It looks like some media networks are testing the water, but they aren’t embracing free media in a way that consumers will really love it. About a year ago, I blogged about how I would like to see networks embrace RSS, and podcast-style media distribution. The most important part of my post was that the networks would need to change the advertising paradigm, including the standard metrics from folks like Neilson.
It seems that folks like Disney / ABC are starting down the path by putting some shows online but they’re missing the point. They are still grasping for their old model of forced commercials, and in the process they are crippling the possible expansion of viewership that would come with free use of their content. People want to put shows on their video iPod, on their laptop, or simply save them to watch at a different time on their home PC/Entertainment system.
I understand that commercials matter to the networks, because that’s been their paycheck for a long time. Unfortunately commercials are becoming less and less effective. Tivo/DVRs are only a part of the problem. Most of the time when I’m watching TV, I have a laptop next to me. During commercials, I check email, read blogs, do work, etc. I’m not paying attention anyway! Mark Cuban has an interesting idea for how to make commercials more interesting. The only way that the effectiveness of commercials is going to go up is if the networks make them interesting. If it’s compelling, timely, in-context with the show I’m watching, or funny, then I might pay attention. Otherwise, you might as well let me skip it because I’m not paying attention anyway.