May 28, 2022

The Blog of a Chronic Content Creator

Are Television Networks Cannibalizing Their Broadcast Revenues With Cliffhangers?

Karey is a big True Blood fan, and I watch it with her because it isn’t that bad of a drama / comedy / supernatural show (The vampires don’t sparkle, at least). Anyway, yesterday we watched 5 episodes in a row, due in part to the ‘hooks’ that each episode had to the next. Cliffhanger endings that lure you into watching the next installment. On a DVD this isn’t a big deal (Or on Netflix or Hulu, for that matter). But when originally broadcast, we’d be waiting a week or perhaps more. We both agreed that we wouldn’t watch the show on TV simply because it would annoy us to have to wait a week or more to see the (often) 10 seconds that is the ‘end’ of the scene or moment.

Photo By: Claire P.

Obviously network broadcast revenues aren’t as good as they used to be, and HBO is making money if I buy the DVD. However wouldn’t they make more if I enjoyed the show enough to watch it AND buy the DVDs? Syfy does this one better by having cliffhanger endings and then making you wait, sometimes over a year until the next season starts. And don’t even get me started on “mid-season breaks”. About 8 years ago Karey & I ditched a show on ABC that would tease “Tune in for the exciting conclusion on <3 weeks later>”.

So what do you think? Is this tactic of “drawing out” the resolution to a scene (not even a plot line, but a specific scene!) helping a struggling industry right the ship? Or is it showing just how disconnected executives are from what people want in an entertainment venue?