..... or so they keep saying. They said it in the fifties when TV became popular. They said it in the eighties when video came around. And they said it in the nineties with DVD and Home Cinema.
But it still seems to be here? And revenue is pretty much growing year on year. And you don't hear too many complaints about audience fragmentation like you do in TV? I suppose some of that is due to the fact that the studios are responsible for some of the TV audience fragmentation. Who's going to watch some ropey old drama on TV when the latest blockbuster can be viewed in the comfort of your own armchair? God bless DVD.
I've posted before about the economics of HW. In 1984 the studios made a 2.2 Billion dollar loss on theatrical releases. Seriously. 2.2 Billion dollar LOSS!!!!! That sounds like a business you don't want to be in. Unless you know they made a 30 BILLION DOLLAR PROFIT !!!!! from DVD and TV sell through. Now it begins to make a little sense. Especially as they have gipped the talent out of their fair share of that pot of gold - but that's another story. See, Studios evolved and built a new business model where they could actually take advantage of the competition.
TV has to make that same leap of evolving if it wants to stay as the market leader in home entertainment. The guys in pony tails will bang on about how evolving means web content and user interfaces and all that crap. Complete red herring. The one and only truth is that if you want people to watch the show, they have to want to watch it. The fact that some fanboy can pose a question to an actor or vote on the colour of the hero's car is meaningless if he is the only fanboy watching. [ Apropos of Will Dixon's excellent post]
In my opinion TV has to cater for those who don't visit show websites. That is their audience. The vast majority of us. And we are a fickle bunch. We know from Ep 1 if a show is crap or worth sticking with. If we like it we'll make a vague committment to sit down next week and watch. If it continues to entertain we'll firm it up a bit and make it required viewing. If it really touches us in whatever way we may possibly buy the box set.
If it doesn't entertain, it is gone. Dead. History. Doesn't matter how many marketing gimmicks you throw our way. We can smell a stinker. You can make a corpse twitch by shoving a few thousand volts through it, but it will never play the piano again .
So what can TV do to compete? Make better programmes. Because by doing so you will be able so sell them internationally, which will give you more money to make better programmes, which will enable you to sell internationally, which will .........well you know where I'm going.
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3 years ago