What Does it Mean When a Show Gets Syndicated?

What Does it Mean When a Show Gets Syndicated?


Selling the right to broadcast a television
or radio program to independent stations, syndication has enabled the modern system
of 24/7 broadcasting by providing producers of content with a consistent revenue stream,
and stations with enough programming to satisfy their eager audiences. There are a variety of syndication types,
including movie packages and public broadcasting, although perhaps the two most common, and
lucrative, are first-run and off-network (re-runs). First-run syndication refers to shows that
have never been aired previously and common examples today include Wheel of Fortune and
Judge Judy. Off-network syndication refers to shows that
were first aired on network television, and are being broadcast again (aka: re-run); common
examples today include The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family. Note that when these programs were first aired
by the networks, they were shown through either stations that were owned-and-operated by the
network (O&O) or network affiliates, with which the network has a special contractual
agreement that covers programming as well as other issues. So how did this system get setup? Syndication of entertainment programs has
been around since the 1930s, when syndicated radio shows were being distributed throughout
the United States. These first radio programs were distributed
on transcription disks (similar to old LPs, but with higher audio quality for broadcast). This format was eventually replaced by phonograph
records, then tape recordings, cassettes and CDs, and while the practice of buying and
selling radio shows is ongoing, today they are likely to be downloaded. In any event, early popular syndicated radio
shows included The Chevrolet Chronicles and the wildly popular Amos ‘n’ Andy. A cultural phenomenon at the start of the
Great Depression, the 15 minute show aired six nights each week and boasted upwards of
40 million listeners. Throughout the 1940s, syndicated radio shows
remained popular due in no small part to programs such as The Adventures of Superman, which
ran through 1949. (And if you’re curious about how Superman’s
curious underwear choices started, see: Why Superheroes Wear Their Underwear on the Outside) While televisions were made and some limited
television broadcasting was done in the late 1930s, large-scale, commercial broadcasting
didn’t appear in the United States until the late 1940s. Taking a page out of radio stations’ books,
independent televisions stations soon realized they were desperate for additional programming
to fill the hours in between their original productions. Capitalizing on that need was Frederick Ziv,
who had cut his teeth in advertising in the 1930s, developing slogans for the burgeoning
radio market, including “The Freshest Thing in Town,” for Cincinnati’s Rubel’s Bakery. The ad campaign was so popular that Ziv was
able to transform it into a full-fledged, 15 minute, five-day each week radio program,
which he soon syndicated across the South and Midwest. Realizing he had found a new market, within
a decade Ziv had built a successful syndication company, selling shows such as Favorite Story
and Bold Venture, this last starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, to stations across
North America. Jumping with both feet into the fledgling
television syndication market, Ziv’s first television show, Fireside Theatre began airing
in 1949. It was soon followed by others including Easy
Aces (1949-1950),The Cisco Kid (1950-1956), I Led Three Lives (1953-1956) Highway Patrol
(1955-1959), Whirlybirds (1957-1960), Bat Masterson (1958-1961) and Sea Hunt (1958-1961). With such a large and early contribution to
syndication, it is no wonder Frederick Ziv earned the moniker, the “father of syndicated
television.” Over the years, syndication has become even
more popular, and lucrative, and those in the highest demand in recent years include
NFL regular season games, The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, Judge Judy, Wheel of Fortune
and Jeopardy. Between the two game shows alone they average
more than 22 million viewers daily which helps to explain why they are among the longest-running
syndicated shows in history. Another notable syndicated champion is Seinfeld. Between 1998 and 2013, Seinfeld has generated
more than $3 billion in syndication fees, and its co-creators, Larry David and Jerry
Seinfeld, themselves have each raked in as much as $400 million from selling the show
as re-runs. There appears no end in sight either; only
a few days ago, Hulu announced it had acquired the online streaming rights for the show,
with a deal valued at around $1 million per episode (a total of 180 episodes). Note that programs that are still in first-run
can be syndicated as well once they reach the 85-100 episode threshold; for example,
Modern Family recently went into syndication on USA, costing the network $1.4 million per
episode. Syndicating a current show can offer other
benefits as well. After the popular show, The Big Bang Theory,
went into syndication, its audience for first run episodes rose by 21%.

100 thoughts on “What Does it Mean When a Show Gets Syndicated?

  1. Hey Simon, love the video. Great job as always. I was wondering what exactly is in energy drinks and are they harmful?

  2. Someone please control the thumbnails, i know you trying to make it more interesting and i really appreciate that but can you please also make it more subtle that you are trying to attract viewers… not trying to insult you or anything but trying to provide genuine feedback

  3. I’ve always heard of stuff getting syndicated and sorta knew what it was about, but it’s not really a thing here so must be an American thing – thanks for explaining it properly!

  4. Seinfeld = good stuff. Almost thought you were not going to mention it there for a second… wish the banned episodes would air more often or air at all.

  5. Syndication is when the mafia comes in and roughs up the crew, hence the show business phrase "break a leg".

  6. 'I Love Lucy' brings in roughly $20 million a year to CBS in rerun syndication. This is important since it was the first series to go into reruns.

  7. What's up with Swedish words that does not exist in other languages like "lagom" and "kroppkakor", and what's the history about kroppkakor?

  8. _
    How much more $$ do porn females get for a CreamPie ? Males ?
    Have any of the men fallen into a pregnancy trap ?
    Do any of them have vasectomies, or tied tubes ?
    _

  9. Hey I remember you guys talk about this in the podcast, it's good to get an in depth explanation. I'm hoping that you can also elaborate on the role of blacks fighting for the confederacy as most sources on this seem extremely devious. I always assumed they didn't really have a say on it as they were mostly slaves but for obvious reasons i've been recently hearing people of hand mentioning the opposite

  10. It's "ay-mos and Andy"
    And, while I'm at it:
    It's: "a-fore-mentioned".
    Not "Affor-mentioned".
    I'm quickly going off this channel. Like a lot of others judging by the comments here.

  11. $189 Million for Seinfeld catalog, at $7.99 per subscribers, times 17 million subscribers, in a month, thats over $135 million before taxes and all the company fees and expense, when you do the math hulu makes all that money back in about 2 months.

  12. This seem like it missed all the meat of syndication and described all the potatoes.

    I would have pointed out the logistics and reasons why syndication exists. In radio each station was a different company LA might have a good radio show and Denver wants to air it too, hence station to station syndication. You didn't even explain that TV syndication has 2 ways. Everyone has the networks already, but kind of like radio everyone has local stations. One local station per region will own the rights to a national network. That is NBC doesn't broadcast nationally on its own, it has 1,000 stations independently broadcasting NBC programs.

    What happens is network programs don't have 24/7 content so local networks are free to broadcast other shows in non-network time slots. Sometimes producers of a TV show don't get an offer they like or no offer at all for a show. So they instead make syndication deals in local markets.

    Sometimes syndicated shows become so popular a network decides to buy the show. Other times the show lives on entirely in first run syndication. Star Trek The Next Generation is a famous example. One of the most successful shows in history, and it never had a network exclusive, all syndication.

    The second kinds of syndication in TV is the one briefly explained in the video this is where re-runs are sold to syndication. Second run shows can be syndicated the same way Next Generation was, that is sold to local stations so it may appear on different networks around the country. Or they can be sold entirely to one channel.

    Also not mentioned was classically, though not 100% necessarily, 100 episodes was considered the benchmark for second run syndication. If a first run series got to 100 episodes, they would often then try to sell the reruns in syndication, even while the show was still on air. The Simpsons has seen multiple re-run syndication deals for decades while still airing new episodes.

    Syndication is seen as so valuable, that even recently productions have gotten into legal battles with their primary network over that networks rights to show reruns. Too many reruns on the primary network might lower the resale value of the series.

  13. Love the quality of TIFO's research and production, but these new video thumbnails are a step in the wrong direction. Please move back towards showcasing the content with identifiable visual branding instead of these awful "tricks-for-clicks" anti-patterns. You guys are better than this, stay classy. <3

  14. You sell it to another network. They pay royalties for every play. You make money. How does someone need a research team to investigate this for you. I love tifo but can we keep the vids for people with IQs above 80?

  15. I wish you would have mentioned The Prime Time Access Rule…That was when first-run syndication took off

  16. Suggestion: Why do we use the word "crush" to convey we are infatuated with someone? "Crush" has become extremely popular over the last decade and should make for a popular episode. Cheers!

  17. Hi, I was wondering why cats and animals don't get sick from licking themselves even though they're ingesting germs, is it their immune system?

  18. This is because rick and morty got syndicated and no one my age knows what that means. I had the same question.

  19. All black screen (except for the subscribe button) a minute and a half in…i want to find out why tf

  20. Back in the dark ages in Canada, just before the dawn of nation wide mass market TV broadcasting, newly activated independent backwoods radio stations were desperate for cheap filler to attract listeners. One of these tried airing some phonograph recordings of popular weekly American radio show scripts that had been redone for years in pre TV Australia using local OZ actors complete with their very strong accents. It was …………………… different.

  21. Great video. But please, for the love of God, go back to the old thumbnail style. The new ones are like the ones generic clickbait trashtubers use.

  22. Why is it difficult to study in presence of someone ? Or, rather why does our brain feel the presence of someone even when we can’t see them ?

    Reference : “Third Man”

  23. For your next video, can you explain why stations and networks that air rerun programming (like TNT and local broadcasters) usually air episodes, and even seasons, out of order?

  24. Not a patreon sponsor, but I have 2 burning questions I hope you'll get to. 1. Is there really a foreign video game seller that technically owns some of its users souls due to the fine print from an April fool's joke? and 2. Where does the phrase not just whistling Dixie come from?

  25. 1:58 – 2:06 UUUUUUUUUUUUUGH! It's not underwear! Your first indicator would be the belt running through it. Stop promulgating stupidity!

  26. Hi Simon! Wonderful video! You spoke about my Great Grandfather Elias — Rubel's Rye Bread Bakery Company in Cincinnati! 2:42 🙂 So Cool! small world. Speaking of advertising…here is a link…to our newest Episode 11 of our web series "That Darn Girlfriend" Enjoy! 🙂 www.youtube.com/watch?v=pC7FrRp0ufA www.pamelahill.net

  27. Mash was not a big hit until they syndicated old episodes, some stations played old episodes Monday to Friday while the new episodes played on the network on different channels.

  28. no mention of the utterly massive Star Trek TNG syndication network that let them dump millions of dollars on a space show in 1988?

  29. Did anyone else think the ice cream truck was driving down the street while watching this? In my mind I'm thinking, damn they're out early…

  30. Awesome vids.
    WHO KEEPS THE STREET LIGHTS ON? DOES THE CITY HAVE TO PAY THE POWER COMPANY? WHAT IF THEY DON'T PAY THEM?

  31. hey simon, i love all your stuff, i love how thorough you are. in this one instance, i wish you had dropped the first 2 digits from the years tho "nineteen" has lost all meaning lol

  32. Can you do one about why its called "blue collar" and "white collar" and how it got tied in with crime plz?? Love u Simon!! 😍😘

  33. Ready to learn more facts about the business of show? Then check out this video and find out the answer to the question- Is Trial by Combat a Hollywood Invention?:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lns303qI7NY

  34. Here is a tip: Talking in videos means no background music. Period. Just because there is a field to reference a background music track doesn't mean you have to use it. You have the volume set nice and low, but it is still distracting and annoying. Volume of bg music should be zero. P.S. I love your videos.

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