For a number of years now, there's been an annual round of comment and speculation on the future viability of the upfront in its current form. Many have questioned the sense of it all, the process, the excess and the overall basis on which such large sums of money are allocated in so short a period of time. Erwin Ephron probably best summed up the sentiment of many seeking or expectant of change when he said, "Organized crime keeps better books. How else can you spend $9.3 billion in two weeks over the phone?"
My golden retriever Jango approaches objects that he is not familiar with by cautiously extending his massive head and two front paws forward, and simultaneously cautiously moving his two rear paws backwards. Often my family and I can ease his exploration anxieties by simply picking up the object of curiosity and holding it before him. Discovery does not come easily to him. The other day while watching him scope out the unfamiliar, I thought of the consumer electronics and entertainment industries' approach to video digital rights management, and the similarity between their approach to making video content available to potential …
I read a fascinating article on MiamiHerald.com -- an interview with Norman Lear. What piqued my interest was the line "The sitcom is dead." Is it true? Well, Lear, the creative mind behind such iconic sitcoms as "All In The Family," "Sanford and Son," and "Maude," is quoted as saying, ''Appointment TV doesn't exist in my life anymore." That, my friends, is a sign from the television gods that something is amiss.
"CBS Evening News" ratings have continued to slip for the eight months of Katie Couric's stay at the anchor desk. Ironically, CBS was edging steadily up in ratings after interim anchor Bob Schieffer replaced Dan Rather. Katie's performance -- or lack of it -- camouflages a more relevant and important issue: broadcast network news is less and less relevant to Americans.
Over the next couple of weeks some of the biggest buyers of media will go through an annual spring rite, attending the big network upfront sales presentations, evaluating their new shows and schedules, calculating audience share estimates, and preparing to negotiate billions of dollars worth of advertising buys. It's an annual rite that hasn't changed much on a couple of scores, but it's about to change in a fundamental way this year, and not necessarily for some of the reasons you may think.
The just-announced VOD-based test between Disney and Cox that disables the fast-forward function will be keenly watched for its obvious implications for DVR use and penetration. In many ways it seems to be a preparatory step to an all-out declaration of war against a well-documented pattern of consumer behavior and preference that often appears almost addictive. If the test is deemed successful, it is hard to imagine it won't be replicated beyond VOD and into the DVR space.
Since everyone is offering an opinion about Google's pending acquisition of DoubleClick and voicing privacy concerns about the company's massive amount of aggregated private data pertaining to user online behavior that could be linked to Google's reams of search data to generate detailed profile of individuals, I thought that I would chime in and raise a question from the televisual realm. To date, Microsoft, AT&T, Yahoo, and advertising agency holding company WPP are prodding the federal government to investigate the deal. What I want to know is: Where do the cable systems operators, particularly Comcast and Time Warner, stand on …
I am tired of telling people in their mid-30s (myself included) to mid-60s that we just don't matter to programmers and advertisers. When I was teaching last week, I actually uttered the phrase, "Because advertisers don't give a s#$@ about you or what you like to watch on TV" to a woman in her early 40s. To place this comment in context, our class was talking about the "demise" of the quality of network television. What I realized, though, is that sometime in history, programmers and advertisers forgot that the "middle-aged" are really worth the effort of keeping interested.
The more I think and talk to people about NBC's handling of Cho Seung-Hui's videos following the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the more convinced I am the decision was mishandled and wrong. In retrospect, I believe NBC has done great harm to the NBC network news brand, to Brian Williams, and to the overall public perception of network broadcast news. What an extraordinary opportunity NBC had to stand above the obvious commercial opportunism and draw a line in the sand.
John Stuart Mill's theory of determinism states -- in very simple terms -- that we are the unavoidable product of our environment and experiences, that our perspective on life and what we encounter is shaped by that of our past. If you buy the premise, then it's this aspect of human nature that plays a large part in how we conceive and respond to new paradigms. After 50 years of television in our lives, the advent of other platforms that are capable of delivering video is one such paradigm. It's hardly surprising, then, that the ad formats that have been …