Monthly Archives: March 2015

Monster Tsunami About To Hit Us All

 

television4

Long ago and far away, when I was young and new to the world of work I was given a bit of advice by a near-retirement executive at the company I just joined. I was a fresh-faced graduate from the University of Kansas, William Allen White School of Journalism with a B.S. in Journalism, Radio-TV-Film. I decided to move to Los Angeles to try my luck at landing a job in HOLLYWOOD. With a bit of luck and timing I landed a job at ABC-TV in Hollywood at their 22- acre television production facility, after I spent one television production season with Hanna-Barbera…the old cartoon factory that was located on Cahuenga Blvd.

The advice given to me was…”kid…to make it in the network television business there are three things you should never express you true opinion about…the weather, religion and television…” Now, the first two I could understand, made sense. But why not talk to others about the state and condition the television industry? I mean, wasn’t that the business we were in?

It took a bit of time but I finally understood the advice. It allowed me to stay with ABC-TV in Hollywood for almost 20 years, finishing my career in a senior corporate management position. I stayed in the television industry till my recent retirement from that career to my now full time career of writing. After leaving ABC-TV I worked in public television, public radio, and finally as Executive Director of the Public Access station in Houston, Houston Media Source.

I am telling you all of this because what I am about to discuss and the prediction(s) I will be making at the end of this blog post will have some validity. What I am discussing will have some gravitas coming from me because I spent an over 40 year career in broadcast television and now totally involved in working online.

What got me so worked up about this subject of television again, I thought I left it when I moved out of L.A., is because of my continuing interest in the overall state of television program delivery and the unlimited opportunities that exist for new, upcoming or even established program producers and content developers. I will first say that those opportunities, near and long term, are unlimited. The future of this content delivery and production paradigm is not like “they” did in the 1960’s-1990’s and it’s not like the 500 cable channels that were promised in the start of the new century. The opportunity exists because of the thousands and thousands of channels that now or will exist in even greater numbers as each year progresses in this new century.

But what really got me to thinking about this subject and propelled me to write such a hefty blog is an article I recently read that was published by The Washington Post on March 11, 2015. Let me summarize: The Post articles states in its headline, “Americans are moving faster than every away from traditional TV”. No kidding. Let me now quote the two most important paragraphs from that article:

 

Adults watched an average of four hours and 51 minutes of live TV each week in the fourth quarter of 2014, down 13 minutes from the same quarter of 2013, according to Nielsen’s fourth-quarter 2014 Total Audience Report. Viewing was down six minutes between fourth quarter of 2013 and 2012. And between 2012 and 2011, viewing time actual increased for live TV.

At the same time, more homes turned to online video, with 40 percent of U.S. homes subscribing to a streaming service such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Video or HULU compared with 36 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to Nielsen. Netflix is by far the most popular streaming service, in 36 percent of all U.S. homes, and Amazon Instant Video is in 13 percent of homes.”

 

The article goes on to say, this switch to online or streaming viewing is rattling the industry…it is a disrupter…big name content providers are scrambling for an online or streaming presence…etc. etc. You get the idea. The form factor of distribution is moving away from broadcast and cable and moving slowly, albeit powerfully like a giant unstoppable glacier, to a delivery of content online and streaming.

What does this mean for you, yeah YOU the person who is reading this blog wherever you are in the world. It means for the consumer of such content you will be getting that content whether it is news or entertainment, sports or reality TV, on your computer, tablet, laptop computer, watch, or splashed into mid-air by some full-resolution hologram device that has not been invented yet…that means no screens but projected mid-air as large or small as you want it with no change in your 8K or 10K resolution. And I predict that is exactly what will be coming next.

You as a consumer can choose when, what and how you will watch what you want to watch and how you want to watch it and when you want to watch it. You won’t get it for free. The days of getting a free limited programming set from your local TV broadcaster is still here, but in the future it will be nowhere. I wouldn’t buy a local TV station even if I had the money; they are dinosaurs and won’t be worth much going forward. Now if you want to get into the Server Farm business, I think you are smart and you will make a fortune in the future. You will make a fortune in the future because of my next point.

When I submitted my scripts for purchase by producers I knew when I worked in Hollywood it was a closed system. You had to live in Hollywood, for the most part, and you had to “know” someone to even get it read by an agent, let alone a producer. Not necessary now. There are more than a million channels on YouTube now. Not just videos, there are more than a million channels on YouTube. I will allow that most of those channels have poor production value. But with the hurtling and significant advance in equipment and software capability, that production value will improve. The question is will the stories that drive that content improve, that remains to be seen. That’s really at the core anyway of any good content you read or see, isn’t it?

But because the big guys like Apple, Google, HBO, Netflix, and so on, are investing heavily in the next delivery and content production wave, the sheer momentum and force moving that production behemoth will make online and streaming delivery THE method for media consumption. Can you imagine if someone said to you 10 or 20 years ago, you know of course you can watch any recorded or live television show you want in the palm of your hand (smartphone) or you can watch in 4K quality with a booming sound system on your 65 inch almost paper-thin monitor in  your living room. No wonder people going to their local movie theaters in smaller numbers, choosing more and more to build their own movie theaters in their homes. And you don’t have to spend 10 thousand dollars or more for size, quality and experience for those studios. And you don’t have to wait for the DVD or BluRay DVD to come out. Just download or stream what you want to see form iTunes or Netflix.

I predict in as little as 5 years the dominate delivery of content will be online and streaming. Cable and broadcast TV will be hurting badly and in 10 years cable and broadcast TV may be a true anachronism.

Early black and white movie film, scratchy radio signals, early black and white television…they’re all gone. So don’t tell me that the current delivery system with cable and your local city TV transmitter won’t go the same way. Sure, you’ll get your local news and interest content; they just won’t be captured on an antenna or from that cable sticking out of the wall. You’ll get it wirelessly from a small unobtrusive content transmitter tucked up in your attic or down in your basement adjustable with a sleek and barely visible hand controller.

All of this is coming folks. So, why don’t you print out this blog and tuck it away somewhere and pull it out in 5 or 10 years. And then you will know, I Told You So. Or, if you are smart invest in the newest content delivery and content production public companies. Or, if you are really smart, produce your own content based on your own interests and desires. Make that content as good, smart, intelligent or funny as you can. They you can really reap the reward of the coming tsunami of change.

There, just beyond the horizon…do you see it coming? Can you see it…that big mofo wave of change? No, it won’t kill us, that tsunami. But it will change our lives forever.

Frederick Fichman

www.frederickfichman.com  (my author website)

www.geographicwestproductions.org  (my new website)

GREAT LIVE TELEVISION

 

Solar-Impulse-solar-powered-plane

NEWS FLASH!!

Just wanted to send you this quick news bulletin.

A solar powered plane is just starting its around the world journey. The plane is called Solar Impulse. “Mission Control” is located in Monaco and the plane, as of this writing has completed the first leg of its journey is about to take off from Muscat airport in Oman.

I think the most interesting part of this adventure is the internet ability to follow along from numerous perspectives.

And  you can follow along by going to http://www.solarimpulse.com. There is live commentary, live recreations of cockpit instrumentation, a lot of video being uploaded to YouTube, and a lot of social media interaction on all the usual Social Media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. When the plane is in the air you can hear cockpit communications with the ground from wherever it is. You also can see live video from the cockpit. This is the most live and interactive event of its kind over quite a few days that I have ever seen and it is just starting.

So, again, the url link to follow along this flight is: http://www.solarimpulse.com

It is great fun to watch this drama unfold. Enjoy.

ff

Is The Panspermia Theory Viable?

Early Mars

This picture you see above looks somewhat like Earth. Right? Wrong? It’s Mars, early Mars.

You are probably saying to yourself…Fred, what are you talking about? Mars is dry now, maybe a few patches of carbon dioxide on each pole, but very dry and very cold.

Well, today, March 5, 2015, NASA published bombshell Press Release #15032 where they boldly stated in the title, “NASA Research Suggests Mars Once Had More Water than Earth’s Arctic Ocean.” And you have heard the old scientific mantra that where there is water there is life. So, let’s extrapolate that even further. Then Earth is not the only planet where there is or has been life. Even further, life sprung up from the muck on two separate planets in our Solar System separated by an average of 140,000,000 miles. Even stranger and further, then if both Mars and Earth support or supported life where did the life come from? Does this give the Panspermia Theory of life seeded throughout the universe from the universe by amino acids and other life building elements even more credence?

See where this is heading? Life on two separate planets means life could be omnipresent throughout the universe. This matter is not just of great scientific importance it has philosophical and religious implications as well. The bottom line here, again, if life arose independently on two planets in our solar does it not suggest that life arose on trillions of other planets in billions and billions of other solar systems in billions of other galaxies? And finally the biggest of all questions, if there is life on other planets, advanced life, where is it and how come we haven’t heard from them yet? (Or have we…the subject matter of my books, “The SETI Trilogy.” SETI-Anthology-Cover-5-14-14-copy

(Click on cover to be taken to Amazon Kindle)

The possibilities from this announcement today from NASA are endless and through this blog I intend to keep up the discussion. More later.

FF