TV Without Advertising

Based on Dish Network adding a commercial auto-skip feature (and the subsequent complaints) and my previous speculations, I thought it’d be interesting to discuss what TV might look like if (when) advertisers stop advertising for everything but live events like sports and news.

Here’s what’s true:

  • There’s more TV shows than ever
  • There’s more good TV shows than ever (and still plenty of bad ones)
  • Because of the segmented market (a.k.a. more and more cable networks), a show can have a lower rating and still stay on the air
  • A TV show can get (more) popular five years after it goes off the air due to DVD sales and the internet (The Wire,  Arrested Development, etc.)
  • If it’s easy and reliable, consumers will pay some amount of money per month ($10 for Netflix/Hulu Plus to $100+ for a cable/satellite provider ) to watch TV shows on their TV and or other devices
  • People don’t want to watch TV commercials (or at least wouldn’t complain if they disappeared)
  • The TV Network financial model is all about selling commercials
  • For live broadcasts, TV quality is still significantly better and more reliable than the internet

Imagine all advertising stops for non-live shows (everything but the news and sports). How else might TV shows make money?

Here’s my idea: Have each user pay $X a month for unlimited video, then pay each show a percentage, based on how much of it the user watches.

A cable box-like device would measure how many M minutes you watch of each show and add up how much TV you watch each month.

That show’s income could = M (minutes of show watched) / T (Total Minutes of TV this month) * $X (the monthly service fee)

In other words, each show gets the % of your monthly viewing fee which you spent watching that show.

Example: The service costs $40 per month, I watch 5 episodes of The Office with each episode being 20 minutes long, and I watch 800 total minutes of TV in the month. The creators of The Office would receive (20 * 5) / 800 * 40 (1/8 of 40) which is $5. With 9 million viewers, these numbers add up quickly. Of course, the company (most likely cable, satelite or dot com) that creates and adminsters such a system would charge an administrative fee (I’d imagine it around 10% – 20%).

Some Consequences / Impacts:

  • The more popular your show, the more money it makes.
  • It’d be more profitable to get users who barely watch TV to watch your show.
  • Built in residual income — if your show gets popular five years after it comes off the air, you still get paid the same amount and can turn a profit. This is basically The Long Tail effect.
  • Contracts structure might be changed so that more actors / directors / writers are paid a percentage of the total income, instead of a one time fee. This better aligns everyone’s incentives for a successful, long running, well written series.
  • Instead of pitching an idea to a TV Network or production company, you could pitch it directly to a venture capitalist (Sillicon Valley Style) or Satellite/Cable/Amazon/Netflix type company. This may lead to more buyers and consequently more shows.
  • This same cable-like box could also incorporate an Amazon / NetFlix like recommendation system for TV. Users can rate and review shows, and receive recommendations on what shows they may like based on how they’ve rated shows to date.
  • This could turn into a Pandora type stream, where everyone has their own customized channel(s) with the shows they like to watch. Would networks still be necessary?
  • Everything but news and sports can become on demand, and there’s no waiting week to week for the next episode of the season.

Max’s Long Day

I co-wrote and edited these two videos.

“Max’s Long Day”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPoUxBaPA6s

“Max’s Long-OR Day”
(The faster, funnier version with multiple endings and fewer morality tales.)

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2K2t0SmtaaU

48 Hour Film Project: Richmond 2010

Here’s my second go around at doing a 48 Hour Film Project. I’m quite proud of this one, even if it didn’t win any awards. If you like the film, please share it with friends.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEo-1bSmaF4

My 48 Hour Film Project Movie

Last weekend I participated in the 48 Hour Film Project in NYC. Basically, each team gets 48 hours to write, film, edit and submit a 4 to 7 minute film. You draw a genre and are then given a prop, a line of dialogue and a character name and have to work it all into your movie.

We had:
Genre: “Film De Femme” (strong female character)
Prop: Tennis Ball
Dialogue: “Are you sure?”
Character: Ethan St John, President of ___

I proudly present our movie, “Margot”:
httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G09Enl81ck

Our creative process was:

Friday 10pm – 1am: 8 people shooting around ideas for a film, agreeing on an idea then story arcing it

Saturday 1am – 3am: 5 of us who were going to be writing and acting in it and the director wrote a first draft

Saturday 3am – 5am: 3 of us wrote a second draft while sending everyone else to sleep

Saturday 7am: Start setting up for filming and cast the roles, go through the second draft and make additional changes with the whole team

Saturday 9am: PA’s, PM’s and DP show up

Saturday 11am – 11pm: Film the different scenes

Saturday 11pm – Sunday 10am: Edit the first cut

Sunday 10am to 1pm: Give notes on the first cut and re-edit

Sunday 1pm to 7pm: Fix up the sound, make final touch ups, export and submit the film

I wound up not acting in it, which was okay with me because there was so many other things for me to do. I wound up sleeping 5 hours in two nights.

My favorite part of this is how 5 comedians came together and wrote a dark movie that has very little comedy in it…

Last thought: I highly recommend everyone pick a “48 Hour Challenge” where you have 48 hours to complete a task that would otherwise take a really long time (write a short book, make a music album, paint ten paintings, etc). You’d be surprised at how efficient you can be when you’re on the clock.