January 20, 2004

Ceding Control of the Controls

Rick Porter/Zap2it: Fox Looking to Change the Business of TV.

Going to a year round schedule with "scripted" and "unscripted" programming reflects the audience's desire for content untethered to time or place, where they have full control over those qualities. The competition of so many forms of media, like DVD's and personal video recorded programming as well as interactive things like games, the internet, mixing your own CDs, is so great, and digital media gives so much control over experience, that I don't see how broadcast TV can not be undermined, because their business model is all about ads, and that is based on TV's control of time, place and content, at least for now.

Why did they follow a "fall schedule"? Was it to follow a school calendar? To have an official kick off season to sell to advertisers, control the pipes to distribute just a few new shows? Control the battlefield of competition between a few networks, scrimmaging in a common time and place? For Nielsen? For the benefit of those working on the shows so they could take vacations in the summer, or work on movies and other projects? All this recedes when the control is gone, and it's already gone. Yes, a few people still watch in the old style, 8pm on Thursdays, in their living rooms, but that audience is dwindling, and people think about content as being something they control, master, click through. It's no longer mom, apple pie, and the Brady Bunch reruns at 2:30pm when the kids get home from school. It's anything you want, anytime, and in many ways, anywhere.

Posted by Mary Hodder at January 20, 2004 07:33 AM | TrackBack