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“By 2020 ‘Broadcasting’…will be Foreign to Anyone Under 40”

If this week’s National Association of Broadcasters Show is any indication, by 2020 “broadcasting” is a term that will be foreign to anyone under 40. Based on the show’s programming this year, as well as the general vibe that multiplatform delivery is the future, it seems that pretty soon no one will be concerned about how content is distributed — just if it’s good or not.

To repeat for emphasis:  “…pretty soon no one will be concerned about how content is distributed — just if it’s good or not.”

This is an important takeaway, particularly as we obsess on AM or FM, Online or Radio, HD or pretty much anything else.  All of these obsessions are misplaced.  Control is in the hands of the consumers who demand content. We can create great content or mediocre content – that’s up to us.  But how consumers get it is very much up to them.  They don’t care about our heritage platforms and our monetization models – they care only about themselves and they’re open to any disruptor who cares as much about their wants as they do.

Just recently, SiriusXM updated their mobile app.  Typically such updates are associated with improved features or functionality.  Not this time.  Until now I had been able to go back in time up to five hours on CNN or other Sirius news channels and listen to shows from earlier in the day while skipping commercials.  But no longer.  Sirius is charging more and providing less and standing squarely in the way of what this consumer – and no doubt others – wants.  It’s as if Time Warner stole into your house in the middle of the night, removed your DVR, and called it a “service update” in the morning.  That kind of regrettable behavior, regardless of its cause, sets the stage for a disruptive competitor, and all I can say is “bring one on.”

Give me the good content the way I want it, please.  Or I’ll get it some other way or from some other source.

“Broadcasting,” Schmoadcasting.  A recent piece in Advertising Age called TV “just a state of mind” and put it this way:

Web-video producers have been waiting years for TV dollars to move where the eyeballs increasingly are — online. But what if TV dollars were to stay where they are and online were to become TV?

The same could be said about radio.  Everything is everywhere and everything can be anything nowadays.  We are limited not by distribution and technology but by the attention of the audience, their specific tastes in content, and the ideas we produce to connect the right content with the right consumers and the right advertisers.

In this zone, the cream will rise to the top.

And those who limit themselves to narrow bands of distribution will get creamed.

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