the death of the internet … ?

is it evil of me to have a sort of automatic joyful emotional response when i read this?

“History shows that in the face of new technology, those who adapt their business models don’t just survive, they prosper. Technology advances, and no laws can preserve markets that have been passed by.” Google chairman Eric Schmidt may not have intended those remarks as a verbal grenade, but many in his audience of 2,000 television industry members took them that way.

that was from a Chris Marlowe article yesterday on Digital Media Wire about a lecture given by Google’s Eric Schmidt at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Chuck Saftler & Eric Roberts at the PRISM Awards in Aprilreading this article i was reminded of a short conversation i had a little over a year ago with Chuck Saftler, Executive VP at FX Networks and General Manager of Fox Movie Channel. after a short forum he gave at a Boston University event last July (he and i are both BU alum) i went up to him and asked him what he thought about the future of internet content and he said “Oh, it’s going nowhere.” now don’t get me wrong, i think non-reality television content by and large has been experiencing a sort of mini-renaissance for a while now (The Wire, Damages, Dexter, etc.) and there are few networks that consistently create better shows than FX (Sons of Anarchy, Damages, Rescue Me, Louie & Always Sunny – if you like that kind of thing), but there was something so arrogant – tinged with perhaps a little panic – in the way he just blew it all off that immediately turned me off. i let him finish telling me all the reasons why internet content delivery would never make anybody any money – knowing full well that it already was – with no intention of taking the conversation any further.

when i read about the quick birth and death of major studio experiments like Paramount’s Stage 9 – half-baked and fruitless attempts by the studios to get into web content before the technology or devices existed to make such a move even vaguely prudent – i can see why current entrenched execs would think that the internet is a lemon. the problem is, they’re wrong, and the evidence of such is growing exponentially every day. i’m sure if i were to have the chance to ask Chuck today what i asked him over a year ago, his answer would probably be a bit more nuanced – perhaps even conciliatory -, but maybe not! he might be doubling down on that idea. i’m not saying the internet will crush TV – that’d be ridiculous to say, but it will have an effect and that’s what those TV execs in Edinburgh don’t want to hear – even if it’s the one thing they need to understand most!

anyway, it’s a very interesting article, you should definitely give it a read yourself, and only time will tell the true extent to which the internet will effect television bottom lines, but i bet you this: those TV networks that will survive the coming upheaval best will be those who embrace the internet as best they can, not those who try to ignore it.

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