Tag Archives: ABC

Bob Iger Says that Broadcast TV ain’t dead Yet

“I would say that it would be premature to either write the epitaph [of broadcast network television] or suggest that we’re seeing a trend,” that is a quote from Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Co.  He goes on to say that the lack of any new “buzzworthy” shows is what is accounting for this early season weakness.  He then goes on to talk about NBC’s show “The Voice” as showing improved viewership, and then mentions ABC’s “serviceable” line-up of shows — FYI Disney owns ABC, so I don’t think we can call his comments about that networks shows as glowing.

He is right though, it is still far too early for us to be giving the traditional broadcast networks their eulogies.  There are still far too many people who tune into these traditional networks for them to be officially declared dead.  They are sick though, and while the illness hasn’t quite been declared terminal, the outlook sure as heck at that good.

There are many people who have already severed their cable, and satellite subscriptions, in favor of streaming content provided by companies like Netflix, Blockbuster (yes it is still around) and Hulu.  While this doesn’t necessarily spell the end of traditional television shows, it doesn’t help the traditional broadcast networks either.  The people who are opting for the above content providers over cable/satellite/antennae are supporting their favorite television shows, they aren’t tuning into ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, or any of the other networks; which cuts into those networks ad revenues.  So the television production studios might survive, but the networks are facing a bit of a dilemma.

There are more people who are also simply getting rid of their televisions, and choosing their computers as the source of all of their news and entertainment wants and needs.  Not surprisingly those who are going this route are of the younger set – college students and young professionals — and I can tell you that I have met about a half dozen or so recently.  So, yes Mr. Iger, broadcast television is still alive, but it isn’t getting stronger, it is getting weaker, and I dare say that its days are numbered.

The End of Television as We Know it

I know I am not going to be the first, nor the last person to ever say this, but the days of what we call broadcast television are numbered.  The future lies with streaming audio and video content via the internet.

For those who are still skeptical about this future I can understand why, because even though I am a believer in this future, I still get my television through what is now considered one of the “traditional” means – through a satellite dish.  Despite that though, I still think that the internet is where the future of television watching is.

People have seriously talking about this future for about a decade now, and there are already services that we can subscribe to that will allow us to cut the cord, sort to speak.  Services like Hulu Plus, Netflix, Blockbuster (yes they are still around), and with a combination of two of those you can watch much of your favorite television shows, and movies for less than what it costs for whatever form of cable/satellite service you might currently have.  Then there is the fact that many new televisions are now equipped to access the internet on their own, and many come with preinstalled aps, like Pandora, Youtube, and even Hulu.  All of that is well and good for many people, but there is a group of individuals who must stay tethered to some sort of receiver or another, and they are the sports fans.

Currently most sports broadcasts are only offered through mainstream television channels, like NBC, ABC, CBS, ESPN, as well as others.  ESPN does stream some games on ESPN3.com, but not all.  Once all sports are available to be watched online, then that will be the end of what we call the status quo for watching television.  We’ll have to wait and see if that is a good thing or not.

Life Before Cable

Who here can remember life before cable television?  I know I can, and at the risk of sounding overly idyllic, I think that life was nicer, if not better, way back then.  Sure, sure, television viewers were saddled with “only” four television channels, those being the local affiliates for NBC, ABC, CBS, and PBS; and some communities had to make do with only three, or less of those four.  You know what though, most of us never really felt deprived, or shortchanged; it was simply what we knew.

It is all too easy for those who aren’t old enough to remember life before cable to criticize the quality of the television shows way back then (it was only about 35 years ago), but you know what?  I used to be critical of the early television shows that my parents used to watch too; so the idea of quality is a relative thing.

Here’s another thing that I remember from in that long ago ancient time, before we were blessed with hundreds of television channels, if people felt that there was nothing worth watching on, then many people simply turned the television off and actually did something.  I know, that is a shocking concept there, but trust me it did happen.  Let me ask you a question, how many times have you simply scrolled through the channels hoping that something good will magically appear that piques your interest?  I know I have done that – too many times.  I remember on nights when “nothing” was on, my family would turn-off the TV and breakout the board games and spent quality time together.  For all of the cable/internet generation, when was the last time your family did that?

Of course I realize that we cannot go back, cable television is here, and honestly there are several cable networks that I enjoy watching.  No, I am not advocating the abolition of cable, but I do have a little lamentation for the days of yore from time to time.  Maybe I’m just getting too damn old, or maybe it is because I was tired of scrolling through all of those channels and muttering that there is absolutely nothing on.

The NFL Breaks the Gender Barrier

“ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?!”  That is (or was) the opening lyric by Hank Williams Junior for Monday Night Football; even though the ratings for that weekly Monday evening NFL broadcast slipped to the point where it was moved to ESPN from ABC, the answer to that question for millions of Americans was a decided “Yes — yes I am ready for some football.”  In case you might not be aware of this, but football (the American kind) is the most popular, and profitable, professional sport here in the good old US of A.  There are many reasons for this, too many to list and explain here, but to give a Cliff’s Notes summary; the big ones are as follows:

(1)    The sport is almost tailor made for television – even though its birth was long before that medium — with plenty of pauses for commercials (revenue) and instant replay’s (viewer content).

(2)    There is plenty of suspense, and “pucker” factor plays to keep fans on the edge of their seats.

(3)    And it has proven to be the most adaptive and progressive professional sports league, willing to change rules in mid-season, embrace instant replay as an official review mechanism, and now breaking the gender barrier.

Relax football “purists,” there will not be actual female football players trotting out on the field, I think even the most ardent feminist could argue that the size, strength, and speed of the men in the NFL might be too much for even the most fit of females out there to handle.  Where the gender barrier has been broken is going to be among the on field officials, with the first female referee making her on field debut in Thursday’s NFL exhibition game, between the Green Bay Packers and the San Diego Chargers.

Now, to be fair Shannon Eastin is getting her big break due to the fact that there is an ongoing labor dispute between the NFL and the Officials Union.  This isn’t to mean that she doesn’t deserve this though.  She has been a long-time official at the college level, which is the stepping stone for both the players and the officials.  While there already have been some who decided to expose their sexism upon hearing this, I say congratulations to the NFL for allowing Ms. Eastin this opportunity.  For all of the naysayers out there, all she has to be able to do is know the rules and then be able to identify and throw a flag on plays where there is an infraction.  Near as I can tell that doesn’t require a pair of testes to do this.


“Desperate Housewives” Finale Makes for Distraught People

You have undoubtedly heard the phrase, “appointment television” referring to television shows in which people make it a point to watch at whatever appointed time that program is going to be aired.  These are shows that their fans cannot, and will not miss; “Hey Bob, can you make it to my son’s bar mitzvah on Sunday?”  “Sorry Steve I gotta watch {insert favorite show here}.”  That is appointment television, and yes, there are some people out there who will turn down, or reschedule events based upon when, and what time their favorite program comes on.

Well, yesterday, Sunday, the 13th of May, 2012, one such program exited ABC’s broadcasting schedule forever; and apparently has left many a viewer so distraught to where their lives have lost meaning.  That television show was, “Desperate Housewives.”  I myself have never watched an episode, though I have friends who absolutely loved it (at least the first season) and they did try and persuade me to give it a shot; but I held fast.

I have a television, and there is satellite service connected to it, which gives me access to more channels than I know what to do with.  I also have some shows that I like more than others, but there are none in which I must drop everything to watch.  I guess I am too cynical to become that invested in fictional characters and their fictional lives.  I have my own life, boring as it may be, which tends to keep me preoccupied with reality.

I realize that television can be, and is a form of escapism from the drudgery of our daily existence, but seriously when the ending of your favorite television show prompts you to take to your Twitter account and broadcast such messages as these:

“just watched the last episode of desperate housewives.. so.. what do i do with my life now?”  https://twitter.com/#!/emmamclean_x

“So that’s it. No more Desperate Housewives. I’m not unhappy or happy with the way it ended. Gutted it’s over.”  https://twitter.com/#!/gridon

“Desperate Housewives.. I cried. I religiously watched that show… I feel like I just lost a bunch of girl friends.”  https://twitter.com/#!/AlexisDiNatale

Then maybe, just maybe, you might have a problem.  Trust me, everything will be just fine, and the world will go on without “Desperate Housewives” and so can you.  Besides, you can bet that somewhere out there will be another television show you will be able to become too emotionally attached to, and then “Desperate Housewives” will simply be a faded memory.