CANNES — Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO of DreamWorks Animation, told an audience of TV execs at the Mipcom mart in Cannes that six weeks ago he offered to commission three extra episodes — totaling 180 minutes — of “Breaking Bad.” He offered to pay $25 million per episode, he said. The episodes would continue from where the show ended. “I had this crazy idea. I was nuts for the show. I had no idea where this season was going,” he said during the keynote session at Mipcom. “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,” he said. He explained that he had intended to show the extra content as six-minute segments over 30 days online. “I said (to them), ‘I’m going to create the greatest pay-per-view television event for scripted programming anybody’s ever done,’ ” he explained. He planned to charge viewers from around 50 cents to 99 cents per episode. However, this was before Katzenberg knew where the “Breaking Bad” creative team were taking the storyline, which meant his idea was a non-starter. Katzenberg told the anecdote to illustrate his belief in the commercial potential of short-form content online. “I share the story with you only to tell you that I have the courage of my convictions in this. I just think that there is a whole new platform for (short form) entertainment … and the higher the quality of the stuff that fills it, the higher people will be paid for the work that they are doing there,” he said. DreamWorks Animation bought YouTube entertainment network AwesomenessTV for $33 million at the end of April.
I think most people read this article yesterday thinking that this offer was made like yesterday. Like it would be 3 new episodes after the finale. This was 6 weeks ago. The guy even says at the time when he made the offer he had no idea where the final season was going. I think if it ever happened it would have been more of a compliment to the finale episodes. 6 minutes each week in between full episodes, almost like a high quality version of DVD extras or Deleted Scenes. And I think it absofuckinglutely would have worked. I would have paid 99 cents in a heartbeat to watch 6 minutes a week that I thought would have made the final season that much better. I think this would only work with certain shows in certain situations, but I think the final season of Breaking Bad fit the bill. The diehards like me were so into it and so nerdy that 6 more minutes a week to analyze and pick apart and think about symbolism and foreshadowing and all that jazz would have been like getting your crack fix. I would have watched 6 minutes straight of Huell sitting in that hotel room. I would absolutely fucking love to see 6 minutes of Saul Goodman’s new life post Vacuum Repairman. I’d pay a buck here and there to see that, no problem. I can’t say if the 75 mil is worth it. Only like 10 million people watched the finale so at 99 cents you do the math. Obviously theres more that goes into it with potential advertising and what not, but that 75 million dollar figure seems absolutely nuts.
Anyway, could be cool if smaller pay-per-view snippets of original content programs is the future like this guy says. Part of me thinks it just sounds like a way to make big bucks off of big time TV fans but part of me thinks it could compliment your favorite show perfectly.