What "Breaking Bad," "Game of Thrones," and Other Cable Hits Say About the Future of Network TV

Have you noticed that cable operators are avoiding the grueling schedules of network TV? Instead, says Fool contributor Tim Beyers in the following video, HBO, AMC Networks , and their peers are modeling their schedules more like the BBC.

Specifically, Tim says, the BBC's best shows generate huge buzz in between seasons by making them so short. Budget constraints are no doubt partly to blame, because the entire operation is publicly funded. But with so much enthusiasm for shows such as Sherlock and Doctor Who, Tim says it's impossible not to wonder whether U.K. executives are teasing viewers on purpose.

For example: More than 2.1 million in the U.S. have rated Sherlock and its two three-episode "series" at Netflix as of this writing. Overall, they give the show 4.5 out of five stars.

The best U.S. networks now appear to be copying this model, to the benefit of investors. Look at AMC. Breaking Bad's final ratings-buster of a season came in two eight-episode installments over two years, while The Walking Dead typically airs in 16-episode chunks. Time Warner has given HBO enough to produce three 10-episode seasons of the hit drama Game of Thrones.

Can we expect network TV executives to take a closer look at this model? Is it time to be short network TV stocks? Tim answers these questions in the video. Please watch for more.


And if you're wondering whether AMC's success is sustainable, know that you aren't alone. Our analysts recently authored a report that looks at the factors that lead Americans to consume some 34 hours of TV per week. Titled "Will Netflix Own the Future of Television?" the report examines that best and worst bets for investors hoping to cash in our seemingly insatiable appetite for quality programming. Click here to get your copy now -- it's free.

The article What "Breaking Bad," "Game of Thrones," and Other Cable Hits Say About the Future of Network TV originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Netflix, Walt Disney, and Time Warner at the time of publication. He was also long Jan. 2014 $50 Netflix call options. Check out Tim's Web home and portfolio holdings, or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool recommends AMC Networks, Netflix, and Walt Disney and owns shares of Netflix and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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