Media Blog

Current TV’s Failed Business Model

This serves as a cautionary tale on following Al Gore’s ideas:

When Al Gore unveiled his youth-oriented cable TV network, he said his ambition was to connect “the Internet generation with television” by creating a channel that would be made up mostly of short-form content supplied by its audience.
After more than four years trying to establish itself as a 21st century channel by and for the people, Current TV announced Wednesday that it was canceling three shows and letting go nearly a quarter of its staff — 80 employees — as a part of a shift toward more traditional programming. David Neuman, the programming president, also stepped down.
Current TV’s retrenchment shows the difficulty of grafting the freewheeling culture and sensibilities that have thrived over the Internet onto established mediums like television, where viewers often expect slickly produced programs and big-name personalities.
At the same time, just as advertisers have shied from supporting websites that feature amateur video, so too they appear no more willing to support user-generated content on TV.
“As much as you might want to change the world, sometimes there is not that much you can change — particularly when you are dealing with the world of television,” said Brent Poer, managing director of the West Coast offices of MediaVest, an ad-buying firm that represents such clients as AAA and Wal-Mart. “This was a little too radical from the get-go.”

“This was a little too radical from the get-go” should be Al Gore’s motto for his environmental policies, too.

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