Posts about tv


I liked the ending. The banality of evil. The devil’s in the diner. Jersey as purgatory. There is no justice. Cue Sartre.

At the forums, the ending confused some folks: They thought their TV’s had died. Damned TiVo, cut off again. Art appreciation in the land of the Sopranos. Existentialism doesn’t play outside Princeton.

It was a great run and an appropriate end.

Viacom cuts off nose to spite face

Viacom just demanded the YouTube take down clips from its networks, including Comedy Central and MTV. Wave bye-bye to Jon Stewart and Jon Stewart should wave bye-bye to audience.

Just last night, my son showed me Bill Gates on The Daily Show via YouTube. My son, a teenager and the future audience for the network, had never watched Jon Stewart. It was through YouTube that he discovered and enjoyed the man. But Viacom just cut off that means of free — free! — promotion and distribution. Instead, the company is going to have to advertise heavily in hopes of reaching my hard-to-reach son — he’s busy watching YouTube, you see, instead of MTV and instead of television, for that matter — to build audience in the future. Of course, this is a negotiating tactic. But it is also bad business. It pisses off your own audience, who is recommending your shows. It cuts off that free promotion. It increases marketing costts.

Damned fools.


Variety covers the alleged attempt of the big nets to start their own YouTube. I spoke to the reporter and made additonal points:

The networks are foolishly trying to maintain the old-media model of getting everyone to come to them — rather than going to where the people are — and that will both cost them marketing dollars and cost them the marketing opportunity of reaching a new audience. They should be embracing this new world and figure out how to monetize it with advertising and as a free marketing vehicle: You want viewers to recommend your shows! You want new viewers to discover your shows! You want your shows to be cool and to be cool you must be in the conversation! And if you’re really, really cool, you’ll want the viewers to turn into producers making shows around your shows: witness both Star Trek and LonelyGirl15.

But I also had lunch with a smart media exec who shrugged at all this news about an attempt to start TheirTube: “If there is…” he said. In other words, it could just be a negotiating ploy vs. Google and YouTube.

A tale of three tapes

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the infrastructure, effort, and expense of big TV v. small. Lately, I took along my video camera as I did a few things with ABC 20/20, Frontline, and and, as a demonstration, whipped together this little video. I tried to show the effort that goes into a simple interview in network news: four pros who spent hours setting up and taking down a shoot and who put great effort into getting it just right (and they were all nice enough to put up with me taping them). I wanted to make fun of the TV convention of B-roll, in which they get allegedly casual footage of you being yourself so they can use it in editing (and then I made two seconds of my own). And I was fascinated by’s smaller TV for the internet. My video quality is crap (something to do with getting video off my old camcorder, since replaced) and my editing is amateurish — but then, that’s the point.

Go here to get shareable links.

: LATER: A commenter thought I was being snarky about the guys having to wait between shoots. Not at all. Want to make that clear. As I say in the video, these guys are real pros and they do their jobs extremely well and they were also terribly nice explaining some of what they do to me. Ditto the Frontline people. It’s not their fault that the form has come to expect B-roll. What fascinates me is the contrast between the time-honored way to shoot TV and the new possibilities. That’s my point.

Instant TV

YouTube started a new feature called Quick Capture allowing you to record a video directly to the service from your laptop camera. So I tried it out. Didn’t work so well for me. And it took hours for the video to appear online. When they get the bugs worked out — and they will — this will lead, I think, to an epidemic of video conversation. Imagine forums in video.