TV is dead. What’s to replace it?

Linear delivery, aka “broadcast”, aka “Television as we know it” is dead, but no one has told it, yet.

The old powers are clinging to a delivery/business model that no longer works, demanding to know what’s going to replace television.

To paraphrase Clay Sharky: When someone demands to know how we are going to replace television, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution.

Clay Shirky writes:

They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to.

There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.

He wrote it about newspapers, but everything he says applies to television too.


3 comments so far

  1. wjcohen on

    I read Shirky’s piece and saw your link and I’m thinking a lot about this issue these days. But I think there are a few major ways that tv differs from newspapers:
    – newspapers have been in steady declne as a business since world war 2, in terms of number of papers, readers, pages – on the other hand, TV today is still growing: more customers continue to pay more money. And with cable, advertisers can better target exactly who they want (not perfect like the internet pomises but better than papers – no wal mart underwriting bagdad.)
    – yes, goodbye to the capital needs of the printing press – but TV (and i’m talking about quality TV that most people are paying for, not youtube fare which I think is cool but different viewing experience) costs will still there in this new world – the best stars, best producers, best storytellers still want/need to be paid; cameras and editing (while cheaper) are still real costs of doing business. In TV, distribution costs already cheap relative to TV show production budgets. This is a lot different than papers.
    Think these factors make any difference?

  2. […] I didn’t realize I was stepping into a pile of Shirky when I referenced it yesterday. […]

  3. Neurotic Nomad on

    Just like metaphors, no comparison can match 100% and the further you split hairs the more differences you can find. I think as comparisons go, “Newspapers = TV” one isn’t too bad.

    In both print news and television, all the humans get paid. (The writers, the fork lift operators, etc.) Also in both, distribution costs are separate from packaging costs which are both separate from content creation costs.

    In both, the current system was held in place by a lack of cheap alternative to the existing distributer. In both, there is no longer a “lack of alternative” for the consumer.

    The distribution methods aren’t going to slow down and wait for advertisers to figure out how to make money off of it, assuming “advertising” is the answer.

    Making money off eyeballs has many forms and is shaped my the medium. Assuming that net ads it will look and behave like a TV or newspaper is myopic. A radio ad is different from a billboard which is different from a magazine ad. Why should the internet behave like a TV?

    “In TV, distribution costs already cheap relative to TV show production budgets.”

    In this, you are mistaken. “Distribution” is a large umbrella term. It’s more than pumping a network feed (and you’d be shocked at how expensive that one thing is).

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