Wednesday, December 12, 2001

A bit off-topic from the current discussion but interesting and chilling to consider: A Net Gain From Fewer Channels?. This article had some intriguing - and to my way of thinking, paradoxical - thoughts on how television networks might regroup in order to respond to micromarkets. The author thinks further media consolidation (as though there weren't already enough!) might be needed to let networks achieve economies of scale that will allow programming to keep diversifying and yet maintain quality. He thinks that as audiences become increasingly splintered, more consolidation is necessary to fend off the day when no one network will be able to garner "the ratings weight necessary to justify producing attractive, high cost programming...." Surely, putting all the eggs in one or a few baskets can't be the only solution?? I'd be interested in hearing this group's response to the economic question the article suggests - can a "microchannel" produce a "West Wing," and if so where does the $$ come from if not advertisers in search of a mass audience? Is pay tv a la HBO the only future option for quality programming?

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