The TV Industry subsumed…

kinnon —  April 10, 2006 — Leave a comment

…by the Generous Web as ABC/Disney announces free web access for TV show episodes – a day later. But you’ll have to watch commercials.

Jeff Jarvis titles his post, Exploding TV: Kaboom. He quotes from the WSJ.

On April 30, ABC will unveil a revamped Web site that will include a “theater” where people with broadband connections can watch free episodes of “Desperate Housewives,” “Lost” and other hit shows on their computers. Episodes will be available the morning after they air and will be archived so people can eventually view a whole season. A Disney Channel version with five shows will start in June, and an ABC Family version is also planned. Disney’s Soapnet cable channel will start offering programs free on its Web site, Soapnetic, on April 17.

Terry Heaton says:

The story offers one troubling line, however, that suggests even forward-thinking ABC doesn’t totally get it.

“Disney will also promote the creation of fan sites for various shows. “We want to tie all of these fan sites closer to our brand,” Mr. Cheng says.”

In the words of the immortal Mick Jagger, “You can’t always get what you want.” The reality is that fans don’t need the network to “promote” creative sites, and there’s something compelling about the disconnection anyway. Would the network, for example, really want to get in bed with a wonderful spoiler site like Lostpedia? If the answer is yes, then hooray for ABC. If not, then it’s really about control and the mass market.

Jeff Jarvis suggests people might want to sell their cable stocks and Terry figures broadcast stocks won’t do to well either.

Pay a couple of bucks and watch it on your Video iPod via iTunes, watch if for free (with unskippable commercials) via broadband or find an illegal torrent to download (which sees you pay with time and the potential of receiving a letter from your cable or DSL provider) – consumers will watch what they want to watch, when they want to watch it. Broadcasters are simply content providers.

But Umair @ Bubbblegeneration sees big media still not getting it:

Media strategy today is like an Ashlee Simpson record: entirely predictable, brain-crushing wrong. Newspapers like NYT and WPO made the same mistake Disney is make; ceding market power to players like Technorati, Memeorandum, Delicious, etc; record labels did it, ceding market power to players like, Apple, and MySpace; and now, finally, we have TV guys doing it – ceding their market power because they don’t understand the new economics of media.

These players aren’t really making meaningful strategic moves – they’re just giving the same old business models a nose job.

…when you tack on a nose job to a decayed strategy, you stop yourself from being truly innovative. In this case, Disney had a golden opportunity to redefine marketing for a 2.0 era – to begin creating what I call zero attention ads; ads that don’t waste your time, but benefit you; ads you want to see.

But this requires strategic innovation – the reshaping of the media value chain; the rethinking of media orthodoxy from the ground up. And so it’s not surprising that the two players focused on this – the real opportunity – are Google and MySpace (to the extent Fox lets them); and that players like Disney are just essentially protecting decayed strategies with cosmetic changes.

It’s all a question of control. Content providers want to maintain it in an era where they no longer have it. A little like a Twilight Zone episode they don’t know they are in, perhaps.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

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