How Streaming Crashed the Upfronts

·1-min read

After years of being the enemy, streaming is now seen as a panacea for legacy media. That was never more clear than during the week-long TV love-fest known as the Upfronts. It’s a streaming world, broadcast TV is just living in it. Over the last year of pandemic-accelerated changes in the industry, there has been an explosion of streaming services, many owned by the same companies that run NBC, ABC, CBS and some of big cable networks that have taken the virtual stage this week. All week long, individual networks were de-emphasized in favor of touting an entire portfolio. Perhaps the best metaphor for broadcast’s standing in a streaming dominated world is that Disney has the same executive, Craig Erwich, in charge of programming both Hulu and ABC. (After all, each contributes about the same amount of ad revenue to Disney.) At Fox’s upfront, entertainment CEO Charlie Collier put Tubi, its free, ad-supported streaming service, in front of the broadcast network’s new programming, proclaiming “Fox fuels Tubi, and Tubi fuels Fox.” ViacomCBS didn’t even bother to pitch any new programming for CBS like its newest “NCIS” or “CSI” revival. Instead, the company touted the full ViacomCBS offering as some kind...

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