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Will OTT providers capitalize on syndicated shows?

With recent moves made by Apple and Sony, it's clear that over-the-top content is a big priority for many organizations trying to target media consumers who live in a world where traditional behaviors for television consumption don't apply. It's for this reason that many OTT content providers are utilizing subscription billing to generate recurring payments, which in turn helps with customer retention and increases revenue.

One of the traditions that is rapidly changing is the stranglehold that cable television has had on syndicated programming. In other words, there are specific cable channels dedicated to giving a second life to broadcast shows that may have been canceled or just ran their due course. According to Advertising Age, a variety of cable and satellite enterprises are trying to devise ways to capitalize on viewers' preferences while avoiding the outdated models that can rub consumers the wrong way. For instance, the standard cable bundle is packed to the gills with hundreds of channels, but also a heavy cost. This is having an impact on the way consumers watch shows.

"Until recently, cable has been the ideal afterlife for syndicated television."

Reruns lose momentum on cable
With certain shows, advertisers and cable companies are able to capitalize on their seemingly timeless appeal among audiences who either can't find what they're looking for with new programming, missed the shows the first time around or are nostalgic for the era when the reruns first aired. Whatever the reasoning, it's given plenty of support to dedicating entire cable channels to reruns. According to Marketplace, cable has been the ideal afterlife for syndicated television - that is until recently.

For instance, Viacom, a leading media organization, indicated the audience for syndicated programming has shrunk in recent years. The Wall Street Journal explained that the corporation has gone through serious restructuring after it saw viewership for shows such as CSI and Community failed to meet anticipated levels. One factor that may be contributing to the decline in popularity of reruns is the fact that the cable networks have increased the amount of original programming they air.

Syndication goes streaming
Streaming video on demand service providers like Hulu, Amazon and Netflix have been able to pick up some of the momentum that the cable providers have seen drop in recent years.

"Now there are just more and more markets for original material, there are more and more markets for titles that have been sitting on the shelf." explained Tom Nunan, a film and television producer and a lecturer at UCLA, on Marketplace.

Still, syndicated SVOD content faces some of the same challenges as the reruns aired on cable television. Streaming services like Netflix have taken the initiative to develop new, original shows, as have many of the networks. With golden oldies like Seinfeld and Friends, it's also difficult for more recent syndicated shows to make headway with viewers.

As more cable networks set up SVOD options, the number of ways that consumers can watch what they want, whenever they want will continue to increase. It's up to the service providers to develop business models that will be the most lucrative and develop a loyal following when pursuing this opportunity.

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