A scary new article by the Associated Press shows that advertising revenue has not provided enough income for the free networks to support all of their programming efforts. And thanks to the rise of cable and the web, some companies are considering new business models that are cutting the "free" out of "free TV."
Given the way things are going, do you think there could come a time when free TV is a thing of the past like top 40 AM radio, Olestra chips and an ozone layer?
If you're like me, the first thing that you do after you wipe those crusty things out of your eyes is turn on CNBC, Fox Business Network or Bloomberg to see how much more the economy is in a tailspin. Sometimes you watch to see how far oil has fallen. Other times you watch just to see if another bank or investment firm failed. Still, other times you watch to shake your fist and scream in anger to no one in particular.
Should any of these reasons be the case, you are not alone. Fact of the matter is you are part of an growing audience for these business channels. Over the last few weeks networks like CNBC and FBN have been racking up the viewers, with many of them jumping on the disaster bandwagon in the last half of September. For instance, when the Dow Jones Average plunged 778 points on September 29th, CNBC's average total viewership reached an all-time high of 726,000. Fox Business Network, which has only been around for about a year and isn't on nearly as many cable systems, garnered an average of 91,000 viewers on that same day.
In addition to a recent contract signed by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker than will have us enjoying South Park episodes through at least 2011, fans will soon have an online destination through which to enjoy (legal) South Park material.
The New York Times article doesn't go into a lot of detail about what sort of material will be available at this new destination, though fans should recognize the URL: SouthParkStudios.com, which has been the official site for the series for quite some time now. The article does mention the possibility of "new applications" for the characters (whatever that means) and new concepts that could evolve into brand new comedy projects. There was no mention of streaming full episodes, though, which I'm sure is what fans want most of all.
Hearst-Argyle, which owns 29 local news stations in the United States, has signed a licensing deal with YouTube that will allow its stations to share in the ad revenue. Hearst-Argyle's stations are affiliated with all the major networks and reach about eighteen percent of the households in the United States.
YouTube will actually pay a licensing fee for news, weather and entertainment from these stations. This is the first time YouTube has struck such a deal.
Julia told everyone about the new VH1 series The Department of Acceptable Media starring Jack Black back in November, and now there's a little more information available, such as when the heck the show will debut (March 23). Oh yeah, and it's not called The Department of Acceptable Media, anymore, it's simply called Acceptable TV.
The new series will feature several three-minute shorts in one episode, some created by regular folks like you and me, and some created by Jack Black and pals. Viewers will vote on which shows to dump and which ones to keep. If that sounds an awful lot like the Channel 101 site, that might be because Channel 101 helped create the series.
Shorts that are too hot for TV will made available online, and creators will also get a share of the ad revenue everytime their short is viewed online. You can watch some hysterical promos for the new series here.
[via Lost Remote]
CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves and YouTube co-founder and CEO Chad Hurley announced today a deal with the streaming video site that will feature short-form content from CBS, Showtime and CSTV on a daily basis starting this month. Clips from such shows as Survivor, 60 Minutes, Late Show with David Letterman, CSI, The Early Show and CBS Evening News with Katie Couric will be featured as well as clips from Showtime series Dexter, The L Word, Brotherhood and Sleeper Cell. Sports footage from CBS Sports will also be included. YouTube and CBS will share any ad revenue, and CBS will be able to keep or remove any copyrighted content found on the site.
I'm not going to pretend to know how these sort of deals work, but if a network is going to strike a deal like this, I don't know why they wouldn't just offer full episodes, even if it's for a limited time. Maybe that's not feasible, but I can't imagine people getting too excited over mere clips. What do you guys think?
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