Today the Times talks about how our PC is taking us away from TV as a time waster and as a source of entertainment.
....“Internet homes, including broadband and dial-up, watch 9 percent less television over all than the general population. The impact by network differs, with some experiencing 25 percent lower ratings and others substantially unaffected.” (He added that wired homes were generally well-off, a population that watches television less as a matter of course.)
Anecdotally, I can say that our family ends up finding the remote less often. Tally up all the bereft fathers video-chatting with college-age daughters, bored teenagers making videos for other bored teenagers and geeks mashing up existing content to hilarious effect, and there is ferocious, idiosyncratic competition for consumers’ attention.
The threat isn’t new media displacing old media as much as personalization. Media has become something people make, forward, link and program. When we took the 2,000-mile road trip to drop the girls off at their respective campuses, we switched between my iPod and theirs rather than flip fruitlessly through radio channels that had been aggregated and formatted into musical sameness.
Newspapers felt the pain of technological disruption first, when people had dial-up modems capable of transmitting modest, largely text-based data. As fatter pipes developed, music performed a jailbreak, leaving behind a maimed industry. And now, with the number of ever-faster connections spreading and the advent of the Flash player, television seems positioned as roadkill, with great big movie files soon to fall after that.
The question remaining is how these industries will choose to react. Television, it seems, may have learned some of the hard lessons endured by the music industry and taken an attitude of cautious engagement with downloaders rather than randomly slapping them with lawsuits.
I still caught Wednesday’s episode of “Lost,” downloading it to my iPod to view on my commute and sending $1.99 to ABC and Steve Jobs to split. Through the magic of that time-and-platform shift (and my willingness to pay for free content), I remained a part of the “Lost” tribe, although not the kind that shows up on Nielsen.
Selling programming that way is a smaller business for the networks, but not a bad one. Maybe this time, Grandma saw the brick coming
This weekend I discovered that nearly all of Black Adder is on YouTube. Guess what I was doing for most of Sunday?
This American Life has buckled to protest and has now offered each program as a Podcast on iTunes. I think that it is time for Public TV to go down this road. I want to watch Bill Moyers on Net Neutrality later this week but may miss it for scheduling reasons. I would pay to download it on iTunes. I would like to watch all his programs. I would pay to download a lot of PBS content on iTunes. The Centre for Social Media did a lovely job for iTunes with this video on the topic of Many to Many. Surely this is how it could be done.
If you then "wrapped" the program with a social website where fans could talk about the show or the topic even better. Imagine The Vidcast Site for PBS and for each station where the show could be downloaded for a small fee and where fans could sign up (with all heir details) to extend the discussion. You would generate fees. You would keep the material safe. You would create community and you would know all bout those that liked the show. You would be really ahead of the game.
Come on guys - the lesson is clear. It's do or die here.