iPods and Papers

The announcement of the new iPad last week, and stories like this one about CBS, has me thinking about the past and future, and the enormous disruptions to the “media” industries.

iTunes was a fundamental disruption to to radio.  When combined with the iPod we could chose our own songs and unbundle the album delivery system.

For newspapers it was Craigslist.  In one move the disruption of classified advertising decimated that business for local papers and vaporized 45% of revenue.

The CBS article linked above explains how Les Moonves worried about the disruption caused by an Apple program distribution model.  This is a tough spot for the networks, which own valuable moneymaking assets in all of the top markets.  If individual programs are widely available without the local affiliates…that is a problem.

This morning we are switching television and internet providers in my house.  The new service isn’t any better than the old, just temporarily cheaper, and a little faster.  They are all a rip-off of course, I’m tired of subsidizing the ESPN habit of my neighbors.  All any of us really want is the programs we want, unbundled, and that option is coming.  Apple will make it happen, life finds a way.

Television hasn’t had it’s Craigslist moment yet (it may come this year with an Apple TV).  The local affiliates and the networks will scramble when it comes.  Although, given that we’ve been able to watch other industries (add publishing) we should have learned some lessons.


About Kevin Selle

Chief Meteorologist, KFDX-TV. Co-host, WeatherBrains.
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4 Responses to iPods and Papers

  1. Nate Johnson says:

    One big thing going for TV that radio didn’t have: Some of its major content creators (networks) are also in the content distribution business (network O&O TV stations). You didn’t really see that in radio – the labels didn’t also own radio stations. I’m not sure how that developed, but I’m sure the playola laws had something to do with it.

    In any event, so long as companies like Viacom (CBS), NBC/Universal, etc. think they can make money distributing their content using OTA broadcast, they will, and they will continue to operate and fund their O&Os. If, on the other hand, the networks start selling their O&Os, watch out.

  2. Kevin Selle says:

    Right on the money, Nate. It will be painful when the Craigslist moment comes because the adjustments will be painful. I guess my next post might be about the project I worked on a few years ago and the automobile sector.

  3. The other thing I think we have to watch out for is the small market stations will likely take the biggest hit. Most of your O&O’s are in the big markets, while us guys and gals playing in the small market world more times than not don’t have the backing of a major corporation. The big guys will find a way to survive and make their money, it will be hard for the mom & pops, especially the ones struggling to adapt to the various digital platforms already.

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