Breaking Bad creator claims cloud saved show from cancellation

woman sat on sofa watching catch up tv online

Hit TV series Breaking Bad would not have made it past its second season without cloud streaming, according to the show's creator Vince Gilligan.

Speaking at the closing keynote of IBM Pulse 2014 in Las Vegas, Gilligan explained the show’s “hyper-serialised” nature, where viewers need to have seen every episode in order to understand the storyline, made it more prone to cancellation.

However, as it was available on cloud-based streaming service Netflix, viewers were able to catch up easily with missed episodes or even ‘binge’ on an entire season in one sitting if they wanted to.

The show tells the story of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer who resorts to making and selling the drug crystal meth to fund his treatment and secure his family's future.

“I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say if not for the cloud, if not for streaming, I don’t think y’all would’ve ever heard of me. I think we would have had maybe a season or two…[because] in a typical broadcast situation, there’s only so many ways you can catch up,” said Gilligan.

However, this did not mean the audience was totally drawn away from the television transmissions, as people enjoy having a shared experience, he said.

“[Streaming] allowed Breaking Bad to grow in viewership every time it was on,” Gilligan added.

While streaming is particularly helpful for serialised programmes, it can also benefit ‘episodic’ shows as well, said Gilligan.

The X Files, on which he was a writer, was episodic in nature, existing largely as a set of self-contained episodes that could be consumed out of order.

This meant audience ratings wouldn’t be affected by people missing one episode and not being able to understand subsequent ones.

But the same attribute means people can pick and choose episodes of the X-Files or similar episodic series through the cloud as well.

“With the streaming that we have now…we can catch up with [programmes] any time we want and consume episodes of our favourite shows like potato chips, one after another.

“It’s the greatest invention since sliced bread, as far as I’m concerned,” he concluded.

Jane McCallion
Deputy Editor

Jane McCallion is ITPro's deputy editor, specializing in cloud computing, cyber security, data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Deputy Editor, she held the role of Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialise in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.

Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.