Wednesday, 20 May 2009

The TV Industry, As We Knew It, Is Amongst the Walking Dead

Comment on an article by Mark Walsh on Opening A Pandora's Boxee: By shifting programming from television to the Web, TV networks are on a "slippery slope" that puts the combined $300 billion market valuation of the industry at risk.

Sometimes I feel like an Alec Baldwin alien myself, living among a species that walk zombie-like through an alternate universe, believing the past is present. Pandora's box got thrown WIDE open in 1989 when the Internet became functional. The old TV business model died that year, as did the music and newspaper industries (note I did not say 'news').

All this talk of strategizing to keep the old TV business model 'alive' by maintaining the "value" of "professional content" is ZOMBIE-TALK! The old model has been dealt its coup de grace years ago, but has been kept moving along, seemingly unharmed, by its own multi-trillion dollar momentum and business-people's natural aversion to change. I 'lived' in the world of TV advertising and I can assure you, it is now among the walking dead.

Here's the simple proof: no one, EVER, wanted to watch any TV ad more than a couple of times. We all need to wrap our heads around that simple human truth. Stop reading right now and think about that. NO ONE wants to see or hear any ad more than a couple of times. Really. Yet endless repetition is what the dinosaur TV business model is based upon (as is that of ALL ATL). The Internet is steadily, relentlessly, putting the 'repetition model' to death.

Right now the dinosaurs are trying to find way to FORCE people to watch ads over and over online, but people will find a way to end this because it's part of the now dead "push" marketing model that no human being ever wanted to be subjected to. Like TV SHOWS, which we all (on average) watch once and MIGHT re-watch a couple of years later, people are happy to watch inventive, entertaining new ads once, but unless they are advertorial-like and involve a new technical device like a mobile phone handset with multiple uses (think how-to podcasts), people are NOT going to willingly re-watch ads.

It's well past time to learn how to ride this new animal as quickly as possible, versus trying to reseal the yawning opening of Pandora's box 20 years after the lid was destroyed by Tim Berners-Lee. Personal computing devices, the WWW and broadband wireless have handed control over how humans are willing to be force-fed advertising back to the masses. To the TV industry I say figure out the new challenge and how to monetize things in the future of 'pull' -- stop trying to stuff all of mankind back into your 'push' marketing model.

Just a thought.


  1. Was it ever a breath of fresh air to read this in the Marketing Daily comments section. I had to get out of traditional advertising because of precisely this attitude. The old guys at the top just couldn't get why spending hundreds of thousands of the client's money on TV ads that everyone hates is a dead end proposition.

  2. Thanks Irenwick! When you put the people back in charge of what they want, it's one-off experiential marketing that they cleave to, not repetition.



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