Why TV can’t transition to the Internet.

Why TV can’t transition to the Internet – at least not smoothly. http://bit.ly/cKHBMo Some very smart thinking from Clay Sharkey. Must write more about it later.

This article has been a revelation to me and answers a question that’s been bugging me: if Television is to transition to the Internet, it won’t be a simple change of delivery strategy it needs to be remade. But how do we remake an industry where the dominant players are dominant. Sharey’s explanation of complexity in organizations and how it can’t become less complex, makes perfect sense.

“Diller, Brill, and Murdoch seem be stating a simple fact—we will have to pay them—but this fact is not in fact a fact. Instead, it is a choice, one its proponents often decline to spell out in full, because, spelled out in full, it would read something like this:

“Web users will have to pay for what they watch and use, or else we will have to stop making content in the costly and complex way we have grown accustomed to making it. And we don’t know how to do that.””

He then makes it clear with In the Motherhood (originally a web program picked up by ABC where it flopped). Once it gets into the complex system, it plays by that system’s rules. And fails.

He finishes with:

“When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. It’s easy to see the ways in which collapse to simplicity wrecks the glories of old. But there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.”

I need to think more about this, but I think it fits with my recent “What if there were no established TV production industry” piece. I need to think more about this and share my thoughts.