What Is The Future Of Digital TV Shows

The future of TV is sunny with a strong chance of disruption. We’re hitting the 500 new TV shows being produced each year mark. You read that correctly. Five hundred! This creates a mind-boggling array of oppportunities for screenwriters to get their work produced.

Is that a good thing? Sure. There is something for everyone. Are we baffled by too much choice? Quite possibly. But in a consumer-driven society, we can never have too many choices. Or can we? What I will say, is that there is something for everybody in the brave new world of online TV streaming.

Advertising revenue for traditional broadcasters is steadily declining. The cord-cutting generation is rising, as is the never cord generation. That’s right. Along with a generation of viewers who never experienced a telephone attached to a wall, a typewriter with keys that actually clack, or the beeping and screeching of dial-up internet, we’re looking at a generation of TV viewers who’ve never had cable TV.

The change in the TV landscape represent all sorts of writing opportunities, especially for newer screenwriters. Embrace the change.


What Are The Trends For Online TV?

Screen Size

We still watch most of our TV on traditional TV screens. Traditional desktop computers and laptops are hot on their heels in terms number of eyeballs. Mobile devices such as tablets, smartphones and phablets (for those who can’t decide what to buy) are making astonishing gains in TV viewership numbers.

Binge or Not

One of the benefits of streaming TV is that you can binge watch a TV show without even having to touch the remote control. Thank you, Netflix. It’s great for my RSI. However, I disapprove when Netflix assumes I want to watch the entire season of a TV series and automatically starts playing the next episode. Without asking me first! That’s like ordering for someone at a restaurant based on what they normally eat.

Bingeing is not the be all and end all in the mobile viewing experience. Mobile viewing means you’re on the go. You may want to interrupt a show in middle or rewatch a particular segment if a loud truck screams past.


Very loosely, the younger audiences under 30 are embracing mobile technology at a faster rate than their older counterparts. I don’t believe this suggests that younger people are necessarily more tech savvy. I think it’s a reflection of the type of programming that’s available on non-traditional screens.


Niche programming means more specialized content can be produced. Online TV content can be highly specialized and targeted to specific subcultures such as skaters or screenwriters. See what I did there?

This is really a matter of knowing your tribe which is invariably smaller than those of broadcast TV shows. And that’s a good thing. They tend to be more loyal and more engaged. You can have two-way conversations with them and tailor your content to suit them. Furthermore, you have almost immediate analytics to determine what audiences in your ecosystem are watching.

Niche programming can also be edgier since it doesn’t need to satisfy an audience that’s too large. So go where no TV producer has gone before. Be bold. Take more risks.

Rising Budgets

Traditionally, smaller audiences mean that online TV shows have minuscule budgets. Given that some advertisers are shifting their spend to online, this is changing. Budgets aren’t rising to broadcast levels except for the established streaming services.

Good news for us, right?


Seasons, shmeasons. Leave seasons to the weather forecasters. Not only do online TV shows and web series often lack discernable season lengths, they lack consistent episode lengths too.

Web series often run for 7-14 minutes. Apparently, 10 minutes is their sweet spot. After that, your material better be compelling enough to keep viewers watching.

TV shows are becoming an even stranger beast. Now that traditional 30-minute comedy and 60-minute drama formats are fading, we’re contending with genre and length contortions.

We have 30-minute dramedies and forty odd minute comedies. Adaptation is the key to survival. Take note film and TV writers.

For comprehensive Film & TV feedback and script analysis visit Script Firm.scriptfirm final logo colour




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