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The Internet Revolution: Forget the Old Model

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This story is the perfect example of why the major television networks and movie studios are failing: ABC Defends Cancellation of Emily’s Reasons Why Not.

One minute, Heather Graham was the face of ABC. The next minute, she was gone. Her comedy series Emily’s Reasons Why Not was promoted relentlessly by the network as the linchpin of its post-football Monday night schedule, but was only given one airing before being yanked earlier this month. ABC committed to the big promotional campaign before even seeing a script for the show, said ABC entertainment president Stephen McPherson on Saturday. The series turned out to be a dog creatively, he indicated.

They signed up for an ad campaign before they even saw show? Nice priorities. Apparently content quality isn’t even a concern anymore. This is when you know it’s time to jump ship — when a company doesn’t even bother to look at their product. When they’ve become so self-assured that they think success is a guarantee, or at least a likely possibility. What if GM started advertising for their new SUV before it was finished? Before it’d passed its safety tests? How angry would you be that a company can’t respect you enough to subject themselves to their own product before they tossed it your way? The entertainment industry shouldn’t be any different, and it’s starting to show.

People are sick and tired of crap being shoved down their throats. You begin to resent an industry that is so cocky that they pitch you shows like Bones or Emily Reasons Why Not. It’s fairly obvious that it has become common practice to advertise incessantly for shows the networks know suck. The majority of new shows fail, how can an industry not take that as a hint? Try pitching something new and you might get different results. Law and Order is a great show, but anything north of 3 spin-offs is a bit extreme. With all the capital available, why is innovation not the name of the game? Because no one in charge gives a damn … about the product or making money apparently.

Since it’s not happening on the silver screen or the television, the Internet has taken over. People who actually care about their craft are devoting the necessary effort required for greatness. You don’t see indie artists advertising at all, let alone for things they’ve yet to even preview. It’s the future for sure, but currently, it’s not without its misconceptions.

The problem here, with the Internet revolution, is that people think the old model is going to play a big part. The genius of the web is its content, not the delivery system. Look at the Alexa ratings, sites with absolutely no promotion outrank major corporations like McDonalds and Pepsi. People have turned to the Internet to get away from the other media because it’s not entertaining, not for lack of convenience. There’s no reason for MTV to start a download service —people hate your channel. I understand the desire to sign big contracts with major networks, but keep in mind it’s for publicity.

Stores like Apple and Google are signing on with CBS and NBC because that is what gets them on the news and gets some initial eyeballs. The real reason though, that Google will reign supreme, is because they’ve realized the importance in allowing users to upload content. That is what drives the Internet. There wouldn’t be an estimated 30 million blog readers if this country was wholly satisfied by the mainstream press. The television situation is the same, people are excited about the internet for its ability to allow access to new content providers, not because it can be a new vehicle for the old.

I don’t log onto my computer and check MTV.com for music news, I go to Blabbermouth. I don’t go to a network news website for the latest stories, I go to Google. When I want comedy, I go to TuckerMax or Maddox both independent and non-traditional forms of entertainment. Why should television and movies be different? Ratings are down because people currently have other options, and choose them daily over the crap on TV. No one wants to download an episode of CSI: Ohio, we want quality. Case in point, music video downloads are through the roof on Apple and Myspace because no one on TV plays them anymore. A simple demographic study would prove that to the cable channels but they just don’t care. We, I am tired of being told what to watch and it’s finally time for us to change that.

The beauty of the Internet revolution will come from its ability to allow ordinary people to create quality content. Success will further be based on merit, and not on corporate backing. The individual — if their talent is great enough — will be able to expose their work to a vast audience just as easy as a show from the majors. No longer will you need to settle with what is on, as you can actively search out whatever you desire. More importantly though, you want have to deal with things like networks pimping shows they’ve never even seen, or clips shows of their rare snippets of quality. Instead the torch is being passed to a new era of entertainers, who have not yet become corrupted by the spotlight. Look forward to the genius that is to come, and take solace in the stupidity whose time has finally come to pass.

For more on the Internet Revolution and other articles of this kind, try Ryan Clark Holiday.com

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About ChaunceyBillups

  • Oh ok.

  • We might experience a convergence of traditional media like TV , radio and the internet in the years to come and people would might express themselves differently than what they do today..although they have already started taking advantage of the internet as a medium to express themselves and creat e content to reach out other people which was not possible in the 80’s .

  • riaa. I think most companies will learn from their mistakes.

  • doodoocakes

    great read,so true and i love the unregulated net, hopefully it doesnt get into the hands of riaa or mpaa….look what happened to internet2 🙁

  • Aaman? Media convegence? Explain.

  • ryan

    alexa ratings are based on things other than the toolbar, though it is a big part of it.

    T, if you like tucker, check out my articles on him

  • T

    Dugg It. And, a little off topic, I also go to Tucker Max for hilarity. But, honestly, if anyone wants good insight onto how the hollywood machine works, check out Tucker’s trip through the TV meat grinder. You’ll see how retarded the system really is.

  • Media Convergence will make the Web history

  • Great article! I agree with Matt Brewster. Major corporations will try to find a way to choke the life and choice out of the Internet. Then we’ll all have to make a mass exodus to Internet2 if (when) such a thing comes into existence.

  • Very interesting, and I’ve been thinking a lot about this myself the last few days reading the same stories about Emily’s Reason’s. I watched the first episode and said that night it would be gone within 4 episodes, I never dreamed they would cut it after 1. But I can believe seeing the end product that ABC never saw a script before getting behind it.

    You’re right on about choice and diversity being key, and it just doesn’t exist on TV anymore.

  • driverseven

    Don’t put any stock in Alexa ratings — it only tallies use by people who installed the Alexa software. It’s nowhere near an accurate picture of web usage.

  • Very true, but I’m not sure how big their impact can possibly be. The nice thing on the net is you don’t have to settle–and settling is how the majors make their money.

  • Nice write up. I have this snarky feeling that very soon big corporations are going to find a way to suck the life out of the internet as well. Everything great gets bastardized sooner or later.

    Until then I’m enjoying the ride.