Open Letter to the Broadcast and Cable Networks: How Can We, the Viewers, Best Partner Together with You to Make Shows Successful?

By | June 16, 2016

In the current Peak TV environment, there are many, many shows trying to make a name for themselves in an ever more competitive environment. When we viewers find a particular show that we enjoy watching, we want to do what we can to help keep it on the air. In the past, only the viewership of Nielsen families has had a significant impact on the fate of television shows. But the paradigm is shifting, and the Nielsen-focused ratings system need no longer be the primary means of measuring television viewership.  Changes in technology have presented opportunities not only to capture the engagement of the average viewer but also for the audience to partner with the networks. Social net activity, digital viewing, VOD purchases and more offer a new and possibly better means to gauge the audience of television shows. And as television landscape continues to redefine itself, a clear opportunity exists for the viewers to work hand in hand with the broadcast and cable networks to assure the success of the television shows we have come to love. But as viewers, we need guidance from the networks to know how to best focus our efforts.

Will live tweeting help demonstrate audience engagement? This shows an active and engaged audience and the trending helps promote the show. Plus, the sponsors know that viewers are watching while their commercial spots are running. Is this an area where viewers should focus their energies? If so, let us know and we can organize live-tweeting on a weekly basis to keep shows trending high on Twitter. Do other social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat offer similar opportunities? Let us know and we can organize the effort.

Is digital viewing a key factor, or can it be if the numbers are high enough? Many of the networks have made episodes available online at their websites and/or on Hulu. Does viewership on these platforms help, especially within a certain time after they are first made available? If the digital viewing helps a show’s chance, just let us know and we will focus efforts in that direction.

Does purchasing episodes via VOD help? Most shows are available for purchase shortly after their live broadcast through services like Amazon Video, iTunes, Vudu, and more. Will the purchase of these episodes help a show’s chances of survival, especially if it is struggling? Many shows have a loyal following who would be willing to purchase episodes if that will keep their show on the air. Is there a threshold of the number of purchases per episode a show would need to reach? Does purchasing prior seasons help? If so, let us know and we can work toward that goal.

Are there other things that the viewers can do? Does a combination of all of these help? We want to stand up and be counted and we know there are many viable options available with the current technology. Help guide us in how to help the shows that we enjoy watching. The viewership numbers may be dropping across the board, but we are not on a sinking ship, just struggling through the tremors of a changing landscape. And we want to form a partnership as television takes its bold step forward, so we ask you, the networks, to tell us how best to do that.

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