Monday, April 10, 2006

ABC Goes to Time-Shifting

The big announcement today was ... ABC is unveiling the new ABC.com to showcase the new theatre that will allow viewers to see certain ABC shows immediately the next day. That, in a way, is cool.

But, there are problems and issues (plus, ones I see for PR). First, the whole thing about time-shifting media is the ability to fast-forward through the commercials. While I love commercials - heck, sometimes they are the most creative parts of some shows - while watching time-shifting shows (or Tivo'ed shows, but Tivo is a trademark, so I didn't really write Tivo).

There are discussions to charge for downloads - another good idea, so you get the place-shifting that is loved by Sling Media groupies, and people like me that have downloaded TV shows on iTunes, and should be able to watch on my cell phone with certain technologies becoming more prevalent.

If more and more stations, networks and studios go this route - which is most likely, as appointment television is mainly being consigned to live sporting events - then this makes it harder for television news to be relevant. Well, that and most people no longer really watch television news but rather get their news from online.

For PR, the lower viewership for TV news means that news are going to go a new route: pay for play. No, not the usual VNR route, which again is under fire - but paid sponsorships of local television newscasts. There was already a station in Phoenix that was doing this for it's midday show - so, the brouhaha in San Francisco was amusing to me since it's nothing that new.

But, with less news comes more ... product placement. And, that's where PR is going to come under fire, because the production companies are going to go to the writers ... who are then going to likely rebel and get miffed that their creative artistry and views are being messed with.

How is PR going to work in the time-shifting and place-shifting of television media? One route is the podcasts/YouTube route, but we saw what can happen when companies try to work with consumer generated media ... the consumer can bite back. The other route is just smart PR and working with the new media.

Which one wins is just as big a question as how will the networks adapt to time-shifting and place-shifting.
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