Facts to back up my free TV rants

Henry Blodgett in Business Insider analyzes the revenue drop off for newspapers, then turns his attention to the next dead media whore: television.

If not for live sports, which are consumed by exactly one member of our household (me), there is no way we would be paying for cable TV or any other kind of traditional pay TV anymore. And even as a sports fan, I'm starting to find the fragmented multi-channel coverage of the few sports I watch--like tennis (Grand Slams), baseball (Yankees), and football (Jets/Giants)--so annoying that I may soon investigate just getting those via direct subscriptions.

In other words, in our household, and in many other households like ours, the same thing has happened to the TV business that has happened to the newspaper business:

The user behavior that supported the traditional all-in-one TV "packages"--networks and cable/satellite distributors--has changed.

We still consume some TV content, but we consume it when and where we want it, and we consume it deliberately: In other words, we don't settle down in front of the TV and watch "what's on." And, again with the exception of live sports, we've gotten so used to watching shows and series without ads that ads now seem extraordinarily intrusive and annoying. Our kids see TV ads so rarely that they're actually curious about and confused by them: "What is that? A commercial?"

Read more:

If you're interested in the future of sports for those of us who don't go to the games, you should click the link and read the rest of what Blodgett has to say. Like so much of our economy, the market's not driving any of this horseshit. The people who bring us the games do so by virtue of complex legal agreements that are focused more on restricting content than sharing it. Teams don't care how many fans they have; teams care about how many paying fans they have.

Watching commercials is insufficient payment. People pay for cable/dish and still have to watch commercials so why put anything on free TV? The reason why is pretty simple. As Blodgett points out, the First World is dying to give up TV. TV as we've experienced it is not relevant to our media devices. Technology has outpaced the content providers who now desperately cling to old business models, ruthlessly exploiting sports fans who are their last captive audience (seriously, check out the Miss Universe numbers sometime).

It's not about making cranky TMiss happy anymore. It's about changing your business model to give fans what the fans want, and the fans are tired of paying $100 a month for access to the games they want to see. Henry Blodgett is not some raving lunatic, he's a respected, mainstream business analyst who the TV suits would do well to listen to.

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