The TV revolution: Changing the players

September 3, 2010
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Picture the American industrial economy in about 1960 (before the global and information economies rejiggered things). In the middle was the car. A host of industries, from steel and rubber, to glass, chemicals, oil, fed into it. Putting aside other (and overlapping) industries, such as aviation and armaments, much of the economy revolved around the car.

Picture the American industrial economy in about 1960 (before the global and information economies rejiggered things). In the middle was the car. A host of industries, from steel and rubber, to glass, chemicals, oil, fed into it. Putting aside other (and overlapping) industries, such as aviation and armaments, much of the economy revolved around the car.

In the entertainment/information economy, the same could be said for the TV. The car moved our bodies; the TV filled our heads, and continues to do so. Even with all of the other media available, each American watches it for an average of four hours per day. An enormous industry of manufacturers, advertisers, producers and programmers has developed around it.

Now, what happens if the very nature of TV changes? Dave Morgan explores the the possibilities in his latest MediaPost column. People have been expecting this battle for the living room for more than a decade, but he thinks it’s starting now. He begins with Apple, and its push into TV. But pretty soon you realize that virtually every company that touches information, whether it’s Samsung, Microsoft, Comcast, Netflix, Dell, Verizon, Facebook, Cisco or Google, they are all going to be involved in a free-for-all over whatever you want to call the TV market over the next several years.

It has a parallel to what happened to cars. Globalization opened up the car industry to new players, and new approaches. It became a free-for-all. Detroit cratered, Japan boomed, and later China and Korea. The process took decades. But in industries that move bits instead of atoms, things move a lot faster.