Has Internet-Created Content Had An Effect On TV Programming?
Nope. Not in the slightest, according to some TV executives.
The sense from traditional TV programming executives such as Nina Tassler, CBS Entertainment president, is that Interent content hasn't really pervaded traditional TV development.
In particular, the finger gets pointed to blogs, or their video counterpart, vlogs. TV executives say the singular nature of Internet blogs won't make for traditional show such as dramas. In continuing dramas, you need different characters, each with his or her own storyline. And you need a plan. You need several story "arcs" lasting a few episodes for a whole season. In self-contained dramas, you need character development within one episode that will resolve itself.
"I don't think people have figured it out yet," CBS' Tassler told Daily Variety. "TV has either got to have dramatic action or comedic action. Right now, navigating the Web experience is not the most active process. It's about trying to find a way to augment it and adapt it."
But that's not where the story ends.
Vlogs might run for a couple of minutes--and could seemingly have influence--if not now, then down the road. Right now these video-news-like, autobiographical accounts don't lend themselves to being fodder for a traditional sitcom or drama.
"Most of the vlogs are quite boring," Ross McElwee, a film director, told The New York Times.
Still, some are popular, like Rocketboom.com. In another, Charlene Rule, a vlogger, uses fragments of her life, such as a long phone conversation with a wrong number, or a few seconds with a dress-maker helping her to "make breasts" for the bridesmaid's outfit she wore to a friend's wedding. All this supposedly makes for interesting repeat "business."
Rule quotes famed film director Francois Truffaut on her blog: "The film of tomorrow" he wrote in 1957, "will be even more personal than an individual and autobiographical novel, like a confession, or a diary."
This kind of Internet-created programming--as a whole--can't seem to fit in to the traditional TV business model. Ask network advertising sales chiefs if they want to start selling TV commercials for one minute and 30-second programs, or 4:53, or 15:32.
But this may not be the whole story. Current, that new Al Gore-backed, young-skewing news channel, with its video bits and homemade-looking content, has found a place on TV screens among young viewers. The scant part-cable, part-digital, part-satellite-delivered network is a guilty pleasure among TV critics. But since Current is a news channel, it's hard to say whether it will influence fictional TV writing.
Traditional TV can't accommodate boring. There's no room and no time for this in a major business.
With the Internet, however, there is room for everyone--the boring, the entertaining, and stuff in between. It's kind of a like a big running marathon--you have the professionals who are placed up front to win prize money, and the average-Joe sloggers in the back just trying to finish the race and then tell a couple of friends about their accomplishment.