Earlier this year, people started noticing something peculiar about MTV’s schedule: The network had quietly morphed into an almost 24/7 offering of just one show. At one point in late June, “Ridiculousness” — a half-hour viral video-clip show hosted by famed skateboarder Rob Dyrdek — aired for 113 hours out of the network’s entire 168-hour lineup. Many took it as a sign that MTV, a pioneering force in reality television that only a few years ago had also made major investments in original scripted programming, had just given up.
Pundits had long predicted the death of broadcast TV, while basic cable feasted on a dual revenue stream of subscriber fees and advertising revenue. But that gravy train started going off the rails when the streaming services arrived. At first, Netflix was a friend, supplying yet another source of revenue and even acting as a marketing tool — helping to turn AMC’s “Breaking Bad” into a much bigger hit during its final season of originals on AMC, for example.
But as AMC soon learned, consumers began thinking of “Breaking Bad” as a Netflix show — and Netflix was using acquired library content to quickly change viewer habits. Last year, the streamer launched more original programming than the entire cable TV industry had a decade earlier.