Friday, October 20, 2006

nbc 2.0...or not

NBC announced its decision to save $750 million over the next 2 years by filling the first hour of prime time with low-cost schlock like reality programs and game shows, and by laying off roughly 700 fulltime employees.

NBC plans to reinvest the savings in digital media and other "high-growth areas." NBC News President Steve Capus told The Washington Post, "We've been a TV business that dabbles in digital. Now, we're positioning as a news content-production center going forward that happens to do television."

The Post's front page story by Frank Ahrens on the restructuring plan, dubbed NBC 2.0, dutifully portrays NBC as a forward-thinking company adapting to the digital era. The story leads with this:

"NBC Universal announced sweeping cuts to its television operations yesterday, demonstrating just how far a once-unrivaled network must now go to stay competitive with YouTube, social networks, video games and other upstart media."

But just because NBC wants to earn money in the digital-media environment doesn't mean it's "2.0". Web 2.0 is about the second generation of Internet-based services, such as social networking sites, wikis and blogs that allow people to collaborate and share information in new ways. This sharing and collaboration only works, however, if people are given the right to use content, a rule of the game NBC doesn't seem likely to abide. Earlier this year NBC forced YouTube to pull all NBC material from their site. You can read more on Sean Coon's blog.

The Post piece says NBC is adapting to the new landscape, which must include all forms of delivery that "consumers demand." What NBC doesn't seem to get is that it's not about delivering what the consumers demand but about including them in the process of production by granting them the freedom to borrow, remix, circulate, translate, aggregate and enjoy without legal (like copyright law) and structural (like inflexible programming schedules and editorial gatekeepers) restrictions. It's going to take more than shifting funds around for NBC to go 2.0.


At 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that you've fired Imus, you can also go ahead and fire all those who put "R" rated movies and soap operas on the air. It's time we cleaned up all the air waves. If people want porn let then go to a pay per view channel, we don't want that filth on the air for are children to see.

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