Traditional Broadcast Media is about to get a major overhaul. Traditionally the demi-cartels, consisting of the networks (like ABC, NBC, CBS or in radio Clear Channel, Vivendi, etc.), have a stronghold over content production and distribution. Control of these segments is under tremendous new pressure.
1/ Content stronghold
For less than the average cost it takes to set up a restaurant, no more than $50,000, a professional video content production company can be created to produce top quality 1080p HD content (radio can be produced at a fraction of that cost using podcasting technology). Imagine a world in which the number of content production firms rivals the number of restaurants in your town (and not just Al Gore’s new Current Network). Soon we will embrace new anchors and fresh programming throughout the whole season, instead of the four seasons of repetitive programming mix we have been forced to swallow for so long.
2/ Distribution stronghold
Most networks own the stations. Up-and-coming content producers are forced to do business with and obey the rules of distribution players to get exposure. With the advent of IP Television, Podcasting, and upcoming convergence technologies from Tivo and Netflix, and others, diverse content will be brought to anybody with an internet connection. The judgment of good content will finally rest in the hands of the viewers.
Two major factors play a role in the acceleration of change:
1/ The slowdown: The FCC is working at its own pace to change the 40-year old broadcasting rules through governmental processes and buy-in.
2/ The speed-up: The unstoppable adoption of the Internet will create new broadcast heroes and “networks” that reach a broadcast and market hungry audience; our youth.
Networks better get their act together, build their own internet distribution delivery strategy, determine what people really want to watch, use real (not analytical or statistical) popularity data to up-sell popular internet programs to network television. It is not too late for networks to respond, but their time is running out.
Let the games begin.