has SVOD become “the cryptocurrency of the entertainment industry”?

Image taken from episode 10 of the last season of the series “Succession”.

CHRONIC

The question may have crossed your mind after you finished watching the latest episode of Succession, posted on Prime Video, accessible with the “Warner Pass”, on May 29 in France. whether we like it or not, Succession is undeniably a great series, one that makes its way straight into the list of the best HBO has produced. It’s hard not to wonder where the next big series will come from, and especially if it will come. Admittedly, the same thing was written at the end of Game Of Thronesbut the mode of creation and distribution of series has changed so much in a few years that nothing is certain today.

Starting with the certainty of conquering an audience: despite its immense critical success and wide media coverage, Succession is a little-seen series, as are other “author” series regularly praised in these pages, and as was TheWire in his time, before knowing a late posterity. This does not prevent audacious or puzzling projects from continuing to see the light of day – with its maous budget and its highly flammable subject, The Idol − again on HBO − is a good example. But if Succession had been born on Max, HBO’s online content platform, rather than on HBO, the cable channel, would it have been renewed for four seasons?

The creative and economic paradoxes of SVOD services are perfectly summed up in a great article in the special television issue of vulnerabilitythe “culture” vertical of the New YorkMagazine. Entitled “The Binge Purge”, and by Josef Adalian and Lane Brown, the survey paints a pessimistic picture of an industry without a business model, which only has the continued growth of its subscribers, on which investor satisfaction depends. , for compass.

Broken link

In barely ten years − House of Cardsthe first “Netflix original”, was put online in 2013 −, explain the authors of the article, Netflix has completely called into question the American cable model, which we have forgotten was extremely profitable for a long time: at the beginning of the 2010s, about 90% of television owners were still subscription holders, and “more than 105 million American households spent an average of $75 per month on cable television”. We are far from the SVOD entry ticket today, somewhere between 5 euros and 15 euros.

The platform is a low cost model, including for those who feed it. In this regard, the article raises the question of the broken link between audiences and rewards, since, by definition, the platform does not have a ticket office. Quoted by the authors, director Steven Soderbergh thus underlines that a card on a platform does not guarantee an increase in income for it. “It is entirely possible that the SVOD model is in fact the cryptocurrency of the entertainment industry”he adds, not without humor.

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