Monday, August 2, 2010

Paying For Quality -- The Economics of "Mad Men"

As boosters of Mad Men, Breaking Bad and so many other terrific cable shows, we're always fascinated by the shaky economics that dog the business of making original series for cable. This very interesting article from Advertising Age -- "Drawing Little in Ad Revenue, How Does Mad Men Stay on the Air?" -- by Brian Steinberg will answer some of the questions that we ask ourselves. (Pictured above are Jon Hamm as Don Draper and Darren Pettie as the slimy and sadistic Lucky Strike honcho Lee Garner Jr. from last night's episode of MM.)

Though it's definitely true that cable networks have a dual revenue stream -- ads and also the subscriber fees paid to them by cable and satellite systems -- it's still undoubtedly a serious juggling act. At least we know that with AMC's Mad Men and Breaking Bad, the money isn't going to sports licensing fees. If you think it's expensive making good television series, you don't even want to think about what it takes to secure sports rights. We'll take Mad Men, thank you very much!

1 comment:

Jane said...

Thanks so much for posting this fascinating industry article. It does seem like a fine line they are walking. I don't know how they do it. At least HBO gets $$ for quality programming by being pay cable. All I know is thank heavens they manage it, and big Kudos to AMC. They are the new heros of cable TV, no doubt about it.