Have you noticed that cable operators are avoiding the grueling schedules of network TV? Instead, says Fool contributor Tim Beyers in the following video, HBO, AMC Networks (NASDAQ: AMCX ) , and their peers are modeling their schedules more like the BBC.
Specifically, Tim says, the BBC's best shows generate huge buzz in between seasons by making them so short. Budget constraints are no doubt partly to blame, because the entire operation is publicly funded. But with so much enthusiasm for shows such as Sherlock and Doctor Who, Tim says it's impossible not to wonder whether U.K. executives are teasing viewers on purpose.
For example: More than 2.1 million in the U.S. have rated Sherlock and its two three-episode "series" at Netflix as of this writing. Overall, they give the show 4.5 out of five stars.
The best U.S. networks now appear to be copying this model, to the benefit of investors. Look at AMC. Breaking Bad's final ratings-buster of a season came in two eight-episode installments over two years, while The Walking Dead typically airs in 16-episode chunks. Time Warner (NYSE: TWX ) has given HBO enough to produce three 10-episode seasons of the hit drama Game of Thrones.
Can we expect network TV executives to take a closer look at this model? Is it time to be short network TV stocks? Tim answers these questions in the video. Please watch for more.
And if you're wondering whether AMC's success is sustainable, know that you aren't alone. Our analysts recently authored a report that looks at the factors that lead Americans to consume some 34 hours of TV per week. Titled "Will Netflix Own the Future of Television?" the report examines that best and worst bets for investors hoping to cash in our seemingly insatiable appetite for quality programming. Click here to get your copy now -- it's free.