Walt Disney went bankrupt -- and came close a few other times -- before he finally got to build Disneyland in 1955. The obvious lesson to be learned here: any entertainment effort can be a tough business. Think about modern-day TV producers, who fail again and again before getting it right.
Dirty words and dark content means higher viewership for lots of shows, but much more so for cable than broadcast networks. A decade ago, broadcast network executives might have moaned that they couldn't do a show like HBO's "Sopranos" -- but would like to. Might that have been a comment about content -- as well as language?
ABC's late-night host Jimmy Kimmel likes to spike up his persona and brand. What to do? Prank the YouTube and Internet world with a video that isn't what it seems. And then? Take credit for it after the fact.
What can you do about TV blackouts? If you can't get your CBS station in New York City, how about watching a CBS affiliate from Phoenix, Detroit or Miami? That's one politician's proposal.
Broadcast networks this season will probably see even lower overall traditional ratings. The good news is that they can muse about how much nontraditional viewing -- digital video, time-shifting and video-on-demand -- will increase. Future thinking on this front will set a structure for monetization. Near-term, though, a question remains: How should TV analysts view series performance?
Just when you thought all broadcast networks and stations might turn into cable networks and platforms in the near future, there was a somewhat unexpected legal loss for one company that was streaming over-the-air content without paying access fees.
Microsoft's purchase of Nokia means only one thing to most people: a hopeful attempt to stir the software technology giant through the rough and tumble world of the wildly promising mobile business by marrying mobile software with mobile hardware. Can the TV industry make the same case these days for merging software (content) with hardware (technology/devices/platforms)?
Viewers of Time Warner Cable were pissed they could not get CBS or Showtime. But, for many, there wasn't a clear picture about what the real battle was about -- until the big "aha" digital moment. That happened when CBS watchers tried to get CBS and Showtime programming online -- and weren't able to access that programming. Aha! While big retransmission revenues seemed important, digital transmission of shows now and in the future seemed to be the key.
All traditional TV news channels have a common desire to feed information mostly to what is the "TV news demographic": those 25-54, or in overall TV terms, "older" viewers. What about looking for the next wave of TV news consumers: millennials?
The more mature the cable network business becomes, the harder -- and longer -- it takes for new channels to succeed. For example, in August we witnessed unimpressive rating numbers for the start of Fox Sports 1 and Al Jazeera America.