Friday, February 09, 2007

A Possible Future of Media

Originally posted at Snarkmarket. (The link is to the original post -- scroll down to see multiple comments, some of which are mine.)

Why doesn't the New York Times start its own 24-hour cable channel?

The New York Post has its own cable channel -- Fox News -- why not the Times?

(Shit -- Microsoft has its own cable channel, or half of one.)

They are the dominant source of news in both print and on the web -- why not television?

Sulzberger's been buying up internet sinkholes and fading newspapers -- why not jump into the 20th-century's media revolution, rather than trying to cling to the 19th while sticking your toe out into the 21st?

Everyone in television is dying to appeal to the demographic the New York Times serves -- no offense, but nobody else has a lockdown on wealthy tastemakers -- so why couldn't a television version of it be sold, with the express refusal to water it down?

They're already producing those web videos -- so why not hire somebody with the media and technological skills to turn those into network/PBS-quality broadcast pieces?

Despite a proliferation of cable news channels, nobody on television is doing what the New York Times does.

And get this -- The New York Times may be the only entity in the universe that generates enough original content and coverage to fit into 24 hours of television.

If I were doing it, I would shy away from just covering political and breaking news, and instead split the 24 hours into programs that cover everything the Times does -- politics, the world, art, food, movies, business, travel -- with the obvious breaks for breaking news, special events, and recaps every five-six hours -- like a real network. There would be an obvious place for real newsmagazines with long-form reporting that would put what the networks call newsmagazines to shame. And on Sunday? Just run everything from the New York Times magazine between 8 and 12, and again between 7 and 11 at night.

They could easily sell the rights internationally, to Europe, China, India, Latin America.

And all they really need is a setup like PBS, the BBC, or vintage-era CNN -- a newsroom, smart reporters and news readers, and people who can effectively introduce their (mostly) already media-savvy columnists and reporters.

They also have -- get this -- a great web site and what I hear is an excellent print product, all of which could promote each other and the television channel. (If Oprah's fans watch her show AND read her magazine, I see no reason why TimesTV would cannibalize either the paper or the website.)

Maybe television would be The New York Times's Helen of Troy. But if there is going to be anything like the good qualities of the monolithic news experience in the future, I think something like TimesTV would stand the best chance.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Warren Buffett, you should help make this happen.