Friday, December 21, 2007

The end time for Amrican television and the evil genius of Rupert Murdoch

Last October I noticed that my son's generation doesn't seem to care very much about television. Cable, broadcast - it doesn't matter. It's not a big deal for them.

Today there's new affirmation from another direction. In a year or two analog broadcast television will end in the US. For years everyone I've read has assumed this will lead to a huge uproar, since most people don't know it's going away.

Maybe not ....
Rabbit-Ear Users Don’t Know The End (of Analog TV) Is Near

... none of these solutions seemed that attractive to the rabbit-ear set in the survey. Only 14 percent were interested in a converter box, and 19 percent said they would buy pay service. By contrast, 8 percent said they would just watch DVDs or play video games. And 12 percent said they would simply abandon television altogether....
American broadcast television may be going the way of the novel, which is probably cold comfort for professors of literature.

These results must be devastating to the still vast television media empire. They may see their industry go the way of the music business, or the American tobacco industry.

Hmm. Tobacco.

In my childhood there were two universal American addictions. One was television, the other was tobacco. I thought both were eternal.

Forty years later smoking is vanishing from the American landscape, and so is television. On the other hand, smoking is exploding in China (Philip Morris is doing very well, thank you.) So maybe there's a future for television -- in China and India.

Now, who figured this out many years ago? Yeah, Murdoch. He's the guy who twisted his media empire to serve China and buy his way to the future.

I've always thought of Bill Gates as a uniquely "evil" [1] genius, but Murdoch's right up there.

[1] Yeah, that's "evil" in quotes - not Evil. Gates did lots of nasty and probably illegal things as Microsoft CEO, but he's no tobacco executive. For a card carrying geek of a certain age Gates sins are not so much his borderline business practices, but rather that he created a world of persistently mediocre software from which were are only now possibly escaping.

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