Independent TV Financing in the Digital Age

What? Is there really such a thing as independent financing for television programming? We had no idea.

Which, of course, is what makes this such important reading:

by Alissa Miller

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In recent years there has been a proliferation of Netflix, Hulu, YouTube/Google, Amazon and other digital distribution platforms. Netflix alone has over 36 million streaming members worldwide, and internet goliaths like Amazon, Hulu and YouTube/Google are ramping up their own subscription streaming services.

Each subscriber pays a yearly or monthly subscription fee to stream content, and these fees form a large part of the digital distributor’s revenue.

But in order to attract an extensive group of subscribers, digital distributors need to continue to provide an immense amount of original, high-quality content.

Netflix’s CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings recently said in GQ that “the goal is to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” So far in 2013, Netflix has aired “House of Cards” and “Hemlock Grove” and is planning to debut “Orange Is the New Black” (by “Weeds” creator Jenji Kohan), Season 4 of “Arrested Development” (which previously aired and then was canceled on Fox) and Season 2 of “Lilyhammer.”

Netflix has been able to attract programming with the promise of a large and diverse audience and its binge-viewing model, which allows subscribers to watch an entire season in one sitting. In some instances, Netflix has also offered a full-season commitment, which gives producers the assurance that their series will not be canceled halfway through the season.

Likewise, Hulu plans to air its first animated series “The Awesomes” (co-created by Seth Meyers and “SNL” alum Michael Shoemaker) this summer and has distributed around 25 new series in the last two years.

These new distribution platforms have resulted in increased competition for high-quality content by both digital distributors and the established cable channels and networks.

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The cool pic at the top of this article isn’t from this article, sad to say. We found it at  TV Mole, which turns out to be a wonderful resource for “industry intelligence, how-to articles and international pitching and funding opportunities – everything you need to get your factual TV programme commissioned.”

We’ll be writing more about TV Mole. (Please, no “Is that a threat or a promise?” jokes.)