While the Twin Peaks revival boosted online subscriptions, it was the combo of veteran dramedy Shameless and breakout new comedy SMILF that helped make the last two months of 2017 the two best on record for signups.
“2017 was the biggest year of subscription revenue in Showtime history,” said Showtime CEO David Nevins, who went on to make a case for traditional TV in face of “deep-pocketed friends invading from the north,” a reference to the Silicon Valley companies like Netflix and Apple that are spending billions on original programming.
Of the $72 billion projected to be spent on original programming in 2018, four-fifths are expected to come from traditional media, Nevins said.
He reiterated multiple times that having a lot of money does not guarantee success. Taking a subtle jab at streaming services, he stressed that Showtime is “not about two-season straight-to-series orders, writing the biggest check or promising more money in failure” but “giving talent creative support and letting them do their best work.”
Showtime recently was a serious bidder for the Jennifer Aniston/Reese Witherspoon morning show drama but lost out to Apple, which landed the project with a two season series order.
Nevins, who reported 2+ million subscribers for the standalone online Showtime streaming platform, extended his optimism to the entire content industry.
“There are numerous signs of the industry flourishing. Content and the demand for it is in full flower,” he said. “This is a fantastic time to be working in television if you’re well positioned for its challenges.”