What happens when nobody needs a TV

That’s the question posed in this post by Corey Bergman at Lost Remote:

Last week, a Broadcasting & Cable editorial warned that TV newscasts could follow the way of the newspaper.  This week, B&C’s Jennifer Yarter asks, “What happens when the web starts to replace the television?” Yarter said the catalyst of her column was a dinner with a group of tech-savvy 20-somethings who said they don’t watch TV or even subscribe to cable or satellite. They just watch whatever they want online. Yarter writes, “Most of these young adults are falling into a new territory of media consumption that could potentially eliminate the need for local television stations.”

Absolutely, and consider this: the only thing that most local TV stations produce is local news. Local TV news in its current form, when translated online, looks very similar to everyone else’s news. If it’s not truly original or unique, it’s a commodity (especially in aggregated environments). And as more people get their local news online instead of making an appointment to watch it on TV, revenue loss will accelerate. A solution here is to start producing original content that bridges platforms — that’s unique enough to not only to attract an audience but create fans. Fans are people who accept no substitutes. Can local TV news, by itself, create this kind of online loyalty? I don’t believe so. It will require new, innovative,
locally-produced niche programming that spans TV, mobile and the web. In other words, a whole new approach. Similar to the newspapers, it will be a matter of survival.

I keep asking myself why nobody in a position to do so, is tackling this. The answer I keep coming up with, time after time is that reinventing your TV station (or your radio station) for the new world we’re in is –in the short term– risky and expensive. And the decision makers are close enough to retirement (or have their fuck-you money put aside) that they have decided (even if they haven’t admitted it aloud) to manage their stations to “a profitable demise.” Milk the cash cow until Bossie goes dry.

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