Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Is TV Newsworthy?

Here's a link to The Verge's interview with NBC's Chief Digital Officer Vivian Schiller that you might find interesting and thankfully low on industry buzzspeak. Schiller brings an impressive set of credentials to her position at the Peacock, so if you, like me, still tend to look at job titles like "Chief Digital Officer" with skepticism, she might change your mind about the level of validity this position holds.

For me, the key sentence that sums up the interview is:

Social media rewards live viewing as opposed to time-shifting. If you’re in the television business, that’s a really great thing.

That's true for the news division, as well as the entertainment side. Anyone who's realized you can't leave master control unmanned during prime time anymore, knows how the broadcast networks have revived live programming in the form of talent contests and Survival-like non-talent contests in order to create unpredictable and Tweetable drama. The only excuse I can find for watching even one installment of "Big Brother" is to Tweet or IM your friends "OMG! This is so lame. LMAO."

News is the ultimate reality show.

The interview touches on how the different platforms require different approaches, and scratches the surface on why you can't get the entire newscast streamed: basically, the best way to get Millineals and Late Boomers to click out is to keep those 2-minute pharmaceutical ads on the stream. It's still very hard to monetize the website, and I have no idea how anyone can show a profit margin from somebody sending Tweets. And if the author takes the easy way out and puts those default box ads on the site saying, "OHIO, mortgages are at an all-time low!" you ain't gonna make it with me anyhow.

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