Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Future Of Local TV

Yesterday, Robert Cringely made some interesting predictions about the future of television.

When Internet TV becomes dramatically, unequivocally, and inexorably cheaper than the other three [broadcast, cable, and satellite] distribution models, those other models will quickly go away.


So there is a cliff rapidly approaching for television. Five years from now local TV stations will have the same complaints that local newspapers have today as many of them go out of business. Cable TV operators will become ISPs, period. Phone companies will be ISPs, too, and analog voice service will be gone completely. The regulatory implications of these changes should be interesting.

Who, then, will be the players in this future TV? For the most part they will be the content providers, which probably doesn’t mean traditional networks. And the networks know this, by the way. isn’t called and isn’t called for a reason. Networks will go away.

On a related note, I wonder what the future holds for our own Community Minded TV (BTW, the redesigned web site is nicely done). I used to think that the old cable local channel was proof that anyone can videotape anything and have it broadcast. I found nothing memorable about it except for the poor quality and uninteresting content. Community Minded TV replaced the Comcast local channel and after two years it is still yearns for more people to create local programming which, I have learned from personal experience, is pretty difficult. With the many facets such as writing, lighting, sound and editing tied together, it's laborious and time consuming to create a quality program. So for those who don't have the resources and time for that they come up with stuff that's essentially "good enough". One of the benefits of CMTV is that anyone can create a program for a specific niche. The downside to that, however, is niche programming reaches out to a select few.

So I think a challenge for CMTV is to encourage and recruit people to make enough "good enough" or better programs about our area that enough people will find interesting enough to watch. Plus, CMTV needs to look at what the future holds for distributing programs. One aspect of broadcast/cable/satellite programming is--now I'm setting aside DVRs for the moment, but it still applies to them--you are locked into their schedule. With online distribution you can watch that episode of Building a Cob Oven any time you want. And more than once.

Then again, my success rate of 94.7 percent at making sure the video camera I'm holding is actually recording when it's supposed to be doesn't necessarily mean I have a clue.

No comments: