Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Internet-Delivered Media and Grilled Cheese

After well more than a year without TV, I recently purchased a new moderately-sized flat-screen television.

I got a really great antenna rig for Over-The-Air HD TV, and I hooked it up to my media center PC.

The images are incredible. Every rinky-dink station is broadcasting beautiful HD.
But the content is beyond inane. This is what "the average American" is watching?

Today, I had a late lunch on the couch, in front of my shiny new HD screen.
I watched a terrific internet-delivered program, "Design Outside the Box” (via GigaOm) while dining on a perfectly grilled cheese sandwich.

Using the television tuner, I could have watched Tyra give home-wreckers 15 minutes of fame.


The medium best known for porn, gay jokes and videos of crotch injuries is also the medium that’s letting a lot of people rise above the mire of broadcast television.

Sure, these programs are aimed at different audiences, but if I were into Fashion and Beauty, I think I would much rather watch an expert treating me like a thinking adult and presenting me with valuable information, than whatever it is that Tyra is doing.

What’s going on here?

Broadcast (and cable) television has created an unsustainable infrastructure that, in general, can’t afford niche programming, in-depth investigations, or scripted dramas.
The new media pioneers on the Internet are delivering all of these for a tiny fraction of the cost of broadcast/cable.
And since these programs cost so much less to produce and distribute, they need a much smaller audience to make them profitable.
As technology improves and as traditional TV people find themselves out of work, the independent internet programs are only going to get cheaper to produce and deliver.

So Broadcast will continue its descent into reality programming and tabloid journalism, while Internet programs will gain resources and become the source for higher quality programming.

And yes: Broadcast television appears to be mostly cheese. And it's getting a bit burnt around the edges. And someone replaced the actual cheese with a word from our sponsor...

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