What a pompous ass!

Brokaw, that is. This quote — referring to ABC’s 24/7 broadband experiment — will come back to bite him one day:

“They can talk all they want about the two-person digital channel, or whatever it is — I’m not sure they even understand it. They will have eight people exposed to what he’s doing gavel to gavel.”
This arrogant, looking-down-the-nose utterance came during a panel discussion Sunday at Harvard. It was reported in an excellent article in the New York Times appropriately titled “Network Anchors Hold Fast to Their Dwindling 15 Minutes.”

Tom, Tom. You don’t get it, do you? As you survey the great masses from atop your pedestal, you must smile as you ponder the vastness of your reach. NBC’s variety of broadcast and cable channels must make you feel all warm inside, because your legacy will be written as the king of the broadcast mountain. After all, your reach is greater than anybody else’s.

But because you’re way “up there,” you can’t possibly see what’s happening “down here.”

You see, we’re discovering something. We’re getting along just fine without you, and guess what? More and more people are making that discovery every day. You may have a hundred channels that make you think you are omnipresent, but that won’t change this one simple truth: mass marketing is history. We want what we want when we want it, not when you give it. The sad truth is your mountain is crumbling, and nobody cares.

Jennings’ experiment with a digital, broadband channel isn’t going to give him your reach. Nobody thinks that. And the experiment is unlikely to “work,” because it’s being treated as simply another broadcast channel. What it does do, however, is bring ABC closer to the reality of convergence and — more importantly — the idea that news is a conversation. This puts them in the catbird’s seat for the future, because you cannot possibly figure this Internet thing out unless you’re right in the middle of it.

The only problem with ABC’s experiment is its connection with RealNetworks, whose RealPlayer is widely regarded by experienced Internet users as — to be kind — a necessary evil (because some companies foolishly use only RealPlayer files for their streaming). ABC will never realize its online potential as long as it is in an exclusive arrangement with RealNetworks for two reasons. One, RealNetworks runs off a flawed business model. It is a closed, subscriber-based network that functions like a portal. This model is, like, so 20th century! Moreover, RealNetworks is as bad as AOL in its attempting to force users into its paid corner. Hence, ABC News is linked with a company that doesn’t have the playing of ABC News clips as its top priority. Secondly, the player itself is the worst available. Why anyone would choose it over any other player is beyond me, and I am not alone in this assessment. RealPlayer is the Betamax of streaming players.


  1. I don’t think Betamax is your best analogy. That was a superior technology that became a doomed format. RealPlayer is bad technology that refuses to die.

  2. Good point, Joel.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.