Nov 26, 2009

I've Been Thinking

The following would be considered a rambling discussion by critics, so be warned. I use a lot of words that could make your head hurt if you can't handle it. Reader discretion is strongly advised to those that can't handle it.

I've been thinking. Is television, as my generation and the generations before mine knew it, coming to an end? I know we're in a new digital era where those without special sets or converters to watch television over the airwaves can't watch without the use of cable/satellite/fiber-optic services. That not what I'm talking about. I guess you've all heard that NBC Universal, or at least most of the company, may become part of the Comcast family in a matter of months, provided they could get a deal straightened out and overcome trade obstacles. There are also strong rumors that the NBC television network may end up becoming a cable-only outlet somewhere down the line as a result of the, opening up the possibility that the other three major broadcast channels could also go in that direction.

If that's the way television is headed, that we're going to have to pay to watch it, then that kind of sucks. I mean, unless something like Sezmi takes off where consumers pay a severely lower fee for services, television may belong to cable companies, which could now be counted on one hand. And that will, unfortunately, include broadcast over-the-air channels as well.

There is comfort in knowing that if I don't have cable services I can watch shows on television. It's a comfort that a lot of people, especially those addicted to cable television, don't appreciate until the time when the cable goes out because of storms, service outages, or when the cable system terminates the service for financial reasons. But if a broadcast network becomes cable-only, what would become of those affiliates that would be no more? Will they embrace a new syndication model that should have happened the moment that The WB and UPN merged but didn't thanks to Fox's hastily-assembled My Network TV venture or will they crumble and wither away or become nothing more than an infomercial outlet that nobody will watch? I'm afraid it'll be the latter.

That's a question nobody's asking in light of the possible Comcast-NBC merger. Either that, or the question isn't being asked loud enough. But it is a question that I've been thinking about lately. I just don't want to see free television go away, and I feel Comcast's handling of NBC may be the first step in the complete destruction of broadcast and free television.

Oh, you say you have internet "television?" Well, who do you think own the broadband lines?

Read more about the subject at a better site than mine.


Frederick said...

That's not really something I've paid much attention to recently. I've been taking for granted the flux of shows that air on broadcast television, opting instead to spend hours in front of my computer screen catching up on reruns via Hulu (which isn't going to be there for me in a matter of months).

I've tried to convince my parents to have an antenna installed and free ourselves from the grips of cable television (we only have the Locals package, so you can see where I'm coming from), but to no avail. As time has gone on, I have seen less and less use for television programming, especially as my DVD collection has grown.

I don't know, I'm counting on the FCC to step in on this one. NBC is quite a large company, and pairing with Comcast isn't necessarily in any consumer's best interest.

E.A. said...

Since NBC has made a series of rash decisions regarding their programming slate, I haven't paid attention to their maneuvers in a long time, and just began to when I came across your latest post.

I happen to be in the minority that thinks this is a step in the right direction for NBC, to get acquired by Comcast. Someone needs to breathe on Jeff Zucker, who has been largely responsible for the stagnation of development of scripted programming. He rose to prominence because of his penchant for greenlighting reality "game" shows; he's so steeped in the practice of approving low-cost, lowest-common denominator pandering, shot on digital programming (i.e., Leno at 10pm) that he's dragged the entire network's storied rep through the ditch in the process.

I heard Comcast's boss is a big fan of scripted. So, yes, I believe since he will have a bigger say from now on with what goes on in Programming, that scripted programming will return to the network regardless of whether it will become a cable net or remain one of the big Three or Four.

betterdayz said...

I'd like to say I told you say. Really, I would. But it wouldn't make me feel better. I'd like to say it's about time you figured it out. But truth be told, I myself am a slow person. I'd like to say a whole bunch of other things including profanity. But chances are you'll delete my comments.

What I'm referring to is a post I made several months ago on that Toonzone forum. I was going by the user name betterdayz. It was meant to be a small post with general comments. Of course the conversation got ugly. I was making a comment on how cable was part of the problem with broadcast tv. I was actually ok with some of the responses you made. I even acknowledge the mistakes I made along the way.

But that didn't prevent it from turning ugly.

I was really pissed off after that. I deactivated my account and said I would not likely ever return to your website.

A few weeks went by. I cooled off. I decided to take a look at your site again and in all honesty, I'm just not interested in it as I use to be. Some things changed along the way (media-wise). Even I changed along the way - maybe that's why I'm not interested in animation anymore. But now I'm here to say Thank you. I mean it. Thank you for those lengthy replies you made on the forum. And Thank you for making this post about your thoughts on Comcast purchasing NBC. It validates what I was saying. But I'm sure you're going to disagree with that, like you did at the forum. Still, Thank You.

Thank you for reminding me of people like you in the world. I sincerely mean it. It was the wake-up call that I needed.

If you by chance don't remember the post, it's here

Jeff Harris said...

I remember the conversation, betterdayz. I think we both got passionate about the subject. I'm sorry it gotten to that ugly level, and I blame myself for that as well. I apologize for making you feel like that.

That was unprofessional on my part.

I thank you as well for reminding me that I need to keep that professionalism in check. Hope we can be friends or at least acquaintances in this journey called life.

betterdayz said...

Alright, fair Enough.