Then cable grew. It grew in every genre. It grew and it grew, and not just in shows, but in the ability to deliver a clear channel, via broadband, and satellite. Now network television, the crown jewel of home entertainment had to grovel to be a part. All of the tried and true methods of first-run to second-run re-runs disintegrated. Not to mention the awful inventions of home video recordings, then DVDs, then the freakish TiVo to undo advertising dollars. Truly it looked like the end of network TV even two or three years ago.
You may ask yourself what happened, as I did. What is giving CBS the shit to stand up and say, "NO!" to Time-Warner contracts? Is it merely the fact that it is the top network in programming? Of course, as a writer this is my true wish and certainly it helps the case for the ending of torture by cable bundling. The fact that CBS has left all of the other classic networks in the DUST with shows like NCIS, Elementary, The Big Bang Theory and Mike and Molly is surely helpful. There is no doubt about this, but it isn't the reason that CBS can say, "Buh-bye" to cable.
Along came Netflix, Hulu and any number of on-line streaming upstarts. Who needs cable, when you can watch entire seasons of reruns, and now get new programming on-demand? Honestly, this is a tale of Hollywood lore unfolding. Netflix, the company that revolutionized home entertainment by mailing out DVDs, looked like it was going under in a big way just a year or two ago has seen its stock rise to near its former zenith this past quarter because it has made the leap from the atomic age to the electronic one. It is now the leader in on-line streaming content, and it will never go back. Just the notion that CBS is looking at this and thinking, "hmmm," has my tits standing to attention. Now there's an idea. No more fucking bundles.
As the film industry was sure television would never catch on, and as the television industry was sure the cable industry would never catch on, so is the cable industry shrugging over "PewdiePie" on YouTube as if it is a fad (please note the number of views and the ad that paid them). Just as HBO is hitting the prime of its programming genius an upstart is stealing our attention, and no longer hiding behind the curtain. You know, it suddenly makes sense to have 40,000 film school graduates, if only they would change the NAME OF THE SCHOOLS. If it were me, I'd be much more interested in studying "Transmedia Content" and get on with my life.
Here's my prediction: HBO and Showtime could be scrambling like network TV in less than five years to get your attention. CBS will rise above its own narrow field and become a new leader in content providing. Netflix will surpass its zenith stock prices of yesteryear's DVD land. PewdiePie and his progeny will make you laugh your pants off. Going to the movies will become a past-time for elitists who are sentimental about the smell of popcorn and willing to pay $100 for the chance to relive it.
Over and out from the Speculative Screenwriter