Thursday, June 11, 2015

Broadcast TV is screwed already. Radio?

by Don Keith

Regular followers here know how I feel about how rapid technological change is affecting media in general and traditional over-the-air TV and radio in particular.  Basically, it's like an armadillo in the middle of a super-highway.  But traditional media continue to waddle right down  the thoroughfare, doing business just as they always had.  And, like our poor armadillo, ignoring all those other technological innovations that were threatening their very existence.

Somehow radio and TV continue to do the same (or less!) than they did when their only competition for eyeballs and ears were themselves.  How could media who are supposed to be so creative be so utterly lacking in creativity or innovation when their entire business model is in danger of getting splattered by a semi?

But even I have to admit that I'm surprised that Pandora and other commercial-free, web-delivered content have not made an even bigger dent in traditional radio.  Especially in light of data that shows Netflix is gutting network TV at a stunning rate...even if Nielsen, the folks who theoretically measure TV viewing, has no way of measuring the outlet that probably has more eyeballs than any one of the networks.

Now comes an interesting blog post by one of the smartest men in the business, and one of the smartest with whom I have had the pleasure of working.  Pierre Bouvard has some interesting observations based on new data, and if you are interested at all in how tech change is adjusting what you will be watching on that big-screen, take a moment to READ it.

So does this mean radio remains strong and vibrant?  No, it is still an armadillo, creeping across a ten-lane expressway, and the tech world is bearing down on it at well above the speed limit.  What this data Pierre shares might mean is that it is not too late.  That station operators can still find ways to embrace how people expect media to be delivered and paid for.  But it ain't playing "the biggest hits of yesterday and today with fewer commercials."

See, time is running out.  Curling up in a shell and hoping the onslaught misses is not a strategy for saving a medium.

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