The television industry is undergoing a radical transformation as networks are forced to rethink their traditional business models in an increasingly fragmented and digitized marketplace. Revolutionary technological advancements in content-delivery systems have fundamentally transformed the current state and the future of television programming and viewership. Today’s audiences access content created for television on multiple digital devices in a myriad of platforms, including paid and ad-supported online streaming as well as cable and satellite on-demand and time-shifted screening. Even as real-time live television viewership remains high, increasingly, it is the consumers who decide when, where and how they watch their favorite television programs, often bypassing traditional modes of delivery altogether by severing their cable or satellite connection or “cord cutting.”
Meanwhile, original cable and online programming are redefining the meaning of a television “hit” beyond nightly Nielsen ratings and into successful niche categories. As the number of viewing platforms and channels increase, it is important to understand that ratings are no longer the sole measurement of a show’s success. Rather, the industry now also considers the impact of critical acclaim and social-media buzz when deciding to continue or nix programming.