The Long & Winding Road: Not for the first time…we told you so!

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Deep in the library of blogposts here at 3rd Planet we have several instances where we have suggested that terrestrial TV is dead; in fact I devoted one whole post to that topic. If you enjoy our video blog by Scot Combs called Chalk Talk you will also remember him decrying the annoying habit of network TV in preventing easy access to programming in the on-line arena. Our main argument was and still is that as connectivity becomes more readily available along with reliable network capability there is a decreasing need for scheduled programming of the type we have all grown up with.

Recent years have seen significant repositioning of media companies trying to migrate to more flexible and user friendly means of content consumption. As our smartphones are quickly becoming hybrid tablets there is little or no reason to have a TV at all. Bear in mind , as we seem to be accessing content whilst we are doing something else and on the move, we have accepted that a huge screen size is one feature that can be done without if it means easy access on demand.

Netflix shook up the status quo some years ago by introducing a novel way to rent dvd formatted movies, they then developed the service into both the physical and the digital modalities. Little wonder then that as they have established a way of watching films at home or at least away from the cinema theatre that they should go on to look closely at rewarding those users with an innovative service.

The latest venture by their competitor Lovefilm , an Amazon venture,is to effectively ‘crowdsource’ interests by giving the online viewers first viewing and then to let them decide which of these online programmes gets to be made into a longer running series. Behold the promised land!

This will work without a doubt. Why? Because we bought into the scheduled ‘be grateful for what you get’ scenario in the past so actually having a say in what gets made will captivate people and provide a foolproof method of never disappointing your user. If Lovefilm only makes programmes that it knows people want to see then they should never suffer a dramatic fall in viewers …ever.

True , there is the train of thought which says that merely giving people choice does not guarantee quality but by the same token it is hard to upset a viewer if they had a hand in choosing the programme.So, inevitably the initial offerings will be based around trusted programming formats but as time goes on the scope of these programmes will widen and new niche markets will develop. Don’t be fooled with the word niche, some niche markets can be millions of people, tell that to CNN!

Quality will always drive everything, just because we can do something does not mean we should….take a look at this and I use the phrase advisedly, ‘God awful’ pilot from some years back when the Lovefilm idea was not even in the making.

Thankfully the people spoke but only after three were made! If nothing else, the digital online age allows us to fail more quickly, refine more quickly and reach our goals with more certainty as there is nothing more certain than ‘Fattie and the priest’ being rejected in a heartbeat by the lucky Lovefilm users of 2013.

Be careful what you wish for because someone might just film it!

see you on the long and winding road…… Patrick




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