Dear TV Show producers, Let ‘V’ be a lesson to you
As was predicted in Randosity’s earlier Boycott V Series article, V has officially been cancelled by ABC as of May 13, 2011 (Friday the 13th). This was not a good day for the V series cast and crew as they had just lost their jobs. Oh well, such is life in show business. However, this cancellation goes to prove yet another experiment a failure at the expense of what could have been a good series.
Since V’s second season launch in January, the producers and/or ABC had made the insane choice to not allow V back onto Hulu, iTunes, Amazon or any other streaming media service (including ABC’s very own streaming TV web site). So, that meant no way to watch back episodes or catch up on missed V episodes. This also meant as people began missing episodes, they couldn’t catch up and said, “f-it” and moved on.
When your series targets the exact age demographic of people who do watch their TV series via Hulu (or any other streaming site) and also when you decide to cut these exact viewers off from your show, it’s the kiss of death. V is, unfortunately, a perfect shining example of what not to do with streaming media and a TV series. Don’t shun streaming media, embrace it. Embrace it with open arms and nurture and foster its growth. As a producer you want, no, you need viewers. The more the better. It doesn’t matter if you have to rip the video of each episode and personally seed the file yourself on bitorrent. Do it!
What you don’t want is, well, exactly what the producers did to V. Don’t bite the hand the feeds you. Worse, the show began to feel the effects of its lower and lower viewership (and ratings) and began making more and more desperate, drastic and insane story choices to try and recoup viewership. It didn’t work and the choices killed off main characters from the show, yet didn’t do anything to increase viewership. This only made the show worse and more pointless. But, these story choices were simply a side effect of the stupidity of not allowing streaming sites to stream (or back catalog) the series. You can’t change the story to attempt make up for the ‘no streaming’ decision. To get viewers back, the producers would have had to rescind that decision and allow the show back onto Hulu, iTunes and Amazon. But, by April it was already too late to rescind that decision and gain the lost viewership back.
Back Catalogs & Advertisers
Still, any show should allow a back catalog of episodes to be available on streaming sites for even just a few months to allow viewers to keep up with a show (even if the shows aren’t available to streaming for 30 days). A back catalog of older episodes allows viewers to take their time catching up and feel good about the time when they watch. Sure, these views may not give the immediacy of the Neilsen ratings, but so what? That system is so antiquated, it needs to die. Instead, we need a new ratings system that takes into account real viewers from streaming sites and next day views. Skip the ‘night of’ viewership numbers and go with a model that resembles how people are actually watching TV today. Internet enabled TVs are not going away and neither are mobile devices. Hello advertisers like Proctor and Gamble, get with it. Same day viewership of TV shows is over. That day has passed. The future of TV is through next day viewing or even month later views. That’s where the advertising revenues will be had.
So Long ‘V’
It’s unfortunate that the producers felt the need to make stupid choices like ‘no streaming’. It was a gamble that simply didn’t pay off. It turned the series into a shambles through poor story choices. Oh well, V has had its short-lived day. Tomorrow is another day and with it new TV shows to sink your time slots into. But, let’s just make sure they continue to do it on our, the viewer’s, terms.
To the producers, embrace change or perish. That’s the prime lesson to take away from the ‘V’ experiment. Yes, the V ‘no streaming’ experiment was truly a failure.