Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cable Killers

A short history of the serial killers of broadcast/cable TV.

Hollywood's Big-Money YouTube Hit Factory

... Watching the ways in which his two teenage sons consumed media, [Brian] Robbins became convinced that the future of youth entertainment wasn’t in broadcast or cable TV but in short-form digital videos, particularly on YouTube. He thought big media companies had been slow to adapt, leaving a void that he could fill. ...

In June 2012, Robbins launched his YouTube channel, which he named AwesomenessTV. The channel was geared to teenagers and preteens and featured lots of two- to five-minute videos, ...

Almost overnight, Robbins had transformed AwesomenessTV from a boutique YouTube production house into a teen entertainment factory. Within a year, he had venture capitalists visiting each week looking to invest, and in May 2013, Robbins announced he was selling AwesomenessTV to DreamWorks Animation. ...

When I was a teenager, I went to an awards dinner (the Boys Scouts of America was invoked, as I remember) where the featured speaker informed us that if all of recorded history was packed into a 24-hour time span, then all the significant technological change since the dawn of many would have occurred in the previous sixty seconds.

That was in 1965. There's been one hell of a lot of technological change in the 49 years since; in television land, change is an almost duly occurrence where the status quo is getting sliced and diced with a carefree abandon. I seriously doubt that cable will exist in the (rapidly unraveling) form it now inhabits for another decade. Revenues keep shrinking as new platforms spring up, and there is little that the large entertainment conglomerates can do about it.

... DreamWorks Animation has landed on Planet YouTube with a healthy respect for the native culture. His growing investment there, Jeffrey Katzenberg says, is entirely “in service of everything that is great and unique and singular about what I believe will be the biggest, most valuable media platform in the world, which is YouTube.”

"Adapt or perish" has never been truer than right now. The big movie and t.v dinosaurs from the last century, they are still trying to figure out how to do it.


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