Monday, December 7, 2015

Buzzr buzzings

To check back in with Buzzr, the game show subchannel I still don't get on my cable system, the board formerly known as Matt Ottinger's again discusses why the diginet constantly reruns only a few eps of each show.

The latest theory blames GSN. Which is not surprising, because GSN is a favorite bogeyman on the oldies board to end all oldies boards. The network runs game shows that are less than thirty years old, after all. A poster speculates that GSN threatened Fremantle with a lawsuit (?) if they gave Buzzr more than 50 eps or so of any show.

Even on Game Show Forum this theory gets some "huhs?" GSN is an established cable net that averages three hundred thousand viewers throughout the day and close to four hundred thousand in prime time. Buzzr is a dinky diginet that averages 39 Internet hardcores for its programming. It's pretty hilarious to think that GSN would even care about how many eps of forty-year-old game shows appear on Buzzr.

Even while that conspiracy theory gets knocked down, another theory surfaces. GSN will supposedly drop all their Fremantle leases if and when Buzzr gets any traction as a competitor. Uh, no. You will have to pry the Harvey Feud lease from GSN's cold, clammy hands. But at least the oldies board can get happy thinking that GSN might start leasing tons of old stuff from other rights holders. Good luck on that scenario.

One poster reluctantly applies the term "rerun abuse" to Buzzr. Them's fightin' words on a board that usually lauds the diginet while trashing GSN. Meanwhile, Buzzr is apparently planning a holiday stunt with Betty White (see the screenshot). Maybe a marathon of her game show eps hosted by the lady herself?

UPDATE: The thread at Game Show Forum has wandered on to a general discussion of diginets and how (or if) they make money. The king of the subchannels, MeTV, is averaging 580K viewers in prime time season to date. Certainly a decent number compared to a lot of cable nets, including GSN. MeTV does skew old with only 90K 18-49 prime time viewers, but you would expect that with their programming. A couple other diginets, Bounce and Cozi, average 290K and 150K viewers in prime time.

Of course, these are widely distributed general interest subchannels with sitcoms and dramas. A sparsely distributed niche diginet like Buzzr can only dream about these kinds of numbers.

UPDATED UPDATE: Buzzr sends out a press release with details of the Betty White holiday special. Her game show eps will be featured starting December 14, leading up to an all-day marathon on Christmas.


  1. On a recent episode of "Stu's Show," Stu said an unnamed insider at Buzzr told him that the network has to see more of a profit before they can digitize more shows. Buzzr isn't losing any money at the moment, but they're not making enough to expand their broadcasting playlist.

    Makes perfect sense to me.

  2. I guess this means Fremantle is not slated to file for bankruptcy although it is an arm and a leg that Fremantle may shut down the BUZZR Digital Subchannel network after 2016 starts. And I don't think whether or not a Fremantle bankruptcy occurs, another company like Disney or Warner Bros. would buy Fremantle.

    Remember from September 1990 to January 1991 a channel called STAR TELEVISION NETWORK TV HEAVEN? It launched in September 1990 with about 10 affiliates (including affiliates in Orlando, Florida; Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Toledo, Ohio; and Saginaw, Michigan) and had signed about 20 more to launch in the 1991 year, but cash problems or something like that caused the STAR TV HEAVEN NETWORK to cease for good at 4 AM EST on January 14, 1991 (A few days before the 1991 Gulf War was launched). STAR TV HEAVEN carried 4 hour informercial blocks plus 8 hours of prime time theme nights of retro TV shows each day plus a 90 minute block of game show reruns (Trivia Trap, New Liars Club, and Jackpot 1985).

    Why can't we do a net petition to BUZZR to stop this rerun abuse of classic game shows they have in rotation before the channel decides to cease for good in early 2016? Another way BUZZR can make a profit is to air in the late night hours for a few hours non game show related informercials like GSN does in the late night hours (And GSN has been airing informercials on late nights since 2008 in the middle of its 1997-1998 dark period when they temporary lost the Goodson-Todman library rights except for The Price is Right and 1994 Family Feud.

    If BUZZR ceases in early 2016, there goes hope for the Bob Barker TPIR reruns to get clearance.

    1. One thing I forgot to mention regarding the ill-fated STAR TV HEAVEN NETWORK - Since it ceased after several months not making profits, could this happen to BUZZR too even if the RERUN ABUSE of 8-16 weeks of game show episodes goes on at the end of 2015/sometime in 2016?

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Something else to add: Would it be great (besides the informercial in late night hours) for BUZZR/Fremantle to do a KICKSTARTER and/or INDIEGOGO campaign to help raise money and profits so it can get more episodes of its game show library to air in the rotations (and less RERUN ABUSE too!) on BUZZR as long as the channel struggles to survive and not have its fate to cease in early 2016?

      Of course, BUZZR can keep on weekends the non game show related E/! shows (Stanley on the Go, Dog Tales, and Animal Rescue) as long as the channel stays on the air and whether or not BUZZR airs late night non game show related informercials.

    4. OOPS, I meant GSN has aired informercials since 1998, not 2008.

  3. Dude, please stop obsessing over BUZZR shutting down - someone just posted above you about why they have so many reruns! You are the laughing stock of the game show community.

  4. GSN did a Betty WHite Xmas special in 2000 and again in 2005.

  5. First, Fremantle can't file for bankruptcy. Fremantle is just a subsidiary of Bertelsmann, and they ain't filing for bankruptcy any time soon. In 2014 Bertelsmann ran a profit of 573 million Euros on revenue of 16.7 billion Euros.

    Second, I didn't see the Shostak podcast, but I agree that the real problem is that Buzzr isn't making a dime. So on the internal profit-loss statement, it would look really bad if Buzzr got a lot of leased episodes - at an arm's length cost - while not generating any revenue. I don't think digitization costs, which are trivial, have much if anything to do with it.

    Buzzr just has to show 'em the money before they get any more eps. Good luck on that.

  6. First thing I'd like to say is...Darryl, you need help. :D

    Secondly, as 8c and Casey have mentioned, it's clearly a profit-making issue. Even I, a hardcore game show fan, know that selling this channel as constructed is a pretty hard sell, and even adding modern shows probably won't help much, if at all. At the rate they're going, it'd take years (at least) to generate a solid profit, and I simply doubt they'll get those years without drastic changes.

    At this point, I'm willing to admit this channel isn't worth it, and old game shows just don't sell, period. Sorry, hardcores. :P

  7. I talked about it on my blog:

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