Network TV Execs Still Don't Get It
May 11, 2012
"Why should people go out and pay to see bad movies when they can stay home and see bad television for nothing."
-- Samuel Goldwyn
This week, NBC's only hit TV show (this season), "The Voice," ended on a high note, and actually tied CBS' "Two And A Half Men" in the ratings on Monday night.
As NBC's only bright spot currently in primetime, "The Voice," delivered the type of ratings the network needs so badly to generate those big Madison Avenue ad dollars.
I assume it was because of the success of "The Voice," some programming genius within NBC decided they should have the show on twice a year, and then thought "Let's bring it back for the Fall sweeps and put it up against Cowell's 'X-Factor'!"
"The Voice" running head-to-head against 'The X-Factor' will only accomplish one thing. It will cannibalize its ratings success. With Britney Spears as a new judge on "The X-Factor," it's likely more viewers will be curious to see how she does as a judge/mentor, and give "The X-Factor" an edge. But even if 'The Voice' squeaks out a small win, NBC will have done nothing to let the show stand alone and grow, going up against the competition it currently faces.
Of course before the next round of "The Voice" comes around, NBC should ensure that any potential internal problems on the show are eradicated quickly. Rolling Stone reports that Christina Aguilera and Adam Levine are feuding. "It's getting a little old and a little inconvenient for everyone," Cee Lo told Us magazine, calling for an end to the negativity." (You can read the whole article here: http://tinyurl.com/7hskewg )
Then again, the feud could all be nothing more than fodder for the media to chew on and pass to all the half-hour entertainment shows that actually believe most of America still cares what Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton are doing. In either case, who cares?
So, NBC gets one hit show in the Top 20, and what do they do? They blow it big-time. Their programming execs failed to look at the big picture. Hungry for any decent ratings (starved, actually), they take their one winner and decide it can go against another show appealing to the same audience.
And still another reason network execs don't get it: RERUNS in summer. Another BIG MISTAKE.
When there were only three networks producing the majority of content for the viewing audience, reruns provided a cost-effective way to program television during those terrible summer months when everybody takes vacations, and programmers believed nobody was really watching that much TV.
Along came cable and the channels expanded. Now there is no reason to watch reruns, and isn't it funny that the biggest show the last two years in summer has been NBC's other Top-20 show, "America's Got Talent." Why? Because it was a NEW show each and every week, and it trounced the competition.
But, of course we all know what has happened over the last two decades. As networks continued to broadcast reruns, people flocked to new cable channels and discovered there was a whole lot of good content on the air. And the result? More and more people watching more and more channels, driving network ratings down (even on hit shows), and more and more people changing their viewing habits.
The network execs aren't happy about people changing their viewing habits at all.
This from TV Guide online," Next fall, the networks are expected to air more regular live broadcasts than at any time since the 1950s, thanks to competition shows like "The X Factor," writes Michael Schneider. Why the boom in live TV? To get viewers away from time-shifting (which often means skipped commercials) and lure them "back in the habit of watching TV as it airs," writes Schnieder. And "Live viewing is still the best lead-in to whatever is behind it," according to Lisa Vebber, NBC's senior vice president of scheduling." (You can read the article here: http://tinyurl.com/7fmqwxx )
Really? Live broadcasts are going to bring viewers back? LOL.
Once again, I'll run this quote: "In the digital era, the future is one in which consumers watch or listen to what they want to watch, when they want, at any time they want, on any device. This is a generation that will not wait for content to be delivered to them at a prescribed time." -- Then HP Chairperson, Carly Fiorina, back in 2004 at an NAB meeting.
That's exactly what's been happening for the past decade, and the sooner network executives realize they cannot force-feed their intended audiences, the sooner they will realize the best they can do is create quality content that people will watch whenever they want On-Demand, online, on DVD, on TiVo. That's the facts, it's time they digest them and create new revenue streams to replace the big ad dollars that will continue to diminish as programming becomes more fragmented with audiences.
Yes, tens of millions watch event programs: football; awards shows; concert specials, etc. But if you miss one of your favorite shows, now you know you can always watch it whenever you want on the media and devices I've named above.
"Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs." -- Bill Gates.
It's exactly for that reason, watching television at a prescribed time in the digital age is no longer a reality, or necessary.
Okay, enough on this topic. Time for me to go to YouTube and watch some 'Mad Men' clips.
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 2
INTERNET RADIO RISES
Internet radio listening is surging, according to new data unveiled this week by TargetSpot, which operates a digital audio ad network, and Pandora, the leading online audio platform.
Digital audio listeners also display significant engagement with the medium, with 80% listening from one to three hours per day.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/cc9qtnn
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 3
MUSIC BECOMES A KEY IN BRAND MARKETING STRATEGIES
Creating a music strategy that makes it easier for brands to connect with the trillion-dollar youth market and its cultural values will become the next challenge for marketers.
Michael Paull, EVP and global digital business for Sony Music, believes the opportunities to connect through music will come from location-based services and multi-channel experiences.
Read the rest here on MediaPost: http://tinyurl.com/7w3eeq6
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 4
VEVO RAISES MOBILE PROFILE BIG TIME
Vevo last month held a splashy "NewFront" event, featuring a sizzle real previewing a half dozen original new shows, an advertising panel discussion, and a live performance by the singer John Legend. Along with new programming and a recently revamped site featuring Facebook integration, the music video hub is building out its mobile presence to meet rising demand from users and marketers alike.
Read more on MediaPost here: http://tinyurl.com/bnh9jvo
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 5
'MAD MEN' USES THE BEATLES 'TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS' ... THE COST? $250,000
If you're a fan of AMC's award-winning series "Mad Men," then you probably were surprised when The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" was actually played in last Sunday's episode when Don Draper's wife tells him to listen to The Beatles' Revolver album, and specifically that song.
As the New York Times writes, the use of the song "appears to have made some history of its own, marking a rare instance in which a song written and recorded by that band has been licensed for use on a television series."
Read the whole story in the New York Times here: http://tinyurl.com/7w4vs2u
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 6
A BRAND NEW VIDEO WITH BRANDS
Read a good online article about how J-Lo's new video takes branding seriously. Not necessarily for J-Lo, but for the brands obviously participating in the video.
Read it here: http://tinyurl.com/7z4fecx
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 7
VILLAGE PEOPLE SINGER WINS LEGAL BATTLE TO RECLAIM SONG RIGHTS
A California judge has sided with the original lead singer of the Village People, Victor Willis, dismissing a suit brought on by two publishing companies -- Scorpio Music and Can't Stop Productions -- that tried to prevent Willis from reclaiming the rights to "YMCA" and 32 other Village People tracks, reports The New York Times.
"Early last year, Mr. Willis invoked a provision of copyright law called "termination rights," which gives recording artists and songwriters the ability to reacquire and administer their work themselves after 35 years have elapsed."
This opens the door for potential lawsuits from a variety of other established artists.
Read the rest on the New York Times here: http://tinyurl.com/74lwplo
THE 'A-SIDE' - TRACK 8
KINDLE AND NOOK SALES DROP
FromMediaPost: Shipments of the Kindle Fire went cold in the first quarter, falling 62% to 0.8 million units from 4.8 million in the fourth quarter, according to new data from IDC.
That dropped Amazon from a 16.8% share of the worldwide tablet market to just a 4% share, with Samsung jumping ahead to second place behind Apple.
Read the rest here: http://tinyurl.com/7hms7sp
THE 'A-SIDE' - BETWEEN THE GROOVES
AL KOOPER'S NEW MUSIC FOR OLD PEOPLE
If you don't know who Al Kooper is, and what he's accomplished in his life as an artist (yes, he is the one who played organ on Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" and was in the Blues Project, the original Blood, Sweat & Tears, and a whole lot more) please check out his short bio here: http://tinyurl.com/bm5fer8
Al currently writes a great weekly column on The Morton Report called "New Music For Old People," and it's his way to help his fellow listeners stay in touch with what's happening in music today, and yesteryear. And you can even listen online to the songs Al picks out every week and talks about.
I read it every week and like it more and more.
Check out Al's latest column here and enjoy! http://tinyurl.com/d5v8j7j
THE 'A-SIDE' - BONUS TRACKS
* TechRepublic's Jason Hiner has little use for an iPad. But he's pinpointed six areas where it's become people's preferred device and is disrupting the PC market. http://tinyurl.com/bmg4yd3
* Talk of an Apple TV set dates back to 2009, but recent months have provided an avalanche of rumors. The latest rumor about the product Steve Jobs wanted Apple to make next suggests that it looks like a Cinema Display and runs Siri. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/7twux4w
* The Facebook IPO is poised to be a blockbuster, but not everyone thinks that the social network's likely price is right. Some are wary. Read more here: http://tinyurl.com/7wacu83
* Before you tell the cable company to shove it, watch this. http://tinyurl.com/7xd7q2f
Short News Items ...
NO DOUBT THEY WILL HAVE AN ALBUM:
No Doubt will release their first album since 2001's Rock Steady this fall.
LIONEL MINES PLATINUM:
Lionel Richie's 'Tuskegee' has been certified Platinum ( 1 million units sold) in just five weeks.
HENDRIX BIOPIC SET:
André 3000 is set to star in All Is By My Side, the long-awaited Jimi Hendrix biopic, according to the Irish Film and Television Network. IFTN reports that the film is currently in preproduction in Wicklow, Ireland
IF YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY HEARD:
The Avengers broke the record for the highest-grossing movie debut in the U.S., taking in $200.3 million over the weekend.
WONDER AN ICON:
This year's Billboard Icon Award is going to Stevie Wonder. The honor will be presented at the 2012 Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, which airs live May 20th on ABC at 8p ET from the MGM Grand Arena.
WE PROBABLY DON'T CARE ANYMORE, DEPT:
In a lengthy letter posted on her website, Sinead O'Connor explained what her to cancel all of her remaining 2012 tour dates. (Editor's note: Who would actually go to a Sinead O'Connor concert?) In the letter, O'Connor describes her battle with bipolar disorder and splitting with manager Fachtna O'Ceallaigh.
FALLON ALBUM WITH SPRINGSTEEN AND MORE:
Jimmy Fallon will release his second album, Blow Your Pants Off, on June 12th. Unlike his 2002 comedy record, "The Bathroom Wall," which mixed goofy songs with standup performances, the new disc is focused mainly on song parodies and team-ups with high-profile rock stars from his gig hosting Late Night on NBC. Blow Your Pants Off will include Fallon's impressions of Neil Young, David Bowie, Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan, as well as guest performances by Justin Timberlake, Eddie Vedder, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Big & Rich, Stephen Colbert, Brian Williams and Dave Matthews.
After purchasing the assets for the legendary, defunct New York City rock club CBGB, the entity's new owners are planning a massive city-wide music festival this summer and considering the possibility of reopening the club at a new location down the road
Shakira is close to inking a deal with Live Nation and Sony to release her next three albums. The Hollywood Reporter says the deal is around $30 million while the N.Y. Post pegs the amount closer to $60 million. Either way, Shakira is going to the bank big-time.
Adam Yauch, the rapper, musician and video auteur known as MCA in the groundbreaking hip-hop trio The Beastie Boys, died last week after a lengthy illness last week. He was 47.
Longtime A&M Records album photographer Jim McCrary. McCrary, best remembered for shooting Carole King's Tapestry album cover, died late last month at age 72.
Maurice Sendak, the brilliant author of "Where the Wild Things Are," at age 83.
The Music Industry Past, Present & Future, And The Internet I answer questions on EconTalk
I did an interview about the industry and the Internet at EconTalk with host Russ Roberts. Russ is also a professor of economics at George Mason University, blogs at Cafe Hayek, and has written three novels that teach economics. He's also the co-creator of the Keynes-Hayek rap video. (And if your understanding of the economic meltdown that occurred needs to be enlightened, this video will do it)
In the interview we talk about the evolution of the music industry, the impact of the digital revolution, and I give my reasons for believing in the virtues and potential of the Internet in enhancing the music industry. I point out, as I have many times here in the newsletter, that the internet allows numerous artists to make money from their music and it can enhance revenues from live performances by expanding an artist's base. We also discuss the challenges facing record companies and I suggest that the full potential of the Internet as a distribution channel has yet to be fully exploited. There's a lot of ground covered, but based on the comments already posted of those who have tuned in, they've enjoyed it.
Read more about it by clicking here.
Quotes of the week
"I think the reality is the following: 99.9-some odd percent of every kid in the world who wants to have a recording career won't have one. Won't even meet someone like the people on this panel. And of the people that do meet someone and really get a shot, some fraction of a percent will have any chance of having a career. So the truth of the matter is that when you do the math, it is really like winning the lottery to have a successful career. Meaning, the people who get records out -- well over 95 percent of them never make a living."
-- Top music industry attorney Ken Hertz, who spoke on an artist branding panel at NARM in Los Angeles on Wednesday
"Bob is one of my favorite all-time singers. He still sounds great. He's a really lovely person, a very sweet guy. Maybe when you hear that growly voice you might think he's some kind of a grizzly bear or something but he's a very nice man. I heard him sitting in a little corner, strumming his guitar and singing, "Who Will Stop the Rain?" He just sounded so great, he almost sort of inflicted an arrangement choice almost immediately. It was sort of spontaneous. I said, "We gotta hear what you're doing right now at some point in how we're treating this song." So that's certainly part of the arrangement."
-- John Fogerty, talking about doing a duet with Bob Seger for his (Fogerty's) new album
"It was always my feeling that the show lacked a certain authenticity because we never could have an actual master recording of the Beatles performing. Not just someone singing their song or a version of their song, but them, doing a song in the show. It always felt to me like a flaw. Because they are the band, probably, of the 20th century."
-- 'Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner, in the New York Times, commenting on the inclusion of The Beatles song "Tomorrow Never Knows" in last week's episode
"It's his business, but I don't want Aerosmith's name involved with it. It's a reality show designed to get people to watch that station and sell advertising. It's one step above [Teenage Mutant] Ninja Turtles."
-- Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry in the Calgary Herald back in 2010, commenting on Steven Tyler's becoming a judge on "American Idol'"
The B-Side - 'Blips'
THE ONION (www.theonion.com) STORY OF THE WEEK:
Disney Reveals That Every Disney Movie Takes Place In Single, Unified Universe
BURBANK, CA-During the final installment of a three-part retrospective podcast on the film studio Thursday, longtime Disney illustrator Russell Schroeder revealed that every one of the company's live-action and animated features takes place in a single, unified world. "
"Most people don't know this was the way Walt Disney envisioned it, but every one of these films takes place in the same interconnected universe," said Schroeder, explaining that Never Never Land is only five minutes away from the coral reef where Nemo lives along with Daryl Hannah's character from Splash."
Read the rest here and laugh: Click Here.
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