Dec 26, 2012

The Future of 2nd Screen Is The Remote Control: Interview with

Five and a half minute video segment on the future of second screen and what's holding up innovation in the TV industry today.

Dec 18, 2012

"5 Myths About Social TV" Now Up On Digiday

These are largely taken from my presentations on the future of television and second screen, but nothing like noting the emperor has no clothes to get the faithful fuming.

The term social TV gets bandied about with great relish by those who want to be part of what Michael Lewis once called “the new, new thing.” Everyone from gurus and ninjas to VCs and network execs are caught up in the madness. Here are five myths you’re most likely to hear about social TV:

1. People using social media while watching TV are actually watching TV.
There are so many stats about how people use their iPads and iPhones while they’re watching TV. You want to know what they’re doing on their iPad? They’re checking Facebook. The TV is just on as background noise. Maybe their significant other is watching a show they have no interest in; maybe it’s just too quiet in the house, or the game is coming on in five minutes. But their primary focus at that point is Facebook, not the TV screen. It’s not like they’re tagging photos during the key scenes of “Mad Men.”


Dec 12, 2012

The TV Industry Is Alive and Well: New @ Digiday

I have a new article about the TV industry up at Digiday this week, explaining why the business is currently more analogous to the pre-iPhone mobile phone industry than to the post-Napster music industry.

It’s a relentless drumbeat: The TV industry is dead, 20-somethings are cutting the
cord. They want HBO; YouTube will kill cable.
Not so fast.
The pay-TV industry is not that easy to dismantle. That’s largely because the business
dynamics make it a pretty tough beast to slay.
Let’s start with the giant bundles of channels you’re forced to take as part of your

Dec 9, 2012

"TV" or "Video": A Rose By Any Other Name...

It is frequently debated nowadays whether “television” is still the right word for all the video entertainment we watch these days on a multitude of screens, given that so much of it comes from sources other than the main TV networks and is watched on devices other than a TV.

The suggestion is that we just start calling all this content “video.”

Logically it makes perfect sense. But logic and consumer behavior are rarely in sync.  in the mind of the consumer, the people using the product, the distinction is not as easily made. To them, “television” is high production, long-form video content, something that’s worthy of being watched up on the big screen, while “video” is of lower production value and, unless it involves one’s own pets or children, better viewed on a smaller, handheld device.

That, and television is always television, no matter where you watch it. Take in an episode of Seinfeld on your iPhone on the way home from work and you still tell people you were watching “television,” not “mobile video.”

And vice versa, if you were watching a YouTube video on your TV, you’d never think to call it “television.”

I just don’t seeing that changing any time soon: there just aren’t that many organizations with the resources to produce high end television series who also have the resources to distribute them in a way that ensures they earn back their investment. (e.g. AMC could produce Mad Men because they were taking the gamble that if the show succeeded, they’d make money in the way of higher annual fees from the MVPDs who carried the network. An independent YouTube channel has no such arrangements in place and needs to find an alternative business model.)

Which brings us around to the original point: even though it seems probable that a few of YouTube’s new channels will find that alternative business model and start producing high-quality television, viewers at home will not refer to the resulting high production quality, 30 or 60 minute programs as “video.”

They’ll still call it “TV.”

Because at that point they'll be only vaguely aware of where it came from, just where it went to.