Howard Blumenthal, CEO of MiND: Media Independence in Philadelphia, circulated the following “efficiency chart” among some public television CEOs today. I thought it was worth sharing and am posting it here with Howard’s kind permission. --Dennis
Please allow me to explain the chart…
1. As we all know too well, one of the key media trends has been "disintermediation." We now buy music from musicians, so record labels, record distributors and record stores no longer control the music business; same for many other media. And so, the top chart, with just "You Tube" in the distribution path, is a disintermediated model. Replace YouTube with any single system or distribution brand. Disintermediation is efficient, mostly because it eliminates "middlemen."
2. It would be difficult to find a media model that's more intermediated than public television. That's the second model, filled with entities and brands and expenses that each require staff, technology, handling, priority in the eyes of the viewer, and more.
As we contemplate the future of public media, and the role of the stations in that future, we must seriously consider the model that we have built. It's clunky, costly, challenging to innovators, and ultimately, adds only marginal value to the consumer who wants to watch, say, Antiques Roadshow. If the brand is "pre-school children's programming," perhaps several program brands (Curious George, Sesame Street) can be clustered under a master brand. Unfortunately, we've got a whole lot more than just two brands happening in the second model.
If we're going to succeed long-term, we need to face this challenge. Otherwise, other, more efficient models will take the place of our well-established institutions.
Enjoy the chart. If you want to discuss, I'm available.