Waiting to be rescued is the wrong place to be

Diane Mermigas continues to sound the trumpet in such a way that broadcasters need to be paying attention. Nobody understands the business side of the industry like Diane, and that’s why her writing is so important. In her latest for the Hollywood Reporter, she looks at the realities broadband will play in television’s future and challenges broadcasters to get with it.

Ask television broadcasters about the future, and they most likely will say they are waiting to be rescued by regulators enforcing digital must-carry, increased sale of digital television sets and a digital critical mass penetration that includes not only homes but also individual TV sets. TV broadcasters say they will resist spending much money on digital content until there is a big enough market (more than the current 10 million digital homes) to assure a payback — mirroring their approach to high-definition television.

But the digital revolution is nothing like the qualitative HDTV picture technology that will come to the masses through attrition. It is all about the interactivity, portability, high speeds and huge storage capacity that consumers already are embracing in many places, away from the home TV. Even at home, the 30% of consumers with broadband connections will at least double within five years, according to Forrester Research.

She adds that broadcasters will still have a place in the “radically changing media food chain…if they are smart.” This leads to the best line in the piece:
They only have to look at their newspaper brethren to know how not to respond.
Preach it, Diane. Preach it.

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