Jeffrey Katzenberg knows his way around the entertainment industry. As the former chairman of The Walt Disney Company during the studio’s rise to animation domination in the late 80s into the 90s and current CEO of DreamWorks Animation, it’s safe to say he knows a thing or two about producing quality content. If a recent idea of his had panned out, he may have been seen as a major player in the pay per view game as well.
Variety relays a story about Katzenberg speaking to an audience of TV executives and telling them he offered to pay up to $75 million for three more episodes of the hit AMC series “Breaking Bad.” His plan was to release them in daily six minute increments on demand over the course of 30 days, charging between fifty cents and a dollar per episode.
I had this crazy idea. I was nuts for the show. I had no idea where this season was going. The last series cost about $3.5 million an episode. So they would make more profit from these three shows than they made from five years of the entire series. I said (to them), ‘I’m going to create the greatest pay-per-view television event for scripted programming anybody’s ever done.’
(SPOILERS FOR “BREAKING BAD” AHEAD)
Keep in mind this offer was made six weeks ago, before Katzenberg knew how the show would wrap up. He reportedly joked about his plan being “not a very good idea, as we now know,” since the death of the show’s main character would obviously make it difficult to produce new episodes that were to take place after the finale.
But think about how insane it would be if Walt didn’t die at the end and Vince Gilligan and his team allowed there to be three more “Breaking Bad” episodes distributed in this way. You think spoilers were bad for the show when it aired on a cable TV channel? Imagine if the pay-per-view release time was at noon every day. You’d have to avoid social media all day until you got home from work and could watch it for yourself. Talk about a spoilerphobe’s nightmare…
Katzenberg may yet bring some sort of innovative distribution model to pay per view in the coming days, but I’m glad it wasn’t with “Breaking Bad.” That show was so clearly the vision of Vince Gilligan all the way through, and I’m very thankful he stuck to his guns and didn’t let the influx of cash being thrown his way alter his trajectory of how he wanted to bring his story to a close.
Can you think of any scenarios in which the “dollar per day on VOD” method would interest you? Sound off in the comments below.
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