Intended Results?

Digital television has been a catastrophe. There are hundreds of websites, many sponsored by the FCC, that give lame, useless advice on how to better receive these weak, unpredictable new television signals, but nobody seems to be getting the television they once enjoyed through antenna signals. Was it intended to be a disaster or was this just another example of American mismanagement?

The question is probably unimportant at this late date, but I suspect there are going to be a number of unintended consequences. Television, in general, is sucking wind. The 18-25 year old male audience is disappearing. A bit of that market is buying into cable or satellite television, but most of the boys are playing video games, getting their tube fix over the Internet, and renting movies through Netflix or stealing them via a variety of file-sharing Internet routes. Even the Boomer viewers are considering alternative routes.

You can tell that television execs are as clueless about what to do about the mass exodus of viewers as music business execs have been about vanishing CD customers. The blooming of moronic but cheap "reality" drivel is exactly the kind of reaction you'd expect from MBAs to a phenomena that they can not possible comprehend. "When in doubt, do the dumbest thing you can't imagine. " That is the Harvard MBA mantra. When it comes to dumb, it's hard to beat "Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage," "Battle of the Bods," "Busted and Disgusted," and the rest of the crap that passes for entertainment on cable and over-the-air television. Trust me, it will only get dumber. By the time the MBAs are finished, the only people cable of being entertained by the crap that will be showing on television will be the same morons who voted for G.W. Bush twice. I realize that is a fair portion of the US population, but it's a very poor and unemployable portion. You can't attract high-end advertisers when all of your viewers are on welfare.

Back to the digital television clusterFox.

The unintended consequence of screwing up over-the-air television could be way worse than the television executives imagine. Netfllix is probably counting on it. To fill all that cable space, cable companies are jamming the airwaves with space filler which is driving even more viewers away from their tubes to video games, on-line movie channels, and any other source of entertainment that gives them control of the message. We're getting our news from a host of non-traditional sources, our entertainment from even more places, and this is just the beginning. Leading users of media are probably the place to look for where entertainment and news are going in the very near future.

All those digital glitches are driving change a little faster than a competent move to high definition television would have inspired.

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