It's upfront time, and TV/media executives hope to get the answers to many of their questions. But answering the riddle of how Twitter and TV connect may not be in the cards. Networks want to believe that Twitter provides them with an important ally in combating viewer erosion -- by promoting viewership via engagement, buzz and reading. However, one key NBC Universal executive -- Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development --- recently told the Financial Times that the evidence isn't there.
As more gets spent on original digital video, does the money come at the expense of original TV programming -- or from somewhere else in marketers' budgets?
The number of upfront presentations is getting so crowded that some networks want to make sure their message gets out -- even in reruns. MTV, a day after its recent upfront, emailed journalists a video link for its entire presentation titled "In Case You Missed It. Upfron
Maybe we should all get into the fast lane -- even for TV. In a radical policy change, the FCC may allow Internet service providers (ISPs) -- like Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T and Verizon -- to make deals giving faster download speeds to big content providers.
While all eyes continue to be on whether Aereo will continue as a new TV distribution business, another less-touted new TV business model is also gearing up. A decision on Aereo by the Supreme Court will arrive in mid- to late June. But soon after that, Dish Network's new Internet TV service -- which will deliver live streaming TV networks -- will arrive. It positions itself as the first of its kind.
What's the opposite of binge viewing? Whatever that is, I seem to be doing it. I'm not talking about watching one show at a time, and then waiting another day or so to watch another episode. I'm talking about not even watching a single complete episode in one sitting. Take the second episode of the new "Mad Men" season. Instead of watching the entire nearly hour-long show, I watched the first 17 minutes -- stopping at the first commercial break -- and then went to bed.
Cable operators having the power to tell cable networks exactly what programming they should run on their networks? That would be a rare thing. But some would say that's what DirecTV got from the Weather Channel in its new carriage deal.
Does Netflix want to look like a cable network? Or do HBO -- and maybe even ESPN -- want to look more like Netflix? What about wholesale change? Perhaps the big push for unbundling won't come from cable operators, satellite distributors, telcos, or even consumers. Maybe it'll come from TV networks themselves.
Let's all take a hint from Harvey Weinstein when it comes to multitasking: Try to do it old-school. Weinstein, co-chairman of the film studio The Weinstein Group, says he watches all the late-night network talk shows -- "The Tonight Show," "Late Show with David Letterman" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live" -- at the same time on multiple traditional TV screens.
More data of all sorts continues to pile on for TV shows. What it all means depends on: 1) The kind of network; 2) the needs of clients; 3) how quickly you can make sense of it. Take the most recent week. Start with Sunday's "MTV Movie Awards." At first blush you would think a 27% sinking of its traditional Nielsen TV numbers from the previous year -- to some 2.8 million viewers -- looks fairly bad. Yet things might not look so bad when taking in one measurement: social media activity.