Tuesday, August 16, 2005 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

What Does the Future Hold for the Television Industry?

Do you want to know what the future of television might look like? Then you need to be reading this amazing new column by Diane Mermigas on Hollywood Reporter.com. Few analysts have their finger on the pulse of the modern media industry like she does.

Mermigas begins her column by noting that "with television's traditional food chain being shaken to its core by technological innovations, industry players on both sides of the content equation are groping for ways to use technology-driven changes to their advantage. But getting there means sifting through some fairly weighty questions that have no easy answers and rewriting the status quo."

She notes, however, that even if traditional television operators are willing take a stab at rewriting the status quo, the challenge will be formidable in light of the radically expanding universe of media inputs from which consumers can choose. "With television becoming only one, albeit important, spoke in the multimedia wheel, broadcast and cable players are beginning to see the possibilities for leveraging the value of their content elsewhere. They must."

Amen to that. Faithful readers of this blog know that I've spent a lot of time focusing on the radical changes sweeping through the media landscape and the various efforts made by many of the traditional players to try to keep pace. In particular, I've tried to highlight how many of these players are downsizing and taking a "back-to-basics" approach while simultaneously trying to tap new technologies and distribution techniques to reach an increasingly demanding population.

As Mermigas notes, "There have been encouraging signs, led by News Corp.'s $2 billion Internet spending spree, that these media giants are heightening their commitment to translating their must-have content to all digital wireless broadband platforms. Video games, cell phones and streaming Internet sites are part of the new lucrative syndication frontier, as long as they are willing to play by new rules."

"In a world in which consumers can increasingly access precisely what they want, on the device and in the location they chose, for the price they want to pay, the ability to use, repackage and market content to meet users' higher customization, personalization and functionality standards gets you a lucrative seat at the big table. But playing that game means changing relationships at every level of the media and entertainment supply and demand food chain--from content distributors, providers and producers, as well as advertisers and marketers."

Anyway, read her entire column. It's the best piece on the future of media that I've read in a long, long time.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 11:04 PM | Mass Media