How Hulus ‘The Kardashians’ fit into the ‘survival of the fittest’ media landscape

Roll out the red carpet. “The Kardashians” is about to arrive.

The new series, which will be shown on Hulu (DIS), will make its long-awaited debut on Thursday. Disney first unveiled its exclusive multi-year deal with the family in December 2020.

All five sisters – Kourtney, Kim, Khloe, Kendall and Kylie – will return to the small screen with Mom Kris, in addition to a few new faces as Kourtney’s fiancé (and a kind of husband) Travis Barker.

“We’ve had so much free time, we’ve kind of gone into our own worlds,” Kim says in the viral trailer. “I’m excited about this new chapter. I’ve been in the game long enough to know that you just have to be yourself.”

If you want to keep up with the Kardashians, do not do it on cable …Robert Thompson, Syracuse University Professor of Television and Pop Culture

The upcoming debut comes after the ending of E!

Various reports have said that the cast wanted a pay rise (which led to the decision to leave E!).

According to Variety, the family will earn a full 9-digit salary on Hulu. The last deal that E! inked was for a reported $ 100 million back in 2017.

Hulus ‘The Kardashians’ premieres on April 14

The famous family has also doubled in remaining a relevant force in today’s media landscape.

Currently, each of the ‘KarJenner’ sisters has amassed well over 100 million followers on Instagram (FB) alone – giving fans ongoing, up-to-date updates compared to the much longer process of waiting week by week for new episodes to air on E!

In fact, the long delivery time is part of what made the Hulu deal so attractive, as streaming often allows for a tighter turnaround.

“We wanted it to be as current as possible,” Kim told Variety. “We hated how long we had to wait. It was like death to us, because once we came across something, we had to resume it again.”

“KUWTK” ratings also began to decline as fans embraced social media and kept up to date on the drama in real time. Ratings peaked at 4.8 million during the season 4 final in February 2010, according to Nielsen. The final seasons did not even come close.

“If you want to keep up with the Kardashians, don’t do it on cable,” Robert Thompson, a professor of television and pop culture at Syracuse University, told Yahoo Finance.

“Streaming is now the test kitchen for all the exciting new programming,” he continued.

Anthony Palomba, professor of business administration at UVA’s Darden School of Business, agreed, adding: “The Kardashians are so highly valued. How do you continue to be on the highest pedestal? They have no doubt nowhere to go.”

Still, Hulu delivers a mutually beneficial arrangement: the family stays updated and available on a remarkable streaming service, while Hulu gets – not just one of the biggest brands in Hollywood – but a highly coveted reality TV show.

“In the streaming wars, people are looking for live content,” Palomba said, referring to the split happening in cable television while networks lean on live sports and news programs.

“Why? Because people will watch them when they broadcast. It is very unlikely that people will delay watching a TV news program or a sports program … reality TV is similar because of its transience,” the professor continued.

He added: “Since these women live in real time, you have to see in good time, otherwise you will fall behind … it requires viewing appointments.”

Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala - Met Gala - Camp: Notes on Fashion- Arrivals - New York City, USA - May 6, 2019 - Corey Gamble, Kris Jenner, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott .  REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala – Met Gala – Camp: Notes on Fashion – Arrivals – New York City, USA – May 6, 2019 – Corey Gamble, Kris Jenner, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott . REUTERS / Andrew Kelly

Disney recently revealed that ABC’s long-running reality competition series “Dancing with the Stars” will move to Disney + after 15 years – another example of streamers’ goal of further getting in touch with subscribers and pulling out more live content onto platforms.

In addition, Netflix (NFLX) has seen huge successes with its own reality series, from “The Circle” and “Selling Sunset” to the newer “Love is Blind” and “The Ultimatum”.

“We are in a period of survival of the fittest,” Palomba revealed. “We see it with the streaming wars, where premium content, especially content that can be easily identified with the parent streaming company, is huge.”

Hulu, best known for the critically acclaimed “The Handsmaid’s Tale”, has not had as much prominent franchise content compared to its competitors.

“This is such a great opportunity for Hulu to segment itself as part of the spirit of pop culture,” the UVA professor said, explaining that at least at this point in the streaming wars, it’s more about individual shows than the overall service.

“There’s just so much going on in the marketplace that people have to feel like they’re have to subscribe to something, “said Palomba, emphasizing that perishable content not only forces consumers to constantly engage, but also provides a constant flow of subscriber data that can be used over time.

Overall, the Kardashians are demonstrating very quickly that they continue to influence the cultural spirit of the times to a level that most people cannot or will not perceive, “said Palomba, referring to the various billion-dollar brands and development agreements the family has created over time, in addition to their reality TV dominance.

Peak TV’s death?

“Keeping Up with the Kardashians” premiered in 2007 – a gripping time at the top of TV history.

That was the year The CW’s “Gossip Girl” and AMC’s “Mad Men” made their big debut, while “The Sopranos” and “The OC” aired their final episode.

At the time, Disney’s “High School Musical 2” was the most watched made-for-cable movie in history, with over 17 million viewers, while 7.4 million people tuned in to watch the now-canceled Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show on CBS.

For an extra dose of nostalgia, it was also the year that reality started (and the future US President) Donald Trump went head-to-head with Vince McMahon on WWE’s “The Battle of the Billionaires” (spoiler alert: Trump won.)

Cable TV was once a beloved form of home entertainment – and “Keeping up with the Kardashians” was one of many programs that helped make broadcast networking exciting.

But fast forward a decade and a half later, the media landscape is very different – and consumers have many more choices to juggle streaming now at the forefront.

According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, the proportion of American adults who say they watch cable or satellite television has dropped from 76% in 2015 to 56% in 2021.

All of this suggests that the Kardashians do not need E! to be successful. They just have to meet fans where they are – who these days are mostly on social media and streaming services – and networks are starting to struggle with the same reality.

In addition to the ending of “Keeping up the Kardashians” and the removal of “Dancing with the Stars”, Cable will soon face another blow with the ending of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”.

DeGeneres announced the end of its nearly two-decade-long daytime talk show last year. The last episode is set for May 26, 2022.

“The completion of these programs is significant because they are different forms of programming that have existed for a long time in different ways and to different degrees,” Professor Elana Levine of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee told Yahoo Finance earlier.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 7: 2021 PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS - Image: Ellen DeGeneres Receives The Daytime Talk Show of 2021 Award for 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' on Stage at 2021 People's Choice Awards Held at Barker Hangar

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 7: 2021 PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS – Image: Ellen DeGeneres Receives The Daytime Talk Show of 2021 Award for ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ on Stage at 2021 People’s Choice Awards Held at Barker Hangar

“But in terms of the sheer volume and volume of TV, I’m not so sure we’re going down. If anything, then I think we’re expanding as more and more streaming platforms are going to happen,” he added. she.

Levine argues that while the volume has not diminished, there has been “a shift” in programming, especially around traditional cable television.

“We’ve seen some shifts away from traditional broadcast TV and cable TV over the last 5 years or so, as streaming becomes more prominent,” Levine explained. She added that the shift has provided greater access to streamers.

“At present, there is still an audience for conventional forms of cable, but more and more people are gaining access to programming in other ways. That is what seems to be changing most dramatically,” she said.

Palomba added that he is not so sure what else cable can do to return or combat the shift in consumer attention, suggesting that certain offerings may need to reconsider their future in space.

“Some of these cable channels may really need to consider whether they will be purchased or not to add value to something else, such as participating in a streaming service as part of a library,” he suggested.

“They’re smaller fish – and it looks like all the little fish are being eaten up.”

Alexandra is a senior entertainment and food reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @ alliecanal8193

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