Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Business decisions & other lame excuses.

Yesterday I wrote about how cable channel A&E recently cancelled its highest-rated drama ever because the show’s audience was too old.

Longmire had just begun its third season when A&E decided that it could no longer abide the crime show’s wrinkly fans, whose median age is 60. (The network overall draws an audience of sprightly 48 year olds.)

“It was a business decision,” said A&E’s senior vice president Dan Silberman, as if that excuses the stupidity of flushing 6.5 million viewers down the toilet.

In fairness to A&E, the economics are dicey. First of all, A&E has no skin in the game. Warner Bros.—not A&E—owns Longmire, and the network pays Warner Bros. an estimated $1.5 million licensing fee for each episode. With no revenue coming on the backend through reruns and syndication, A&E needs to make its money through ad sales. This is difficult when advertisers are convinced that the only consumers worth talking to fall into the 18-49 demographic. It’s nearly impossible when the network believes that as well.

Even after Warner Bros. agreed to reduce both the licensing fee and the number of episodes for the coming season, A&E passed.

Rather than explain to advertisers that consumers over 50 have way more money and buy way more stuff than younger consumers, A&E simply dumps 6.5 million viewers.

I guess that was a “business decision” too.

Next Time: I know why A&E cancelled Longmire.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe I can still get it on Amazon Prime where they still respect us 50+ consumers!?