TV/Video On The Move: Do You Need A Fast Car -- And Directions?

Just like a TV generation ago who said "follow the money," this TV generation directs viewers to "follow the video."  
On Tuesday's live coverage of the Amgen Tour of California nine-day bike race, which was the first U.S. race Lance Armstrong has participated in since coming out of retirement, Versus left the airwaves right before the finish of the third stage of the nine-day race. Versus switched to an NHL regular season hockey game between the Buffalo Sabres and Toronto Maple Leafs.

Angry cycling fans? Some. Lance Armstrong himself complained about Versus' coverage. But this is what the world is coming to. Cycling is a niche sport, after all. Increasingly, the TV business is headed in the same direction.

With some 15 miles of the race to go, Versus announcers had no trouble offering up alternatives: One could watch the conclusion on or the And, without a hitch, I did just that.

In this digital TV world, there is hardly a mention of abandoning a TV sports program just before its conclusion. It wasn't always this way.

Decades ago there was the "Heidi Bowl," where NBC left coverage of a 1968 New York Jets/Oakland Raiders NFL game and shifted to the made-for-TV movie "Heidi," which resulted in a big public outcry. 



Stuff like this doesn't happen in 2009. Instead,we get directions. Last year, for example, NBC told viewers to change channels from its NBC News programming on the NBC network to cable channel MSNBC to pursue further coverage of the political primary campaigns,

These days there is a lot of talk about transiting video -- from TV to the Internet to mobile devices or whatever. Some more traditional TV viewers are wondering about the transition of more basic means -- to digital from analog TV station signals.

There are problems, to be sure: Not everyone may have had access to a computer when watching Versus on Tuesday. Still, it's pretty incredible one can watch a live bike race on a Tuesday afternoon, on any of four video platforms (one traditional TV; three Internet areas).

The real question is, what happens in future years when the public may perhaps be forced to make other more disruptive transitions, with little or no notice? What happens, say, when CBS shifts from signals through its TV affiliate stations to one on the Internet or cable distribution?

Perhaps not everyone will catch on. But I'm betting it won't be a big issue, with many complaints -- since ratings will be a tenth of what they are now.

2 comments about "TV/Video On The Move: Do You Need A Fast Car -- And Directions? ".
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  1. Robert Fahner from Suddenlink Media, February 20, 2009 at 10:58 a.m.

    What about those of us who were watching the race in our local pub........with no internet.

  2. Cynthia Thomet from Akaku: Maui Community Television, February 20, 2009 at 6:06 p.m.

    Television, internet and print media only cater to viewers, clickers and readers to the extent that they lend their eyeballs to content -- they don't deliver to the bottom line. Total eyeballs are tracked to draw advertisers to deliver to the bottom line, and what the latter wants to see is ROI - internet media (including video) can measure ROI more reliably than TV ever could.

    Print media are also saving on printing costs by reducing home-deliveries to Sundays or weekends, and directing readers to their websites on other days (with mixed but measurable results).

    Truth be told, the number of complaints has not been the measure as to whether or not "transitioning" people to alternate media outlets is an issue. It seems that it's a necessity for a whole host of reasons. As far as advertisers are concerned, complaints are ~proof~ that people are watching and engage -- and if they actually make the switch to a different platform, they might actually be "hooked".

    There is no better consumer for advertisers than one that consumes, asks for more and comments.

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