Wednesday, July 2, 2014

CSI Cyber, NCIS New Orleans, more Mentalist: How the international TV market is changing the American TV game and what you get to see.

CSI Cyber. NCIS New Orleans. And more The Mentalist - although the show was actually finished and done money, ratings, and TV channel wise on American television.

Welcome to the New World Order of American and global television economics where the United States' TV market is finally realising that no TV market is an island.

A world where American broadcasters - and more importantly mega TV studios - are increasingly not just making TV series and new TV series, but also keeping them on the air (for longer) because they're lucrative moneymakers internationally.

American TV studios who make TV shows for American broadcasters and TV channels, but who also have international distribution arms, are increasingly pushing TV series on air on American television which are strongly influenced by something else: international sales.

According to Eurodata TV Worldwide, TV dramas like NCIS and CSI - which are seen in South Africa and Africa on broadcasters like M-Net and on MultiChoice's DStv on channels like Universal Channel and Sony Entertainment Television - are the most watched television shows internationally.

It's therefore no wonder, and increasingly important, for the American studios who make these shows, as well as the international distributors which are part of these overall conglomerates, to keep the TV goose alive which lays the golden eggs.

Yes. While a TV show won't continue once it gets cut and culled from an American broadcaster's TV schedule, studios are increasingly willing to take a profit cut and, or shoulder more of the production cost themselves just to keep a longunning TV show on the air - The Mentalist for instance.

The studio's math shows that The Mentalist is one of the extremely popular (and profitable) TV shows globally.

While the money the studio, Warner Bros. derives from the upcoming 7th and final season of The Mentalist on America's CBS network will be less, they were willing to sit and negotiate a deal, almost desperate to see The Mentalist continue. The reason?

Warner Bros. makes their money back on international sales in a way that keeps The Mentalist a profitable property. It's global deals for TV shows which are increasingly driving an almost invisible "internationalisation" of American television.

In America's TV market nothing drives success (and invites imitating) like success, increasingly explaining the formulaic cookie cutter approach to even more CSI in the latest upcoming series CSI: Cyber with Patricia Arquette, and a third NCIS series, NCIS New Orleans.

Even if shows like these are not super successful in the United States when they debut their first seasons, their almost guaranteed global success underpins a stronger (and growing stronger year by year) newly important incentive from American studios to keep them on the air and to keep them going, which goes beyond just American TV ratings.

Even if they don't do so well in America, they bring in millions because of collective deals with international broadcasters.

While American broadcasters are not thinking yet so extremely globally, American TV studios do. And they are increasingly pushing for shows to be on American television - and on it for just that little while longer - even when it might seem less lucrative in the short term.

From Drop Dead Diva and Hannibal to Glee and Beauty and the Beast and House, as the world watches, there's been a growing hidden incentive to keep shows like these on the air for longer: precisely because the world is watching.