Mailbag: Why do you hate streaming?


You do TV ratings so focusing more on TV makes sense. But you come off as someone who really hates streaming in general and I’m curious about why. Why do you hate streaming?


What? I love streaming so much that I’m excited by the prospects of Verizon giving up its NFL streaming exclusive so that sometimes I’ll be able to watch NFL on my phone instead of on TV.

I love streaming. What I hate is people actively rooting for the demise of TV for silly reasons. Fine by me if the TV industrial complex gets toppled, as long as whatever replaces it is better.

Today, the options are much better. But the reliability isn’t there and I’ll be surprised if it is within the next 5 years. That’s fine with me. Here, I’m pretty patient.

These things usually take longer than people think. To quote my old friend, Ted Leonsis: “nobody knows nothing.”

Including Ted! When Bill Gorman and I were getting ready to launch TVbytheNumbers I told Ted and his response was something along the lines of “Really? You’re starting a blog about TV as TV is in its death throes!?”

But the growth and subsequent sale of TVbytheNumbers is, coupled with moving to the desert, subsidizing 100% of all the free hobby stuff I’m currently enjoying.

So yeah, I have some “this will take longer than you think” bias.

The internet is already perfectly capable of handling tons of people streaming different things at the same time.

But 10s of millions watching the same thing? Nope. Today, even single digit millions or even less than a million people streaming simultaneously doesn’t work nearly reliably enough.

That’s OK with me. There’s a perfectly good alternative for live TV: Television.

Cable TV, satellite TV, fiber optic TV, or good old-fashioned over the air TV. It works pretty darn well at delivering the exact same video content at the exact same time to the 10 million, 20 million, 50 million or even 120 million people who might want to watch.

What’s the next best option for reaching that many people reliably with the same content?

There isn’t one currently.

Until there is, what’s anyone’s hurry to get rid of TV?

I’ve started a daily-ish newsletter in addition to the Podcast


This article has 1 Comment

  1. Why? Because TV has abused its platform and its market position for decades. Because TV has rigged the game in its favor thanks to corruption of state, local and federal regulators and legislators. Because TV believes that a large audience is a license to preach, to politick and to provoke. Because TV long ago crossed the threshold of a reasonable commercial load and because TV responded to audience attrition not by reducing commercial load by way of apology but by increasing commercial load by way of punishment.

    We aren’t forced to buy potatoes, milk, bread and oranges at the supermarket when we only want a gallon of milk but TV and TV carriers think that bundling of unwanted, unneeded channels and content is perfectly fine especially as it benefits them disproportionately.

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