The Cyberbrains

Research and contemplation in new media

Who needs cable?

While I meant my first post to be more profound, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. I grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, so I’m a die-hard Utah Jazz fan. It’s the only professional sports team Utahns have. (Real Salt Lake doesn’t count, yet.). Last year, we cut the cable TV in our house, mostly to save money. The only thing I really thought I’d miss were Jazz games and the NHL.

But right now, I’m listening to the Jazz squeak past the Houston Rockets in game 7 of the NBA playoffs, (Ok, I waited until the end of the game to post this to make sure I didn’t jinx them.) thanks to ESPN and NBA radio. Sure it’s not the same as watching a game on TV, but it’s a reasonable alternative made possible by the Internet and a little forward thinking. In fact, I’ve rarely missed out on any of my favorite shows, even Battlestar Galactica on Sci-Fi, thanks to isohunt.com and BitComet.

And I don’t feel the least guilty about it because if TV execs and studio heads really understood their audiences, they’d make more content like this available online. Putting a handful of shows for $1.99 an episode on iTunes doesn’t count. Today’s customers haven’t changed so much they no longer want value. I can’t pay for something that would have been free if only I’d set my VCR.

As much as I didn’t want this to be my first post, it sort of sets the tone for much of what I’ll probably discuss. We’re all trying to find ways for the news media to adapt and prosper in the evolving online environment. At this stage, I think draconian pricing policies and a continual reliance on “shovelware” just aren’t cutting it. Be progressive. Be ESPN. Offer more rather than less and have faith your brand will carry you.

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May 5, 2007 - Posted by | Hans Meyer

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