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Reinventing Television

Jeff Jarvis is “reinventing TV,” along with a few thousand other folks, on the Internet.

In the evolution of the new TV, this is 1954: Arthur Godfrey and Friends, My Little Margie, the Adventures or RinTinTin. That was not the golden age of TV. TV then sucked. But it got better. So will ours.

One would hope. The convergence of “Old Media” and “New Media” is an interesting, and ongoing, process. Indeed, as with anything else, what’s new eventually becomes old. Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge are now Old Media. CNN is really old media. All were revolutionary in their day.

Jarvis is right, though, that a big hurdle–in addition to producing something actually worthwhile–is finding a business model that works.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.


  1. Triumph says:

    Where is Howard Beale when you need him?

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  2. […] Have you ever wondered why so much popular music, movies, television, books and so on are so terrible? I began thinking about it as I read James Joyner’s post on media convergence and the reinvention of television. […]

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  3. I agree that the dominant business models may not translate well, but that doesn’t mean a new one can’t be found.

    For example, assume you get a popular Internet TV show up and running. You are using drama and AV geeks from the local high school/college as your talent so your costs are low. You pull a reasonable audience, and more importantly you pull an interesting advertiser demographic. Now what can you make for positive and negative product placement. Cool guy gets the date while calling on his Motorola phone. Arch rival misses his opportunity when his Nokia phone’s battery goes out.

    The trick is you don’t have an established business model that you can bank, so you need to break the chicken/egg cycle by getting something up which catches fire, then start getting the bucks.

    Another model would be good old point of view funding. Don’t like abortion, how about an Internet show that will show a character deciding not to have an abortion after seeing an ultrasound. Want to promote universal health care, put in a plot line that tells the anecdotal heart render case of a family who can’t get insurance. But again, probably not a lot of up front money to seed this until the audience is actually proven.

    The other way is to put out a certain number of episodes and start selling subscriptions to the rest or put a 6 month time lag on the ‘free’ viewing. To the extent you can really reach people, there will be a way to cash in on this.

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