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Just so you know, TV isn’t dead

March 30, 2009

Read the Ad Contrarian’s Rant about TV not being dead here.

I responded there, and will elaborate here:

The people saying TV is dead are as idiotic as the people saying TV is fine. This whole argument has me thinking about Clay Shirky‘s newspaper post from a little while ago. In it he says this when talking about the demise of newspapers:

Clay Shirky
Image via Wikipedia

“Round and round this goes, with the people committed to saving newspapers demanding to know “If the old model is broken, what will work in its place?” To which the answer is: Nothing. Nothing will work. There is no general model for newspapers to replace the one the internet just broke.”

It was Alan Wolk who linked to it and wondered if newspapers could be replaced with ad agencies. And that’s a sort of interesting question, because the system in ad agencies is predicated on living and breathing mass media. the system works better with healthy newspapers (media people can’t buy Craigslist.) We need TV to be healthy as well. So it seems good to have TV alive and kicking. On a personal note, I happen to hate reality TV shows, and like well-written shows. The lack of reality TV means I’m watching more of it.

And yet, there’s something wrong. As a proud Nielson family (I have one of those computers on the back of my TV that logs everything I watch), I can only give you anecdotal information.

We have basic cable, and rarely watch it. We watch most of the things we watch on the computer, which nobody counts, even though it could easily be counted with a simple login.

I watched every episode of the Daily Show I’ve ever seen online. Same with Lost. my wife watched the vast majority of Friday night Lights online, and we both watch Life together, entirely online.

And yet, in the advertising industry, we rely on this macro ratings system whereby someone represents 30K-60K households. Then we trot out stats either for or against saying look! “This bolsters my argument.”

And the bigger question might be, “why are we looking at these stats?”

Are we nuts?

Digital will not replace TV, but then, the people who think it should are idiots. It’s not that black and white. In my opinion, the computer and the TV are on a collision course. At some point, my online watching life will collide with my watching TV life. Right now, they don’t, and thus Nielson is horribly inefficient at measuring it.  When they do, the things we can do digitally, will morph into things we can do on TV. Because as long as the ‘channels/sites/players” aren’t filled with rotty reality TV, people will watch.

The course will be, as it always has been, dependent on the content. So, it’s sort of like digital in that way.

I ended my letter to TAC with this signoff. “Shit TV means more people will read your blog.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2009 6:09 pm

    Matt:Congratulations on your Blog
    I really like your writing style. Would you like to be a guest author on the Jacob Report? We have been voted one of the Top 100 Blogs in America, and we are assembling some of the best Blog Authors from around the web to contribute. We would like to include you as a guest author.
    The Jacob Report is everything Sales and Marketing, and it looks like you would be a great contributor!
    Let me know as quickly as you can please.

    Andy Jacob


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