If you haven't heard of it, it's the Netflix Original Series that has the whole world talking. It's the most popular show of the summer, probably even of 2016. It's a throwback sci-fi thriller about a few kids that try to solve a mystery of their missing friend. I recommend this series highly. I love it!
But that's not why I'm writing about Stranger Things. I'm writing because it was rejected by 15-20 major cable networks. And on a last minute meeting with Netflix, it was allowed to be made. In normal major network business, this little series would have never been made. There are much larger things at play here.
1. Advertising- Major cable networks live and die by sponsorships. For many cable networks, a hit show is one that audiences love and the network can stretch to 20+ episodes a season. This means that, in the eyes of the networks, an eight episode mini-series like Stranger Things can’t have the same value as other long-running shows because it provides a fraction of the ad inventory. And on top of that, Sponsors have to approve and vibe with the TV show. They can nitch things about the show just because they don't like it. (so no creative freedom) And to top it all off, viewers aren't interested in waiting anymore. They want all the episodes at once, without ads. They want 8 mini movies rather than 20-minute sitcoms riddled with Colgate ads. NBC has also been criticized heavily for the production of the Rio Olympics. Too many ads that were the same. Only the main sports highlighted out of many many that were unshown. They are losing touch.
2. The Mass market is dying- The majors are out of touch with the people. More than ever, they don't get it. They go for as broad of an audience as possible and that's just not what is doing well now. The Friends and Home Improvement days are over. It's all about doing amazing art and finding your own audience.
Admit it or not, the major networks are in big trouble. Remind you of another industry? Maybe Streaming companies should start investing in content!?
3. Persistence- Stranger Things wouldn't have happened unless they kept going, kept fighting, kept believing. For all of us, we need you to keep going as well.