Another milestone in the death of broadcast television

Jurassic Park

Television is old media and, as such, it is rapidly losing relevance to people’s lives. It lacks interactivity, connectivity and non linearity so it is doomed by its technical inferiority. And this is reflected in the behaviour of the viewers who are deserting the sinking ship in droves for the greener pastures of the internet and video gaming.

The latest news is that in the UK online advertising spend is now greater than TV advertising spend. In the first 6 months of this year total advertising spend, in the recession, fell by 16%. So it is amazing that in the same period online advertising rose by 4.6%. This is a massive performance and reflects the fact that many marketeers are now realising that they have to follow their customers.

Rupert Murdoch is being hung out to dry in all this. He has not moved sufficiently from old to new media, so is hugely exposed to the switch in advertising spend. Earlier this year he proposed charging for online news access in an attempt to recover lost revenues. The problem with this idea is that unless every news provider does the same he will just lose his audience. And in the age of the blog the number of news providers is just about infinite, so this will never happen.

Ironically this is happening just as there is an explosion of video on the internet, but served up in a completely different way to commercial television.


  1. I blame the general entertainment industry’s archaic business model for the decline in “quality” free-to-air television at least. Ridiculous copyright and licensing agreements force TV stations to pay through the nose to broadcast thier products, creating delays in broadcasting new content and forcing stations to recoup this in the form of advertising. So the content delivery is hamstrung by how much advertisers are willing to fork out.

    The problem for television is the vast array of content and the limited number of free to air stations (in .au at least) has led to an incredible amount of inflexibility. You can only air so many shows in a 24hr period. Even paytv suffers by forcing needless “packaged” stations that most will never watch. I cancelled my subscription because of that. When people don’t get to watch the things they want they will go elsewhere. Savy users go to the internet.

    I still think television can be relevant, just as radio still is to a certain extent. Television has “ease of use” in its favor after all. The question is what can it do to answer the growing platform shift?

  2. Hmm “And in the age of the blog the number of news providers is just about infinite, so this will never happen.”

    Perhaps. But I think there is still a market for providing informative information, that is a site that can find the information wanted. Lots of sites make a good effort for free, but business critical information for example could be provided by a company for a price. This would be personalised search essentially, something that might be payable through micropayments.

    That said I do agree with the general points, I don’t need to subscribe to read The Guardian, so I don’t pay for the paper.

    Not personally sure that advertising is sufficient however. Everyone is advertising – who’s selling and are they really selling enough. My opinion says that advertising is badly done at the moment – Universities pour out people with degrees in the stuff but there’s no innovation there. Targetted advertising has to be done right – Phorm, Google, etc have all been on the recieving end when the consumer complains…

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