends on which network, the time of day, the frequency of ads, and if you purchase ads as a package or upfront. The cost can vary widely, all the way from multiple millions during the Super Bowl to much cheaper ads, running Wednesday morning on an obscure channel.
Some advantages of TV advertising are that you are able to reach a large amount of potential customers in one commercial. This varies from the streaming model, as television viewers are not given the choice of when to watch the program. However, the television ad industry is experiencing an identity crisis as digital takes over.
Digital media offers much tighter targeting parameters than TV advertising. Companies are able to narrow down customers much more efficiently due to the algorithmic nature of online identity, and their ads may produce more sales as a result. TV advertising used to be more powerful as viewers were only capable of watching media through one device, but as cell phones, laptops, tablets, and smart TVs have become more prominent, traditional TV advertising is finding it hard to compete.
Television advertising is not the money-making machine it once was, but it can still be a lucrative business. While event shows like the Super Bowl remain lucrative, companies are battling DVRs, on-demand, and streaming services for viewers, and for the ad dollars that pursue them.
Advertisers will continue to look for ways to capture younger audiences who are increasingly watching their entertainment online or on their phones rather than on TV. Still, traditions like the upfronts and sweeps weeks remain important since TV advertising generates billions of dollars in revenue for the networks.
Due to industry consolidation, many of the major media companies have fingers in both pies, digital and broadcasting.
Variety. " TV’s ‘Historic’ Upfront Secret: Primetime TV Sees Exodus of Ad Dollars ."
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. " Table 9: Time Spent in Leisure and Sports Activities by Selected Characteristics, Averages for May to December, 2019 and 2020 ."
Thinkbox. " Why TV Remains the World's Most Effective Advertising ."
Sporting News. " Super Bowl Commercial Cost ."
Forbes. " NBC, FOX, CBS And More: Lessons From The 2017 Upfronts ."
The Wall Street Journal. " Big Advertisers Call for a Seasonal Time-Shift in TV’s Upfront Marketplace ."
The Nielsen Company. " TV Ratings ."
PracticeMadePerfect. " Nielsen Media Measurement and Your Firm ."
NextTV. " U.S. TV Ad Spending to Drop 4% in 2021 as Digital Video Booms ."
Cord Cutter. " Fastest Growing Streaming Service ."
The Walt Disney Company. " Disney+ Tops 100 Million ."
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TV Station Business Plan [Sample Template]
By: Author Tony Martins Ajaero
Home » Business ideas » Media Industry » TV Station & TV Shows
Are you about starting a TV station? If YES, here is a complete sample TV station business plan template & feasibility report you can use for FREE.
Okay, so we have considered all the requirements for starting a TV station. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample TV station marketing plan template backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for TV stations. So let’s proceed to the business planning section.
Why Start a TV Station?
A TV station business is fun, profitable and interesting for someone who has great business acumen, an appreciable level of perseverance and smartness. With the right location, top-notch services and good marketing, you can indeed make good money from this line of business.
Starting a TV station business also needs a significant investment capital, solid planning, and concentration to detail in order to keep the business profitable.
So, if you have decided to start your own TV station, then you should you carry out thorough feasibility studies and market survey. Business plan is yet another very important business document that you should not take for granted when launching your own TV station business.
Below is a sample TV station business plan template that can help you to successfully write your own with little or no difficulty.
A Sample Television Station Business Plan Template
1. industry overview.
Television stations operate studios and facilities that deliver audiovisual content to the public via over-the-air transmission. The types of programming offered can be made by broadcasters or by affiliates that exist outside the industry.
The Television Station industry is in the mature phase of its life cycle and luckily for the industry, the advent of digital media has provided an opportunity for the industry to experience vibrant growth. Of course the industry is becoming more concentrated, as seen by a few large global firms dominating the market and gaining a huge market share of the available market.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), once the primary barrier to entry into the Television Broadcasting industry, have steadily declined over the years. The marketplace for broadcast TV has changed drastically since its inception; according to market research, 17.0 percent of US households rely solely on over-the-air broadcasts for their television needs.
Cable and satellite now dominate the industry, and according to eMarketer’s latest survey on digital consumption, an estimated 50.8 percent of Americans watch at least some of their TV from online services. The FCC, rather than create protectionist measures that limit new types of media from competing against major broadcasting companies, has instead welcomed this competition.
The Television Stations Industry is indeed a very large industry and pretty much thriving in all parts of the world. Statistics has it that in the united states of America alone, there are about 2,247 licensed and registered television stations responsible for employing about 123,318 employees and the industry rakes in a whooping sum of $56 billion annually with an annual growth rate projected at 2.7 percent.
It is important to state that the establishments with lion shares of the available market in this industry are Fox, NBC Universal, Walt Disney Company and Viacom Inc. A recent report published by IBISWorld shows that over the five years to 2017, the Television Broadcasting industry struggled somewhat to attract viewers and generate advertising revenue, though industry revenue has increased.
As consumers quickly adopted mobile devices, thereby increasing their ability to subscribe to online streaming platforms, advertisers lowered their spending on broadcast television and increased their efforts on digital and online media.
Over the five years to 2022, television broadcasters will respond to a shifting media environment by restructuring their business models to better integrate programming with digital platforms.
TV stations cannot be phased out despite the change in visual technology approaches and the emergence of new media (YouTubes et al). It is easier for television stations to leverage on modern technology to reach out to their target market.
2. Executive Summary
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. is a U.S based sports television station that will be located in Los Angeles – California. We have been able to secure a standard office facility in a central business district in Inglewood.
We are a sports television station that is set to compete in the highly competitive television industry not only in the United States market, but also in the global market because our clientele base will not be restricted to just businesses and organizations in the United States but in the international market who would want to advertise on our TV station.
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. will air live sports events from all across the United States. Our business goal is to become one of the leading sports TV station in the United States of America with high profile corporate and individual clients scattered all around the globe.
Our workers are going to be selected from a pool of talented and highly creative broadcasters and media experts in and around Los Angeles – California and also from any part of the world as the business grows.
We will make sure that we take all the members of our workforce through the required training that will position them to meet the expectation of the company and to compete with leading sports TV stations in the United States and of course throughout the globe.
At All Sports™ TV Station, Inc., our client’s and viewers best interest will always come first, and everything we do will be guided by our values and professional ethics. We will ensure that we hold ourselves accountable to the highest standards by meeting our client’s business needs completely.
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. is founded by Thomson Goldberg and his friend and business partner for many years Lesly Henderson. They both graduated from University of California, Beckley with BA in Mass Communications and they have a combined experience that revolves around journalism, sports broadcasting, and business management.
3. Our Products and Services
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. was established with the aim of maximizing profits in the TV industry. We want to compete favorably with leading sports television stations in the United States and of course throughout the globe which is why we have but in place a competent team that will ensure that we meet and even surpass our customers’ expectations.
We will work hard to ensure that All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. does not just air sports events in the United States of America, but also in other parts of the world. Our products and services are listed below;
- Operating broadcasting studios and facilities
- Producing television (sports) programming content
- Transmitting programming to affiliated broadcast stations
- Public relations services for sport clubs
- Creating sports related advertising campaigns
- Other related sports media and advertising advisory and consulting services
4. Our Mission and Vision Statement
- Our vision is to establish a world class sports television station whose programs will not only be viewed Los Angeles – California but also throughout the United States of America, and other parts of the world.
- Our mission is to provide professional sports television broadcasting services that will provide platforms for businesses, individuals and non-profit organizations in promoting their brands and reaching out to a wide range of potential customers all over the globe. We want to build a sports television station that can favorably compete with other leading brands in the industry.
Our Business Structure
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. is a world class sports television station that intends starting small in Los Angeles – California, but hope to grow big in order to compete favorably with leading sports television stations in the United States and of course throughout the globe.
We are aware of the importance of building a solid business structure that can support the picture of the kind of world class business we want to own, which is why we are committed to only hiring the best hands within our area of operations.
At All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. we will ensure that we hire people that are qualified, hardworking, and creative, result driven, customer centric and are ready to work to help us build a prosperous business that will benefit all our stakeholders.
As a matter of fact, profit-sharing arrangement will be made available to all our senior management staff and it will be based on their performance for a period of five years or more as agreed by the board of trustees of the company. In view of the above, All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. have decided to hire qualified and competent hands to occupy the following positions;
- Chief Executive Officer
- Creative Director
Advertising cum Digital Marketing Specialist
Human Resources and Admin Manager
- Sales and Marketing Executive
Client Service Executive
5. Job Roles and Responsibilities
Chief Executive Officer – CEO:
- Increases management’s effectiveness by recruiting, selecting, orienting, training, coaching, counseling, and disciplining managers; communicating values, strategies, and objectives; assigning accountabilities; planning, monitoring, and appraising job results; developing incentives; developing a climate for offering information and opinions; providing educational opportunities.
- In control of providing direction for the business
- Generates, communicates, and implements the organization’s vision, mission, and overall direction – i.e. leading the development and implementation of the overall organization’s strategy.
- Accountable for signing checks and documents on behalf of the company
- Evaluates the success of the organization
- Serves as project manager for the organization; works directly with employees
- Responsible for designing programs and advertising concepts
- In charge of copy writing and laying out chronological advertisement plans
- Develops strategic plan by studying technological, and financial opportunities; presenting assumptions; recommending objectives
- Preserves quality service by establishing and enforcing organization standards
- Maintains professional and technical knowledge by attending educational workshops; reviewing professional publications; establishing personal networks; benchmarking state-of-the-art practices; participating in professional societies
- Ensures that the organization work in line with international best practices
- Handles media planning and representation
- Responsible for creating advertising campaigns
- Responsible for disseminating advertising campaigns through the television
- Handles other related media and advertising advisory and consulting services
- Responsible for overseeing the smooth running of HR and administrative tasks for the organization
- Updates job knowledge by participating in educational opportunities; reading professional publications; maintaining personal networks; participating in professional organizations.
- Enhances department and organization reputation by accepting ownership for accomplishing new and different requests; exploring opportunities to add value to job accomplishments.
- Defines job positions for recruitment and managing interviewing process
- Carries out induction for new team members
- Responsible for training, evaluation and assessment of employees
- Oversees the smooth running of the daily office
Sales and Marketing Manager
- Accomplishes external research and coordinate all the internal sources of information to retain the organizations’ best customers and attract new ones
- Models demographic information and analyze the volumes of transactional data generated by customer
- Recognizes development opportunities; follows up on development leads and contacts; participates in the structuring and financing of projects; assures the completion of development projects.
- Writes winning proposal documents, negotiate fees and rates in line with organizations’ policy
- Responsible for handling business research, market surveys and feasibility studies for clients
- In authority for supervising implementation, advocate for the customer’s needs, and communicate with clients
- Develop, execute and evaluate new plans for expanding sales
- Create new markets cum businesses for the organization
- Empower and motivates the sales team to meet and surpass agreed targets
- Liable for preparing financial reports, budgets, and financial statements for the organization
- Provides managements with financial analyses, development budgets, and accounting reports; analyzes financial feasibility for the most complex proposed projects; conducts market research to forecast trends and business conditions.
- Responsible for financial forecasting and risks analysis.
- Performs cash management, general ledger accounting, and financial reporting for one or more properties.
- Responsible for developing and managing financial systems and policies
- Responsible for administering payrolls
- Ensuring compliance with taxation legislation
- Handles all financial transactions for All Sports™ TV Station, Inc.
- Serves as internal auditor for the organization
- Presents sports program for the organization
- Responsible for developing catchy sport programs
- Interviews guest in the studio and in the field
- Responsible for creating contents for the organization as it relates to sports program and advertising
- Welcomes clients and potential clients by greeting them in person, online or on the telephone; answering or directing inquiries.
- Ensures that contacts with clients provides the client with a personalized customer service experience of the highest level
- Through interaction with clients on the phone, uses every opportunity to build client’s interest in the company’s products and services
- Manages administrative duties assigned by the creative director in an effective and timely manner
- Steadily stays abreast of any new information on the organizations’ products, promotional campaigns etc. to ensure accurate and helpful information are supplied to clients when they make enquiries.
6. SWOT Analysis
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. engaged the services of a core professional in the area of business consulting and structuring to assist our organization in building a well – structured sports television station that can favorably compete in the highly competitive TV broadcasting industry in the United States and the world at large.
We know that if we get things right before starting our sports TV station, we will not have to struggle before attracting loyal clients and building our viewership to a level where we can breakeven in record time.
We hired the services of Dr. Edwards Christopher, a HR and Business consultant with bias in business structuring to help us conduct SWOT analysis for our company and he did a pretty good job for us. Here is a of the result we got from the SWOT analysis that was conducted on behalf of All Sports™ TV Station, Inc.;
Our core strength lies in the power of our workforce. We have a team of creative, result driven and highly proficient sports journalists and broadcast experts, a team with excellent qualifications and experience in various niche areas in the sports industry.
Aside from the synergy that exists in our carefully selected workforce, our services will be measurable, result driven and guided by best practices in the industry.
As a new TV station with bias in sports broadcasting in Los Angeles – California, it might take some time for our organization to break into the market and gain acceptance especially from top profile clients in the already saturated and highly competitive sports television broadcasting industry; that is perhaps our major weakness.
The opportunities available to sports television stations is massive considering the number of individuals and corporate organizations who would want to advertise in our station. As a standard sports television station, we are ready to take advantage of any opportunity that is available in the industry.
Just like any other business, one of the major threats that we are likely going to face is economic downturn. Another threat that may likely confront us is the arrival of a new sports television station in the same location where our target market exists and who may want to adopt same Business model like us.
7. MARKET ANALYSIS
- Market Trends
If you are conversant with the television stations industry, you will agree that in the bid to reach out to a larger viewer base, television stations are now leveraging on internet broadcasting and mobile apps. This goes to show that the television industry will continue to evolve due to the advancement of computer technology.
8. Our Target Market
There is a wide range of viewers, corporate and individual clients who cannot successfully run their businesses without the services and support of a standard television station; a company that can help them reach out to their target market and effectively promote their corporate brand and image.
In view of that, we have created strategies that will enable us reach out to various corporate organizations, non – profits, government agencies and individual who we know can’t afford to do without our services. We have conducted our market research and survey and we will ensure that we meet and surpass the expectations of our clients. Below is a list of the people and organizations that we will market our services to;
- Banks, Insurance Companies and other related Financial Institutions
- Blue Chips Companies
- Manufacturers and Distributors
- Real Estate Owners, Developers, and Contractors
- The Government (Public Sector)
- Schools (High Schools, Colleges and Universities)
- Celebrities, Politicians, Public Figures and Public Speakers
- Sport Organizations
- Political Parties
- Branding and Advertising agencies
- Entrepreneurs and Startups
Our Competitive Advantage
Surviving in the business world as a sport television station requires more than your expertise, but also how to network with key people that matters when it comes to landing advertising contracts.
Our competitive advantage lies in the power of our team; our workforce. We have a team of creative, result driven and highly proficient television experts, a team with excellent qualifications and experience in various niche areas in the sports television industry.
Lastly, all our employees will be well taken care of, and their welfare package will be among the best within our category in the industry. It will enable them to be more than willing to build the business with us and help deliver our set goals and achieve all our business aims and objectives.
9. SALES AND MARKETING STRATEGY
- Sources of Income
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. is established with the aim of maximizing profits in the television industry and we are going to go all the way to ensure that we do all it takes to meet and surpass the expectations of all our clients. All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. will generate income by offering the following services;
- Disseminating advertising campaigns through our TV station
10. Sales Forecast
One thing is certain, there would always be sports organizations, corporate organizations, government agencies, non – profits and individuals who would need to advertise in television stations to help them increase sales or promote their brands and corporate image.
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. is well positioned to take on the available market in the sports television stations industry and we are quite optimistic that we will meet our set target of generating enough profits from the first six months of operation and grow our sports television to enviable heights.
We have been able to critically examine the sports television marketing space, we have analyzed our chances in the industry and we have been able to come up with the following sales forecast. The sales projection is based on information gathered on the field and some assumptions that are peculiar to similar startups in Los Angeles – California.
- First Fiscal Year: $700,000
- Second Fiscal Year: $2 Million
- Third Fiscal Year: $5 Million
N.B : This projection was done based on what is obtainable in the industry and with the assumption that there won’t be any major economic meltdown and there won’t be any major competitor offering same services as we do within the same location. Please note that the above projection might be lower and at the same time it might be higher.
- Marketing Strategy and Sales Strategy
We are mindful of the fact that there is stiff competition in the television industry, hence we have been able to hire some of the best marketing experts to handle our sales and marketing.
Our sales and marketing team will be recruited based on their vast experience in the advertising industry and they will be trained on a regular basis so as to be well equipped to meet their targets and the overall business goal of All Sports™ TV Station, Inc.
Our corporate goal is to grow All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. to become one of the leading sports television stations in the United States of America which is why we have mapped out a strategy that will help us take advantage of the available market and grow to become a major force to reckon with not only in the United States of America but also in other parts of the world.
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. is set to make use of the following marketing and sales strategies to attract clients;
- Introduce our sports television station by sending introductory letters alongside our brochure to sports organizations, corporate organizations, government agencies, non – profits, and key stake holders in and around Los Angeles – California
- Promptness in bidding for advertising contracts from the government and other cooperate organizations
- Advertise our business in relevant business magazines, newspapers, and radio stations
- List our business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Create different packages for different category of clients in order to work with their budgets and still run their adverts or programs in our station
- Leverage on the internet to promote our business
- Engage direct marketing approach
- Encourage word of mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied clients
11. Publicity and Advertising Strategy
We have been able to work with our in – house publicity consultants to help us map out publicity and advertising strategies that will help us walk our way into the heart of our target market.
We are set to become the number one choice for both corporate clients and individual clients in the whole of the United States and beyond which is why we have made provisions for the effective publicity of our sports television station. Below are the platforms we intend to leverage on to promote and advertise All Sports™ TV Station, Inc.;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote our sports television stations
- Install our billboards in strategic locations all around Los Angeles – California
- Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods
- Distribute our fliers and handbills in target areas
- List All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. in our official website and employ strategies that will help us pull traffic to the site.
- Ensure that all our staff members wear our branded shirts and all our vehicles are well branded with our company logo.
12. Our Pricing Strategy
At All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. we will keep the prices of our advertising services below the average market rate by keeping our overhead low and by collecting payment in advance from corporate organizations who would hire our services. In addition, we will also offer special discounted rates to all our customers at regular intervals.
- Payment Options
The payment policy adopted by All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. is all inclusive because we are aware that different customers prefer different payment options as it suits them but at the same time, we will ensure that we abide by the financial rules and regulation of the United States of America.
Here are the payment options that All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. will make available to her clients;
- Payment via bank transfer
- Payment with cash
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via check
- Payment via bank draft
In view of the above, we have chosen banking platforms that will enable our client make payment for our services without any stress on their part. Our bank account numbers will be made available on our website and promotional materials.
13. Startup Expenditure (Budget)
It is a known fact that in setting up any business, the amount or cost will depend on the approach and scale you want to undertake.
If you intend to go big by renting a place, then you would need a good amount of capital as you would need to ensure that your employees are well taken care of, and that your facility is conducive enough for workers to be creative and productive.
The materials and equipment that will be used are nearly the same cost everywhere, and any difference in prices would be minimal and can be overlooked.
The detailed cost analysis for starting a standard sports television station might differ in other countries due to the value of their money. However, this is what it would cost us to setup All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. in the United of America;
- Business incorporating fees in the United States of America will cost – $750
- The budget for Liability insurance, permits and license will cost – $3,500
- Leasing/renting an office space in a good location in Los Angeles – California that will accommodate the number of employees and our studios (Re – Construction of the facility inclusive) will cost – $250,000
- The cost for furnishing and equipping the office (broadcasting devices, cameras, computers, printers, projectors, servers/internet facility, furniture, telephones, filing cabinets, and electronics) will cost – $30,000
- The amount required to purchase the needed software applications – $3,500
- Launching an official Website will cost – $500
- The amount need to pay bills and staff members for at least 2 to 3 months – $180,000
- Additional Expenditure such as Business cards, Signage, Adverts and Promotions will cost – $10,000
- Miscellaneous – $20,000
Going by the report from the market research and feasibility studies conducted, we will need about eight hundred and fifty thousand ( 850,000 ) U.S. dollars to successfully set up a small scale but standard sports television station in the United States of America.
Generating Startup Capital for All Sports™ TV Station, Inc.
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. is a business that will be owned, financed and managed by Thomson Goldberg and his friend and business partner Lesly Henderson. They are the sole financier of the business which is why they decided to restrict the sourcing of the startup capital for the business to just three major sources. These are the areas we intend generating our startup capital;
- Generate part of the startup capital from personal savings and sale of stocks
- Generate part of the startup capital from friends and other extended family members
- Generate a larger chunk of the startup capital from the bank
N.B: We have been able to generate about $300,000 ( Personal savings $250,000 and soft loan from family members $50,000 ) and we are at the final stages of obtaining a loan facility of $500,000 from our bank. All the papers and documents have been duly signed and submitted, the loan has been approved and any moment from now our account will be credited.
14. Sustainability and Expansion Strategy
It is an established fact that the future of a business lies in the number of loyal customers that they have, the capacity and competence of the employees, their investment strategy and the business structure. If all of these factors are missing from a business then it won’t be too long before the business closes shop.
One of our major goals of starting All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. is to build a business that will survive off its own cash flow without the need for injecting finance from external sources once the business is officially running.
We know that one of the ways of gaining approval and winning customers over is to offer our advertising and related services a little bit cheaper than what is obtainable in the market and we are well prepared to survive on lower profit margin for a while.
All Sports™ TV Station, Inc. will make sure that the right foundation, structures and standard operating processes are put in place to ensure that our staff welfare are well taken of. Our company’s corporate culture is designed to drive our business to greater heights and training and retraining of our workforce is at the top burner of our business strategy.
We know that if this is put in place, we will be able to successfully hire and retain the best hands we can get in the industry; they will be more committed to help us build the business of our dreams.
- Business Name Availability Check: Completed
- Business Incorporation: Completed
- Opening of Corporate Bank Accounts various banks in the United States: Completed
- Opening Online Payment Platforms: Completed
- Application and Obtaining Tax Payer’s ID: In Progress
- Securing a standard office and studio facility in a good location in Los Angeles – California: Completed
- Application for business license and permit: Completed
- Purchase of all forms of Insurance for the Business: Completed
- Conducting Feasibility Studies: Completed
- Generating part of the startup capital from the founders: Completed
- Writing of Business Plan: Completed
- Drafting of Employee’s Handbook: Completed
- Drafting of Contract Documents: In Progress
- Design of Logo for the business: Completed
- Secure trademark for our products: In Progress
- Graphic Designing and Printing of Promotional Materials: Completed
- Recruitment of employees: In Progress
- Purchase of the needed broadcasting and studio equipment, cameras, furniture, office equipment, software applications, electronic appliances and facility facelift: In progress
- Creating Official Website for the business: In Progress
- Creating Awareness for the business: In Progress
- Health and Safety and Fire Safety Arrangement: In Progress
- Establishing business relationship with vendors and key players in various industries: In Progress
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Omegle Shuts Down as Founder Acknowledges Crime on Video Chat Site
Omegle’s popularity surged during the pandemic. But critics said that it let online sexual predators go unchecked.
By Eduardo Medina
Omegle, the popular website and app that paired random users through video chat, has shut down after its founder acknowledged persistent criminal activity and critics said that it had become a haven for pedophilia and child sexual abuse.
Founded in 2009, Omegle spiked in popularity during the coronavirus pandemic quarantines, as visitors found surprising moments of socialization from a roulette of strangers onscreen.
But the anonymous, freewheeling nature of the website, which had about 60 million monthly visits, also made it a hub for pedophiles, according to lawsuits and law enforcement agencies across the country that have sued the website or listed it in complaints related to child sexual abuse imagery cases.
The founder of Omegle, Leif K-Brooks, said in a letter posted to the site’s home page that despite his efforts to foster a community that could “alleviate feelings of loneliness” or spur connections, the crimes and misuses that had taken place had made its operations “no longer sustainable, financially nor psychologically.”
Mr. K-Brooks, who founded the website at 18 years old, did not explicitly mention problems with pedophilia on the website in the letter. Still, he noted that while “it is reasonable to question the policies and practices of any place where crime has occurred,” the recent criticisms had led him to conclude that “the only way to please these people is to stop offering the service.”
He could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.
The end of Omegle comes as lawmakers and law enforcement agencies continue to examine the role of technology and social media in the explosion of online child sex abuse in recent years.
While the problem predates the internet, smartphones, social media and cloud storage have worsened the issue, and several lawsuits and criminal cases have argued that Omegle enabled abusers to meet children for anonymous messaging and coercion.
Michele Bush, a forensics expert and the owner of Loehrs Forensics, a consulting firm that handles civil and criminal litigation regarding electronic evidence, said that the demise of Omegle has highlighted twin crises that haunt tech companies. Such businesses face the problem of addressing rampant criminal activity on their platforms, sometimes with limited resources to stop it. They also face threats of criminal charges if they do not comply with requests from the authorities for data that could prove such activity.
These threats came to a head in 2018, when federal authorities took down Backpage.com , a major classified advertising website that had been repeatedly accused of enabling prostitution and sex trafficking of minors, in a move that unnerved other tech companies .
When Mr. K-Brooks noted in his letter the personal toll of being a watchman for his site, Ms. Bush said, he was likely hinting at how “he is terrified of the legal implication that I’m sure law enforcement are putting on him to basically investigate these crimes.”
“It’s kind of like if a small mom-and-pop restaurant was trying to run their business, and the F.D.A. said, ‘You need to do this, this and this,’” Ms. Bush said. “Well, the time that it’s going to take me to figure out how to get what you need is going to put me out of business.”
The problem for Omegle, Ms. Bush said, was that it was a simple website: It did not require any sort of identifying information to verify users, including email, name or phone number.
The only identifying information the platform could have captured was an I.P. address, the unique sequence of numbers assigned to each computer or smartphone connected to the internet. Since Omegle did not collect that information, Ms. Bush said, when somebody used the website to collect or distribute child sexual abuse imagery, “you have this level of anonymity that was prohibiting law enforcement from being able to get anywhere in their investigation.”
Mr. K-Brooks said in the letter that while the company had “implemented a number of improvements” to its services, including human moderators, the standards that critics had set to safeguard the site were “not humanly achievable.”
Still, several lawsuits against Omegle have accused the company of skirting responsibility for what occurred on the site. Omegle had placed a disclaimer on its home page stating that children under 13 should not use the service and that “human behavior is fundamentally uncontrollable” and some users “may not behave appropriately,” according to court records.
A suit against the company in U.S. District Court in New Jersey called the warning “nothing but window dressing.”
Another lawsuit against Omegle in the U.S. District Court in Oregon claims that a man in his thirties had met an 11-year-old girl on the site and forced her to record herself engaging in sexual acts.
On Omegle, the suit stated, “these predatory users felt empowered and incentivized to continue their abusive and malicious use of the product.”
Eduardo Medina is a reporter covering breaking news. More about Eduardo Medina
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Meet the 84 women competing to be Miss Universe 2023
- The 72nd annual Miss Universe pageant will take place on Saturday in El Salvador.
- Eighty-four women from all over the world are competing for the pageant world's biggest crown.
- The contestants include lawyers, models, and artists.
The Miss Universe competition is a celebration of global pageant winners, bringing together the best of the best for the ultimate crown.
The 2023 pageant will take place on Saturday in El Salvador, and current Miss Universe R'Bonney Gabriel — who claimed the title after a controversial Miss USA win — will crown the new queen.
The contestants come from around the world, and their careers and interests are as varied as their nationalities. They shared information about themselves in their Miss Universe bios, and elaborated on the causes close to their hearts in videos for the Voice for Change campaign .
Albania: Endi Demneri
Endi Demneri, 24, is a model who recently appeared on the cover of Harper's Bazaar Bulgaria and Greece . Demneri also walked for Dolce & Gabbana during the 2022 Milan Fashion Week.
According to her Miss Universe bio, Demneri is using her platform to advocate for endometriosis and change "women's lives based on my life experience." During her Voice for Change video, Demneri said she was able to treat her own endometriosis after seeking help and now hopes to help women identify it and find the right treatment for themselves.
Angola: Ana Bárbara Da Silva Coimbra
Ana Bárbara Da Silva Coimbra, 23, has a degree in economics. Her platform is dedicated to improving rural families' access to nutritional food in Angola.
"We are facing the most challenging period since the end of the civil war, caused by high inflation," she said in her Voice for Change video. "Unfortunately malnutrition is the biggest cause of the high infant mortality rate in our country."
The pageant queen currently helps ecological schools teach agriculture classes that will help empower people to grow their own food.
Argentina: Yamile Dajud
Yamile Dajud, 27, has a degree in social communications with a specialty in public opinion and political marketing, according to her Miss Universe bio.
In her Voice for Change video, Dajud said she's using her platform to reduce social pressures among teens. She launched "This is Me," a social project aimed at preventing mental illness by inspiring self-discovery, boosting self-esteem, and encouraging a "sense of happiness and self-worth among these young individuals."
Aruba: Karol Croes
Karol Croes, 27, works as an international model, social-media marketer, and entrepreneur and speaks four different languages, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Croes launched the "Pan pan mi ruman" initiative to help promote self-expression, self-love, and self-empowerment among adolescents. In her Voice for Change video, Croes explained that her platform was inspired by her own experiences growing up with divorced parents.
"I like to give talks to teenage groups so they know they can also overcome this personal trauma," she said in the clip. "I want to continue being a voice for the children and youth who seek to be understood and heard."
Australia: Moraya Wilson
Moraya Wilson, 22, will graduate from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology this year with a degree in business marketing. She currently works as a model and a coach for skiing and track, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Wilson competed internationally as an alpine ski racer and has continued to make sports her platform. In her Voice for Change video, Wilson said she believes it's a powerful tool with the "ability to harness the potential of any individual." She hopes to specifically use her platform to promote sports to young girls.
The Bahamas: Melissa Ingraham
Melissa Ingraham, 26, is an environmental scientist who recently earned her master's degree in climate change.
In her Voice for Change video, Ingraham advocated for building resilience amid the climate crisis through infrastructure improvements, investing in agriculture and water initiatives, and disaster preparedness plans.
Bahrain: Lujane Yacoub
Lujane Yacoub, 19, is an actor, dancer, and model who plans to study creative arts in London. According to her Miss Universe bio, Yacoub is the first Smile Train ambassador from Bahrain.
Yacoub started the initiative "Project Hero," in which she dresses up in costume and visits children with special needs. She wants to use her platform to "empower children through arts and expression" and also serve as a symbol of "Bahraini women empowerment," according to a post on the Miss Bahrain Universe Instagram page .
Belgium: Emilie Vansteenkiste
Emilie Vansteenkiste, 22, has a degree in occupational therapy. She currently works as a professional Latin dancer and hopes to pursue a career as a TV host, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Vansteenkiste's platform is advocating for psychological counseling access for everyone and dismantling the stigma around therapy. In her Voice for Change video, Vansteenkiste said her platform was inspired by the counseling she received after her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
Bolivia: Estefany Rivero
Estefany Rivero, 26, is an architect. She hopes to one day become an interior designer, according to her Miss Universe bio.
In her Voice for Change video, Rivero explained that she is from the country's Amazon region and belongs to the group of indigenous people known as the Mojeños. Rivero is an active member of the Loro Parque Foundation, which has been working for over 20 years to save the blue-throated macaw bird.
Brazil: Maria Brechane
Maria Brechane, 19, is a model and journalism student, according to her Miss Universe bio. She is fluent in Portuguese, English, Spanish, and Brazilian Sign Language.
In her Voice for Change video, Brechane said she is helping open a school in Brazil that will offer courses to both the deaf community and people who want to learn Brazilian Sign Language.
British Virgin Islands: Ashellica Fahie
Ashellica Fahie, 28, is a qualified lawyer in the British Virgin Islands, England, and Wales, according to her Miss Universe bio. She also works as an international civil and commercial mediator.
Fahie won Miss Teen British Islands in 2011. In a December 2022 interview with I Am A Girl NGO, Fahie said competing in pageants has given her the ability to "go beyond my comfort zone and push my limits as to what I'm capable of."
Bulgaria: Yuliia Pavlikova
Yuliia Pavlikova, 30, has a master's degree in economics. She has been running a model school for children since she was 16 and also organizes international festivals and competitions for young people, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Pavlikova was named Miss Bulgaria just six days before she needed to fly to El Salvador to begin Miss Universe. But she is a decorated pageant queen and has also competed in Miss Earth 2021 and Miss Grand International 2022.
"There are 6 days before the flight to El Salvador, do you think it's possible to get ready? I think after today in my life, nothing is impossible," she wrote on Instagram after winning Miss Bulgaria 2023.
Cambodia: John Sotima
John Sotima, 23, graduated from the Mapa Fashion Design Academy with a degree in fashion design.
According to her Miss Universe bio, Sotima wants to advocate for children and women in need of help and provide them with "the love of family, a home of hope, the joy of the future, and education for everyone." Sotima counts Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray as one of her inspirations.
Cameroon: Issie Princesse
Issie Princesse, 23, is currently pursuing her degree in professional management. Her platform is raising awareness for breast cancer and sickle cell disease, according to her Miss Universe bio.
In her Voice for Change video, Princesse discussed how breast cancer has become a serious public health issue in Cameroon. She currently travels throughout the country to raise awareness among women and young girls and help increase access to quality care. She said winning Miss Universe will help her "fight this disease with more resources, and together we can save the lives of thousands of women."
Canada: Madison Kvaltin
Madison Kvaltin, 28, has a bachelor's degree in sociology and business from Queen's University and currently operates a marketing and web-design company, according to her Miss Canada bio . She also runs Skilla Athletics, which promotes body confidence, and launched The Body Love Club, which uses workshops, retreats, and classes to "empower others through movement."
According to her Miss Canada bio, Kvaltin was inspired to begin competing in pageants after overcoming an eating disorder. She wants to use her platform to promote body confidence and empower others to "love their bodies through all stages of life."
Cayman Islands: Ileann Powery
Ileann Powery, 26, has been a member of the Cayman Islands' national volleyball team for more than a decade. She's traveled to 11 different countries and competed in more than 19 international tournaments, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Powery is a self-taught photographer and videographer and currently runs her own photography business "iPow Creations." She is also a member of the Cayman Island Folk Singers.
Chile: Celeste Viel
Celeste Viel, 23, has a degree in public relations and is a licensed health coach, according to her Miss Universe bio. She is also an advocate for foster children, which was inspired by her own experience growing up with three children that her family adopted from the foster care system.
Viel has a unique connection to Miss Chile. Her mother, Paula Caballero, won the same title 30 years ago.
"I have her with me in all of this process," Viel recently told HOLA . "I'm living the same emotions that she lived, and that's priceless to me. She's accompanied me throughout this whole process and has shared some of what she's experienced."
Colombia: Camila Avella
Camila Avella, 28, works as a journalist and model. She also helps provide young mothers with training in mental health, finance management, and entrepreneurship, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Avella, who is married and has a daughter, became eligible to compete after the Miss Universe Organization changed the rule to allow mothers and married women in the pageant starting in 2023. Avella told HOLA that she previously competed for the Miss Colombia title in 2018 and was motivated to try again after the rule change.
"One role is not going to define us, and we're finally breaking down those stereotypes that have held us back for so long," she told the site. "I want women to teach their children that they're not a limitation, that a child is the most beautiful thing that exists."
Costa Rica: Lisbeth Valverde Brenes
Lisbeth Valverde Brenes, 28, graduated from the National University of Costa Rica with a degree in special education. She also works as a model, entrepreneur, and advocate for wildlife protection, social initiatives, and tourism promotion within Costa Rica, according to her Miss Universe bio.
In her Voice for Change video, the pageant queen discussed her work as a special-education teacher and her social project Manos Unidas Costa Rica, which is dedicated to empowering people with disabilities and sending a message to society that disability is not a disease.
Croatia: Andrea Erjavec
Andrea Erjavec, 23, is currently studying primary education at the Faculty of Education in Zagreb. She is planning to pursue her MBA at the Zagreb School of Economics.
In her Voice for Change video, Erjavec said she wants to use her platform to advocate for education. She also wants to give children a place to practice sports and make athletics a part of their everyday lives.
Curaçao: Kim Rossen
Kim Rossen, 26, is an occupational therapist who is passionate about helping elderly people become more independent, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Rossen is also an accomplished track-and-field athlete and an advocate for equality in sports. She aspires to become a successful model and also hopes to open a healthcare practice on her island in the future.
Czech Republic: Vanesa Švédová
Vanesa Švédová, 20, currently works as a model. She is also a student at the University of Logistics and teaches children's swimming lessons in her spare time, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Švédová has participated in a Dolce & Gabbana fashion show, which she said is one of the biggest accomplishments of her career.
Denmark: Nikoline Uhrenholt Hansen
Nikoline Uhrenholt Hansen, 21, studied marketing and economics in Copenhagen and aspires to work in beauty and fashion.
In her Voice for Change video, the beauty queen said her platform was inspired by her close relationship with her grandfather. Hansen wants to help combat loneliness among the elderly in Denmark and inspire others to socialize with them. She hopes to be a "voice for good and the person who stands up and talks about this problem."
Dominican Republic: Mariana Downing
Mariana Downing, 28, is currently a professional model in New York City. She graduated from the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and also participated in a leadership and business program at Harvard University, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Downing is an aspiring author and plans to release an autobiographical collection of poems called "Evol Love." She previously dated Marc Anthony when she was 21, telling HOLA that the relationship was a "beautiful moment in my life."
Ecuador: Delary Stoffers
Delary Stoffers, 23, currently works as a model, according to her Instagram page.
Stoffers' Miss Universe platform is Type 1 Diabetes education. In her Voice for Change video, Stoffers said that she works with the Fuvida Foundation to help provide tools to children and young people so they can "face the daily challenges related to adjusting their insulin doses, their diet, and self-monitoring."
Egypt: Mohra Tantawy
Mohra Tantawy, 21, is a model who was born and raised in Cairo. She recently graduated with a degree in business marketing from New Giza University, according to Harper's Bazaar Arabia .
Tantawy told Arab News that she never expected to be Miss Universe Egypt because she didn't grow up competing in pageants, but she hopes to use her platform to show women in Egypt that they are strong and resilient.
"You may face hardships in your life, you may not always get the support you deserve, but if anyone in the world can do it, it is you," she added. "Look back at your ancestors and see just how much they've achieved but also always look towards the future because it is yours to create."
El Salvador: Isabella García-Manzo
Isabella García-Manzo, 20, is currently pursuing a degree in hospitality and business management, according to her Miss Universe bio.
García-Manzo has been gaining customer-service experience through hotel internships. She also gives surfing lessons to children to "instill confidence and personal empowerment," her bio adds.
Equatorial Guinea: Diana-Lita Hinestrosa Eraul
Diana-Lita Hinestrosa Eraul, 25, has a degree in economics and is currently studying to become a doctor in neuropsychology, according to her Miss Universe bio.
She is the founder of Proyecto Futuro, a youth organization that advocates for equality in education.
Finland: Paula Joukanen
Paula Joukanen, 22, is a model, former tennis player, and current law student.
She finds inspiration in "rebellious and confident" women who have paved the way for equality, according to her Miss Universe bio, and is passionate about helping refugees by raising money and volunteering as a teacher.
Joukanen has visited more than 50 countries through her charity work, and she speaks six languages. In her free time, she often makes TikTok videos with her pet guinea pigs Bob and Billy.
France: Diane Leyre
Diane Leyre, 26, studied at IE University in Madrid to earn a bachelor's degree in business administration, according to her Miss Universe bio.
She's worked as a model and a co-host of the French radio station Europe 2, and is now using her Miss Universe platform to share her motto "vivre ensemble," which translates to living together. In a video for Voice for Change, Leyre said that growing up in a "multicultural region" inspired her to spread this "call to action."
As Miss Universe, she said, she'd advocate for strengthening anti-discrimination laws, fostering inclusivity in schools, and helping victims of all injustices.
Germany: Helena Bleicher
Helena Bleicher, 24, grew up across the globe. She was born in Cologne, Germany, and spent her childhood there, but she has gone on to live across three continents since turning 18. She's now studying to be an educator, her Miss Universe bio says.
With her pageant platform, Bleicher hopes to be an advocate for ending childhood poverty. She said in a Voice for Change video that she works with the Tabasamu organization to help children in Tanzania afford school uniforms, a requirement for them to receive an education.
Great Britain: Jessica Page
Jessica Page, 27, is an entrepreneur with a passion for empowering other women. After earning a degree in marketing and events, according to her Miss Universe bio, she founded a program called Take Her Lead that helps young businesswomen find female role models in the industry.
She also runs her own marketing business and does freelance work as a social-media manager. Describing herself as "determined," Page says in her Miss Universe bio that she grew her company to be worth nearly a quarter of a million dollars within two years.
Greece: Marielia Zaloumi
Marielia Zaloumi, 20, is dedicated to helping children with medical concerns. Most notably, she serves as a member of Elpida, an association that advocates for children who have cancer.
Zaloumi also studies business administration at Deree College in Athens, and she was once a member of Greece's national synchronized swim team. In her Miss Universe bio, she says she finds inspiration in nature and feels happiest when surrounded by her family.
Guatemala: Michelle Cohn
Michelle Cohn, 28, holds many titles: entrepreneur, model, brand founder, and mom of two. The latter role marks her as one of the first mothers to compete in the Miss Universe competition.
Cohn is also passionate about women's empowerment, as mentioned in her Miss Universe bio, and supporting the deaf community. She said in a video for Voice for Change that through the swimwear brand she founded, she works to employ deaf women and advocate for equal opportunities and accommodations.
Guyana: Lisa Andrea Narine
Lisa Andrea Narine, 26, has dreams of working in politics. She's now studying international relations at the University of Guyana.
But her real passion, according to her Miss Universe bio, is charity work. Narine founded the NurtureNew platform in 2021, through which she aims to support young people and single parents by providing a safe space and teaching skills needed to start a business.
In her spare time, Narine also works as a radio host and creative coordinator, and enjoys dancing, modeling, and archery.
Honduras: Zuheilyn Clemente
Zuheilyn Clemente, 22, is no stranger to the spotlight. She's a TV star in Honduras, according to her Miss Universe bio, and is also a student of marketing and international business. She dreams of being an ambassador for her country.
Clemente also dedicates time to philanthropic work. She regularly rescues animals and is passionate about ending violence. In a Voice for Change video, she shared that she supports the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 2, which encourages people to do what they can to end hunger around the world by 2030.
Hungary: Tünde Blága
Tünde Blága, 27, is a model, writer, and avid traveler, according to her Miss Universe bio. She published her first book, which tells the story of her life as a pageant queen, in 2022.
In a video for Voice for Change, Blága shared that she's most passionate about achieving world peace. With her pageant platform, she aims to work toward strengthening groups like the United Nations and promoting conversations between religious and cultural leaders.
Iceland: Lilja Síf Pétursdóttir
Lilja Síf Pétursdóttir, 19, is an advocate for the "uniquely-abled," according to her Miss Universe bio. She's also one of the youngest women to compete for this year's crown.
Pétursdóttir serves as a caretaker for her younger sister who has cerebral palsy, as she's said on Instagram , and she's visited children's hospitals to learn about the work that goes into caring for other young people with the same medical condition.
She has future plans to study nursing and work in a hospital.
India: Shweta Sharda
Shweta Sharda, 23, has danced her way to the top. A self-taught performer, according to her Miss Universe bio, she's appeared as a lead dancer on multiple Indian dance shows and now works as a Bollywood choreographer.
Sharda describes herself as self-reliant, and she revealed in her Voice for Change video that her father didn't support her choice to pursue dancing as a career. As a result, she said she's eager to help those with "unnoticed talent" via her platform Aatmanirbhar, which encourages young people to pursue their passions.
She also works as an ambassador for Barefoot Edu Foundation, a nonprofit that works to transform underserved schools.
Indonesia: Fabiënne Nicole Groeneveld
Fabiënne Nicole Groeneveld, 23, has a bachelor's degree in international business, which has led her to jobs in sports leadership and TV production, according to her Miss Universe bio.
But she's currently focused on Empower Now, a movement she started to support children and teach them the English language.
In a Voice for Change video, Groeneveld said the effort is also dedicated to providing creative outlets to children who have special needs and mentorship to people who have experienced domestic violence.
Ireland: Aishah Akorede
Aishah Akorede, 24, is a corporate compliance consultant and model who's earned two law degrees. She's also the founder of Recrowned Ireland, an initiative that hosts fundraisers, mentorship programs, and other events to empower women and fight against issues like sexual violence and period poverty.
In her Voice for Change video, Akorede said she's especially passionate about the latter issue and has made it her mission to provide sustainable menstrual products to those who have trouble accessing them.
Italy: Carmen Panepinto Zayati
Carmen Panepinto Zayati, 23, has a deep background in STEM, according to her Miss Universe bio. She's earned one degree in electronics engineering, is working toward another in the field of biorobotics, and aims to be a leader for other women who hope to enter similar fields.
Zayati's scientific studies and endeavors are the result of her hopes for a sustainable future. In her Voice for Change video, she said her passion for the planet and her dreams of being a role model for hopeful female scientists led her to the Miss Universe stage.
Jamaica: Jordanne Lauren Levy
Jordanne Lauren Levy, 27, has made a mark on her home country as a doctor and community leader. In her Miss Universe bio, she says her role as a physician is the part of her life she's most proud of.
Her career has also impacted her activism. Levy created the Be-You-tiful campaign to advocate for more educational opportunities for young women, and she spoke out in support of women and their sexual health in her Voice for Change video.
Japan: Rio Miyazaki
Rio Miyazaki, 20, is a lifelong cheerleader. She began performing at the age of 6, and later went on to be a cheerleader for a professional baseball team as an adult. She also instructs young cheerleaders, as seen on her Instagram page.
While Miyazaki says in her Miss Universe bio that she's most proud of her athletic career, she's now studying to become an educator. She also describes herself as the "type of person who doesn't give up" until she's achieved her goals.
Kazakhstan: Tomiris Zair
Tomiris Zair, 20, is a model and student who's currently pursuing a degree in marketing. She describes herself as loyal, according to her Miss Universe bio, and is proud of her personal perseverance.
In an Instagram post from August, Zair said she hopes her Miss Universe journey will inspire other young people in Kazakhstan, and help them realize that "dreams can come true with hard work and dedication." She also said she's eager to share her country's culture and love for nature.
Korea: Soyun Kim
Soyun Kim, 28, is passionate about reducing gender inequality. In a Voice for Change video, she said she's particularly focused on ending the stigma that surrounds single mothers, and hopes to support those who are struggling financially by creating a resource guide in collaboration with the Korean Unwed Mothers Families Association.
Outside of her philanthropic work, Kim works as a model and IT professional.
Kosovo: Arbesa Rrahmani
Arbesa Rrahmani, 22, says modeling isn't a job for her. Instead, according to her Miss Universe bio, it's her "life and passion" — one that she "went against all odds" to succeed in.
She also enjoys singing, as she's shared on Instagram , and describes herself as powerful. Rrahmani finds inspiration in her mother and is close with her family.
Laos: Phaimany Lathsabanthao
Phaimany Lathsabanthao, 28, is passionate about sharing the power of handicrafts and textiles produced in her home country.
In a Voice for Change video, she shared that she often works with skilled women in Laos to educate women in need and those who have disabilities about how to produce their crafts. This cultural work, she believes, can encourage gender equality and financial stability.
In her Miss Universe bio, Lathsabunthao also noted that she's happiest when home with her two dogs, named Sticky Rice and Green Rice.
Latvia: Kate Alexeeva
Kate Alexeeva, 29, has visited 56 countries in her lifetime and is passionate about art, music, and sports, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Alexeeva also works as a model and entrepreneur. She shared in her Voice for Change video that she's been exposed to situations of domestic violence in both jobs, and is now outspoken in support of those who have experienced it.
She also has a dream of creating a safe and sustainable community for survivors in the Baltic region.
Lebanon: Maya Aboul Hosn
Maya Aboul Hosn, 25, stays busy as an influencer, TV host, and International Ambassador of Faculty and Agricultural and Food Sciences at the American University of Beirut.
She said in her Miss Universe bio that she finds inspiration in the resiliency of her country, and that she's most proud of the work she's done for her community.
Some of that work includes her efforts to restore equal education opportunities in Lebanon, as she mentioned in a Voice for Change video.
Malaysia: Serena Lee
Serena Lee, 26, is a world traveler. Having visited 10 countries so far, she said in her Miss Universe bio that she's now excited to explore El Salvador while participating in the pageant.
She's currently a law student in Malaysia.
Malta: Ella Portelli
Ella Portelli, 25, is a real-estate agent with a bachelor's degree in spatial design. Her hobbies include art, boxing, and extreme sports like skydiving, and her family is one of the most important things in life, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Having been diagnosed with body dysmorphia, Portelli is now eager to encourage other women to love themselves and overcome their internal struggles.
She's also an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and has represented Malta in a Pride parade, as seen in her Voice for Change video.
Mauritius: Tatiana Beauharnais
Tatiana Beauharnais, 24, works as a police constable in Mauritius. But outside of her work, her biggest passions are her family and fitness. She said in a recent Instagram post that her parents are both active and have inspired her interest in working out.
Beauharnais also said in her Miss Universe bio that she advocates for women's empowerment, and she shared on Instagram that she pursued her career in law enforcement to help fight gender-based violence and discrimination.
Mexico: Melissa Flores
Melissa Flores, 25, works as a psychologist when she isn't representing Mexico at Miss Universe, according to her bio for the pageant.
As she shared in her Voice for Change video, Flores became an activist against dating violence after going through the experience herself, and her project No Me Limites aims to educate people about what a healthy relationship looks like.
Mongolia: Namuunzul Batmagnai
Namuunzul Batmagnai, 23, is a model.
In her Miss Universe bio, she said she loves exercising and her parents, and she considers herself resilient.
Myanmar: Amara Bo
Amara Bo, 23, works as a runway model, but she also has a degree in computer science, according to her Miss Universe bio. She shared in her bio that she got her degree at the same time she was appearing on a reality show.
In her Voice for Change video, Bo said she wants to use her platform to advocate for children who do not have parents in Myanmar, as well as adolescent girls who are forced to become parents, giving them safe spaces and greater access to education.
Namibia: Jameela Uiras
Jameela Uiras, 23, works as a model and a marketing strategist, using the degree in marketing she got from the University of Namibia, according to the Miss Namibia website .
With her platform, Uiras hopes to provide children with a better education to prepare them for the job market, as she shared in her Voice for Change video, and she said in her Miss Universe bio that her family is crucial to her — especially after losing her mother in September 2020.
Nepal: Jane Dipika Garrett
Jane Garrett, 22, became an advocate for mental and hormonal health after struggling with depression as a result of her PCOS, as she shared in her Voice for Change video. Now, she makes it her mission to educate others on hormonal disorders and how they can affect people's mental health.
She is also a champion for body positivity, often sharing on Instagram that she wants people to celebrate their bodies no matter how they look and how they change.
Netherlands: Rikkie Kollé
Rikkie Kollé, 22, was a model before she was crowned Miss Netherlands, even competing on "Holland's Next Top Model."
She also made history when she was crowned Miss Netherlands, as she is the first transgender titleholder from her country.
In her Voice for Change video, Kollé said she hopes to use her platform to champion equality and fight bullying, particularly because she has been bullied throughout her life for her gender identity.
Nicaragua: Sheynnis Palacios
Sheynnis Palacios, 23, has a degree in mass communications from the Universidad Centroamericana, and she has a passion for producing and editing video content, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Her degree is a huge source of pride for Palacios, particularly because she started having intense anxiety attacks during her studies, as she shared in her Voice for Change video. Palacios started the project "Understand Your Mind" to advocate for women who experience mental-health issues.
Nigeria: Ugochi Mitchel Ihezue
Ugochi Mitchel Ihezue, 26, has a joint MBA from the Lagos Business School in Nigeria and the IESEG School of Management in Paris, according to her Miss Universe bio. Becoming Miss Nigeria also isn't her first pageant triumph. In 2017, Ihezue was crowned Miss World Nigeria and placed in the top 15 at the Miss World pageant, where she was also named Miss World Top Model.
With her platform, Ihezue hopes to help educate women in financial literacy to help them achieve independence, according to her Voice for Change video. She also has a passion for painting.
Norway: Julie Tollefsen
Julie Tollefsen, 28, works as a fashion designer in Oslo, according to her Miss Universe bio. She prioritizes sustainability in her designs, using her platform as Miss Norway to advocate for less waste in fashion, as she shared in her Voice for Change video.
Tollefsen is also a mental-health advocate and volunteer at a nursing home, and she loves to spend time outdoors when she can.
Pakistan: Erica Robin
Erica Robin, 24, will make history when she walks across the Miss Universe page, as she is the first ever Miss Pakistan to compete in the pageant.
In her day-to-day life, Robin works as a model, and she is passionate about her religious beliefs, as she is among the 1% of Christians in Pakistan, according to her Miss Universe bio.
She uses her platform to advocate for gender equality in the workplace, and she volunteers at the Karachi Down Syndrome charity, as she said in her Voice for Change video.
Panama: Natasha Vargas
Natasha Vargas, 26, has a degree in journalism from the Latin University of Panama, and in her Miss Universe bio, she said she hopes to champion human rights with her writing.
She also launched the project Routes of Hope with the organization Casa Hogar Luisa, supporting immigrants in Panama and ensuring they are treated with dignity, according to her Voice for Change video.
Paraguay: Elicena Andrada Orrego
Elicena Andrada Orrego, 28, is a pageant veteran. She won Miss Latin America of the World in 2017 and competed in Miss Grand Paraguay in 2021, though she spent much of her life in Spain. She also loves bonding with other women, which is why the pageant world is such a good fit for her, as she said in her Miss Universe bio.
Orrego hopes to use her platform to help end human trafficking, and she launched the Rise Above campaign to help educate others about the global issue, according to her Voice for Change video.
Peru: Camila Escribens
Camila Escribens, 25, didn't always picture herself as a pageant queen. Instead, she had high hopes to compete in track at the Olympics — she even competed at the Junior Olympics when she was just 14 years old, as she shared in her Voice for Change video. But shortly after, she was diagnosed with three brain arteriovenous malformations and a rare disease called Factor VII deficiency, which causes blood-clotting problems.
After years of being in and out of hospitals, Escribens is using her second chance at life to help children in Peru with her nonprofit organization AMA by giving them access to ample nutrition and sports, which she considers human rights.
Philippines: Michelle Dee
Michelle Marquez Dee, 28, studied psychology at De La Salle University and received an entrepreneurship certificate from Harvard University Online, which she used to found multiple businesses, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Dee is also an activist for autism acceptance, a cause she became passionate about because she has two siblings who are on the autism spectrum, as she shared in her Voice for Change video. She was named the Autism Society Philippines' Goodwill Ambassador in 2019, and she still holds the position today.
Dee also loves to take photos, and she considers herself an "adrenaline junkie."
Poland: Angelika Jurkowianiec
Angelika Jurkowianiec, 27, is a medical analyst, and her work has made her passionate about ensuring people have access to medications and regular medical screenings, according to her Voice for Change video. If she wins Miss Universe, she hopes she can bring more awareness to the importance of medical access.
"The Miss Universe crown is like a tool for me to do more and speak louder," she said.
Portugal: Marina Machete
Marina Machete, 28, works as a flight attendant, and she became the first transgender Miss Portugal when she won the pageant in 2023.
Machete is an advocate for inclusivity, and she uses her platform as Miss Portugal to ensure others have access to safe housing, education, and medical care, especially other trans people, as she said in her Voice for Change video.
In her Miss Universe bio, Machete also said she values people who have a good sense of humor, as she's always looking for reasons to laugh.
Puerto Rico: Karla Guilfú Acevedo
Karla Guilfú Acevedo, 25, is currently studying to get her master's degree in psychology, and she also works as a model. She loves food and animals, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Acevado is a mental-health advocate, founding the nonprofit Let's Begin to Heal to help prevent suicide in Puerto Rico and help citizens gain access to mental-health care, move their bodies, and give back to their communities, as she shared in her Voice for Change video.
Russia: Margarita Golubeva
Margarita Golubeva, 22, is a student pursuing degrees in singing and customs service at two different universities, according to her Miss Universe bio. Golubeva isn't new to competitions, as she previously competed on the Russian version of "The Voice."
Golubeva also said in her Miss Universe bio that her mother is a big source of inspiration for her, as she raised four children while working as an oncologist.
Saint Lucia: Earlyca Frederick
Earlyca Makeba Frederick, 25, has been competing in pageants since she was just 3 years old, with her efforts culminating in being named Miss Saint Lucia. She currently teaches social sciences and language arts, and she is in the process of getting her bachelor's degree in primary education, according to her Miss Saint Lucia bio.
Frederick is involved with multiple youth groups in Saint Lucia, and she said in her bio that she hopes to use education as a "force for good" with her platform.
Singapore: Priyanka Annuncia
Priyanka Annuncia, 26, is not only a personal trainer but also the founder of BODSITIVE, an inclusive fashion brand that includes exercise attire, basics, undergarments, and more.
In addition, Annuncia is an anti-human-trafficking activist, a cause she became inspired to champion after she had a career in criminology. She currently partners with Alliance Anti-Trafic in Thailand, which supports victims of human trafficking, and she raises money to support these communities through projects like her Jab for Justice kickboxing classes, according to her Voice for Change video.
Slovakia: Kinga Puhova
Kinga Puhova, 22, had a career as a successful fashion model, walking runways at Milan and Paris Fashion Week shows and working with designers such as Carolina Herrera, as she shared in her Miss Universe bio.
Today, Puhova is studying fashion project management at the Mod'Spe Paris CE in Paris, which has inspired her to create two sustainable fashion collections to date.
In her Voice for Change video, Puhova also said she is passionate about encouraging women to self-examine themselves for breast cancer, promoting the cause with her #mirrorchallenge.
South Africa: Bryoni Natalie Govender
Bryoni Natalie Govender, 27, is a lawyer who studied at the University of Johannesburg, and she is the first Miss South Africa of Indian descent to win the pageant since 1997, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Govender is a champion for gender equality, in part because of the high rates of violence against women in South Africa, as she shared in her Voice for Change video. To that end, she founded the program "Her Way Out," educating women about their legal rights.
Spain: Athenea Pérez
Athenea Pérez, 27, has a degree in marketing and advertising, and in her Miss Universe bio, she says she is an advocate for racial equality in Spain.
According to her Voice for Change video, Pérez also wants to fight against interpersonal violence in Spain, particularly for adolescent girls. She founded the program The Importance of Signs to help teenagers spot signs of an abusive partner and get access to mental health and legal support if they need it.
Switzerland: Lorena Santen
Lorena Santen, 26, works in banking, using her degree in business administration, as she said in her Miss Universe bio. Her bio also states she is a mental-health advocate, and she is passionate about breaking stigmas around mental-health issues.
Santen wants to use her platform to promote early detection of breast cancer for women of all socioeconomic backgrounds, and she intends to create a breast health app to fulfill her mission, according to her Voice for Change video.
Thailand: Anntonia Porsild
Anntonia Porsild, 27, has a degree in communications from Stamford International University, and she plans to get her MBA soon. She is already using her business skills as an entrepreneur, founding the company Splash.
Porsild hopes to use her platform Little Steps Project to help women gain financial independence, focusing on those who don't have jobs outside of the home, as she shared in a Voice for Change video.
Trinidad and Tobago: Faith Gillezeau
Faith Gillezeau, 25, shows off her passion for Trinidad and Tobago not only by representing the country in the pageant, but also by competing as a national squash player and playing the steelpan, the country's national instrument, according to her Miss Universe bio.
Gillezeau works as a pharmacist, and her work has made her passionate about educating children on the ways diet and exercise can minimize the risk of chronic health issues, as her bio went on to state.
Ukraine: Angelina Usanova
Angelina Usanova, 26, is trained as a singer, dancer, and composer, as she shared in her Miss Universe bio. Usanova's love of music goes hand in hand with her work as a sound healer and yoga instructor, which she uses to help those struggling amid the war in Ukraine.
She shared in her Voice for Change video that she is working to create rehabilitation centers that can support children who struggled with their mental health during the war using art therapy, music, and nutrition.
Usanova also loves outer space, and she serves as a Peace Ambassador for the Center for the Study of Extraterrestrial Intelligence to create recommendations for how to contact extraterrestrials in a peaceful manner, according to her Miss Universe bio.
USA: Noelia Voigt
Noelia Voigt , 24, is an interior-design student, according to her Miss Universe bio. Voigt is also a bilingual, Venezuelan-American, and she hopes to use her platform to celebrate immigrants in America.
She also works with the One Love Foundation, which educates students about teen dating violence, according to a Voice for Change video. Voigt intends to make education about dating violence mandatory in US schools, and she has written a children's book that discourages bullying.
Venezuela: Diana Silva
Diana Silva, 26, is a flight attendant as well as an experienced pageant contestant, as she previously represented Miss Venezuela at Miss World 2018.
Silva wants to educate teen girls about sex, improve their emotional health, and ensure they have access to contraception because of the high rate of adolescent mothers in her country, focusing on underprivileged communities, as she shared in her Voice for Change video.
Vietnam: Bùi Quỳnh Hoa
Bùi Quỳnh Hoa, 25, works as a model in addition to competing in pageants.
Hoa is an advocate for educating people about reproductive and sexual health, particularly underprivileged women and children in Vietnam, as she shared in her Voice for Change video.
She works with the W-project initiative, which gives Vietnamese women in remote areas access to insurance so they can take care of their gynecological health and educates children and families about how to prevent the contraction of infectious diseases.
Zimbabwe: Brooke Bruk-Jackson
Brooke Bruk-Jackson, 21, works as a model, esthetician, and fashion designer in Zimbabwe, according to her Miss Universe Bio. She is the first representative Zimbabwe has had at the pageant in 22 years.
Bruk-Jackson wants to create financial inclusion in her country, particularly for women, and if she is crowned Miss Universe, she hopes to partner with NGOs around the world to help women thrive financially, as she shared in a Voice for Change video.