The networks are constantly worried about finances and because of that, rely on ratings more than anything else to see if a show is worth pursuing.
Simply put, they’re willing to give up pursuing awards and critical acclaim in order to keep profits up and shows on the air.
HBO, on the other hand, doesn’t have to worry about advertisers because of its subscriber-based system and can afford to explore a variety of different series, seeing which ones spark an interest with audiences and which ones don’t.
The future is bright when subscription-based services gets more and more common and more and more services follow HBO and others in thinking more long term in what they offer and ensure that their full portfolio of content makes a compelling offer to customers rather than that the prime spot on the TV appeals to advertisers.
It enables for a long tail kind of approach to things as a complete offer means providing both the big hits and the niche content and to take responsibility for experimenting, exploring and discovering new ways to push things further so that the boundaries for what a complete service entaisl getspushed and redefined as time goes by.
I’m looking forward to the future of fighting for customer appeal instead of the current day’s fight for advertiser appeal.