What Does Original Content Mean?

Torrential LogoWhen I was launching the first Season of Survivor with the rest of the team at CBS in 1999, I remember getting a lot of very skeptical feedback. Who would have thought 18 years later Survivor would still be on the air, producing fresh, new episodes?

“It’s not live!” “It’s reality television with cheap production value!”  “There’s no celebrity star appeal!” This was some of the feedback I received when I was out in the market pitching Survivor with Mark Burnett, the Executive Producer.

Yet, here we are almost 20 years later and Survivor is held high as an example of great Original Content.

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Original Content means what Original Content is: “Original Content.” It is originally produced programming that finds an audience that’s attracted to it. Some very well produced, high quality content may find very few viewers. Some very poorly produced content may find a very large audience. (See your favorite Cat videos on YouTube)

There are a great many firms now producing Original Content that you may or may not see or find. The firms that will succeed in Original Content will have to learn how to best distribute that content like the major TV networks figured out long ago. Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon have mastered distribution online and have emerged successfully at Original Content digitally. New firms like NewTV are embarking on the industry to do this in Mobile.

With companies like Apple, Amazon and Netflix spending billions to do Original Content today, the stakes have never been higher. You very likely have found your favorite new Original Content Series that you watch today. The likelihood is, whoever produced that content, created a well-produced show with the right distributor to attract you as an audience. Not an easy task to do.

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But that is what it takes to “survive” in the emerging Original Content business. CBS did it with “Survivor” 20 years ago. The new entrants will have to survive in that same way today.

That’s what Original Content means.

So, what’s on?

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