So says Jason Hirschhorn, senior vice president of digital media for MTV in a News.com article on the internet and the future of television. He added, “Viewers want more interactive TV, but traditional TV won’t die. Still the best way to reach an audience is through the TV.”
While I certainly agree that TV is still the best way to reach a mass audience (for how long?), I don’t share Hirschhorn’s confidence that traditional TV isn’t on its eventual way out. Perhaps it’s a matter of degrees, but — and this article does a fine job of pointing it out — the public’s appetite for a la carte viewing is best not underestimated. The truth is we just don’t know, because the industry has steadfastly refused to let it happen. They’ve got too much to lose, but some content creators are positioning themselves. Marguarite Reardon, who wrote the c/net article seems to agree:
But it’s clear that content providers like Comedy Central are starting to position themselves for a transition in the market. Comedy Central knows that nearly 85 percent of its viewers have broadband access and tend to be early adopters of technology, so it’s not far-fetched to assume that some of these viewers could also experiment with Internet-based television.
We will go where ever the viewers are,” Hirschhorn added. “Right now they are in both places—on the Net and on cable and satellite networks. We don’t believe in shutting people off. We aren’t going to react like the music industry, who has been trying to put the genie back in the bottle.”