Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Find Your Niche, Keep Your Niche, and Try Not to Scratch It!

Cable and Satellite TV sure is getting interesting these days, because the networks are scrambling around trying to get who they can as often as they can for as long as they can. In the past few years a lot of networks (AMC,TLC,GSN,Headline News,MSNBC,& G4/Tech TV to name a few) have given up their "Niche" programming in order to somehow obtain a larger audience and please the masses. So instead of standing out and being different and pleasing a number of core fans that can form a base and basically with them and a website can do the marketing for you, they get basic programs or what some are calling "dumbed down" programs. AMC is the worst offender at this. AMC used to stand for American Movie Classics, but no longer. They felt that Turner Classic Movies was doing a better job(which they were) and gave up, shortened their name to AMC and now play such classic movies like tonight: Jaws III (I'm betting not in 3D like the original theatrical version) followed by Jaws:The Revenge! If that wasn't bad enough, they are edited with commercials!!! That sure is appeasing the masses. Because that's what most people want when they are spending close to $1400 a year for cable or satellite service in the first place is crappy movies, edited with commercials.
Now I can't write an article like this without talking about my favorite king of contradiction, the great sports network that I will never mention by name, but their initials are E.S.P.N. Yes that's right the network that has every cable and satellite company by the you know whats, feels that a fantatical sports fan base is not enough, and is getting in on the "dumbed down" programming. It seems like they are having a hard time figuring out what to put on their main network(Here's a hint:SHOW SPORTS!!)! "Hmmm, how about on a Thursday prime time let's show the movie "Days of Thunder"(Great, a crappy sports movie edited with commercials! SHOW SPORTS!). "How about this, we get teammates together and make a show like The Newlywed Game"(How about this:SHOW SPORTS!)! "Wait, I've got another one, we get this fat guy who knows all about sports trivia, and others guys to try and beat him(SHOW SPORTS INSTEAD!!). And we can't figure out what to do overnight, so let's just show the same Sportscenter for 12 hours straight(why is it so hard to SHOW SPORTS!)! Even Sportscenter has reduced itself to using old network news ploys to retain viewers. "Shaq didn't win the MVP, Was Racism involved?" only to have two people and the announcer with great hair to say that it wasn't.
This is old school economics that says there is a fixed number of channels, and fixed number of viewers, that don't apparently know what to watch and when.
But they should use the new school of economics that says, because of technology there are an unlimited number of viewers with all kinds of viewing needs and wants (and note to all networks, infomercials is NOT one of them), just let me know when it's on, and if I can't watch then, I can record or TIVO it! Really not that hard folks. And since I always like to leave things on a positive note, the one network that seems to be doing an okay job at least is GSN, formally Game Show Network. When they started they showed nothing but old game shows, but when they got bought out by Sony, and since they are a major corporation, they needed to make a profit, so out went the old shows and in with some crappy new ones. But now they seem to have a good mix of old shows (Match game(the best), Family Feud, Pyramid(Dick Clark)) with new ones that aren't as crappy. And finally you don't see CSPAN doing cooky things to try attract an audience, and they now have 3 channels plus the internet!!
The moral of this story and life is, don't be afraid to be different!
That's all I have today,
PAC
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