I don’t think I’ve ever pointed out nonsense from Bloomberg before, but Thursday’s article suggesting that “The four biggest U.S. television networks are introducing the most shows in seven years as subscription services like Netflix Inc. (NFLX) make spending on new programs less risky.” is just that, nonsense.

The reason that the broadcast nets introduced 39 new programs is because a record number during the 2010-11 season were failures (or  for some in CBS’s case, they wanted to clear room for new shows next season, as usual).

While it’s true as the article states that

Web-based services are providing a new market for older shows, vying with local stations and cable outlets

That effect does not extend to shows early in their lifespan. In fact, if the “Netflix effect” were in force for new shows, you’d expect more rookie shows from this season with marginal ratings renewed, and hence fewer new shows introduced next season.

Another claim is that

“Ratings are less and less of an important barometer for whether a show will stay on the air,”

Also, usually, nonsense. If that were the case, The Renew / Cancel Index and Bubble Watch wouldn’t continue to pick show renewals and cancellations with such accuracy.

CBS develops the kinds of shows, and has a more syndication oriented business model, designed to tolerate ratings laggards until they reach the desired episodes for syndication, but they still cancel ratings losers, just ask fans of The Defenders and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.

Chuck and Fringe were the two notable non-CBS exceptions. However, ABC’s Brothers & Sisters was, if anything, a counter example. Producers were unable to craft a cost cutting deal on B&S that was workable enough to save the show.

Note from Robert that I agree with: It’s worth noting that  there is certainly a “syndication effect”, and w/continued DVD revenue declines, probably growing in importance. I’d suggest that Chuck and Fringe were saved by the syndication effect, but they were absolutely not saved by Netflix as past (or present) seasons of both shows are not available on Netflix!

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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