Is TV News the last vestige of the Soviet Union?
Think about it.
In the Soviet Union there was no choice.
One brand of toothpaste.
One kind of car.
One kind of phone.
Take it or leave it.
When you look at the evening news on TV, its pretty much the same. Here are the stories we selected for you. No Choice. Take it or leave it.
The technology of broadcasting once pretty much gave us no choice. We agonized over trying to figure out what ‘the viewers’ wanted to see, and then we ran it. We work the ouija board of consultants and focus groups to fine tune. We read the tea leaves and the entrails to try and figure out what ‘the viewers’ want. We watched our competitors and agonized over the ratings. But at the end of the day, we don’t really know. Do they want Katie? Do they want weather? Do they want ‘breaking news’?
Then, the Executive Producer, the Commisar of News and Information decided. “This is what you will give the people”.
We decide, you watch.
But now, the web changes all of that.
You put stuff up on the web. You can put up as much as you like. There is no limit. Youtube is supposed to have a hundred million videos on it already. You don’t put them up in any order.
You put stuff up on the web, then, you know what happens?
The web aggregates the news stories on the basis of what the people actually want to see.
They will tell you.
No kidding. It really works. Look at Amazon. From minute to minute they can tell you what millions of people are reading and buying. They can rate almost every book in the world, all the time. Instantly. They can even tell you what kinds of books, based on prior habits, you might like to buy. It’s called A-9.
It’s a 100% focus group. The whole entire audience.
Can we apply A-9 to news?
Instead of books, we are selling news and information.
It’s a free market of news and ideas, running 24-hours a day.
You can put all your stories up on the web immediately, as they happen. (this is, after all, breaking news!) You can do this all day long. By 5PM, the web, the viewers, will tell you the run-down. They’ll tell you what they want to see. They can even tell you what kind of stories each of your viewers likes. What incredible market information.
But it is a free market.
And free markets are messy.
And worst of all, they don’t want, need or allow Commisars of News and Information.
No one cares what the EP thinks. In fact, its only an impediment.
Their opinion is worthless. Dangerous in fact.
Technology has made them obsolete.
If we want to listen to the technology.
But we don’t.
The Soviet Union fell apart because the State did not respond to what the people wanted. And the people got tired of the State telling them what they thought they wanted.
So here is a bit of advice for a dying industry:
“Mister Moonves… take down that wall!”