In an age where content is king and fresh content is quean, TV networks appear to be learning a lesson from internet business models.
In the online world many content producers writers and publishers often times rework the same concept topic or article over and over and over again with a fresh spin, writing and re-writing a topic several times. Writers will then appear on TV shows as talking heads to spin up their spin articles.
It’s very common for a writer to write an article for newspaper and then have that same article editorialized in the magazine and later spun into a book. Then to push the book they make the rounds on the talk show and news circuit.
Now TV is taking this concept of spinning the same idea over and over again into something called the “Newpeat” (New + Repeat ergo what’s old is new). The NewPeat is not a TV show that is re-run. Instead it’s a TV show that is remixed slightly to become new content again.
NBC is kicking this off with shows that would have been reruns of the hit show the office. They are taking half hour episodes of the office and re-editing them. Then they put in footage that’s never been aired to come up with a new storyline. NBC will then broadcast these NewPeats to audiences that saw the originals and are looking for someone fresh content.
The challenge that networks are facing are three fold.
1. Many of the TV shows on air today do not fare well as reruns. They have audience drop off rates of 40%. Compare that to Seinfeld several years ago that experience drop-off rates of 10%.
The new Pete has the potential to keep that audience present as they offer a new twist on show.
The concept is not entirely new to TV. Over the years many ‘best of’ shows remixed rerun highlights as flashbacks for character and a number of other things. The difference here is that they’re editing in previously unseen footage that was shot for these shows.
Challenge for Artists and Screen Actors Guild
The concept of a new Pete is likely to create some difficulties or challenges possibly even some legal challenges as actors and producers in the networks fight over just compensation for a individual shows. Typically the stars of a television show will for each show, as opposed to being paid for the hours spent filming an episode. So what happens when a one episodes worth of filming gets turned into two or three or four episodes? Do the actors get paid for the original episodes or do they get paid a the episode rate for the remixed show or some other formula?
2. The second dynamic involved in the situation is the Internet. Many television shows are showing up online in minutes after they are originally broadcast. People no longer have to wait for reruns to rerun
3. People have hundreds of other unique viewing options on any given night.