TV Exec Upset When Daughter Doesn't Want To Bring TV To College

from the your-lot-in-life dept

Just about a year ago, ABC TV exec Anne Sweeney was telling people at CES that they were in the providing good content business, and she wanted to see it delivered however people wanted to watch it, on whatever device they wanted. But, it’s a little more difficult to apply that message to her own family, apparently. In the opening to an article about the whole “web vs. TV” debate (as if there really is one) in light of the Comcast/NBC deal, the piece opens with a story about Sweeney forcing her daughter to bring a television to college, despite the younger Sweeney’s protests that she had no need for a TV:

“Mom, you don’t understand. I don’t need it,” her 19-year-old responded, saying she could watch whatever she wanted on her computer, at no charge….

“You’re going to have a television if I have to nail it to your wall,” she told her daughter, according to comments she made at a Reuters event this week. “You have to have one.”

Perhaps it’s time to recognize that more and more people don’t need a TV?

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: abc, disney

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “TV Exec Upset When Daughter Doesn't Want To Bring TV To College”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Hephaestus (profile) says:


The thought of the daughter improving herself and watching TV on her own terms sent shivers of wonder up my spine…. then I remembered Star trek, it also gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside …. What a weird concept …

Perhaps, just perhaps, we are getting to the point in human history where we are becoming like the characters in that star trek movie from years back …

… the captain says ….

“The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century… The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity”

LOL …. who in the frak am I kidding …

Geof (profile) says:

Since when was TV a good thing?

I hope this mother is not representative. What parent would want their daughter watching more TV rather than less? To me, this seems about on par with a mother forcing her daughter to drink Coca-Cola. Coke may taste great and be worth the experience, but this is out of all proportion to the significance of whether she does or does not drink.

When I was growing up in the there was a general sense that TV was not good for people. At best it was not good, not bad. When I went to university, watching TV was basically a form of slacking. Having one in your dorm room was a sign of extravagance. And this was not so long ago – I’m talking about the 1980s and 90s here.

Now I almost get the feeling that TV (by which I mean the experience of sitting in front of the tube as an activity independent of any particular show, many of which are very good) is almost being put in a class with classic literature. We need to protect it with extreme copyright less it be underproduced in the market! I sometimes wonder if this the action of a generation that grew up with TV treating it as a special cultural form (like rock music) to which all future generations should pay homage. It was good for us (we’re good, and we watched it so it must have been) – it will be good for you.

I should say that I am not a fan of classic literature, nor am I proponent of a distinction between high and low culture. Furthermore, I am quite aware of the tremendous amount of cultural studies research showing that people interpret popular culture in their own ways, so claims that TV is bad are simplistic. (On the other hand, there is also research indicating TV causes significant social harm.) But academic research is beside the point. The social discourse about TV sure has changed. When did TV become something that the younger generation needs to watch?

Blatant Coward (profile) says:


“Huh? Shouldn’t the daughter be studying instead of watching either Hulu or TV? (I mean, from the parents’ point of view…)”

It’s not about what the daughter does or does not do, it’s about what the MEDIA could say about the daughter of a BIG TIIIIMMMME TV COMPANY not even wanting to watch TV.

For the rest of us, it’s about what we want to do, or not do. For me, TV free since ’03.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Mom, you don’t understand. I don’t need it,” her 19-year-old responded, saying she could watch whatever she wanted on her computer, at no charge….

an excellent point. even when the exec of a major studio has a demographic in their own home telling them their likes/dislikes, things they want etc they dont listen.

Mike Driscoll (profile) says:

Re: Old Business Model

“an excellent point. even when the exec of a major studio has a demographic in their own home telling them their likes/dislikes, things they want etc they dont listen.”


Mom = Old (current) Studio Business Model

Daughter = Changing Consumer Base

The old business model has hard time accommodating change.

Anonymous Coward says:

Actually, the story is more interesting because it makes it clear that ad revenue isn’t there to support free distribution of content online.

I also think it is an interesting tale of peer pressure and social attitudes. It wasn’t long ago that most colleges or universities would have ER parties, CSI nights, etc, where many students would get together in a lounge or club area and enjoy the same show together. If nothing else, it shows that online viewing may also be making the under 25 crowd much less social and isolated than before.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Actually, the story is more interesting because it makes it clear that ad revenue isn’t there to support free distribution of content online.”

How so?

“I also think it is an interesting tale of peer pressure and social attitudes. It wasn’t long ago that most colleges or universities would have ER parties, CSI nights, etc, where many students would get together in a lounge or club area and enjoy the same show together. If nothing else, it shows that online viewing may also be making the under 25 crowd much less social and isolated than before.”

Because cable, for instance, is too expensive and has nothing but commercials now. However, with DVR’s people probably still get together and watch shows at their own convenience.

and there is also social networks and such that make it easier for people to plan this stuff.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I think you’re referring to the quote, “What we haven’t seen yet is how much content we will consume, and how much revenue we can generate from it.”

I think one of the problems for them is that now anyone can produce content. This isn’t a piracy issue, it’s a way for them to orient the laws to their advantage as to prevent random people from producing content. This is all about revenue for them and maximizing profits, it has little to do with producing the most content. Content will get produced perfectly fine without them and without copyright laws as well, but they want to render the laws so that they have a monopoly on content so as to maximize their profits. Their focus is on revenue, not content production, and that’s the problem. It has nothing to do with the lie that ad revenue isn’t sufficient to support the free distribution of content, the free distribution of content is happening right now and if it stops it’s ONLY because evil rich people lobbied the government to change the laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“If nothing else, it shows that online viewing may also be making the under 25 crowd much less social and isolated than before.”

I disagree, I can communicate with people around the world very easily, that’s less isolation, at least in terms of information flow.

And besides, since when does the mainstream media care about the social aspects of television. They only care about the profit aspects of television and they would only care about the social aspects to the extent that it makes them profits.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Communicating with people all over the world and actually dealing with people in person, face to face, is two very different things. I am a product of the online world, from long back (way back, let’s say back around 110 baud modems and mainframes). I have friends all over the world that I might see once a year if I am lucky. One of the people I work with constantly I have never met. But in the end, I don’t interact with many people in person, and that is a loss.

For all the online communication, the best friendship and the most lasting contacts are those made in person. The enjoyment of university life is lost when you never leave your dorm room, never leave your rented room, or never deal with people in person.

The internet doesn’t make people more social, it makes them less social and more likely to hide their realities.

eMike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I know when I was in college, we never got together to watch things when they were actually on TV. Class and/or homework got in the way of that. We’d download the show, burn to a dvd (or eventually plug the computer into the tv) and watch them when we could all get together. We also bought a ton of tv shows on dvd and watched them that way.

We were anything but isolated and still had these watching parties. We were able to do it on our own time, and archive our favorites and watch them until we had them memorized. Then again… when I was in college, we all had computers, but we didn’t all have TVs. Storage was also getting cheap enough that would hang onto everything we wanted.

We still paid for cable, but plugged it into a DVR that we built ourselves. We also learned how to author our own DVDs that looked nearly professional from the things we downloaded or recorded.

And this was about 5 years ago. Most (probably all) of these things have only gotten easier.

As far as this goes: “If nothing else, it shows that online viewing may also be making the under 25 crowd much less social and isolated than before.” I doubt this to be true at all. You realize that it’s pretty easy to plug a computer into a tv now, right? Most people under 25 probably know at least one person who could do it. Streaming media to a television is much easier now than when I used to do it. The cable box isn’t the only thing that plugs into a television.

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

TV as a necessity?

I found out the hard way that Comcast determines how many channels you are allowed by tricking you into “scanning” the channels. We have two digital TVs, and I scanned one as Comcast recommends, and it limited us to about 30 channels (the $16 special we bought). Forewarned, I do not allow anyone to scan the other one (the one we use most). I assumed they would limit us anyway, and I would cancel the service (we get 69 channels over the air), but we still have 185 channels on the one we don’t scan (and channels are added when available WITHOUT scanning!).

Funny thing; I find that online and over the air (free) TV is generally better than cable! We get channels over the air that we don’t get with cable, and they are generally more in line with what we want. Online is definitely better, content-wise, though the computer monitor is not as convenient, IMO.

We don’t have a “computer to TV” box yet, but soon – and at that time, I am not sure I can justify paying $16 for the 185 channels we get – poor programming, too much advertising. I may cancel anyway, even if they don’t limit us to the 30 we are buying.

Anonymous Coward says:

“but it is “undermining the basic business model — by making our content less valuable to the people who actually are paying for it.””

No, this is a lie. It’s not taking away value, it’s just reducing price. Water is valuable yet cheap.

The point is that the cable companies just want a monopoly on content and will do everything they can to take it. They don’t want any random person to be able to produce content, they want to be the only ones to produce content and they want to have a monopoly on the infrastructure that provides the content.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Comcast and other companies are already experimenting with higher levels of ads, and the trials indicate that consumers will sit through them.”

(same link)

With a monopoly on water consumers will still buy water but a monopoly is still not a good thing. This is all about what’s best for producers, it has nothing to do with what’s best for consumers, and these thugs will lobby for laws that ensures that everything you watch will be full of ads and costs a fortune. I see one of a few things eventually happening if people don’t stand up to these criminals.

A: They will make it so that you can’t create and distribute creative commons music and movies, at least not without paying a huge premium.

B: They will make it such that creative commons material is not easily available to the public. Outside the Internet this is exactly what they have done and independent artists and musicians can’t easily get their content heard outside the Internet as a result.

C: They will make creative commons material available and make it very expensive and full of ads to justify the alleged high cost of bandwidth (but in reality it’s due to the government granted monopoly on infrastructure). Or they will insist that anyone who puts content on the available content distribution systems of the future, partly thanks to a government granted monopoly on the infrastructure, (ie: the youtube of now) must license the content to the owners of those systems so that no one can make copies.

The laws shouldn’t be about maximizing the profits of the wealthy and we shouldn’t be sitting through them controlling our government into granting them monopolies. They shouldn’t have a monopoly on the cableco/telco infrastructure and if this isn’t stopped ALL content that’s easily available to the public will be available ONLY at monopoly prices, which is exactly how it is outside the Internet right now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“Even authenticated subscribers can expect to see more ads online in the near future.”

Again, this is all about profit maximization, it has nothing to do with content production. Back in the old days when competition used to actually exist there was a lot of good content, cable prices were a LOT cheaper, and there were far fewer ads. It’s perfectly plausible to provide good content at a reasonable price provided the government doesn’t grant monopolies. Cable airwaves were much like the Internet is now, until the FCC started monopolizing it to evil wealthy people who are only good at lobbying.

Now cable and television costs a fortune, it’s full of nothing but ads and lies, and much of it is trash (ie: reality show garbage). Sure, the Internet does provides free content under free licenses (ie: anyone can record a video and put it on youtube and much of that is free for anyone to watch legally) and that content does compete with television which has encouraged them to improve the quality of their content to some extent, but if these people get their way content on the Internet will be available only at monopoly prices and bandwidth for that content will cost a fortune for no good reason other than the fact that the government grants a monopoly on the infrastructure and Hollywood and the RIAA and MPAA et al will lobby those who hold that government sanctioned monopoly to limit the distribution of creative commons works.

People, you need to stand up for your rights. Don’t let the Internet take the same pathway that cable television and public airwaves have taken where everything becomes available only at monopoly prices and only monopolized content is available. What’s these people are doing to the Internet is exactly what they have done to public airwaves, it’s history repeating itself. DON’T LET IT REPEAT. Furthermore, you need to be proactive in eliminating the existing monopolies on cableco infrastructure and in ensuring that the FCC regulates airwaves to the benefit of the public, not just rich corporations.

Joe (profile) says:

I think it depends on what she was talking about

Personally I couldn’t live without my TV’s. Don’t get me wrong I love my laptop, and my PC monitor but watching TV or movies on them isn’t all that great of an experience. Now before you go around thinking I watch cable know that I canceled my cable a year ago.

I have my PC hooked up to my 42″ TV, and I have my xbox and wii on the other 40″ TV. I don’t pay for cable but I do watch Network TV that is free over the air. I typically use Netflix streaming and Hulu to watch the content I want.

I think cable TV is a rip off, I pay for cable internet and for a phone line through my cable operator. I see no value in doing the triple play again because the contract is only for a year and then i’m back to paying $65+ a month for 200+ channels I just don’t give a rats bum about. I watch 4-6 channels, 3 of which I’m missing out on because all their content isn’t available online how I want to view it. But i’ll live.

Again I do see the value of owning a TV though (as long as it has an HDMI or VGA input that can work with my PC/Xbox/etc)

Etch says:

I disagree completely!!!

Am I the only person here who still needs both a PC and a TV?

Yes I can download whatever shows I want on my PC, but I watch TV for the programming, opinion shows, breaking news, late night TV, documentaries I could never stumble upon if I’m simply downloading! Cooking shows, live car chases, cheesy sitcoms I wouldn’t waste time downloading but if its on I’ll watch it… or even to have something playing in the background while I sit and have dinner, or typing something up on my laptop! I love TV, and without it I would have completely missed and never even heard of most of my favorite shows if they weren’t on!

Let’s face it, we watch TV because of the programming. Yes, there’s a lot of crap on TV, but there is a million times over more crap on the internet! TV helps me sift through all that crap and focus on the things that are worth watching. Yes I know, most things on TV aren’t worth watching, and TV executives are morons, they cancel good shows, blah blah blah. But I still believe that cable, satellite, or even just local tv stations, are worth supporting, and their programmers are more than decent, and they deserve some credit! Without them, none of these shows would have ever seen the light of day.

And when a favorite episode of a good show comes on TV, I still get excited and sit through the commercials, even though I have that exact same episode on my Hard Drive!! I know, its purely psychological, but sitting back on my couch (instead of hunched up on my computer desk) and just exploring new programming & whatever comes on, is still one of my favorite things to do…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I disagree completely!!!

No, I have the same thing: multiple computers (5) double sat receivers (one with PVR) and still, I am more than happy to sit down and watch TV when the episode is new.

To me, it comes back to a water cooler type thing. What do you talk about at work the next day, or with your friends at lunch, etc? These days there is always one stick in the mud in the group who is like “I recorded it last night because I was playing WoW, so don’t talk about it because I don’t want ot know what happened”. Time shifted watching of TV in the end kills the “shared experience” that only comes with broadcast TV, makes us all be out of sync with each other, and in the end kills the magic that happens when you have something you can share with your friends.

It’s pretty much exactly like social networking, it’s most people yelling what they are doing at other people and making semi-amusing comments about other’s statuses and tweets, and rarely do we actually engage each other.

Anonymous Coward says:

what's a TV?

I have about a dozen LCD displays around the house, in sizes from a few cm up about 1.8m.

Any one of them can display content from any of the half-dozen or so sources around the house, including a massive DVD and CD collection housed in an Ubuntu media server, various internet streaming sources, a cable source (not me, the wife), and I think a few broadcast receivers. All of the real-time stuff goes through one of several DVRs so if they’re talking about watching real-time broadcast TV signals, I’m not sure what century they’re living in. I don’t personally know anyone except my parents that watch that. And then, only rarely.

Somewhere in there is an FM and AM tuner, but outside of a car, I haven’t listened to a radio broadcast in probably 30 years. I don’t even think there’s an antenna hooked up to those receivers.

80% of my time is on the ‘net, 15% is on DVD content (I buy what I want to watch, rip it to my media server, pack the DVD away in a box), 5% on DVR’d cable content.

I think the last network TV I saw was at someone’s house on the night of the 2008 US Presidential Election. And even then, it was over a cable. And we supplemented it with about 3 laptops (and numerous celebratory drinks).

DVDs give me the closest thing to what I want from content providers: a single payment to consume a particular “content item”, any time, any where, and any way I want. And no further relationship with them in any way, shape, or form. no data leaks. nothing.

I have some DB and HDDVD but their formats end up not being compelling. You lose track of the HD in any show even remotely compelling. Any show that you notice the HD effect is probably pretty lame and not worth the extra money, anyway. And they’re a bitch to store on a media server, with all the really sad attempts and DRM not being an issue so much as the sheer volume of data. HDs are cheap, but not that cheap.

Phillip (profile) says:

Re: Re:

assuming you actually care about watching sports…
apparently you don’t know much about streaming either.

it’s pretty simple just like selecting what channel you want to watch on your tv (oh noes i have to click button 1 button 2 button 3 to get to my stupid sports program… sooo much work.)

Depending on which source you are using and what your bandwidth is, you can stream HD as well, but yes the internet must suck and not be even clock to TV….

anonymous1 says:

Wow 52 comments and not a single one of you have addressed the main issue here.The statement from the daughter (IMHO),reads like she is currently using pirated sources for her entertainment. While certain content is available legally for free..Ie.Hulu, and certain network sites, a lot of it (cable, and a lot of broadcast also) isn’t. So none of you have addressed the issue, which hinges on what she means by “everything” being available online. Did anyone stop to THINK (what a concept huh?) for a second that the mom doesn’t want here daughter pirating (since it’s not “stealing” right?) content online? Talk about idiots in a hurry….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Maybe, IMHO, she isn’t using pirated sources for her entertainment.

Everything is available online. If what you mean by “everything” happens to be the things you want online. In the daughter’s case, IMHO, it is the things she wants. They do not have to be, IMHO, pirated.

Where does it say she is pirating? Oh right, you just think she’s pirating because it confirms your narrative and bias.

anonymous1 says:

she’s pirating because it confirms your narrative and bias.

Right…the “narrative” that (at least over the past 10 years) happens to go on across college campuses nation wide?
Done my hundreds of thousands, and more likely millions of college students? The “narrative” of illegal download is a reality. I saw it happen. Sorry AHOLE-COWARD. There’s a big reason for my “bias”.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...