Surviving Fall TV

Dive into what's rumbling the TV landscape this year, taking it from volatile to earthquake status.
CMT Tornado Hunters

This story appears in the July/August 2015 issue of strategy.

If the television landscape seemed volatile last year, this year we’ve entered full earthquake status. Online viewing is no longer a looming threat to traditional TV – it’s now a part of our reality, and networks are putting their hats fully into the ring with Rogers and Shaw’s Shomi and Bell’s CraveTV (competing, of course, with Netflix). And then there’s that whole other form of online viewing that’s stealing eyeballs – YouTube and the MCNs with their star power that seems to have gone from niche to mainstream overnight (at least for its Gen Z target). More on how that world is exploding here.

Meanwhile, the specialty channels have gone into survival mode, with networks bunkering down and not coming up for air until they figure out a plan to save their precious channels (or kill them softly) in light of the CRTC’s decision to allow pick-and-pay next year. The way MediaCom’s Michael Neale sees it, most channels can fit into one of three buckets – the current champs, the likely survivors and the ones in danger of extinction. See here for more on what the nets have been doing so far to ensure survival.

But despite the shaky ground, TV is still a powerhouse, and the show(s) must go on. This year, the conventional networks are betting big on drama and leaving the reality to the specialty channels. Click here to learn about this year’s crop of new shows.

Batten down the hatches – it’s a jungle out there.

Image: New CMT series Tornado Hunters