There was an interesting article today in the New York Times regarding the challenges facing prime time television. The author points out that audiences for prime time shows continue to decline as time shifting and web streaming become viable alternatives. But the author also indicates that the most popular shows (e.g., The Office, CSI) have 20-25% GAINS when DVR viewing is included.
“As a result of time-shifting, the biggest shows are getting bigger and some of the smaller shows are getting negatively impacted,” the senior television executive said.
What does this tell us?
Good content always wins. And those who have it, need to leverage it.
The same lesson can be applied to radio.
Morning/afternoon-drive (radio's prime time) radio shows will continue to lose audience to alternatives such as cell phones and the iPod. But as with television, all is not lost.
Those stations with great programs (music or otherwise) should leverage these brands by posting online and elsewhere. CBS Radio appears to understand this as it recently announced the syndication of its radio content for not only its own distribution network, but also other online networks.
If played right, new technologies do not have to result in a zero-sum game.
In a refreshing moment of clarity (and honesty), Alan Wurtzel, the head of research for NBC gave this gem to the Times:
“Honestly, if I could wish away the DVR, I would,” Mr. Wurtzel added. “But I can’t. It’s growing.”
The faster Radio executives reach the same conclusion regarding time shifting and online broadcasts, the better