Believers of the "all business is local" faith are seeing a new type of tempest whipping up. With big-market newspapers twisting in the weak economic wind, and radio and maybe TV stations right behind them, one can see local media's desire to rest and reflect. The market isn't nearly what it was.
With recession firmly at hand -- like a slacker cousin looking for long-term housing in the form of your living room couch -- expect more spin from the best public relations execs have to offer.
Network TV viewership has been declining for years -- and now, apparently, so has the wherewithal to produce high quality TV shows. Network ratings have been sinking for a long time -- but growing advertising sales, big DVR revenues, and international sales, seemingly took care of this financial unbalance. No longer.
Let's play the expected guessing game for Peter Chernin's departure from News Corp: Was he pushed? Is he leaving calmingly and voluntarily? Or, has he just had enough?
Ratings for yesterday's Oscars telecast increased -- but not to the huge, glamorous levels of years past. At the same time, viewers were treated to new, but not so glamorous ads from brands they might not associate with big-ticket shows, like Hyundai Motor, JC Penney, and Hoover vacuum cleaners.
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 Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings.
Future digital video destinations will be asking a pressing question: "Is it worth 10% of your advertising revenues to get more distribution?" The owners of Hulu.com -- NBC Universal and News Corp. -- don't need the future to make that call. They don't think it is worth it. They believe their strong marketplace position is reason enough.
TV stations have been through rough patches before. But now the ground is rumbling with some strange noises about consolidation. First, small TV markets are considering what to do with their costly news operations. They are loath to give them up, since local news programming is a true point of distinction in a rapidly hard-changing media landscape. So stations are talking about sharing news operations.
Network ratings are slipping. The economy is in the toilet. What better time to rip up the playbook for producing TV promos? A masterfully long TV promo for the two-week crossover event between "Grey's Anatomy" and "Private Practice" feels more like a movie marketing trailer.
Let us not forget the media world still pushes for as many pieces of content as possible into a 24-hour day -- or, more typically, one TV show. YouTube upload restrictions are around 10 minutes, Internet clips, not full-length TV shows, are still -- far and away -- the most viewed videos, and the upcoming Oscar Awards show only wants to give viewers a small taste of Oscar-nominated songs. For Peter Gabriel, that's not enough.