• The Consumer (Truly) Empowered
    My first job out of graduate school was at a broadcast network where, in the late '70s, we used to joke that owning a broadcasting license was like a license to print money because it was so easily profitable. Good times. When cable came into the picture in the '80s, there was initial discomfit but no real cause for alarm. Fast-forward to the 21st century as we come face to face with the end of the television network model as we know it. We always like to give lip service to the viewer. "The viewer chooses," we like to say. …
  • The President And The Press
    My post last Thursday seems to have stirred a bit of controversy, but it also helped to galvanize a common belief: We as a nation require a more vigilant and unbiased press. I'm not alone in praying that the TV insiders and reporters among the readership will begin to ask the questions that need to be asked and answered, and find both the freedom and courage needed to do so.
  • When Did TV Become A Luxury?
    Is it the recession talking when Pew reports that 52% of Americans think of their TV as a necessity, a figure that's down 12 percentage points from 2006? Probably. But take into account that that is the smallest share to call a TV a necessity since the question was first asked 35 years ago. Yes, you read right: the lowest ever in the last 35 year. Granted, the survey was executed during April 2-8, not a stellar business week in U.S. history. But that is no reason to be complacent about double-digit losses unless there is some guarantee of double-digit …
  • When News Is News
    John F. Kennedy once observed that "Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion, without the discomfort of thought." In its most lethal form, comfortable opinion often comes packaged as something else. Namely, news.
  • Set-Top-Box Data: A Directional Exemplary Vivisection, Translation & Scheduled Meet
    Six month ago I was able to get my hands on one week of mid-summer 2008 set-top-box data from a U.S. market that is situated far, far, far west. My query was simple: I'm curious to ascertain whether viewers that watch a particular TV daypart during a given day, such as daytime television, watch any other TV dayparts, (early fringe, prime, late night) during the same 24-hour period. I was fortunate enough to be partnering with a responsive pay TV distributor, who had licensed a sophisticated technology that enabled such scrutiny. Recently, I was able to garner another week of …
  • UnComfortably Numb
    Last week, my cable provider, Comcast, stuffed my monthly biller with a 14-paged, weathered-white and dull-blacked, densely worded brochure (7 front and back) alerting me to "Customer Privacy Notice for Cable Television, High-Speed Internet and Phone Services." This informative piece of literature was divided into the following non-paginated, accordioned sections which opened with "Why is Comcast providing this notice to me?"
  • A Time Shifter, A Searcher And A Singer Of International Madrigals: Creative Accounting
    Throughout my 35-year professional media existence, whether as a television buyer of national commercial time or a burgeoning televisualist, rarely, if ever, have I had intercourse with creative TV commercial types. Ya know, the guys and gals at the agencies, full service or independent, who create the commercials. I've been invited to dimly lit conference rooms; served beverages and sibilant sounds; exposed to brand campaign flights of fantasy. Certainly, there's been plenty of titillation, a sneak peak at a storyboard, a glimpse of unedited footage, revelatory tête-à-têtes with account planners, but never full disclosure -- until, of course, the commercial …
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