"We Try Harder"

In the classic Avis and Goliath sense, Showtime is girding for renewed battle against long-standing No. 1 rival HBO. How do you compete against a business adversary that clearly has their pick of the hits — at least for now?

You try harder. Showtime is starting from solid ground — it's profitable, even if its growth has slowed. And with Leslie Moonves at the helm — despite being named a coward of the year in 2004 — perhaps the channel has the fresh leadership it needs. (He did, after all, send a promising program away from CBS... to Showtime.)

My advice: Don't just mimic HBO's approach to series development. Think outside the bun. After all, if Skinemax — ahem, Cinemax — can differentiate itself, Showtime should be able to, too.

What advice do you have for Showtime?

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  • roger fulton

    is anyone at Showtime ever going to listen to anybody from these blogs? Dont think so, but here goes anyway..
    Never head of Weeds or Barbershop and I watch TV all the time. Barely familiar with concept VOD.
    I do know what Sopranos is, "Shakespeare of our time"
    I do know what Six Feet Under is: on and off the air while still high fliers. Emmys up the ying and yang.
    Tell you what I do know about Showtime: love their movies which I rent at video store. Am surprised when the titles come on and find out they are SHOWTIME movies, they are really good.
    Compete with HBO, sure you can. HBO shows he same movies 147 times a week and bores us to tears. How many times can I watch Brad Pitt get shot in the ankle? Show me something different. You make new movies. Go on the edge.

  • Travis Truman

    Make sure Weeds and Barbershop run for at least 3 seasons, they are strong shows.

    Don't underestimate the power of Video on Demand, make as much Showtime content as possible available on VOD services. Also, work out promotional deals with the VOD suppliers so you can offer a free teaser episode of your original series shows to all VOD subsribers, not just Showtime subscribers.