On Sunday the predominantly Hollywood-based members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will once again have the opportunity to demonstrate just how out-of-touch they are with the American public. The annual Emmy Awards, celebrating excellence in television, will once again be one of the year's most frustrating viewing experiences for fans of great television programming.
The theme of this board is "big thoughts on the future of the small screen." Today, I'd like to offer some on a small part of the small screen: public television. Actually, it's becoming a progressively shrinking, but still quite important, part, and one we rarely address on the electronic pages of MediaPost.
With the continued increase in the number of devices that can store video (including the iPhone), with improvements in technologies delivering video to mobile devices, the chances of the iPod retaining much share in the mobile video space seem slim indeed. And this is why I'm skeptical about the future of the iPod -- a desperately unfashionable viewpoint, to be sure.
Since the late winter there has been a push by the major broadcast and cable networks to come up with solutions to unravel the commercial conundrum: TV viewers don't like to watch commercials, or at least not non-engaging ones, will do anything to avoid them -- and yet they must be sustained to provide the fuel by which the free TV industry is powered, $70 billion worth.
I have never been one for sailing (I suffer from motion sickness), but I do enjoy the ocean. I love the sound of waves crashing on the shore; birds calling to each other as they soar above; the laughter of children as they taunt the water to catch them as they try to outrun its reach. No, this is not the beginning of a novel, folks; this is my way of acknowledging the rising tide in digital entertainment.
Do you have high definition television yet? If yes, do you love it? If no, what are you waiting for?
For years, advertisers and agencies have been crying about the lack of granular, 30-second commercial ratings. They sat by as networks charged them for program ratings, typically quantified in 15-minute increments, when in reality, they were being charged for 30-second increments of time that, even today, are not truly being measured. So, after decades of outcry, how has the industry proposed to solve the problem? Take the cookie, divide it into 15 pieces, and give it back. Voilà -- no more tears.
It's probably just a footnote buried beneath the press clippings amassing in the inboxes of network executives this morning, but I'd suggest that the TV industry take serious note of Yahoo's $300 million acquisition of BlueLithium. "What's BlueLithium," you ask? It's a leading behavioral targeting firm. "What's behavioral targeting, and why should people in the TV industry give a hoot?" Well, that's the reason for today's TV Board post.
A couple of weeks ago there was an article in The New York Times, "A Free Variation on the DVR, but No Skipping Commercials." which focused on Time Warner's new free features: Start Over and Look Back. Start Over allows digital cable viewers to begin watching television programs from the beginning, after they have started playing -- i.e., during a half-hour show, for example, viewers can start fresh anytime within 30 minutes of when it began. Look Back, on the other hand, enables digital cable customers to watch certain programs that they missed later on, till midnight. In both instances, ...