Thu, May 28th 2009 2:04pm
It's hard to know where to start with this story on an interview with NBC head honcho Jeff Zucker from the D conference this week. He makes a few comments about replacing "analog dollars with digital pennies", saying he thinks they're now up to dimes, but his comments overall still don't create much of an impression that he understands the fundamental changes needed to his company's business any better today than he did a couple years back. For instance, he talks about the high cost of producing network TV, and how it's made it impossible to "sustain just average programming." Is that such a bad thing? Perhaps too much "just average programming" has led NBC to its current #3 spot among TV networks. To this point, he says that a show like Seinfeld, which didn't perform all that well in its initial four episodes, wouldn't survive today. But whose fault is that? It's hard to see how it's anybody but the networks'. If they can't do a better job of determining which shows will be hits, or crafting popular shows, that certainly seems to be their own problem. Taken in whole, the comments largely seem to smack of the same old "the world is changing... which means there's a problem with the world, not with our business" thinking that dominates old media. While NBC's Hulu is an early success, it doesn't mean the company fully grasps the change needed. For instance, if finding new hits is such a problem, why not leverage the online presence to test and build new shows? Or here's a novel thought: Hulu's a popular site, so why not test shows there before putting them on the broadcast network?
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