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Broadcast Networks - On Death And Dying - OnMedea

Broadcast Networks - On Death And Dying

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broadcast_networks_death_and_dying.jpgFor Broadcast Networks, the end is coming and it's time for them to Accept their fate.

This isn't to say ABC, CBS, FOX, MBS, NBC, Univision and The CW (and similar Broadcast Networks around the world) are going away.  They'll just have to transform into one of the million other "Channels" out there - high profile Channels with good programming and production values - but still just another button on the Great Media Grid like ESPN, TNT, USA, Oxygen, (indeed), YouTube, etc.

According to a model developed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying", there are Five Stages of Grief

Over the past 20 years or so, Broadcast Networks have bounced around the First Four Stages in an effort to fight off the inevitable:

1.  Denial:  Broadcast Networks will always be the only place to reach a large audience.  We don't see that ever going away.  No one is going to watch the shit they make on Cable.  It's nothing but George Foreman Grill infomercials and drunken Jackass teenagers riding their bikes into traffic.

2.  Anger:  It's just not right!  They make such crap on Basic Cable.  How are they pulling in more advertising than us?!  I don't give a shit about the ratings of "Jersey Shore", the content on Broadcast Networks is far superior and always will be.  Goddamnit!  And don't you dare mention that fucking "Mad Men" to me again!  And Hell will freeze over before we ever produce a series for that inferior platform  There's no syndication value.  It's bullshit!

3.  Bargaining:  The playing field is not level.  It's not fair.  We really need you cable and satellite operators to pay us to retransmit our signal.  Don't forget - we're the Broadcast Networks.  If you give us two revenue streams, we'll give you really great programming with high ratings and advertising rates that are healthy for everyone.  Don't you realize there is only one place to reach a large audience?

4.  Depression:  Remember when Saturday night was the greatest night on television - when three networks (and three network Presidents) controlled every household?  Everyone had incredible line-ups.  It will never be that good again.  Thursday night used to be a place where advertisers needed us to launch a new movie or car or department store sales.  Those were the days.  Oh well, at least we still have our beach houses and court side basketball seats.

5.  Acceptance:  It's going to be okay.  It's not so bad to be equated with TBS.  I mean, they have Conan O'Brien now.  They are sort of like a Broadcast Network.  And we're still bigger than most of the other Channels.  And we'll get the Super Bowl back one day (after ESPN and The Food Network have their turns).  It's all good.


The death of Broadcast Networks may not happen in the next five years but it IS going to happen and the sooner we put them out of their misery and end that painful decline, the faster the industry can heal and begin to grow again. 

leslie_moonves.jpgMake no mistake, nothing can be done to save Broadcast Networks.  It's an old concept in a new world. 

For old school TV executives and their Madison Avenue chronies who are accustomed to lavish Upfront Presentations at Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden and the International Space Station, it's time to just let it go.  The Days of Wine and Roses and Fine Dining and Muffin Baskets are over.

Broadcast Network defenders (yes, Les Moonves, this means you) are becoming pathetic.  Face the facts, ESPN and Google are more valuable than CBS.  It may not seem fair - but there are many new Sheriffs in town.   Remember, if  you're in a business where single-digit drops in viewers is the New Growth, your business sucks.

So what are the Broadcast Networks supposed to do next?  Very simple.  Just accept equal footing (two revenue streams - subscription and advertising - enough with this silly Retrans business that no one can understand) and continue to run your business as just another Channel on the Grid

In the future (and it's coming), with a channel lineup grid that will be sorted Alphabetically and not by "importance" or "size" (and will include TV channels, websites and whatever else comes up) programming is, as it always has been, King . 

And may the best programmer win.

jill_kennedy_small.jpgJill Kennedy - OnMedea

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Hollywood Producer said:

I don't think people really think of the difference between channels anymore. It's all about the Brand and History, Discovery, Food. The Broadcast Networks are always mentioned by people as Channel 2 - Channel 4 - Channel 7.

a said:

Yeah when they say NBC is worth - $600 million (that's negative $600 million) there must be a problem.

About Jill Kennedy

Jill Kennedy - Blogger - OnMedea Jill Kennedy is an Ivy League MBA / refugee from Lehman Brothers.

Manka Bros. (and the Manka Business Channel) hired her (for a very low sum) to cover the world of media (not the world of Medea) in her own words without corporate interference.

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About Medea

Medea Medea was a real bitch from classical mythology - as most famously dramatized by Euripides.

She was a sorceress and wife of Jason, whom she assisted in obtaining the Golden Fleece. When Jason deserted her, she chopped up their children. One could say, Medea acted as rationally as a major media company.


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