/// Four Weird Things the Internet Is Doing to Our Understanding of Television

February 16, 2012  |  All Things Digital

People seem really intent these days on fusing television with the Internet. On one level this makes no sense. Television technology works just fine and we all understand how to use it. We’re also in the midst of a golden age when it comes to programming; I can’t remember another time when there were this many good shows on. Also, television advertising rates are enormous compared to the Internet. There are people on YouTube who have more subscribers than top network sitcoms have viewers, yet they earn a minuscule fraction of the revenue. Television, as an industry, is strong. On another level, however, I understand the motivation. When it comes to delivering audio-visual content to a wide audience, the Internet has lowered the barriers to entry so far that anyone with even the dinkiest camera can become a major broadcaster. The television industry may face a crisis of overhead when a large number of scrappy upstarts deliver comparable value with almost no fixed costs. Also, there are some aspects of the television business that the Internet simply does better, specifically when it comes to reaching an audience. So there is the scent of blood in the water, and out of the resulting frenzy a few lessons have appeared. Here are four of them. There doesn’t have to be a difference between a “channel” and a “show.” You probably have a clear understanding about what a television channel is. Comedy Central is a channel. Your local CBS affiliate is a channel. A channel is the thing you tune in to at a specific time to watch a particular show. A channel runs a lot of shows on it. Time Warner Cable offers 900 channels. This seems like too many.

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Four Weird Things the Internet Is Doing to Our Understanding of Television

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