TV Shows Are Salami For Ever-changing Sandwich

In yet another variation of the on-demand world, Time Warner Cable is working on a monthly subscription, on-demand channel that would allow viewers instant reruns of popular shows on CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox. The channel would be called Hits.

Great. Add one more on-demand channel to the heap that'll need marketing. There are only about twenty of these things already on the drawing board.

The Time Warner Hits channel would be similar to the Time Warner service called Start Over, where viewers with some low-rent DVR type of technology can "start over" a program, but only if it is in the process of running. Time Warner should call its new instant reruns service: Start Over... Once It's Over.

If it comes to market, this adds to the list of many different ways we can we get our favorite network shows once they had their initial network run.



What it comes to is this--TV programs are kind of like salami at a deli, and there are many different ways to make a sandwich. A big question--are all those variations on salami sandwiches really a good meal, or are they just silly, frivolous, impossible-to- prepare meals, like salami and Cheerios with mustard on rye, or salami and Oreos with mayo on sourdough?

How are all these sandwiches going to be marketed? Better still, how will the salami be treated? That's a chief concern of Albert Cheng, executive vice president of digital media for ABC Television Group. He is apprehensive about how "Desperate Housewives" or "Lost" is going to be handled.

Cheng made the groundbreaking iTunes with ABC deal last September because iTunes is a highly-marketed entertainment venue. And because, unlike Yahoo or AOL, iTunes focuses on one thing, giving consumers downloadable entertainment. Unlike big Internet aggregators, iTunes has no search engine, no news stories or video, no classifieds, no maps, and no horoscope.

Traditional TV networks like it when new alternative distribution partners stay focused-- the Internet, cable video-on-demand, mobile or otherwise. But it's getting harder for consumers to stay that way.

So, we look forward to the next video technological wave: Hologram TV--programs floating in front of your face like in the "Matrix' movies.

They'll appear on your windscreen with commercials when you are driving down the highway. And when you crash, all you'll be thinking about is the salami.

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