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Open Letter to Broadcast Dinosaurs Bent on Self Destruction

Letter 2 Broadcast Dinosaurs Bent on Self-Destruction

This is a great open letter to Broadcasters that really explains why they’re missing the future of television and video. I wish I’d written it because it really sums up why broadcast TV is heading for the “apocalypse” and seems unable to see it coming.

Remembering that disruption frequently happens to existing industries before the “new” is fully formed.

Just one small quote:

Well guess what, we have figured it out. With the massive availability of broadband, many of us can now turn to purely online outlets for our video content. Guess what else… they make better shows than you do with less money and less advertisements. You know why? Because they care about the product they are putting out. Or at least they have their finger on the pulse of their audience. You meanwhile, have your fingers apparently deeply stuffed up your collective a….

You all seem to think that you can just force feed us crap like The Vampire Diaries, reality TV shows and mindless soap operas  and we will continue to gobble it up indefinitely…WRONG.

Did you notice that recently Proctor & Gamble, a long-time and almost-guaranteed sponsor of soap operas, left for online advertising?! See, they found social media and like it, perhaps you should as well. Maybe we can introduce you to them again so you can ask how and why they did it?







2 responses to “Open Letter to Broadcast Dinosaurs Bent on Self Destruction”

  1. Interesting thoughts. There are two areas that I think this letter misses the boat.

    1) “they make better shows than you do with less money and less advertisements”

    WHO makes better shows? The author is quick to point out a handful of shows he doesn’t like – but what about the great content that DOES come from traditional broadcasters? The Dr. Whos, Mad Men, The Offices, The Daily Shows of the entertainment world?

    I can name one non-traditionally produced show that might be better (although I’m not sure it was “better,” just “good and different.”), and that is Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. And let’s be honest, without traditional media, the very smart people behind Dr. Horrible wouldn’t have been nearly as successful Would it have garnered as much attention if Joss Whedon didn’t already have legions of fans from his work in traditional media? Maybe – but it would have been far more of a gamble (which gets back to the discussion of a few weeks ago about whether or not stars matter)

    2) This is a point that when I hear you talk about it, I often find myself yelling at my iPod – Creating great content costs money. A lot of money. Maybe less money than it use to cost, and ABSOLUTELY less money than what is spent on traditional media – but it still requires a small truckload.

    Let’s look at my “good and different” example – one of the biggest success stories of non-traditional media. According to Joss Whedon, the budget for Dr. Horrible was “in the low six figures.” (source:

    Even if we assume “in the low six figures” means $100,000 exactly, that still requires someone (or several someones) to take a significant risk on that content. And the bottom line is that there still isn’t a proven, repeatable business model that will allow you to reliably make a return on that kind of investment – it is a gamble, not a business.

    I have yet to see one content creator that is turning out work that rivals what traditional media can produce – AND still maintains a sustainable business.

    And here’s where I really differ from you (I think) on this topic. While I wouldn’t be surprised if 10 or 20 years from now, ABC, NBC, CBS, Comcast, etc are no longer the central hub of our passive entertainment, there will be SOMEONE who acts as a tastemaker, and as an aggregator of risk so that content creators can continue to spend the small truckloads of money (ok – it’ll probably be small briefcases of money at that point) that it takes to produce consistently high quality content, and still pay everyone a living wage.

    1. Solid counter-argument Brent, but ABC et al are unlikely to be in the same position as they are now. Producers will connect directly to audiences instead of needing middle-men. However, as we say in Episode 19 of the Terence and Philip Show, there will likely be a new form of studio, but there’s no real role for the networks or even Cable channels in an on-demand on-any-device world.