After reading Jim Louderback’s (CEO of Revision3) insightful blog post on the state of the television industry, http://louderback.com/2011/zombie-cable-channels-seek-second-life-online/ I have decided to follow his lead and further the analogy that the entertainment industry as we knew it has officially DIED, but the execs are still walking around aimlessly trying to figure out what to do.
That’s right the zombies are walking among us. Let me explain. Last week I attended NATPE the National Association of Television Program Executives conference in Miami. This is the place where TV executives (IE: “ZOMBIES”) show off their wares, buy and sell their shitty shows, and speak on panels to make themselves feel like they are important. I am talking about men and woman in suits making 6 figures a year, and continuing to be the “dealmakers” for the major studios, TV Networks, and Cable Companies. Like the current feature film studio system, TV is changing so fast we can barely keep a handle on it. But this is great news for independent producers and online video content creators. The Zombies don’t really know what to do about the changing face of technology and how we are getting and watching TV.
*sidenote: The Zombies do know how to spend hundreds of thousands of $$$ on marketing their shitty TV shows.
In three days is sat in panel after panel of the top people in the TV industry talking about the various aspects of the industry. And in almost every panel, I heard the zombies talk about “Monetization strategies”, “the problems with Netflix, YouTube and Hulu” and “Branded Entertainment”. Even a top shelf guy who had formerly run giant NBC; Jeff Zucker (NBC) acknowledged that “How to get paid (in online video content) is the big question… we haven’t figured it out yet, but that’s the goal”. This question was echoed in almost every panel, but the Zombies don’t want to see or admit to the fact that the answer is directly in front of them. It’s already happening at YouTube, Revision3 and Smosh.TV. The Zombies don’t want to lose their fat cat jobs and cars because of the pesky online landscape, so instead of embracing it, they try to talk it down (Online video is the place to watch funny cats, not for quality content)
*sidenote: The Zombies are currently pretending to understand Twitter and Facebook, not because they want to, but because it just seems important.
The future of television and feature films is evolving in changing in that same way as the record industry did…its already becoming a different beast as we the consumers are changing our viewing habits. In music, as downloads were happening, people went wherever it was easy to get it…Napster, Torrents, ITunes. Now in Television, slowly people are dropping their cable providers for Hulu and Netflix. How long before HBO offers an app for $2/month to get their premiere content directly to your computer/Ipad/phone/Roku/Boxee? Really…what are they waiting for? I would happily pay for it…would you?
A better explanation of this is on VentureBeat.com by Ty Braswell http://venturebeat.com/2011/01/17/why-2011-will-be-do-or-die-for-tv/
*sidenote: The Zombies are trying to seem hip by wearing their expensive suits, with jeans.
There are many issues at hand, and at the core it is keeping production costs inside the production (not in the Zombies annual salaries), and getting the content to the viewer as seamlessly and intuitively as possible, by porting to Roku, AppleTV, Playstation3 and Boxee. Quality content is still king, but now more than ever, quality content is not going to be governed by studio executives, but by the forward thinking companies like YouTube, Revision3 and Smosh.tv who already have partnership programs in place to pay for the content, and deliver it to you for FREE.
*sidenote: The Zombies will tell you that TV has a much greater reach for advertisers than anywhere online…which is true, unless you are YouTube which reaches a global audience..
The best part about this is that the Zombies are not going to go down easily (they are going to need more than a double-tap to kill them). And the longer they keep collecting the fat salaries, and embracing the old television business model, the easier it will be for the new breed of producers to KILL them off.