Prime Time is Dead – How Geeks Flipped Out An Entire Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

I was reading an article on iMedia Connections about the impending switch from Digital to Analogue (Australian spelling intended!) TV today and it sent me navel gazing. Such a geek thing to do!

So many old media concepts have been smashed in the last few years, a relatively short period of time in the scheme of things. Think about the decline of the music CD. I’m old enough to remember records, and I was an avid fan of the digital cassette tape. Remember them? Well, now the CD is dead too.

Instead of thinking about music in terms of CDs and albums, we can buy tracks online. It’s a seismic shift and it caught the "old school" music industry well and truly unprepared. Their entire business model was blown away and that meant that jobs, profits and people took a shellacking!

Now, it’s time for "prime time" to die!

You see with digital media, people choose what they want to watch (more like be involved with) and when they want to watch it. The death of prime time is already happening for two reasons:

  • Personal Digital Recorders (PDRs) – Allowing you to time shift programs
  • More significantly, the shift to Internet.

When Analogue TV switches off and Digital TV takes over, the pace of change will accelerate for TV oriented companies. That’s because digital makes on-demand programming possible, and that in turn kills the idea of TV ad placement.

As we all know, the problem that Media companies and TV stations face is that people don’t want to watch ads.

On the other hand old school marketers love ads. Think about those agencies that make the ads for the multi-million dollar ad spots around the NFL Superbowl in the US. Think of the TV rights and dollars that go along with those spots that are under threat as people consume more online.

Consumers have also demonstrated that they don’t want to set their schedules around the TV. In Australia, Neilsen Media reported that Australian now spend more time online than watching TV.

In Australia we’ve already seen old stalwarts like Kerry Packers Channel 9 falling apart at the seams. They’re struggling to deal with the fact that consumers stopped watching the 6:00 news. Their entire business was built around it in fact, but now they are reeling.

Channel 9 recently surprised us by cancelling it’s late night news program. The market has left. They can now get the news online, and they are increasingly waking up to the fact that the "newstainment" being shoved down their throats in not real.

Channel 7 isn’t as far ahead as it would like to think it is in adapting to the change either. It was heavily criticised for it’s pathetic single channel online coverage of the Olympic games. It showed that they still think like an old media company. And then there’s the castrated Tivo PDR that they launched in July. Channel 7 disabled the Ad skipping feature of the Tivo to force you to watch ads. Dumb old school thinking that the market will punish.

What is certain is that the old media business will soon have a new look. It could be the look of a ghost town. Look out for the tumbleweed.

Even if the change is not so drastic, the impact will be significant. What will this mean for commercial and political systems that rely on it so much?

Strangely, at the root of it are all the geeks who made the Internet work. You probably wouldn’t want to release these geeks to the light of day, but without them and their technology none of this could have happened.

And the credits roll something like this:

  • TCP/IP
  • HTTP
  • Web Browsers
  • Netscape
  • Internet Explorer
  • 56k Modems & Dial Up Internet
  • MP3
  • Quicktime, Real Media, Windows Media
  • Napster
  • Alta-Vista
  • Peer to Peer file sharing
  • Broadband / ADSL
  • Google search
  • Video streaming
  • Firefox
  • Flash
  • DivX
  • Bit torrent
  • You tube

Got anything to add?

Written by brettg in: Uncategorized |

Melbourne weather is fickle… big surprise!

25° in Melbourne yesterday became 10° today. Just great!

Written by brettg in: Uncategorized |

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