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The End Is Near! (for tv)

This post is making the rounds and I figured I’d get it out to ya’ll here as well.

In a nutshell, Henry Blodget offers us a very simple comparison regarding the state of the TV industry. It’s where newspapers were at about five years ago. Which doesn’t give the current broadcast model a lot of time to figure out how to reposition itself.

iTunes, Hulu, YouTube and NetFlix are singled out as likely frontrunners of the new distribution model, and Apple gets a nod for the iPhone potentially becoming the box-of-choice for viewers.

Things are definitely changing. Blodget sees the big broadcasters as living in denial currently, but that’s clearly superficial. They’re in a controlled panic. Here in Canada, we’re definitely taking notice. Just this past year, iTunes outbid CTV for the rights to Mad Men. That’s an eye opener. The NFB is having huge success making its library available online and through an iPhone app. Cookie Jar just launched Jaroo so that anyone who wants to watch Inspector Gadget, anywhere in the world, at any time of day, can do just that. iPhone app to follow I’m sure.

This is scary, but scary times are exciting times. Fortunes are made and the little guy gets a chance to grab a piece of the pie. So if you’re making content, keep doing it! Someone will figure out how to make money off it, and maybe you’ll get a few bucks in the process. I’ve got my own ideas about how the landscape is shifting, but I’m sure smarter people than I have already ruled them out.




  1. Daniel Szilagyi Daniel Szilagyi November 17, 2009

    Hi Michael,

    I totally agree with the posting here…i find it funny that networks try and make shows, ad’s and so on based on on-line fads but then on the same hand clearly dismiss them as being important or upcoming.

    I also foresee the end of the big studio idea and it opening to a more global freelance aspect instead.

    TV is simply too slow and can’t compete with on-line speed and buzz, and why would i watch TV with over 200 hundred channels to see maybe one show i like when i can go to the internet via computer, iphone or cellphone and watch what i want when i want instead of tuning in to a certain time slot.

    I don’t think TV will die off altogether anytime soon though but within the next 5 years they’ll be a big jump with how content is boardcast and shared.


  2. Rob.A Rob.A November 18, 2009

    I have to agree with much of what this article says as far as fundamental changes to the broadcast industry are coming. There are some things I don’t agree with though. He mentions DVD sales as starting to take a bite of network revenues but that is clearly not the case. DVD sales have dropped dramatically in the last two years. One could argue that the rise of Hulu and Itunes like platforms have had a significant impact on this but I don’t think the data backs it up. These are still very small in comparison to the number of TV viewers world wide.
    Until the majority of internet users have a real broadband connection, I speak for North America as it is significantly slower than Japan, there will be no death of broadcast.
    Getting a video on itunes is fine but for those that want image quality ( which is still much bigger than one would think ) broadcast is still the way to get your fix.
    The overhaul to HD broadcast that is arguably 5 years late still has the chance to become a major player.
    Yes there will be change. There will most likely be a fundamental shift as to how the content gets to your house but until the interweb can stream HD 1080P or 1080I downloads will stay as the second cousin. A torrent that says it is HD is not true.. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet, including this.
    Heroes was the most downloaded torrent last year at about 50 million. The only real damage it did to the series was increase add revenue for the network during that time slot. They charge more for adds during Heroes now.
    Lastly, yes I am long winded, the difference between the newspaper model and the broadcast model are many.
    Newspapers give us news not entertainment. All across the board entertainment numbers are up, excluding dvd. Hollywood increased around 17% last year alone. Games up 15%. Porn was steady and some say took a hit but they are still bigger money makers than Hollywood. I don’t know the stats on broadcasters but all info I have seen so far shows add revenues are set to increase slightly.
    Change is coming and it is exciting times but I expect it will take longer than 5 years for this round.

  3. Paul B Paul B November 18, 2009

    Is there enough revenue generated by the alternate distribution methods to secure funding and develop shows on expected returns from this market alone? If not, is it fair to compare one business model to another when one relies on the others existence.

  4. Cameron A. Cameron A. November 19, 2009

    I think television will still be around in some form, until online shows start to find workable funding models. You can’t fund any sort of entertainment – film, television, online video, even blogs – without some sort of investment. The television medium just has an edge for being more established.

    A growing problem is the dilution/rebranding of broadcast and/or cable channels in the race for the fragmented advertiser dollar. Cartoon Network shouldn’t be airing reality shows, even if the network appeals to kids. Canwest’s Prime, a network for seniors, has become whatever TVtropolis is supposed to be.

    The whole Local TV Matters/Stop the TV Tax fight in Canada is ridiculous, two industries fighting each other. Such infighting is just going to increase the public’s distrust in cable/satellite systems and broadcast television alike. Television just needs to adapt to the fact that its days of being a cultural arbiter are over, and that there are more cost-effective entertainment options out there.

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