CORD-CUTTING AND HOLLYWOOD: The Sequel.
On Tuesday, I asked what the unbundling of cable would do to Hollywood. Today, a couple of follow-up notes.
The first is on Viacom’s $785 million write-down, more than half of which was due to the falling value of reruns like “CSI,” “Community” and “30 Rock.” With advertising soft and people shifting away from cable, filling screens with a continuous loop of episodic dramas is no longer as lucrative as it once was.
This has a lot of implications: The value of those sorts of shows may fall, and if you are, like me, more of a fan of original programming that has longer story arcs, you may hope that this means more of the stuff you like and fewer police procedurals. (I still like me a good “Law and Order” marathon.) As well it may. But those cheap reruns also keep networks going during the day, when it doesn’t pay to run original content — and losing the revenue from cable syndication may mean producers demand more money to sell the rights to Netflix. In the long run, that could mean your Netflix subscription costs more.
More broadly, Viacom’s move suggests that the heart of the cable industry is already feeling the disruptions of unbundling, and that more changes are probably coming.
I don’t really care what happens to Hollywood at this point.