I Wonder If This Scares CNN?
About a minute into the latest B-Cast by Liz Stephans and Scott Baker of Breitbart.TV (whom we interviewed a few weeks ago on PJM Political), they casually mention that their previous show attracted about 400,000 views.
In and of itself, that's an impressive number for a newscast. (Any show on MSNBC would be considered a hit if it pulled those numbers.) But consider the extreme economy of scale going on here:
As of 2005, CNN in primetime attracted less than 700,000 daily viewers, but with a budget of zillions of dollars and a ton of real estate, technicians and on-air talent. In contrast, the B-Cast is, I believe, run out of an office in Pittsburgh by two people with one set, a couple of cameras, laptops for the on-air talent (in other words, Liz and Scott) to cue those cameras and YouTube clips, and I guess another computer or two to record the sum of all those parts and upload the show to Andrew Breitbart’s news aggregation site. The hosting of the video itself is supplied by any one of numerous online video hosting sites, which helps to reduce what was once a significant expense: the high-bandwidth, and associated costs, of online video.
As I've written before, watch for more and more micro-TV stations to pop-up on the 'Net, using a variety of formats, from green screen and virtual sets to the Breitbart.TV model, to England's 18 Doughty Street Website, which is Internet TV on a fairly large scale. But still far more streamlined than traditional over-the-air and cable networks.
I wonder if the executives at CNN and other networks are aware of the growth of Internet TV, and if it bothers them? Blogs are much easier to start of course, which is why newspapers are acutely aware of the Blogosphere, and their fear is palpable in their their often hysterical reactions to the Internet over the last decade. But as traditional television ratings hit new lows, and more and online video content goes live on the Web, could we see a similar reaction from the TV networks?
We will when advertisers latch onto online video programming in big numbers. When something like the daily Breitbart.TV show opens and closes with ads from Toyota and Proctor & Gamble, we’ll know once and for all that after sixty years, traditional TV really is just another legacy medium.
Update (1/12/08): Liz Stephans of Breitbart.tv emails, "Scott was referencing the traffic to the site -- Breitbart.tv as a whole", not the individual B-Cast show itself. While we regret the error made above, the basic points remains valid, I think: all those video clips viewed by those clicking into Breitbart.tv means time spent away from CNN, FNC, and traditional television. And a show like the B-Cast is proof that a quality long-form news show can be made, with smart use of the right technology, at a cost infinitely lower than the traditional networks spend.
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