Network execs: We’re still top dog!

Network execs: We’re still top dog!
Despite disruptive innovations that have rocked the broadcasting industry, top level network executives defended their turf at a conference in Los Angeles Wednesday. According to an AP report, network television programming now accounts for just 45 percent of the total entertainment audience.

But executives speaking at the Milken Global Conference Wednesday were optimistic about network television’s prospects and earning power.

“What time has shown is the unbelievable power of network TV,” said Peter Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corp., which owns the Fox Group. “The fact that people are still watching that much network television is a testament to its remarkable strength.”

“The only way you reach all American people is through network television,” said (Sumner Redstone, chairman and chief executive of Viacom Inc) Redstone, whose company owns CBS and several cable channels, including MTV and Nickelodeon.

These are the kinds of comments you’d expect from people like Chernin and Redstone, and it’s true that TV is still the best bang for the advertising buck. However, the shifts away from broadcasting are so profound (and accelerating) that I’m struck by the similarity between these statements and those of Kodak executives to shareholders at the dawn of digital photography. New media won’t entirely take the place of network television, but it will put it in its place (or assimilate it like The Borg).

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