Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pulling the plug on Internet TV

Posted By on Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Watching television on a computer isn't my thing, unless you count NetFlix, and even that's rare. But, apparently, I'm in the minority on this one. Problem is, so many people are watching TV online that broadcasters are wringing their hands because you're not watching shows when they air equals less advertising revenue for them. So instead of finding ways to appease their customer base, they're going to make watching your favorite shows online much more difficult. (And these are supposedly expert marketers. Bahaha.)

But, shrinking television audiences are nothing new:

Other than live event programming like the Super Bowl, however, the days of a single television show pulling in the vast majority of American TV households are over. The broadcast networks are long past their peak. Their audience — in absolute numbers, not relative numbers — has been shrinking since the early 1980s.

Read the rest of this GigaOm article, by Mike Hudack, here.

That's why every viewer, and every penny they generate, counts:

Television is losing ground in one of its most lucrative strongholds: Thursday nights.

Fewer people in the U.S. are watching Thursday prime-time TV so far this fall, as changing viewing habits, weaker shows and more varied competition take a toll on a night that for decades has showcased some of TV's most high-profile programs, and priciest commercials.

Read the rest of this Wall Street Journal article, by Sam Schechner, here.

And this is why broadcasters are trying to figure out ways to make the Internet less attractive.

Broadcasters took a big step toward eliminating free TV shows on the Web after they blocked access to their programming online this month to enforce their demands to be paid.

Recent actions by Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS in two separate fee disputes suggest that after a few years of experimenting with free, ad-supported viewing, broadcasters believe they can make more money from cable TV providers if they hold back some programming online.

That could mean new limits on online viewing are coming: Broadcasters might make fewer of their shows available to begin with, or delay when they become available — say, a month after an episode is broadcast, rather than the few hours it typically takes now.

It would make it tougher for viewers to drop their cable TV subscriptions and watch shows online instead. If cable and satellite TV providers can hang on to more subscribers, broadcasters can then demand more money from them to carry their stations on the lineups.

Read the rest of this Associated Press article here.

Of course, there are plenty of examples of companies looking to maximize, and please, their online viewers, making the networks look like a bunch of antiquated, out of touch crybabies.

Who do you think will win this battle? My money's on the Internet. And, let's get real: Money is what this battle is all about. Everyone wants your eyeballs on their annoying advertisements. Meanwhile, we're getting better at ignoring them.

But, what is advertising really? I think the documentary "The Corporation" got it right when they called advertising "perception management." Check it out:

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