TV Pilots Bypass Networks

Updated: 2013-04-01 13:59

By Brian Stelter (China Daily/Agencies)

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The trend may leave cable TV companies with subscribers who will decide there's enough to watch online. At the same time, the rise of Internet-only shows may make viewers more dependent on the broadband cord, which often is also supplied by the cable company.

These shows look and feel like traditional TV. That is partly because more viewers are watching Internet content on big-screen TV sets, but it is mostly because the companies involved are throwing money at the projects: each of the Amazon comedy pilots cost the company upward of $1 million, which is less than the $2 million invested in a broadcast comedy pilot, but more than is typically invested in cable pilots.

Analysts say they expect more TV investment to come, including from companies that do not have monthly subscribers to please. YouTube, for instance, the biggest video Web site of all, makes its money from ads, not from subscriptions. But it has paid dozens of outside producers to start channels so that it has original, professional content. And its owner, Google, can afford to pay many more.

DirecTV, the biggest satellite distributor in the United States, is planning to introduce its first homegrown show, a thriller called "Rogue," next month.

One result of all these ventures may be too much TV. Christy Tanner, the chief executive of, said viewers are already having trouble.

In surveys some complained "it feels like work" and that they grew "afraid of missing something," she said. "Viewers find organizing and managing all of their beloved TV options to be a bit stressful."

The New York Times

TV Pilots Bypass Networks

TV Pilots Bypass Networks

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