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With cord cutting on the rise, TV networks have no choice but to be more like Netflix

Netflix vs. TV Networks

If you can’t beat them, join them. That appears to be the mentality of many U.S. TV networks as more and more cable subscribers choose to cut the cord in favor of paying a fraction of the cost for online streaming video services.

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In a report this week, Reuters gave several examples of major networks attempting to adapt to a world where Netflix has taken a changed the expectations of the average viewers. For instance, TV Land has begun to develop more original programming that follows a serialized narrative, attempting to bring viewers back week to week.

Impastor, a TV Land show about a man wracked with gambling debt who pretends to be a preacher in a small town, was actually rewritten from the ground up to build a story that would play out over the course of the season.

“Instead of it being every episode as a standalone, we added a storyline that was told more episodically as the mystery unravels,”  said TV Land creative and marketing executive Kim Rosenblum.

TBS also tried something completely different earlier this year when it aired the entire 10-episode season of comedy Angie Tribeca over the course of a single marathon. Reuters says that a third of the marathon’s viewers had never tuned into the network before, so regardless of whether or not the show was a success (it mostly was), the experiment paid off.

Even commercials are feeling the effects of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime as network executives experiment with serialized advertising campaigns and including brands directly into the network’s shows.

“The streaming platforms have created a more competitive environment and we all need to deliver better,” said David Levy, president of Turner.

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.