Is Fox set to launch an NBC Direct look alike?
everything old is new again

Future Visions: Where does network tv go from here?

Future_tv_43_3 I was jamming with Jordan Bitterman this morning about of all things... NBC Direct, the future of Network Television, and our mutual love of all things Family Guy.  And we came across a couple of interesting trends, I'd love get your thoughts on them.

  • When we time and/or place shift television content we don't think about The Office as an NBC show, but as our content.  At the same time, if we had to choose a network that was ours, we would say NBC.  This is based on historical viewing behaviors from the time when we spent our Thursday nights on NBC. 
    • What affinity (if any) will the next generation of future viewers have towards networks? (the build out below is my own)
      • As kids they will still have Nick, Disney and PBS channels. Most children don't have appointment viewing that must be time-shifted or the capability to place shift.  They don't have the need for personalized controlled viewing.
      • Once in Junior High to High School their tastes, viewing behaviors will shift and asset control capabilities will shift. Additionally, the many kids whose parents won't let them have televisions in their rooms but may have computers, iPods and other rich media capable devices will begin to view more content on digital mediums - which offer additional control.
      • Colleges and universities are currently a primo ground for piracy. While universities are cutting down on pirating and p2p activity, this is largely outside of their own network - ie - access to internet, not their own intranets.  Having recently visited a number of campuses, the sheer volume of internal file sharing I witnessed is astounding.  These behaviors are being learned for life.  (This should be NBC Direct's primary target audience.)  When I'm accessing my digital content through aggregate sites, what affinity will I have at this life stage towards an individual network? 
  • In the age of true user control, what position will networks play in the market?  Networks buy programming from the content creators and distribute that content via broadcast media and now digital media.  Once networks opens up their content to user controlled digital distribution, what's to stop content creators from working directly with digital distribution platforms and collecting all the ad revenue for themselves?
  • The voice of the user is pushing longtail content up towards the fat belly.  Case in point:
    • D#@k in a box and Lazy Sunday ultimately drove to Superbad
    • Family Guy's DVD sales and cable tv popularity led to their return to network TV
    • TMZ is on Network TV
  • How does this change the current media landscape?
    • Is talent discovery is no longer controlled by industry leaders?
    • Is content distribution shifting away from the networks?
    • Will tomorrow's viewers hold network affinities or will ubiquitous distribution create affinities towards content alone?