Television life cycles have changed dramatically since the early days of live primetime programming being taped for syndication and rebroadcast.  The current media landscape has created opportunities for producers to find new mediums for their content and extend the lifecycle of a project.  BEN’s research shows that viewership for popular series such as Friends and Grey’s Anatomy expand once those shows are debuted on streaming TV platforms.  For previously produced shows, airings on streaming TV are producing big impact for both producers and audiences.

              Evergreen, tentpole content helps streaming services reduce churn and maintain their highly valued subscribers.  One only needs to look at the multi-million-dollar deals distributors are paying for the likes of The Office, Marvel, andtop tier Hollywood talent to see the potential for new content.  Shows like Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee find new life and audiences by jumping from one platform to another.  The same demand and fluidity of IP offers creators of premium content tremendous potential.

              Take the show Friends.  The show premiered in 1994 and remains massively popular.  Our research suggests that 24% of Netflix users watched at least one episode in 2019.  Viewership remained steady over the year with 88% of people choosing to binge at least two episodes at a time. 

Most intriguing is the show’s ability to garner new fans and become even more valuable by finding novel streaming distribution.  Friends’ migration to Netflix expanded its pop-culture impact by bringing in younger fans into the show’s universe.  11% of Friends’ Netflix viewers had never seen the show before it moved to the streaming platform.

Grey’s Anatomy offers a similar story with simultaneous airings happening on ABC, Netflix, and Hulu.  Airings on Hulu and Netflix effectively double the total reach as well as shifting the viewership demographics significantly younger. 

Over half of Grey’s Anatomy viewers on ABC are over 55 years old.  On Netflix and Hulu, more than half are under age 40.  That is significant as generations grow up with certain shows, extend their cultural resonance, and continue to find value as it moves from platform to platform. 

Finding the right home for your creative project remains an uphill endeavor.  However, a quality show’s first home may not be its last as projects gain tractions across a shifting and fluid entertainment consumer experience.   Savvy producers that master both traditional and streaming platforms can increase their shows impact, and most importantly, their bottom line.

Stephanie Dade is the Senior Vice President, Global Content & Integration at Branded Entertainment Network.